Let it go, Les Miles…

Remember Gunner Kiel? He’s the quarterback recruit from Indiana that spurned Les Miles and LSU for Notre Dame back in January. While speaking at an LSU national signing day banquet shortly after Kiel changed his mind, Miles publicly questioned whether Kiel even had the “chest” to lead the Tigers.

And now Miles is opening his mouth again.

From CBS Sports.com’s Dennis Dodd:

“I’m not bitter. I’m glad he stayed there. I really mean it. Here’s the truth: If you don’t have some swagger to you and you can step into this stadium and be able to know the advantage that you’re playing with the Tigers and you’re leading the program that has some real weight and clout, then you really need to stay home with your brothers.

“I don’t mean that [negatively]. I’m for him. He gets a chance to come in here and compete and start on a team that is a great team. I really meant what I said. I was talking more about the confidence and swagger. I was not demeaning. If he shows up, it means he has all those things …

“I mean it honestly, if it’s more about family for him, if it’s more being close to home … he would have never been successful as he needed to be. I mean it very respectfully …

“The guy we got now [Zach Mettenberger], he’s a confident son of a buck. He’s a throwin’, tough kid. If he continues to develop and learn and grow as a leader, no question.”

If you want to take Miles at his most literal word (and I know some will), go right ahead. But those comments reek of a man who is still bitter that a kid inevitably left him, the all mighty Les Miles, standing at the altar. When you have to say things like “I’m not bitter” and then go into a diatribe explaining yourself, guess what? You’re still bitter.

Recruits change their minds all the time. It’s just part of the business. After all, they’re kids, and they get swept up in the emotion and excitement of being recruited by big-time universities. Eventually their true feelings come to the surface and Kiel clearly wanted to stay close to his family in the end.

Miles should respect that but clearly he can’t. I’m not suggesting that Miles doesn’t believe what he says but it just looks like he’s trying too hard here. It’s like watching a guy get dumped by his girlfriend and then telling his friends that he’s better off because he never liked her much anyway. The whole thing is just sad for Miles.

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The recruiting wars


Urban Meyer made quite a splash with a monster recruiting class at Ohio State, but some of his fellow coaches in the Big Ten weren’t too happy that he came in and “flipped” players. The whining from Bret Bielema and Mark Dantonio seemed a bit much according to David Whitley, who pointed out that recruits had every right to change their minds after a coach of Meyer’s caliber joined Ohio State.

But Whitley makes a larger point – that the Big Ten has much more honorable recruiting practices than the SEC. Yes, the SEC is currently winning all the titles, but Whitley points out some pretty pathetic actions by Les Miles and Nick Saban. The oversigning has gotten out of control.

Hopefully the push by the Big Ten towards 4-year scholarships will put even more pressure on the SEC to clean up its act.

Who needs offense? LSU crushes Oregon

Louisiana State University head coach Les Miles (R) talks with field judge Ed Kierce during the second half of the NCAA Cotton Bowl football game in Arlington, Texas January 7, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

LSU may have come into tonight’s game with Oregon missing its starting quarterback and wide receiver because of suspensions, but that didn’t matter. The LSU defense and special teams were more than enough in LSU’s 40-27 win.

It’s a real nice victory for LSU and the SEC (again). It’s a tough loss for Oregon, which is about to get the Ohio State label draped on it when it comes to big games. The Ducks, as it turns out, aren’t that difficult to defend if you have some time to prepare for them.

In their last three big-time nonconference games — Ohio State, Auburn and LSU — the Ducks offense hasn’t been anywhere near the explosive unit that it is during the season. People that are smarter than I am on Twitter claim it’s because what Oregon does is actually pretty simple, and when you have the athletes to match up with it, all you have to do is play assignment football.

That being said, shutting down Oregon is quite an accomplishment, and LSU’s defense won’t face many offenses that are more explosive. They’ll face different and more balanced offenses (Darron Thomas is woefully inadequate in the passing game), but not many that can do what the Ducks can.

It plays in the SEC West, so LSU has a hell of a lot of work to do in order to play for the title this year, but this was a huge hurdle, especially considering the suspensions. It was an even bigger hurdle for the SEC, which may have just guaranteed itself a spot in the title game again.

Les Miles receives seven-year contract extension from LSU

ESPN.com is reporting that LSU and head coach Les Miles have agreed in principle to a new contract that will run through the 2017 season.

LSU athletic director Joe Alleva says Miles’ annual pay of a little more than $3.75 million will remain the same.

Miles has won 62 games and five bowls, including a 2007 national title in his first six years with the Tigers. Alleva says the university wants to maintain stability at the top of a winning program.

Miles, who met with Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon Monday about the coaching vacancy the Wolverines had at the time, says Baton Rouge is home to his family now and that staying at LSU is “the right thing to do.”

I think it says something that Miles (presumably) had two opportunities over the past four years to leave Baton Rouge and coach at his alma mater and he chose to stay. He has shown loyalty to the LSU program and in turn, the Tigers have given it right back.

I still think the guy is bat sh*t crazy though. He obviously knows how to win but I wonder if he goes home sometimes and thinks to himself, “How the hell did I pull that one out of my ass?”

Only Miles could get called for a delay of game penalty on fourth-and-nine and then call a timeout. And only he could then get bailed out when his opponent (Tennessee) had 12 men on the field during the final play and therefore found a way to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat.

Oh, Les Miles.

Miles stays at LSU, Michigan hires Hoke

Les Miles isn’t headed to Ann Arbor, which means Brady Hoke is.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that after meeting with Michigan officials about the Wolverines’ football vacancy on Monday, Miles will stay at LSU. The former UM graduate is 62-17 with the Tigers, which includes five bowl victories and one national title in his previous six seasons. Following Miles’ decision, Michigan moved quickly to hire Hoke.

When Rich Rodriguez was fired last week, two names emerged as leading candidates to replace him: Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh and San Diego State’s Hoke. And once Harbaugh agreed to terms with the 49ers, Hoke become the clear favorite to land in Ann Arbor.

It would have taken a truckload of money to get Miles to come to Michigan and in the end, it would have been a riskier move than what AD David Brandon wanted to make following the Rich-Rod debacle. Hoke is the safer choice and he may be the better long-term fit for the program, too. He has ties to the team, he’s an up-and-comer and he’s cheap. It just makes sense following what happened with Rodriguez.

Is Hoke the right fit? We’ll see. He certainly isn’t a big name but the Wolverines got a big name in Rodriguez and look how that turned out. I know some UM fans would have rather seen Rodriguez retained for another year than hire Hoke. But at least he’ll put the emphasis back on defense after Rich-Rod completely ignored that side of the ball for three years. (Maybe Hoke will actually recruit a kicker that knows that the ball is supposed to go between the uprights and not to either side of them, too.)

Hoke may be a ho-hum hire in some people’s minds, but maybe that’s exactly what UM needs right now.

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