Miles ready to continue LSU ride
Coach says contract “appreciably the same,” but helps long-term view
By BEN LOVE
Tiger Rag Editor
Throughout the duration of Miles Watch 2011, many people, especially those residing outside the Pelican State, figured the Hat’s allegiances to his alma mater would ultimately carry him to Ann Arbor.
That his recollections of Bo Schembechler and the relationships he and his wife had forged in the Midwest were the determining factors in whether to stay at LSU or bolt for Michigan.
That certainly the rabid Tiger fan base which, at times, openly booed Miles and his team couldn’t be the type of appreciation and love that he wanted moving forward.
On Wednesday morning in an interview session with the Baton Rouge press, Les Miles explained it’s precisely the people in Louisiana that kept him in purple and gold.
“You realize that you work for these people. You work for the coaches that you brought here and their families,” said Miles. “You work for the people in your building who are administrators. You work for those six years of recruiting classes (and) those young men who you ask to do very difficult things over time for their school. And you work for 92,500 that come into a stadium.
“I looked at those people when making a decision of where we needed to be.”
Where he and his family will be is in Louisiana’s capital city for at least the next seven years.
Joe Alleva, LSU director of athletics, announced Wednesday at the same press conference that Miles and the university have agreed in principle to a new seven-year deal. The money will remain virtually the same, but a number of provisions have changed, most notably those involving Miles’ rollover and extra compensation for postseason achievements.
For more information on Miles’ new contract, one which extends him past his former contract’s end date of 2014 and also still has to be approved by the LSU Board of Supervisors, CLICK HERE.
Miles briefly addressed his new deal on Wednesday, saying “the contract is appreciably the same contract that I’ve had.”
The soon-to-be seventh-year head coach then added, “There was a desire by the administration to make sure they executed it in a timely fashion to show me that this was gonna be done. That’s really all I needed to see happen. I promise you this, this was not a bidding war in any way.”
In contrast, it appeared Miles wanted enhanced security and wanted to know that if he’s committing his future to LSU, the university is doing the same to him, in turn.
“I guess what I’m saying is I wanna be here,” Miles continued. “We might have a bump here or two, but doggone it, we’re going to get to the top. … I think that opportunity (to play for championships) is here annually, and I think we’ll recruit well.”
Add all that up, and what does it mean for Miles?
“Long-term, this is the kind of place that can win and win greatly, (where you can) win championships,” said Miles. “To have a contract that should get you by a rough year will allow me to help get to the championships and those great times as we go forward. I think for me the tenure has always been more important than the actual annual pay itself.”
With all that said, Miles didn’t try to hide from the fact he still admires Michigan and felt it important to meet with the place which had given him so many great opportunities through the years.
Miles, who at one point said “my strength and my weakness is loyalty,” explained on Michigan, “I will forever be and want to be a supporter of that institution that invested so greatly in myself. But I’m an LSU Tiger and I look forward to being an LSU Tiger for quite some time.”
He also mentioned, on a side note, that there have been “other opportunities that never made the paper” since he’s been in Tiger Town.
Still, despite it all, Miles is now an LSU man through and through. He spoke Wednesday about how the experience has transformed him since he stepped on campus in January 2005.
“Six years ago when I got here, my eyes were wide and I didn’t understand what I was about to run into,” Miles shared. “I was told it’s kinda like the first time you ride a plane. They tell you this is what it’s going to feel like. Your eyes get big.
“Well, I want you to know I’ve been through a couple of plane rides here taking the field at Tiger Stadium (with) the people who are so passionate. You know, that was a word that was descriptive to me of what I was going to feel. It is now a feeling I have about our fan base, a wild, passionate group of people. Six years ago, I didn’t know what I was getting into. Now, six years later, I really have enjoyed that ride and I want it to continue.”
Miles briefly touches on futures of Crowton, Ridley
After answering a number of questions about his own future, Les Miles then turned his attention to fielding inquiries surrounding LSU’s current offensive coordinator and starting running back.
On Crowton, Miles was somewhat open, but mainly reiterated the two will see each other Thursday morning at the team’s regularly scheduled staff meeting.
“I’m not really ready to say that there won’t be some changes in the staff,” Miles explained. “I don’t know that I’m necessarily going to be the factor there as opposed to other great opportunities. We’ll have to see how that goes.”
Shortly after the press conference, Randy Rosetta of The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that he got in touch with Crowton and that the LSU coordinator said he had not been fired, but did admit he interviewed with the University of Maryland Tuesday night for its offensive coordinator opening.
Stay tuned for more on Crowton as the story develops.
Moving onto Ridley, who’s flirting with entering April’s NFL Draft, Miles had this to say: “It would be a plan of mine to visit with him and go through this. I don’t think that my staying or my departure is necessarily a significant piece in some regard.”
Miles also told Tiger Rag he didn’t think comparisons between Ridley staying for a senior season and Charles Scott staying (which ultimately hurt his draft stock) were on-par, hinting that he feels Ridley might have a little more pro potential with his abilities.
The deadline for Ridley to make his decision is January 15.
Editor Ben Love reports on LSU football and men’s basketball for Tiger Rag. Reach him at email@example.com.