UPDATE #4: A couple of extra items.
First, here’s a statement from F. King Alexander…
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) September 25, 2016
Cool story, bro. Thanks for waiting 10 extra months.
Also, LSU has elevated a pair of graduate assistants to position coaches. Eric Mateos is now the tight ends coach, replacing Steve Ensminger who has taken over for Cam Cameron as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. And Dennis Johnson is now the outside linebackers coach. That begs the question whether Bradley Dale Peveto, who was coaching outside linebackers as well as special teams, has been replaced; for now, Peveto is listed as special teams coach.
But it would seem, what with Pete Jenkins taking over as the defensive line coach (interestingly, Jenkins assumed an identical role at USC in 2013 when Orgeron was the interim head coach there), that LSU has replaced two coaches with three. Someone would seemingly have to go.
Another interesting item: Miles was on hand at the 5 p.m. team meeting and addressed the players, telling them it was for the best. He deserves thanks for that, as it’s a classy gesture. We’re also told that the reception Orgeron received as the interim coach was “enthusiastic.”
LSU plays Missouri at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night. After a full day of tailgating it’s not a bad bet the fresh scent around the program could lead to a truly fun atmosphere for the first time in a while.
UPDATE #3: The official LSU release…
BATON ROUGE – Les Miles has been relieved of his duties as LSU’s head football coach and will be replaced by Ed Orgeron as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2016 season, Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva announced on Sunday afternoon along with consultation from the Officers on the LSU Board of Supervisors and LSU President Dr. F. King Alexander.
“Decisions like this are never easy ones to make,” Alleva said. “Coach Miles has done a tremendous job here and he’s been a great ambassador for our University, which makes this even more difficult.
“However, it’s apparent in evaluating the program through the first month of the season that a change has to be made. Our commitment to excellence and competing at the highest level is unwavering, and our goals for the remainder of this season haven’t changed. We have an obligation to our student-athletes to put them in the best position to have success on the football field each week and we have great confidence that coach Orgeron will do just that.”
Miles, the second-winningest coach in school history, posted a 114-34 record in 11-plus seasons at LSU. The Tigers are 2-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play this season.
Alleva announced that Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Cam Cameron was also dismissed on Sunday evening. Orgeron will announce his new staff assignments on Monday.
A press conference will take place on Monday at 12:30 p.m. to discuss the dismissal of Miles along with the promotion of Orgeron to interim head coach. The press conference will be held on the fifth floor of the LSU Athletic Administration Building and will be available free on LSUsports.net/live and Facebook.com/LSUfootball.
UPDATE #2: Some items of interest to pass along.
First, Ed Orgeron will take over as the interim coach at 5:00 this afternoon at a team meeting. Normally LSU has Sundays off.
Next, since Orgeron will now be the head coach, LSU needs a defensive line coach. Pete Jenkins, the legendary mentor for defensive linemen in the 1980’s and 1990’s who had a brief stint again when Nick Saban was the head coach, will apparently be back to fill in for Orgeron. Jenkins is coming out of retirement.
Also, a bit of reaction from ESPN’s Mark Schlabach…
Les Miles won a lot of football games as LSU’s coach and guided the Tigers to the 2007 BCS national championship. But the “Mad Hatter” was also famously stubborn. After surviving an attempted coup by boosters to fire him last season, Miles did very little to change LSU’s offense. He kept Cam Cameron, the same offensive coordinator, and started Brandon Harris, the same quarterback. After the Tigers lost twice and looked woefully inept on offense in September, LSU officials finally pulled the plug on Miles on Sunday. Only one month into the 2016 season, the Tigers are now at the front of the line in the race to hire Houston coach Tom Herman.
One final bit to pass along – a source tells us that the chemistry among the offensive staff since the summer has been so corrosive that no one should have been surprised at the results on the field, and that the other offensive coaches had fallen into a very low state of morale starting in fall camp. Things got progressively worse and by the week before the Auburn game LSU had a disastrous week of practice offensively. The source tells us that the firing of Cameron is likely considerably more impactful for LSU’s prospects the remainder of the season than Miles’ ouster.
UPDATE: Geaux 247 now has corroboration…
The Les Miles era has come to an end.
Miles’ 12th season in Baton Rouge will be his last, sources confirmed with the Geaux247 staff. LSU has parted ways with Miles after a 2-2 start to the 2016 season with losses to Wisconsin and Auburn and a narrow win over Mississippi State.
