One argument for Kansas hiring Les Miles (and one against)
There’s reportedly some mutual interest. Kansas fired head coach David Beaty last week, one day after the Jayhawks lost 27-3 to Iowa State, which brought Beaty’s four-year record to 6-39. One name that has been surfacing since his firing is former LSU head coach Les Miles: Some KU donors see Les Miles as a “home run hire” ... another name that could get some traction is Jim Leavitt. Has some support bc he’s seen as a grinder and built USF. Also would spice up the rivalry with K-State.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 4, 2018 The Les Miles and Kansas camps have spoken.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) November 8, 2018 Miles’ name coming up in the search isn’t all that surprising. He hasn’t been coaching since he was fired from LSU in 2016, and he had a 77 percent winning percentage in Baton Rouge. Not to mention Miles and KU athletic director Jeff Long have a history — in 2012, Long tried to sway Miles to take the Arkansas job, but hired Bret Bielema instead. Miles would increase national interest, and he might be able to fix Kansas’ biggest problem. He’d appear to fit all these criteria, from Long’s perspective: Our search will find an experienced Head Coach. A Head Coach that is a proven program builder and strong recruiter. A Head Coach that is an established leader of men, both on and off the field. A Head Coach who is committed to Breaking the Cycle for @KU_Football #RockChalk— Jeff Long (@jefflongKU) November 4, 2018 Miles is still one of the more popular head coaches in college football — from his fan favorite rants about Columbus Day, famous grass eating that’s been parodied in commercials, and just overall likability, the fan interest would absolutely be there. But Kansas’ tangible problems lie with the roster itself, more than a lack of excitement. When Beaty took over in 2015, he had just 39 scholarship players on the roster out of the 85 available in FBS. Beaty’s only gotten so far in filling out a truly FBS-worthy roster. From Kansas blog Rock Chalk Talk: No doubt included in this decision [to fire Beaty], however, was the pretty obvious clock management issues, substitution errors, timeout mismanagement, fourth down playcalling, and the inability to settle on a quarterback. These were all issues that cropped up in year one and just simply were never improved upon. Additionally, the state of the 2019 recruiting class (one verbal commit) and the questionable decision to go back to recruiting Juco players over the past two years (24 jucos vs 21 HS players since 2017) means that the roster situation has not been improved from the Charlie Weis era. Miles has many years of head coaching experience and proven history as a strong recruiter, including some roots in Big 12 country from his time at Oklahoma State and nearby at LSU. He could probably stabilize just about any program’s overall roster situation. But his style might not give the Jayhawks the main thing they’ve been missing — wins. At LSU, Miles won games by recruiting the best athletes, lining them up, and simply having better players than almost any team on the schedule. For LSU, that worked against almost everyone but Alabama. Those are really hard things to do at a place like Kansas. More from Rock Chalk Talk: I, however, have my concerns [about Miles]. For one, it’s a LOT easier to recruit at LSU. Plus, it seems to me like he had a lot of gameday issues at LSU, such as, couldn’t find a quarterback, questionable clock management, and etc. Sound like anyone you know? Miles will have been out of coaching for three years by the end of the 2018 season. Look, no one wants to see Miles back in college football more than I do. If KU were to expect him to come in and right the ship before passing it along to someone younger who’d embrace underdog tactics, that could be a winning move. But he’d have to evolve his style greatly in order to be the one who wins a lot of games in Lawrence. During his last attempt to land a head coaching gig, he indicated he’d be interested in opening up his offense and hiring an OC in Lincoln Riley’s mold. That would be an encouraging step.