Les Miles to NFL? It's an entertaining thought
Les Miles has a 66-17 record and won the 2007 national championship as head coach at LSU. (Charles LeClaire/US Presswire)
Is Les Miles about to become the next Jim Harbaugh in the NFL's eyes? It was Harbaugh, a popular coach at Stanford, who suddenly became linked to just about every NFL head coaching vacancy after last season ended.
Miles could follow in those footsteps, at least according to a report from CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, who wrote that Miles "will definitely be pursued by teams in need of a head coach at the end of the season."
The 58-year-old Miles has developed into one of college football's most entertaining coaches at LSU.
You'll remember, of course the now-famous grass-eating incident against Alabama last season. How about the epic clock-management blunders that have led to some of college football's most entertaining endings in recent seasons. There's also been the multiple rumored courtships of Miles by his alma mater, Michigan, which appeared to have him locked up in 2007, hired Rich Rodriguez instead, then reportedly wooed Miles again last season before grabbing Brady Hoke.
Through it all, Miles has simply won football games -- he's 66-17 with a national title at LSU and went 28-21 in four seasons at Oklahoma State, prior to that.
But would Miles' unorthodox style translate to the NFL?
This, from CBS:
"He's the most intriguing coaching prospect I've seen in a long time," said one team executive. "I think he has a great deal of talent and can deal with the modern athlete."
That relatability might be the trait that pushes him over the top, though he's racked up a lot of those wins at LSU thanks to an incredibly stingy defense, something every NFL team would love to have.
The "crazy but good" line is a fine one to walk in the NFL, though. Coaches that are unconventional but win are considered brilliant -- think Bill Belichick, or at least Rex Ryan. But if it all goes wrong, your name winds up next to Bobby Petrino on the duds list and YouTube videos of your eccentricities show up as recommended viewing whenever someone searches for Jim Mora's "Playoffs!" rant or Dennis Green's "They are who we thought they were" diatribe.
Miles' NFL success or failure -- and, necessary caveat, he may never make the jump to the pros from his cushy perch at LSU -- could ultimately depend on where he ends up. His wacky style might play in some places than in others.
He's definitely not as likely to step into a terrific situation, as he did in 2005, after Nick Saban took LSU to five straight bowl games and won the '03 national title. For what it's worth, Saban went 15-17 after taking over the Dolphins, then returned to the college ranks.
Miles would be fun to see at the big-league level, though. Let's face it: The number of fascinating personalities in the NFL coaching ranks is low. If nothing else, Miles would add major intrigue wherever he went.