BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - During his 11 seasons at LSU, head football coach Les Miles has rallied his way out of many difficult and trying situations.
There were Hurricanes Katrina and Rita during his first season in 2005 and the Tigers' baffling clock debacles at Ole Miss in 2009 and at home against Tennessee in 2010, just to name a few. But it appears Miles is now facing the biggest predicament and challenge of his LSU career and no one is rallying to save the day at the moment.
Many local media that cover LSU religiously and have great sources who have given Miles basically zero chance of returning to coach the team again in 2016. Reports of Miles being on the hot seat initially surfaced two weeks ago, with speculation of his future exploding after the Tigers' disastrous 38-17 blowout loss at Ole Miss. Athletic Director Joe Alleva has issued a "no comment" on Miles' status, with other high ranking officials at LSU also declining public comment.
The deafening silence certainly hasn't been a good look for Miles' chances in the court of public opinion.
Miles has taken the high road on his job status and continued to do so Wednesday during the SEC teleconference, putting emphasis on his team finishing strong against Texas A&M in Tiger Stadium Saturday night and sending the LSU seniors out on a positive note. Miles said that last time he spoke to Alleva was Sunday "about a matter." The coach added that he isn't looking to make a case for himself or defend his record at LSU, instead investing his energy and time into game preparations for the Aggies.
Miles has the highest winning percentage in LSU history at 77.4 percent, winning a national championship and playing in another BCS championship game. He's been to the SEC Championship game three times and won two of those trips. Miles has won 10 games or more seven times in his LSU career. So with numbers like that, many Tiger fans and national media consider firing Miles a ridiculous proposition. He is also viewed as a good and very caring man by players and fans alike. Miles has likewise been a tremendous recruiter and great face of the program in the eyes of many. It's very difficult to dislike the man.
But there's also the camp that points to Miles' sparkling 34-6 record and No. 5, No. 3 and No. 1 national finishes during his first three seasons at LSU, as largely being a product of the gaudy talent former head coach Nick Saban left behind. And just as Miles began to win over his biggest skeptics with a 13-0 start and SEC championship in 2011, the Tigers laid a huge egg in the national championship game against Alabama and lost 21-0. Many believe the LSU program has trended downwards since, evidenced by a 13-10 SEC record during the last four seasons. Last year the Tigers finished 8-5, unranked and in the less than prestigious Music City Bowl. The current LSU squad is on a three-game losing streak after a 7-0 start and finds themselves unranked also. Miles' inability to cultivate a creative and productive offense, along with a competent quarterback, have been maddening to many who support LSU football.
Some of those maddened folks are big time LSU boosters who have reportedly been rallying behind the scenes to buyout the remainder of Miles' contract, which will cost $15 million. There have been strong indications that LSU has their sights on former assistant and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher to replace Miles. Fisher issued his own "no comment" on the LSU situation, saying he has a policy about speaking on other jobs and that it's disrespectful to the players and coaches of that school to do so. Fisher quickly pointed out there was no opening at LSU right now anyway.