Former LSU coach Les Miles has begun cobbling together a potential staff for a return to the sidelines in 2017.
Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com reported the news, noting Miles is in the process of “reviewing” candidates for offensive and defensive coordinator positions.
“I’m looking for a place dedicated to the players’ achievement in the classroom and that wants to win championships,” Miles said. “If there’s an athletic director and president that wants to do that, I’m in line.”
LSU fired the 62-year-old in September after more than 11 seasons on the sideline in Baton Rouge. The Tigers started the 2016 campaign a disappointing 2-2 but are undefeated since they replaced Miles with Ed Orgeron. They host top-ranked Alabama on Saturday.
“Absolutely, I will watch it,” Miles told McMurphy. “I will watch every snap. I like the Tigers.”
Miles is one of the most successful coaches in LSU program history. He took the Tigers to 11 consecutive bowl games, winning a national championship in 2007 and posting a 114-34 record overall.
However, the latter half of Miles’ tenure was filled with (relative) mediocrity and disappointment. LSU lost at least three games in each of Miles’ final four full seasons and finished no higher than 14th in the Associated Press poll.
Most of Miles’ issues came on the offensive side. LSU has had a quarterback throw for at least 3,000 yards just once since 2006, as Miles stubbornly ignored the trends across the sport and kept employing an old-school run-oriented offense. While having spectacular running backs like Leonard Fournette and Jeremy Hill has kept the Tigers competitive, their predictability became an issue when facing other elite teams.
Miles told Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated on Monday he’d be more than willing to adapt his offense:
Oh, absolutely. The evolution is always based on where your best talent is. I’m a guy that very comfortably sees the guys he has and can adapt. We can be gun run and throw 50% or more of the time. I can be very comfortable with a Cam Newton-style of player at quarterback. Or we can have a guy more comfortable back in the pocket. The reason we’ve had longevity is that we’ve had the ability to evolve and we will always evolve.
Where Miles lands is another question entirely. He’ll command a salary commensurate with someone of his experience—LSU paid him $4.3 million per season and handed him a $12.9 million buyout—so that limits him to only major-conference schools with hefty bank accounts.
Texas coach Charlie Strong has spent most of 2016 on the hot seat, and the Longhorns job could attract Miles because of his history recruiting in the South. Purdue fired Darrell Hazell in October, but the program would likely need a huge uptick in funding to land Miles.
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