As Usual, Les Is More.
I often think that we're wasting Les Miles' time asking him questions about football. I mean, there's the national debt, turmoil in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, immigration, and the Bachelorette. The man's deep pool of wisdom could probably be used for the greater good. Nevertheless, here we are, once again asking Senior Lesticles about how his Bayou Bengals will fare this season, what he's been up to, and what he thinks about the current state of college football. As usual, he didn't disappoint.
Let's start with the pleasantries. Miles discussed his family's recent trip to visit his daughter in Austin, where she's on the swim team at the University of Texas. How was it, Les? "It was miserable, I hated it. But it was great fun . . . It was not beach. It was not sand." Let's unpack this one, shall we? First who's surprised that Les seems surprised that there's no beach or sand in Austin? I am a little. Maybe he's just saying that he would have rather been at the beach rather than riding bikes through the rain along Austin's hilly streets. So we're gonna give him the benefit of the doubt on that one. I'm just going to assume that Miles hated Austin because he waited in line at Franklin BBQ for three hours only to discover that they don't serve coconut shrimp.
Turning to actual football, Les was characteristically matter-of-fact about his team's chances. "We'll earn our way" Miles opined, "I like us, and I like us in every game." While LSU will be replacing Zach Mettenberger and a host of other new NFL players, Miles will as usual be coaching steam with tons of talent, especially up front. You have to like his odds as a result.
Speaking of the NFL, Miles was asked about the significant number of early enrollees his team has lost (since the end of the 2011 season LSU has lost 21 early enrollees, Alabama is next in the NCAA with only 10 in that period). At least he's kept a sense of humor about it, saying "I keep approaching the NFL about the opportunity to draft back some of the players they take." It's not a bad idea given that LSU has lost 18 underclassmen to the draft in just the last two years.
Finally, Miles did a great job of managing expectations for freshman tailback Leonard Fournette, cautiously noting that "I think if you look at Michael Jordan, he could not have been coached to be Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan accepted the role of expecting him to be better than any." That's right. Les Miles best explanation of Fournette's motivation/talent combo is that, you know, it's sort of like Michael Jordan's. No pressure, kid.
The Tale of the Twitter.
We college football bloggers love Les Miles. We really do. He's kind of like Steve Spurrier except that he's not quite such a pompous ass. Kind of a combination of Steve Spurrier and Ty Webb. Approachable. Knowledgable. Crazier than a sack of meth-addled badgers. And the reaction to today's presser didn't really change that love affair. A few highlights:
Les Miles always sounds like he's reading from a script someone punctuated at random. "We got a. Real. Quality, Freshman!"— Spencer Hall (@edsbs) July 16, 2014
Les: "We're gettin' ready to get ready."— Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey) July 16, 2014
We like you too, Les. Including the fact that by "us" you may not mean your football team, but instead your Dukes of Hazzard cosplay squad.— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) July 16, 2014
Dear @SECNetwork: an 11 minute show where Les Miles answers questions about everything except football.— Spencer Hall (@edsbs) July 16, 2014
God bless you, Les. You're the wind beneath our keyboard sometimes. While there may be legitimate questions about your football genius, there is no question you're the most skilled interviewee at this shindig on an annual basis, having surpassed the flagging Steve Spurrier in my mind. We'll see you again on the verdant fields of fall. Until later . . .