ORIGINAL: It’s by no means a conclusive report, but…
Change could be coming soon to LSU football.
University leaders are expected to enter deep discussions in the next 24 hours regarding the future of the football program, its head coach and its offensive coordinator, a source close to LSU athletics told The Advocate on Sunday.
An extensive evaluation of the program, normally reserved for after the season, is unfolding in Baton Rouge after the Tigers, ranked No. 5 in the preseason, dropped to 2-2 and fell out of The Associated Press poll following a sloppy 18-13 loss Saturday at Auburn.
Changes to the staff — particularly regarding head coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron — could be coming as early as Monday.
High-ranking members of the Tiger Athletic Foundation and members of the LSU Board of Supervisors declined comment when contacted since the Auburn game ended. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, in a text message Saturday night, refuted that any meeting was planned Sunday.
Miles’ future had not been decided as of Sunday morning, but his 12-year reign atop the program and the status of his offensive coordinator is in doubt for a second time in nine months after the worst start of his LSU career.
So far, we haven’t found any published reports to corroborate the Advocate’s report, which is written by LSU beat writer Ross Dellenger with assistance from columnist and senior writer Scott Rabalais. It was Rabalais who first reported the rumors last year that LSU’s athletic boosters were huddling with Alleva to buy Miles out, which came from a leak within the inside of the program.
Which is to say that Rabalais’ sources might be leaking again and that might be an indication that this time the Miles firing squad might have some bullets in their chambers.
What we have on this, from a couple of conversations with our sources within the athletic community at LSU, is the following…
– There has been, for some time, concern that Miles’ health is on the decline. When he was hired 12 years ago there were some stories about neurological issues with him, and recently the concern has been that those issues have increased in severity. Miles was briefly hospitalized in the offseason after what was described as having had too much coffee; that was a red flag of sorts.
– Alleva and Miles have never gotten along. Miles’ survival last year was due only to political factors which led Alleva to be overruled by university president F. King Alexander, and Alexander swayed the LSU board largely on the strength of national media commentary castigating the university for wanting Miles out.
– No such national commentary exists now. In the aftermath of LSU’s first four games Miles is being universally panned in the national media for the bad quality of his offense, and with the fiasco of bad clock management in last night’s Auburn game serving as an embarrassment to the program there are no longer any external forces standing in the way of a change.
– Furthermore, the internal support for Miles has melted away. His most prominent supporter on the LSU Board of Supervisors is Stanley Jacobs, who more than anyone else helped to engineer the publicity campaign that derailed Miles’ firing. Jacobs reportedly has “given up” as of Saturday night and no longer opposes a change.
– Alexander was not in Auburn for the game last night, which was telling. One of our sources told us this afternoon the word inside the program is that Alexander is no longer standing in the way of a move, because his primary concern, that being a potential negative effect on the university’s general fund appropriations from millions of private dollars going toward the payment of Miles’ buyout, is not operative any longer. LSU’s budget avoided a disaster in this year’s legislative session and many state legislators assured Alexander they were not interested in holding up the university’s funding should boosters buy out a coach they all wanted to see gone anyway. Keeping Miles is actually bad politics for LSU right now.
– We’re told the money to buy Miles out is easily available. It’s going to be somewhere on the order of $8.6 million over six years, minus other money Miles might make in football which would offset the buyout. At this point it’s less likely Miles gets another coaching job than it would have been had he been gone last year, but it’s more likely that he moves into TV.
Should the Advocate’s report prove true, look for Miles’ ouster on Monday and Ed Orgeron, the recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach, to take over as the interim coach. Orgeron took over at USC amid a dumpster fire after four games of Lane Kiffin’s final year in 2013; the team was 3-2 when Kiffin was fired at the airport in Los Angeles following a 62-41 blowout loss at Arizona State. Under his guidance the Trojans went 6-2.
We’re also told that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will be out of a job the minute Miles leaves; playcalling responsibilities would likely be taken over by current tight ends coach Steve Ensminger, who would shift over to coaching quarterbacks. Ensminger has coached quarterbacks and been an offensive coordinator at numerous stops during a lengthy coaching career. But Cameron’s game-preparation role as offensive coordinator is likely to be taken over by wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig, who was co-offensive coordinator at Auburn from 2013-15.