The Perfect Candidate for Michigan?

Scout.com's Jamie Newberg shares his thoughts on Michigan's coaching vacancy. Should LSU Les Miles be the next coach in Ann Arbor? Is Mississippi State's Dan Mullen a good fit?

Josh Newkirk: You mentioned LSU coach Les Miles in a recent article as a top candidate for the job. He has the Michigan background. Why do you feel Les Miles would be a good fit up in Ann Arbor if they were unable to land their No. 1 option Jim Harbaugh?

Jamie Newberg: “For obvious reasons, Jim Harbaugh has to be the No. 1 guy. As we’ve all heard, he is probably going to stay in the pro game, which is understandable. And to me it’s a no brainer. I got to believe, at least in my opinion that Les Miles is perfect and best candidate for the Michigan job. No. 1 he is a Michigan Man. And No. 2 he is a proven winner. He’s won everywhere he has been. He’s won at the highest level at LSU and the SEC. He knows how to get the job done. I just think it’s laughable that he is not the second guy they call. The first call has to be to Harbaugh. The second got to be Miles. This is a program kind of in transition. And they can’t afford to make the wrong hire. I don’t see Les being a bad hire. I think he would a phenomenal hire. Let’s face it, you got Urban [Meyer] at Ohio State. Everybody is chasing them. Obviously, it’s always been Michigan-Ohio State in the Big Ten. The dynamics have changed. James Franklin is now at Penn State and they are going to recruit very well and have a chance to do great things. Obviously, Michigan State has been able to ramp it up another notch. They’ve been a power the last few years. They got a lot going on. So they can’t miss now. I think Miles got to be the guy. It’s crazy not to have him as the next coach.”

Josh Newkirk: I know Les Miles is a proven winner, but what about the critics that says he hasn’t developed a star quarterback aside from Zach Mettenberger. Also is he just guy that is benefitting from the fruits of all that talent in Louisiana and that surrounding area, where he can just go pluck the recruits? Is he able to replace recruits simply because he coaches in a recruiting hotbed?

Jamie Newberg: “It’s not Les Miles’ fault he happens to be blessed with being the head coach at LSU. Which is great fertile ground not having an in-state power to battle against. That’s just, it is what it is. You still got to go out and get the kids and develop them and coach them up. They have been a factor in the SEC West race since day one that he’s been there. He obviously took over for another great coach that proceeded him. But I would have no qualms with Les Miles running my team if I was at Michigan or LSU or anywhere else.”

Josh Newkirk: Michigan has finished near the top of Scout.com’s final rankings year in and year out. So there is talent on Michigan’s roster, and you mentioned what Miles can do development wise.  That was a big knock against Brady Hoke. If you’re saying Miles should be the No. 2 phone call, how fast do you think a guy like Miles can turn around a program like Michigan? There is talent.  Clearly they haven’t hit on every player. But there is some talent at Michigan. How long do you think it would take Miles to develop it?

Jamie Newberg: “I would agree with everything you just said. It’s not like as if he’s inheriting a bottom feeder that lacks personal from top to bottom of the roster. They’re close. Maybe not that close, but it’s not like they need a major over haul. It’s not major renovation project. I’ve always looked at recruiting as just being a part of it. You always got to go out and get the Jimmies and Joe’s. You got to be able to develop them as part of a position to win football games, it’s a process. And it’s a long process. Obviously we’ve seen coaches be great recruiters and have mediocre football teams. Other coaches that are good evaluators and are able to develop talent, plug them into their systems and win some football games. So it’s got to be a blend of both. “I have always been an admirer of Miles to be able to do that. The coaches I talk to in this region in the south, they think, and I believe this to be true as well. He is probably one of the more under rated coaches in this region. Having said all that, I think he can go to Michigan up in Ann Arbor and do good things early. Hard to say if he’ll go knock of Ohio State and win the Big Ten next year if he were to get the job. But I think he’ll put them in that position sooner rather than later.”

Josh Newkirk: Let’s transition to another guy in the same conference, Dan Mullen out of Mississippi State. A lot of people earlier in the season had him going to Florida. Mullen is guy that is gaining some interest and people around the program are talking about. So, first tells us about Dan Mullen and what does he brings to the table as a coach?

Jamie Newberg: “No. 1, I think he’s done a heck of a job at Mississippi State. A hard place to win and he’s been there for a while. And it’s really a testament to the program of what he’s starting to do there and develop. You would hate to see him go. You want to see what he can do long term at a place like Mississippi State. At some point, he’s going to have to bolt. There is better opportunities out there, with all due respect to that program. Certainly Michigan is one of the most storied programs in the history of the game. I think he’s great. He’s a guy with his skill-set his expertise is on the offensive side of the ball. I think he’s got a history of developing great quarterbacks – Alex Smith, Tim Tebow – and what Dak Prescott has done in his career at Starkville, Miss. He’s an expert on the offensive side of the ball. The spread attack. I think he can bring that element Michigan. “I just know if he would leave for that job if given the opportunity. So will see what happens at the end of the day. I keep hearing his name, but I just know if he’s leaving for Michigan at this point. I do think it would be interesting. You would have him in Ann Arbor. James Franklin at Penn State and Urban Meyer at Ohio State. That would make for an interesting recruiting battle between those three.”


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