Les is More?

Monday, December 03, 2007

I just read a post from thewolverine.com that basically makes Les Miles out to be a saint. It says that he wanted to come to UM but that Michigan never gave him a serious offer and left him hanging to the point where he had to stay at LSU. It implies that Bill Martin and the boys tried to hang him out to dry, and that he didn't care about the money at all.

I also saw Mitch Albom on “the sports reporters” and read his column over the weekend. He seemed to think the exact opposite – that Les Miles used all the attention to parlay himself into a large contract extension.

Here is what I think (based on no sources whatsoever):

I think that Lloyd Carr never really wanted Miles here. I think that Bill Martin is fiercely loyal to Lloyd, but still had to make overtures to Miles otherwise Michigan nation would have crucified him and would have been overly critical of the next coach (“if we had Les, we wouldn’t have punted there…”). It would be like Ron Zook at Florida – did great but expectations are tremendous.

So, Billy Martin makes the overture to Miles at exactly the worst time. Three days before LSU is about to play for an SEC championship. As expected, it made all the hype and media. And Les had to respond. He recruited the LSU guys and can’t let them down (like he did to Okie State), so he is forced to either step down at LSU or say no to Michigan. Well, he wants to finish the job at LSU, so he is forced to say no to Michigan. He was set up by Martin to HAVE to say no to the job.

At the same time, Les is not the innocent party that this “fly on the wall” email makes him. When the media frenzy began, he did nothing to quell the rumors. Not until LSU made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. So, he parlayed the rumors into a BIG payday…thus making this about the money.

Oh, and LSU was brilliant. As soon as UM requested an interview with Miles, LSU publicized it and made a salary bump offer before Michigan could even talk to Miles. They took the interceding days to up Miles’ salary and leave him in a situation where he stays or goes.

All very sad. Could’ve happened differently.

Now we are left with two questions:

1. Who is the next coach? Brian Kelly (no big-time experience)? Bob Stoops (yeah, right)? Ron English (Mr. No Defense)? The Lloyd haters may want him back…

2. What will happen to our offense? Will Manningham and Arrington leave (Mario – yes, Adrian – no)? Will McGuffie decommit?

I really hope this gets worked out soon. And I am really nervous about a blowout by Florida as well…


Smitty 10:13 AM  

I will shed no tears. I will hold on to hope that my second-tier Division 1-A football team in East Lansing can actually beat their "big brother" next year.

And then lose again for 5 or 6 years.

Joel,  10:00 AM  

I don't think Bill Martin's loyalty to Lloyd Carr had much to do with anything. Bill Martin is the first athletic director since Don Canham that had to look outside of the building for a new coach, this hire will be his legacy at Michigan, just like Canham is known, first and foremost, for finding Bo. Loyalties to Lloyd aren't going to keep him from making what he believes to be the best hire. And in almost every way, from an AD's perspective, Les Miles would have been that hire.

Bringing Miles to Michigan would have been as close to a "beyond reproach" move as you can get. Coming off 3 straight 11 win seasons, an SEC title, maybe a national title? There is not much more an athletic director can do than deliver a coach who just won a national championship at another school. I believe Martin seriously wanted Les Miles. It was, by far, the hire that would be subject to the LEAST amount of second guessing. Say Les takes the job and bombs, Martin holds his hands up and says "he was coming off of 3 straight 11 win seasons in the SEC and a Nation Title for cryin' out loud! How can you criticize that?!"

The snafu is simple. LSU said that Michigan could have direct talks after the SEC championship game, Michigan waited, and in the meantime LSU threw a ton of money at him, and reminded him that all of this controversy wasn't good for the kids that were getting ready to play in the biggets game of their careers. Les was teetering, then the Herbstriet story hits, and that's just enough to piss Les off and push him into snapping up the LSU offer as opposed to waiting for anything "official" from Michigan. According to Miles, Michigan and LSU, Miles and U of M were not in any kind of formal talks at that time, just "your people talking to these people who are talking to my people" kind of stuff. This was a poker game and LSU stacked the deck in their favor via money and preying on a coach's loyalty to his players, all the while telling Michigan that they had to wait to even get a seat at the table. By the time Michigan was ready to sit down to play a hand, LSU and Les were already walking away, arm in arm, with Les glancing back, wondering "what if..."

Smitty 8:08 AM  

Watching sports center this morning, I am beginning to wonder if Miles is going to pull a Saban; sign contract extensions and swear fealty to your current school, then one day, your current school wakes up to a Dear John letter saying you've decided to actually move to another school anyway.

I am just counting the days until you get Les Miles. And then SParty will continue its losing streak against the Wolverines.

B Mac 12:36 PM  

Good News!

Ball State's head coach has announced that he is a candidate for the job.

And by "candidate", he means, "guy with a pulse who is physically capable of carrying the clipboard". Much like I am a candidate to sleep with Scarlett Johansson; TECHNICALLY it could happen, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were him.

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