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ATVS Roundtable: End of an Era

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Some staff members offer final thoughts on Les Miles.

LSU v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Seth

I've always said that getting to watch Brees/Payton every Sunday showed me how I wanted my quarterbacks to play but watching LSU on Saturdays showed me how I wanted to be as a coach. Here's a man who loved his city and his players more than anything. He never took himself too seriously. He's was the anti-Saban and I know that guys won a lot of games at Alabama and a lot of games against LSU, there's no other human being I would want patrolling the Tiger sideline. I loved his press conferences, his fakes on special teams and the way he used to lead his team out of the tunnel at Tiger Stadium like a pack of caged dogs.

With that said, 12 years is a long time at 1 school. Things get stale and clock runs out. It was time for a change but honestly I really wanted Les to walk out on his own terms after this season. I felt he deserved it. LSU might actually win more games over the next 12 years with whoever they hire but I doubt it'll be as fun.

Jake

It's sad. Miles is the greatest coach in LSU history. He gave us a national title, 2 SEC titles, 3 division titles, 7 ten win seasons, but most importantly he made it fun. There were the fake field goals. There was Flynn to Byrd. There was Jacob Hester on 4th down. There was the national title and the Game of the Century. He did it his way and that meant fun, no matter the circumstances. And I love him for that.

But it was time. The program just stagnated and while he rejuvenated it from a similar stagnation once before, this team he just didn't have the magic again. They were 15-11 in the SEC after 2012. 1 or 2 losses became 3 or 4, but they became bad losses. That was the ultimate issue. And when he got the chance he, IMO, deserved to reboot the offense and have one incredible ride this year....he didn't do it. Too much was similar, not enough was good. I think letting him go now was the right move, bc I don't think the players deserved to have the lingering crowd of a sitting duck coach for 8 more games and Miles didn't deserve all that speculation either

It was time for a change. It was the end of an era. But that doesn't mean we should stop loving Les Miles. He gave us way too much for that.

Poseur

Take a bow, Les. Your Cholly Mack impression is now finally complete. Heck, Les' end was even uglier than Mack's and that is a tough trick to pull. It is quite possible that coaches only have a certain shelf life before hitting their expiration date, and Les just hit his. Even great coaches have run out of magic early in their second decade at the same school. Or it could be that Miles, like much of the fanbase, will always have part of his mind stuck in a January 2012 day in New Orleans. Whatever it was, 11/10 win seasons became 10/9 win seasons, and that won't do when you have the highest paid staff in the nation.

Adding to the fire was that 2016 has long been a season we've pointed towards, ever since Les brought in that great class headed by Leonard Fournette. This was a team nearly three years in the making, and it was marked by a record number of returning players and guys turning down the lure of NFL riches. Instead, we are looking at the single most disappointing LSU season since 1998 which, not incidentally, is the last time we've fired a coach midseason.

But enough negatives. You need negatives in order to get to the decision point, but the Les Miles era was a series of positives. He made the game fun, and it's no accident that LSU doesn't pop up that often on those Most Hated Schools list. People like Les Miles. He's goofy. He's fun. He wins. Even in his last years, he still has the best three year record in the SEC West other than Saban. He hasn't had a losing SEC season since 2008. Even his down years were successful. That's the standard he built. And I'm grateful for that, but especially for proving you can win without being a humorless jackass.

It was time, but we'll miss ya, Les.

Cdub

It was a good bit overdue. I don't go to many LSU games being that I live in Texas (that and staying at home and watching all the games is much more appealing at this point in my life), but I went to the Texas A&M game last year. As awesome of a victory as it was and a way for Miles to stick it to Alleva, that thought of "well, this is just delaying the inevitable" kept ringing through my head.

I'm just a little glad that it didn't take this whole season, and the assistants we have on staff can play damage control long enough with the team and our recruits, who can at least see they don't have to fret through this whole season wondering when it may happen.

To add onto that, I forgot who said it recently, but they said you have to separate Les Miles the person from Les Miles the coach, and that fits perfectly. In terms of a leader, a motivator and an all-around great guy, you can't find a better coach in the nation that embodies that. He brought a number of memories and great players through LSU that will keep his legacy here, his record is something that is very impressive and I think he will continue to be revered in Baton Rouge for those reasons. It's just the game continues to evolve every year, and Miles just got lost trying to keep up.

