Miles addresses Michigan hire

The LSU Tigers returned to campus on Monday to begin making preparations for the BCS National Championship Game versus Ohio State.

Coach Les Miles met with the media Monday afternoon to discuss the Tigers as they open bowl camp. And for the first time in quite a while, there seemed to be a weight lifted from the room.

On Sunday, Michigan announced the hiring of West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez, who will succeed Lloyd Carr as the coach of the Wolverines. Rodriguez's hiring closes the book on weeks of speculation that has involved Miles, who was a favorite for the Michigan opening.

Miles has denied interest in the position several times dating back to the hours before the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 1. However, despite numerous pleas with the media that he would remain in Baton Rouge as coach of the Tigers, the national media continued to stir the pot forcing Miles to continually deny any interest in returning to his alma mater.

Miles addressed the issue one final time on Monday and seemed to enjoy the situation much more than in recent weeks.

"I am also happy, to be honest with you, that Michigan has picked a quality coach (Rich Rodriguez)," Miles said. "I can tell you that it should certainly end questions that I have to field."

LSU's third year coach again stated his love of Michigan and offered his best wishes to coach Rodriguez and the Wolverine program in the future.

"I have a Michigan background that will never change," Miles said. "I will be loyal to that memory and that school. As an alumnus, not speaking as a coach, I think it is time that the Michigan alumni and everybody that supports that program get behind that coach. I think Coach Rodriguez will do a great job. I am very happy that they picked a coach of that quality and caliber."

Miles took a jab at the media, which hasn't been entirely fair to Miles in recent weeks.

"I know it's disappointing to some of you that don't like me and wished I would have taken the Michigan job - that was not offered," Miles smiled.

While Miles is staying put in Baton Rouge, defensive coordinator Bo Pelini is on his way out. However, he will remain as part of the LSU staff through the national championship game, after which Pelini will shove off for Lincoln to begin his tenure as the head coach of the Cornhuskers.

Pelini returned to Baton Rouge over weekend after spending the last two weeks in Nebraska and rejoined the Tigers for Monday afternoon's workout.

"He got back into town and said it was a lot warmer here," Miles said. "We welcomed him back. It is unfair for a team that puts it together, has chemistry and works as hard as we do to change the lineup. I certainly wouldn't want to do that. I know that Bo Pelini represents another school in his off hours but he sure has been a joy for us. The guys really enjoy him and I look forward to taking the field and lining up one more time with coach Bo."

The Tigers will practice through Saturday before taking a break for Christmas. LSU will resume workouts through Jan. 2 before leaving for New Orleans for the BCS Title Game.

"I don't think it is going to be that big a deal at this point," Miles said. "What we try to do is come to speed first and work on things that we know we will run against everybody in the first couple practices. We'll throw a little bit more at them as we get later in the week and build practices. On the back end on Saturday will be a little shorter go and maybe a little more special teams. I think what guys enjoy is different in making sure we approach the game plan in an orderly fashion but introduce different pieces as we go. I don't think it will be an issue getting this team ready to practice."

Miles said the team is eager to get back to work and completing a season in which the teams' final goal is still attainable – winning the national championship.

"I can tell you as a team representing LSU; we are excited as we can be," Miles said. "Every team in America works with goals including winning its conference and some how playing in the national title game. Our football team is respectful of that position. They understand what they have achieved and want to represent this school, this state and college football really well. Our team looks forward to practice today and our staff is preparing in earnest."

In one of the most comical moments of Miles' tenure as head coach at LSU, longtime Times-Picayune reporter Peter Finney opened the question and answer period with a tongue-in-cheek inquiry...

"Are you a candidate for the West Virginia job?" Finney quipped.

Miles roared with laughter.

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