Monday, November 23, 2015

In Defense Of Les

Where in the world is Joe Alleva? The LSU athletic director hasn't been heard from since the beginning of the "Les Miles must win his final two games or he's gone" situation. 

Alleva's strong-handed ways may not have shoved John Chavis out the door, but he certainly made the former Tigers defensive coordinator aware that his car was waiting outside with the engine running and the tank on "E" at the end of the 2014 season. 

With his successful head coach wafting in the wind, publicly outed as "fired coach walking," Alleva has chosen to remain hidden behind the practice of not commenting on a coach's status until after the season. 

Now this? Sending Les out to face questions about his employment status? Has Les Miles delivered the goods to rival Nick Saban and Urban Meyer consistently as the greatest coach in the country? No. However, aside from those two upper echelon coaches, Miles really doesn't take a backseat to anyone over the last ten years.  Jimbo Fisher has made his presence felt on the coaching landscape the last six years to join the list of elite coaches. Aside from that trio, is there a coach more successful than Les Miles in college football? 

Miles has made his share of mistakes in critical situations. There have been times when his disciplinary procedures lacked backbone; he has proved stubborn and unaccountable (21-0 loss to Alabama in 2012  BCS Championship); and his skills as a tactician leave something to be desired.  

But... He doesn't light into players like they just violated curfew with his daughter the way Saban and Jim McElwain have exhibited regularly; his bravado doesn't supersede limitations, ala' Bret Bielema; he is not aloof and anal like Meyer; he drags his wife and kids around everywhere he goes, not as a trophy to indicate his "family-man" status, but simply because he seems to really like seeing them.  

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And... He wins. 10 games a year on average, even though the last three seasons have fallen shy of his version of average.  He's a national media star, which definitely aids on the recruiting trail. ESPN, SEC Network, national radio shows... They all love Les. 

Quick, name a coach that networks crave interviews with... Spurrier isn't walking off the tee box and through that door; Les is the guy.

As a lifelong Razorback fan, and reporter covering LSU since 1995, I'm not sure what LSU's fan base is looking for if title contender, ace recruiter, genial CEO, family man and media star doesn't fit the bill. 
There are over 100 college football fan bases that would gladly trade the past ten years' results with Tiger fans---Woo Pig Sooie's, Rebels, Cowbell Clanga's, Aggies, Gamecocks, ShowMe's, Wildcats, Plainsmen, Commodores, UGA's, Volunteers and Gators included.