KAUFMAN: Here’s Why LSU Should Keep Les Miles

Originally published at DC Brown Pelican

Les Miles is an evil genius. That’s what they said when he faked the field goal against Florida earlier this year, which led to a 35-28 thrilling victory over the eventual SEC East Champion.

The Tigers can win the national championship – they have all the parts now that the QB is showing he can throw. That’s what they said when we sat 7-0 and 2nd in the first College Football Playoff standings.

Now three weeks later they say “off with his head” after a startlingly morose, three-game skid that included bad losses to bitter rival Alabama and historical rival Ole Miss.

The arrogance and sense of entitlement being shown by those who want to run Coach Miles out of town is embarrassing. This man has averaged ten wins a year, has won three SEC Championships, and has won a national championship.

Certainly, there is no question we’ve had issues the last three weeks. And while most of the attention has been focused on the offense, the defense has been abysmal as well, not to mention the porous special teams. We need to get better at all three phases of the game – this observation isn’t rocket science, it’s football and it’s fixable.

Current and former players are universally stating their unwavering support for Miles because they know who he is and what he can do for the team. Interestingly at least one potential future player – five star recruit Dylan Moses – publicly expressed his support for Coach Miles as well.

Where did this arrogance and sense of entitlement come from anyway? LSU, a place I love with a passion, has not been a historically elite football powerhouse. In the 1950s and 1960s we made a good run with some top 5 rankings, a national championship and a Heisman Trophy winner. That was it though until Saban showed up in 2001.

The haters have thrown out numbers like these to bolster the case for a palace coup: he’s 2-7 against Ole Miss, Alabama and Arkansas in the past three years; 13-10 in the SEC the past three years; won 80 percent of his SEC games the first seven years and “only” 60 percent the last four years; and has five straight losses to Alabama and Coach Satan.

Well, everyone knows that one can drum up numbers to support their argument. How about these numbers: in the five years Nick Saban coached LSU his record was 48-16. And if LSU beats Texas A&M this weekend, Miles’s record for the past five (difficult) years will be 49-15…

Here’s another fun numbers scenario: if a coach had the following records, should he too be fired after four straight years of declining numbers? 11-0, 10-1, 9-2, 10-1, 9-1-1, 11-0, 8-2-1, 8-3, 6-5, 6-5-1. Based on the ridiculous drumbeat from the past three weeks, LSU would certainly fire said coach. But his name was Bear Bryant, and Alabama didn’t fire him despite his losing to both Auburn and LSU the last two of those years. They stuck with their man and the next year he went 11-1 with many other successful seasons afterward.

I don’t use this illustration to compare Miles and Bryant – that would be absurd. I use this illustration to showcase what it takes to have a long-term, successful program. Alabama didn’t let emotion get in the way. Coach Bryant continued to recruit well, worked hard and made adjustments.

LSU should follow that model and do the same. We have a proven winner in Coach Miles, who runs a clean program, recruits top 10 talent (including the #1 class next year), engages not only the local community but indeed the entire state, and most certainly bleeds purple and gold. It’s time the LSU fan base, the Athletic Director, and the Board of Supervisors did too.



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