Well, as some of you may have noticed, Les Miles is, in fact, still LSU's head football coach as the Tigers continue preparations for the season finale this Saturday against Texas A&M.
As Monday dawned, I was pretty sure that Miles's time here would be coming to an end. I wasn't sure how it would all time out, or if the A&M game would matter at all, but I was certainly surprised when I started getting text messages from buddies about an ESPN report that Les would be resigning at his Monday Lunch with Les press conference.
It didn't seem all that plausible that he'd walk away from $15 million, and that's not something you negotiate your way past in half a day (and multiple sources had told me that Les and LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva did not meet on Sunday). It didn't take long to confirm that to be the case.
In the meantime, the national pundits have struck pretty quickly to point out how crazy most of this is. Including more rebukes from CBS, Yahoo! and of course ESPN among other national outlets -- which, for some who have been as critical of Les as anybody, to now tell LSU not to act on those criticisms, seems just a wee bit hypocritical, no?
But after Charles Weems and Ronnie Anderson's dick-measuring contest in the press last week, the anonymous quotes have continued to flow:
"In Louisiana, we expect national championships, and we're not in it," the source told ESPN
Seriously? What kind of self-centered dipshit talks this way? A freaking 16-year-old recruit has been more eloquent and mature:
"To be honest, I personally think it's wrong. I have a good relationship with coach Miles, and you have to think about it. Before the three losses, people weren't talking about firing him because LSU was undefeated. Now look, I think everything is a process. Just like how last year LSU was a really young team. Then they grew. They have improved since last year, and I feel like that they'll improve even more next year maybe to even win it all OR win most of their regular season games. LSU really has a bright future. ... Just really takes some strong supporters and faithful fans to actually see it. I mean, even though I de-committed from LSU, it was only for me to explore and view my options, but I still have love for the school no matter what. I just hate how the media is bashing coach Miles like that. I'm friends with all of his kids, and I also played alongside his son Manny Miles, so I actually have a real relationship with the man. I just wish they'd give him some slack. Just like there's a slogan "Built by Bama," LSU is building their program back to that strong team they used to be. Once these guys keep strengthening their mindset and set a TEAM GOAL on where they want to be and what they have to do and get the incoming recruits to have that same mindset once they come, they'll be just fine. Maybe even an unstoppable force. The last time LSU had an 11-win season was in 2011. They've lost a lot since then. Honestly I think they're doing a great job as far as the rebuilding process goes. I think maybe next season they'll be ready. Like I said, it's all a process. Coach Miles knows what he's doing. You're not going to become great overnight. It takes time and patience. God has a plan for these guys and coach Miles."
It's not a huge surprise -- I mean we know there have been fans that haven't liked Les since the beginning, or refuse to let go of the 2012 BCS title game, etc..., so it's not surprising that there are boosters stuck in those mindsets either. Miles himself is mostly, just a football coach, which means he hasn't exactly courted their favor either. But the complete inability for some people involved in this, and it's mostly higher-ups, to keep their mouths shut, has only made this situation worse.
First off, regardless of whether you believe that Miles should stay or go (speaking for the ATVS staff, I think we've all ping-ponged back and forth a little), he doesn't deserve to be dangled in front of the media and these rumors for a week. Nor does Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher deserve to be asked whether or not he's trying to usurp another coach's job out from under him. It's not right to do to anybody, and it's damn sure not right to do to a coach that's won 110 games and a national title over the last 11 years.
Second off, it's stupid and it only paints the actual decision-maker here, the only voice that matters, Alleva, into a corner. I'm sure he's going to be blamed the most for this, but he isn't behind these whispers, because he knows the same thing that we know -- that he still has a head coach right now, and he can't hire the next one until he figures out what to do with the first one. Alleva basically has two choices right now, and either one pisses off a significant portion of the LSU fanbase: he can fire Les Miles, spending some $17 million in the process, and hope he can attract a great coach that will be successful with all of this going on; or he can move forward with Miles.
And in order to do that, Miles would likely need SOME sort of contract extension or inducement. As it is, LSU has already lost two commitments in recruiting, and while Feliepe Franks may not have stayed even with some security for Miles, that number's likely to increase if recruits believe their future head coach is a lame duck. To say nothing of the potential staff changes, because again, who wants to come work for a head coach whose tenure is hanging by a thread?
Of course, I'm cynical enough to believe that might be the point behind some of these leaks -- to force Alleva's hand. Regardless, it's a bad look, and a lot of people, perspective coaches included, are watching.
As for Fisher, who knows? As Bud Elliot outlined in the Tomahawk Nation podcast this week, Florida State has a lot of things to offer him to stay, including a new, very stable university administration that he has a strong relationship with. His pending divorce could further complicate things as well, as there are kids involved. That's to say nothing of Fisher's merits as the best candidate, something we will no doubt debate at a later date. But he does appear to be the top target at the moment.
This farce will carry through whatever happens on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium, and whatever decision that is coming on the future of LSU's head coach will be made afterwards. Again, this will be Alleva's call for the reasons I previous outlined: boosters and Board of Supervisors members don't get fired for hiring unsuccessful football coaches. This is a process to that needs to be quick, clean and quiet.
And it's already off to a bad start.