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Les Miles a hot NFL commodity?

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With New Mexico’s firing of Mike Locksley earlier this week, the 2011 Head Coaching Carousel is officially open for business.

Coincidentally or not, a report surfaced Wednesday that a college coach who’s anything but part of the Hot Seat portion of the carousel could become a target of the big-boy football league in the very near future.

Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com writes that the perception some NFL executives have of the “wacky, Mad Hatter” persona of Les Miles “is changing drastically” and the LSU coach “will definitely be pursued by teams in need of a head coach at the end of the season.”  NFL executives went so far as to intimate Miles is a 21st-century Jimmy Johnson; the current FOX pregame personality was a very successful coach at the collegiate level before transitioning to the NFL, winning two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys in the mid-nineties.

Oddly enough, Miles does have some NFL experience, and it came with the Cowboys; from 1998-2000, Miles was Dallas’ tight ends coach.  In keeping with the whole reverse JJ career arc, Miles then moved on to become head coach at Oklahoma State, where Johnson had also been the head coach prior to moving on to the Miami Hurricanes and ultimately the NFL.

Whether Miles makes the move back to the NFL ala Johnson remains to be seen.  What appears to be a certainty is that Miles will be a hot commodity for NFL teams at some point in the next couple of months.

“He’s the most intriguing coaching prospect I’ve seen in a long time,” one team executive told Freeman. “I think he has a great deal of talent and can deal with the modern athlete.”

Through his words and actions, Miles has made it perfectly clear that, at least for now, he’s very happy with his current coaching gig in Baton Rouge.  Earlier this year, Miles had the opportunity to leave LSU for Michigan, his alma mater, but opted to remain with the Tigers after meeting with officials from UM.

Late last month, a contract extension that could technically keep Miles at LSU through the 2017 season was formally approved by the school’s board of supervisors.  While Miles received no bump in the $3.75 million he was scheduled to receive annually under his old contract, there are “enhanced opportunities” for additional compensation based on championships and postseason accomplishments built into the revamped deal.

Personally, Miles just “seems” like a college coach from where I’m standing.  Then again, I said the same thing about Jim Harbaugh before he left Stanford for San Francisco this offseason.  It’s unclear if Miles is cut from the same coaching cloth as Harbaugh, although we’ve heard The Hat described in the past as “a college coaching lifer” by those familiar with his thinking.

Again, though, similar things were being said of Harbaugh right up until he bolted for the 49ers.  In other words, LSU fans, buckle up; it’s going to be a bumpy next couple/few months on the speculation front.

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8 Responses to “Les Miles a hot NFL commodity?”
  1. brutusbuckeye2011 says: Sep 28, 2011 11:04 AM

    I’ll never understand why a big time college coach would want to go to the pros. Miles has a chance to coach for several years at LSU. He has a chance to be LSU’s equivalent of Bear Bryant, Bo Schembechler or Woody Hayes. In the pros he would just be another head coach.

  2. cburmester85 says: Sep 28, 2011 2:36 PM

    I don’t know maybe he wants to prove he can win at the highest level of football in the world, with that said he could be the next Jimmy Johnson or the next Petrino,Saban, or Spurrier so there is big risk and big reward.

  3. fatguystrangler says: Sep 28, 2011 3:40 PM

    I always find it fascinating when a college head coach goes to the NFL. It’s the top of the football world, but most of the time, it’s for bottom-feeding jobs. How often does a college coach fall into a premier position? As a professional, I’m sure it’s the lure of the challenge plus the money. $3.75 million is nothing to laugh at, by any means, but if he was truly serious in leaving, I’d see a NFL team having to offer him Pete Carroll or Harbaugh type money. I always root for college coaches to succeed in the NFL to buck the recent trend.

  4. olemandan95 says: Sep 28, 2011 4:22 PM

    Les has nothing to gain by going to the NFL.
    (How much money does he need?)
    Les is at or near the top of College Football Coaches.

    Les feeds off of the fans and players, and as a new NFL coach, he’s likely to go to a ‘Dog’ team…
    Good teams don’t run off their coaches.

    Les and Coach Saban are at the top of their game, no real reason to look for a change.

    Les could end his career at LSU.

  5. mhalt99 says: Sep 28, 2011 5:04 PM

    Has to be some fear of a Spurrier like letdown. Caroll had a pro offense and frankly had to leave because of infractions while Harbaugh is a great coach in his own right – he only had Luck for one more season and had to be worried about keeping up recruiting at not only a school with high academic standards but a tough conference to boot.

    Don’t think Les needs to leave unless he feels he has something to prove.

  6. skinnypigeon says: Sep 28, 2011 6:54 PM

    One thing that sets The Hat apart from Harbaugh or Spurrier is that he didn’t play in the NFL and they did. I have to believe that any former NFL quarterback, even one who went 0-12 in his last season in the NFL (Spurrier with the Bucs), and goes into coaching has that desire to go to the NFL. I agree, JT, Miles just feels like a college coach. I think he’ll stay at LSU for a while.

  7. polegojim says: Sep 28, 2011 7:04 PM

    Obviously Southerpatriots has not seen this post yet…. I feel at least 3 paragraphs coming soon!!!

    Les – stay on-top in LSU as long as you can. Enjoy an excellently paying position that is FULL of appreciation from the university and fans. Don’t let any hint of ‘ego’ taunt you into the NFL at this time. NFL represents legalized Head Coaching prostitution. Stay away.

  8. mdnittlion says: Sep 29, 2011 10:06 PM

    Do any Ohio State fans remember that 3-6 yrs window where the Browns kept trying to get Tressel, especially after the failed Butch Davis experiment?

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