DEVILLE: Les Miles - Our take

After two of the most awkward weeks around Tiger town, most of the questions surrounding LSU have been answered.

Yes, Nick Saban did say goodbye to Baton Rouge, bidding adieu to the Tiger faithful with a 30-25 loss to Iowa in the Capital One Bowl. The shock of LSU's last-second loss to the Hawkeyes had barely settled in before LSU had their guy in place – that being Les Miles.


Many people said – Who?


Few people knew had hardly heard of Les Miles, much less knew anything about the fourth year coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Sure the Bo Schembechler protégé's name had surfaced when the rumblings that Saban may bolt surfaced, but after the Cowboys 33-7 defeat in the Alamo Bowl, Miles was brushed aside by the Tiger nation and LSU fans began to covet the likes of Butch Davis, Bobby Petrino and Jack Del Rio.


When word leaked out literally minutes after the horn sounded in Orlando that Miles was to follow Saban the Great, a state of unrest began to grow in LSU land and the natives weren't happy.


Why you might ask?


Many of the arguments ranged from his 28-21 record as Oklahoma State's head coach in four seasons to his lackluster showing in the bowl game against Ohio State to the fact he was more focused on offense and fielded weaker defensive squads, which has been the Tigers M.O. under Saban for the past half-decade. The there was the argument that Miles has been widely regarded as Lloyd Carr's successor at Michigan due to Miles' Wolverine roots. Also, fans wasted little time in comparing Miles to Ron Zook, the exiled Florida successor of Steve Spurrier and showed little discretion in christening Miles as the next Curley Hallman or Gerry DiNardo.


If you reading this are one of those folks, then you might not care to read the remainder of this piece.


While we feel the way LSU handled the Saban fiasco as well as the coaching search that included flirts with Houston Nutt, R.C. Slocum and even an interview with LSU assistant coach and terminated Michigan State head man Bobby Williams, in this opinion, the powers-that-be on North Stadium Drive, may not have hit a grand slam with Miles, but definitely legged out a triple with this hire (in Skip Bertman terms).


For who was available at the time, Miles is the best "fit" for LSU in terms of his background. An alum of one of the grandest football programs in all of college football at Michigan, Miles coached under Schembechler as well as Lloyd Carr in Ann Arbor, did tours of duty as a coordinator in the Big 12 conference and coached in the NFL before returning to the Big 12 as head coach of Oklahoma State.


Using the Saban formula in the selection process, Miles coached at the number two school in a football rich state just as Saban did at Michigan State.he recruited well and enjoyed success in resurrecting the Cowboys program from the doldrums of the cellar of the Big 12, much like Saban did in East Lansing. Like Saban, Miles has NFL experience serving as an assistant for the Cowboys under Dave Campo.


While fans squirm at the mere mention of a 28-21 record at OSU, Miles did enjoy plenty of success in Stillwater winning, eight, nine and seven wins in his last three seasons with the Cowboys, that including a pair of wins over arch rival Oklahoma.


Miles takes a very business-like approach to coaching a football team, much like Saban, but offers a much warmer demeanor than the icy exterior Saban showed most of the time. The bottom line is, LSU is getting a quality football coach, that can recruit, has coached on the highest level, has produced results and looks to be putting together a talented staff together to help coach this team. PLUS, he is a nice guy. While some may take niceness for weakness, Miles isn't a pushover and will stress discipline. But it will be nice to have a coach in Baton Rouge that fans (and the media) can warm up to.

You take all of these ingredients and toss in plenty of wins and Miles will turn LSU's legged triple into a round tripper in no time.


Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag Magazine. He can be reached by e-mail at

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