Saltzman

First off, Sunday was just a bad day. From the death of Jose Fernandez and Arnold Palmer, to Vin Scully's final game, to Miles getting fired, way, way, way too many good gifted people said goodbye in their respective way.

This move is is deeply upsetting. It's been several hours since the decision and it still hasn't sunk it. It still sucks. He was brilliant and bold, and that won him a ton of games. Everyone has said this and it's worth saying again: football was fun, football was awesome with Miles. The uncertainty which made it agonizing also made it exhilarating. More important though, his character as a coach was his character as a person and it is that personality on and off the field which will be missed the most.

Some coaches win. Some coaches put tons of guys in the league. Few do both. Few do both simultaneously.

At some point though Les Miles was not going to be the coach here. It wasn't a day anyone look forward too, regardless of how or why he was departing the program. The way that it occurred on Sunday wasn't at all satisfying, but it happened.

Guess it's just time to go with Coach O.

bradyball

The union of LSU and Les Miles ended in divorce. The marriage began in 2005, and like any marriage had its tests in the beginning. It had to weather a hurricane, an unscheduled trip to Arizona, and an unscheduled Monday night home game against Tennessee. With all these tests, the first year proved fruitful resulting in a Peach Bowl win against Miami. The next year bore more fruit with a Sugar Bowl win against Notre Dame, and the next year brought a National Championship. All was well in Tigerland between the parties. Following the 2007 season, the marriage began to see its share of problems like any marriage. LSU stood by its man when it came to questions of clock management, play calling, and other coaching issues. The children of the marriage which are the players began to suffer with disciplinary problems. The 2011 season bore more fruit resulting in an undefeated season, but the problems of the marriage reared there ugly head in the National Championship game. The marriage should have ended last year, but outside parties intervened. However it could not be saved after a rocky start to this season. Now LSU is living with Ed Orgeron and is looking for a spouse to put another ring on its finger.

Madi

I have two main concerns with the departure of Les:

1. Our fan base. I'm not sure when we decided we wanted to be college football royalty, but I think the change has been gradual. If we want to beat Alabama and win the SEC Championship every year, I'm afraid we will be discontent for a long time. I say "we" because I am a part of this fan base, though I don't necessarily share all of these opinions. I have loved being the outcasts of college football. Press conferences are going to be a lot less fun now. This is mostly a personal complaint, but five years from now I do not want to hear any "Les would have done ______." I think we need to start selling football tickets for $5 and let all the crazy Cajuns loose in Death Valley on Saturday night, like they did in my parents' time. Maybe they would root for our football team, win or lose.

2. The state of college football is changing. Or rather, I should say, the state of our conference is changing. We are seeing a shift away from defense. We may be one of the last teams to try and conform to this growing trend (I blame Arkansas and Georgia for its conception in the SEC). I hope out fan base does not expect LSU to start putting up 45 points a game, while keeping our opponents out of the end zone for four quarters. LSU needs an efficient offense.

This is obviously a big reason for Miles' departure, but do not expect an immediate cure.

I have no comment on the coaching search (yet), except to say that those of you pushing Petrino or Briles can find another football team to root for. We don't want you.

I would like to watch Coach O this weekend, at the very least, before I start any speculation.

Zrau

Honestly, as sad as it is, it seems like it was time. Les' remarks on the Dan Patrick Show yesterday morning showed he doesn't hold a grudge and that everything seemed to happen on amicable terms, which is great because hopefully it opens the door for Les to be affiliated with the university some way in the future. But for now we're off into the unknown with Coach O., who could potentially be head coach in the future if Les' midseason dismissal leads to more positive results. The list for replacements is short right now because of the job's quality and stature among Power 5 programs, in addition to what seems like a lack of qualified candidates. We're off into the coaching unknown for the first time since Nick Saban left in 2004, but honestly we can thank Les for not only maintaining expectations from the Saban era, but managing to raise them. Whoever replaces Miles has a tough act to follow.