DEVILLE: QBs, recruiting fills Miles plate

President George Bush gave his State of the Union address last Tuesday night in Washington D.C.

Earlier in the day, LSU football coach Les Miles did the same at a luncheon with the local media. Just over a year ago, Miles took the reigns of the Tiger football program and has endured every form of obstacles that could have been possibly thrown his way.


From hurricanes (two actually) to the most impressive bowl victory in school history, from an SEC Western Division title to a pair of disappointing defeats, Miles' first season on the bayou ran the gambit of peaks and valleys.


But at the end of year one, which concluded last Wednesday on National Signing Day, Miles had achieved what many thought he could not in carrying on what Nick Saban had built in his five seasons in Baton Rouge.


An 11-2 record coupled with top five national ranking, Miles added the bowl domination of Miami to his resume and has now reeled in a top-five rated (depending on which rankings you consider) recruiting class. All in all, Miles couldn't have been happier when asked to give his "State of the Union."


"If I had to give a state of the union, it might take a little bit of time, but I can tell you is all is good and certainly we want to improve," Miles said. "I think the recruiting class add to our team allows us to do that."


Miles did add that the win over Miami serves as a reminder of where the program currently stands as well as where it is headed.


"I think it was pretty obvious for the country to see that two teams in 2001 and 2003 that had won the national championship were lining up to compare where they were in some regards," Miles said. "I think, obviously, that comparison favored us."


On top of all the on the field success Miles and his staff has achieved in terms of victories and recruiting, building relationships and learning the lay of the land in Tiger town, in the long run, may serve as Miles' biggest accomplishment.


"I can tell you that it has been a great year," Miles said. "I can tell you the view of the job, the people I get to work with, the community, our team, I have a greater feel for now. I understand things a little better."


Heading into year two of the Miles era at LSU, the Tiger head coach has some pressing issues to which to tend. What some consider as the most important decision Miles will ever make as the Tigers head coach, the evaluation of LSU's three quarterbacks and naming of a starter for the 2006 season could define, not only Miles' tenure as coach, but the future of the LSU program.


Everyone is familiar with the dilemma, three quality quarterbacks, one football. Miles said heading into the spring, Jamarcus Russell, coming of wrist surgery, will watch as Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux go head to head.


"We are going to let Matt and Ryan compete both are deserving," Miles said. "It is too early to tell. I want to see how things go."


It is apparent Miles isn't quite sure what is going to unfold and is anxious to get into the spring and summer and let the trio of signal callers duke it out.


"We have three capable guys and great competition and competition promotes the position," Miles said. "Our guys understand they need to play well and when they do it will make our football team better."


Russell is the proto-typical pocket passer and Flynn is more mobile player, but the question is what will Perrilloux bring to the table to mix up the competition.


"I think what Ryan is will be defined more fully throughout the spring," Miles said.


While quarterback is the most obvious issue on Miles' plate, probably the most immediate question to answer is who will fill the vacancy left by defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, who left the program for the Minnesota Vikings.


"The timetable is when we find the right guy," Miles said. "There are several qualified candidates that we will look into. We won't get real serious until after Wednesday (signing day). As we hire another coach, it has to be a guy who will continue the success that we have had in the defensive line and let's get to spring ball healthier and get after it."


In the end, though, judging from Miles comments and president Bush's State of the Union address, it is pretty obvious who is coming off a better year.




Matt DeVille is the editor of Tiger Rag magazine. Reach him at

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