Tigers making big mistake buying out Les Miles contract
I never thought I’d be defending Les Miles.
I’ve never been a fan of the ‘Mad Hatter’, the sometimes-grass-eating head coach of the football team in Death Valley.
I guess it’s because I’ve always been a fan of his nemesis, Nick Saban, a fellow West Virginian.
According to a high-ranking source involved in decision making at LSU, there is a “very good possibility” that the school will buy out Miles’ contract amidst the Tigers recent losing streak.
But fan of him or not, doesn’t it seem a little odd that a three-game losing streak costs Miles his job? Not to mention that it’s the first three-game losing streak of Miles’ decade-long tenure at LSU.
Two of the loses came against ranked opponents – then-No. 4 Alabama, and this past Saturday against 25th-ranked Ole Miss – and both of those loses also came on the road.
Prior to the losing streak, LSU had already played and beaten three ranked opponents, and was coming off a 28-point victory over Western Kentucky, the Tigers seventh win in a row to start the 2015 season.
Should Miles get some of the blame for the losing streak? Yes.
His job as head coach is to prepare his players the best that he can in order to win the game.
But why does it appear the players themselves are not getting any blame in this?
The offensive line hasn’t been getting nearly the push it was getting the first seven games of the season, Heisman candidate Leonard Fournette’s production has plummeted, as has quarterback Brandon Harris’ production.
That’s just on the offensive side of the ball.
Defensively, the Tigers are allowing 33 points, and 460 yards per game.
Last time I checked, Miles doesn’t put the pads on, he doesn’t play. Once the opening kickoff happens, some of what happens on the field is out of his control; it’s up to the players.
And is getting rid of him really the best thing to do financially?
First off, it will cost between $15-20 million to buyout Miles’ contract. Secondly, I find it hard to believe that Athletic Director Joe Alleva will hire a head coach that won’t command a contract similar to that of Miles, who was set to make $4.3 million this year.
Florida St. head coach Jimbo Fisher is rumored to be the leading candidate, or at least the coach that LSU people want.
But Fisher won’t come cheap.
Fisher’s current contract at FSU is paying him $5.1 million this year, which simple math tells you is $800 thousand more than what the Tigers are paying Miles.
Add in the fact that Fisher is two-years removed from a national championship, he has led the Seminoles to three straight ACC Championships, and he is also going to be a rumored candidate to fill multiple high-profile coaching vacancies, and LSU would undoubtedly have to pay the West Virginia native out the wazoo in order to make him the next head coach.
No matter who is in charge next season in Baton Rouge, he will be taking over a loaded football team.
Both Fournette and Harris are in their sophomore seasons and will return next year. Two of Miles’ top three wide receivers on the depth chart are also sophomores; the other – Travin Dural – is a junior and has the option to return for his senior season. Most, if not all, of the defensive line will return next year, as well.
All that means the Tigers should be an all-around better football team next year than they are this year.
So what is the best option for LSU?
Keep Les Miles.
It’s that simple really.