For the third time in the past seven years, Les Miles, the current LSU head coach, is being mentioned as a possible candidate to take on that role with the University of Michigan.
How real is it this time? The only thing that there is to be going on is a report from GoBlueWolverine about an anonymous source admitting Michigan have reached out to Miles, who has been the head coach of LSU since 2005. Miles, who grew up in Ohio, played football for Michigan in the 1970’s and served as an offensive line coach from 1987 to 1994 at the school before moving on to Oklahoma State, where he eventually became the head coach.
Miles was mentioned as a possibility for the role in 2007, but Miles and LSU numerous times said that all his discussions with the university of Michigan were in the form of advice and help for the coaching search. Rich Rodriguez from West Virginia was eventually hired. Four years later Miles’ name came up again and he did actually meet with Michigan execs, discussing the job. He eventually turned it down. Brady Hoke was hired instead.
Miles has been very successful overall since coming down to Baton Rouge to coach the Tigers. He has a record of 103-28 with the school, making a bowl game every season and never winning less than eight games. He won the BCS title game in 2007, reached the championship game in 2011 and has achieved five top 10 finishes. He’s making $4.3 million a season not including achievement bonuses, and generally is reported to be very happy with what he has set up for himself and his family in Louisiana.
This season going 8-4 and finishing at 10-3 the previous two years, not coming close to competing for the SEC title and ending up outside the top 10 on the polls or playing in a BCS bowl has hurt his standing with some fans and local media. It doesn’t matter to them that LSU has more players in the NFL than any other school at the moment, constantly causing a huge turnover and great difficulty in replacing talent against the likes of Alabama and Auburn, excellent programs in the same division.
Those critics see Miles as someone who doesn’t know how to develop quarterbacks, is terrible when it comes to play calling and is constantly on the losing end when clashing against Nick Saban and Alabama. LSU are currently on a four game losing streak when facing the Crimson Tide, including 20-13 in overtime this season.
Money isn’t a problem for Michigan, one of the richest schools and football programs in the country. The only question is whether Miles feels he can’t do more at LSU, and the challenge offered to him at Ann Arbor might be a bit more rewarding: Easier conference and division to navigate through, not to mention more of an upside. A 10-win season in Michigan, not to mention consecutive seasons of that magnitude will be considered a huge success. At LSU? They’ve been there, done that all too recently. The high expectations might be something that can’t be met in the current climate, making the Michigan job more appealing than in the past.