If there weren’t enough rumors about Ole Miss hiring Les Miles to be their next head coach, his announcement that he won’t be going into broadcasting at the moment has taken the situation into a whole new level of DEFCON.
After last season ended and the round of major hirings were made without Miles’ name being called up, it was expected he’d take up a studio job as an analyst, mostly linked with Fox Sports. However, it turns out that for some reason (allegedly being offered the Ole Miss job) he won’t be becoming a talking head on TV.
Miles, 63, has been linked to every possible serious college football head coaching vacancy since he was fired by LSU early in the 2016 season. The moment the job at Oxford became available, his name was immediately linked. Hugh Freeze, 39-25 with the Rebels including two ranked finishes and a Sugar Bowl win, was forced to resign after calls to escort services were made from his phone while he was coaching at the school. He finished only 5-7 in 2016, and the university is already dealing with potential punishment from the NCAA next season.
Which makes it a perfect scenario for Miles, who might think of himself as someone who can take a program and turn it around quickly and then get the job for a long time, but I’m not sure university officials in Oxford and other places see him as such. Assuming the Rebels do get punished, perhaps as badly as they did in the early 1990’s just before Tommy Tuberville took over, the next head coach for Ole Miss is going to be something of a bridge guy, who tries to work through the damage before the sanctions are lifted.
Miles might be that guy. He’ll have to work with a lot of walk-0ns, but he knows the SEC extremely well and might be able to draw guys rejected by bigger programs. Even better for him, he won’t be under any pressure to win games, least of all those wild expectations to win the division the school usually has in an extremely difficult division most of the time, if solely for the existence of Alabama.
Miles was fired after starting 2-2 last season with LSU, although the guillotine was hanging over his job for quite some time. Miles started coaching LSU in 2005 and won a BCS title with them in 2007. He is 114-34 with the Tigers, but hasn’t had a 10-win season since 2013, and failed to win the conference since 2011. The return of Nick Saban from the NFL seemed to coincide with Miles’ and the Tigers decline, although many pinpoint it to the BCS title game for the 2011 season, in which Alabama demolished LSU, and more or less took over the SEC West and the conference for good.