Les Miles did a quick PC today to address LSU's Advocare Texas bowl bid vs. Texas Tech. After navigating through the typical respect the opponent and rattle off their accomplishments rah rah, reporters took turn to ask Miles about potential staff changes. Miles' responses set some folks aflame. Let's review, shall we.
Q: Les can say for sure whether Cam is going to be back for sure next year or not, at this point?
A: I am contemplating no changes at this point. I mean, in personnel.
What Les basically said: yadda yadda yadda bumble fart.
No really, Les did everything but answer that question.
Honestly, this might be the least interesting thing he could possibly say. Do you expect Les to come out and state he plans on firing guys out on the road recruiting? Did you really expect Les to publicly dump his known good friend, Cam Cameron? Since when has that ever been his style? I'm not sure Les has ever outright fired a coach in his tenure at LSU, opting instead to allow them to "explore other opportunities."
Of what interest does it serve Les to outright declare, "Yep, planning on firing some dudes!"? Remember, just over a week ago, Miles said this:
Miles on staff change: "That would be a natural contemplation." #LSU— Ross Dellenger (@DellengerAdv) November 29, 2015
So one week ago, it's a natural contemplation and today he's making no contemplations at all?
I don't know if Les Miles will make staff changes. My inclination is that he will. What I do know is that if you were expecting him to handle this like Southern Cal did with public firings, well, you simply haven't followed this program and this coach long enough.
He followed this up with quick and dirty summaries of every unit. Saying the defense "played extremely well at times and inconsistent at others" and "special teams improved throughout the year, but started slowly." More interestingly, Les took on a couple of the common complaints about his offense, stating:
"If you're gonna say to me we, 'We should be in the gun,' well you know what we were in the gun. If you're going to say to me 'well, we should be more one back,' well you know what we were."
Miles then summarized that "the issue is that we have to accomplish the play that's being called and execute better." He then notes that he promises he "recognizes the effort and energies of his coaching staff" and has an understanding that "we, collectively, coaches and players, have to improve." This question is then followed up with a question on whether Les "influences the play calling during games." Les takes this head on: "I absolutely influence it. It's not going to be an erratic array of plays that do not fit what is us."
What's odd to me is that this should even be a question. He's the head coach, of course he has influence. This notion that Les "meddles" with the offense while "other coaches leave them alone" is so emphatically stupid, I'm not even sure what else to say about it. First of all, it's always and only used negatively. You didn't see a bunch of folks rallying about Miles meddling with the offense in 2013. I suppose Les just took that year off?
But let's look at the really fun stuff:
Miles: "Joe and I probably have a better working relationship than we've had."— David Ching (@ESPNChing) December 6, 2015
I find this infinitely more fascinating. Miles offered this up, unprompted, in response to a question about how recruiting is going. "Recruiting's fine, y'all. BTW, did I mention the boss and I are on pretty good terms these days?" Seems odd. I get that the implication here is that any recruit that would be scared off by instability shouldn't be, but it's still an interesting turn of phrase. It's interesting that Les would even choose to reference past conflicts at all.
Alleva also took some time to answer questions this week and he stated this:
Alleva: "Les and I have talked about this program. We are committed together to working to win to compete at highest level." #LSU— Ross Dellenger (@DellengerAdv) November 29, 2015
So what kind of heart to heart did Miles and Alleva have? This is in the same space where he outright admitted to reaching out to other coaches (presumably Jimbo Fisher, if rumors are believed to be true). Then on the coaching changes Alleva states this:
I think changes … people get hung up on personnel changes. I still believe people can change the way they do things. Doesn’t mean they have to change personnel, but you can change how that person does things. Les has been committed to me that he understands there has to be some changes made.
Miles has also previously alluded to "adapting the offense." There's a lot being "said" here that's not being said. But I find the constant references to "change" to be interesting. This feels different than lip service paid in the past. During the Miles saga, Joe Schad tweeted this:
LSU source says feeling is Les Miles is more open to change and less hard-headed since his future was openly questioned— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) November 29, 2015
So what does it all mean? Change is obviously coming, but of what variety I do not know. Miles seems emphatic that LSU's issues are execution related, stating both today and previously that the "engine is fine." He also said that he wants to "re-gear our offense" during bowl preparation, but it won't be a "widespread, complete" type change, but "tweak stuff to make yourself more productive." He dodged a question about Cameron and referenced his relationship with the boss. Typical day at the office.
As is always the case with Les Miles, sometimes he says a lot that means very little, and other times he says very little that means a lot.