Amidst a flurry of rumors and speculation, LSU announced its decision to keep Coach Les Miles at the helm of the Tigers. Perhaps all of the rumors were started by a few disgruntled boosters; perhaps all of the stories were incorrect. Regardless, after a flood of support from fans, players, and boosters alike, LSU AD Joe Alleva announced that Miles wasn’t going anywhere.
In true Les Miles’ style, the quirky coach not only left Saturday’s game on a wave of adulation — he was carried off the field by his players — he interrupted an SEC broadcast to lustily sing LSU’s alma mater. He then tipped his hat to the adoring crowd like a drunken cavalier.
It is true that there have been some issues at LSU. They have had consistent problems with their offensive line. They have scored less than 20 points in the last four games. Before Saturday, LSU ranked 105th in FBS in passing. Their obvious weakness at the QB position has made their offense fairly one-dimensional, mainly dependent on the godlike Leonard Fournette. This lack of depth proved calamitous in the previous three games. QB Brandon Harris struggled on Saturday, throwing for less than 100 yards total. However, problems in the offensive line can easily be remedied with some consistent quarterback development and excellent recruiting. Miles has never had any issues with recruiting if Fournette is any indication. He can easily turn the team around — indeed he hinted on Saturday that changes in the offense were in the works.
Saturday’s game had to be poignant for Miles. ESPN reported that the Tigers organization contemplated firing the coach, despite his amazing record at the school. Miles is currently 111-32 in 11 seasons. He led LSU to a national title in 2007. According to an unnamed source, the Tigers’ athletic department and boosters wanted to dismiss him and were willing to pay a jaw-dropping $15 million sum in a buyout. I’m wondering if the “source” might have been irate fans on Twitter.
It seems premature, and a bit irresponsible, to report a coach is being ousted unless you can verify your reports. ESPN has egg on its face and of course the sports news outlet is now backtracking like mad. Miles can look forward to another season at LSU and the Tigers can look forward to another year with a legend at the wheel.