Les Miles

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Kansas RB Pooka Williams reinstated, suspended one game

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Kansas running back Pooka Williams will play for the Jayhawks this season. In a statement released today, Kansas confirmed Williams has been reinstated by new head coach Les Miles. Williams will serve a one-game suspension, which will be served during the season opener against Indiana State. Williams agreed to a diversion agreement in March over an alleged domestic violence incident.

Williams was suspended by Kansas in December 2018 following an arrest related to suspicion of domestic battery. An arrest affidavit reported the alleged victim accused Williams of grabbing her by the throat and punching her in the stomach.

“My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m very sorry to those who were impacted by my poor choices,” Williams stated in a released statement distributed by Kansas on Monday. “I am disappointed in myself, not just as a man, but as a student-athlete looked up to by younger kids. My suspension from football has been hard, but I have learned from it. I’m thankful I can continue with my education at KU. Looking ahead, the most important thing to me is to regain the trust and respect of my classmates, teammates, and fans. I am humbled to return to football and to prepare for the season.”

As part of his diversion agreement in March, Williams agreed to 40 hours of community service, going through an anger management course, and avoid alcohol and recreational drugs for 12 months. While he continues to fulfill those obligations, Williams will also be subject to guidelines mandated by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards on campus. According to a Lawrence Journal-World report, those requirements include being placed on probation for the remainder of his time at Kansas, regular meetings with a university conduct officer, an additional 40 hours of community service, and completion of a sexual violence accountability course through the university.

Williams rushed for 1,125 yards as a freshman for Kansas in 2018. He was named the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.

Kansas adds former Rutgers defensive coordinator as defensive analyst

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Kansas head coach Les Miles has put a couple more pieces of his staff together with the addition to two new analysts and a director of video operations. Joining the Jayhawk football staff are Jay Niemann as a defensive analyst, Christopher Woods as an analyst, and Alex Knisely as Director of Video Operations.

Niemann spent the past three seasons as a defensive coordinator for Rutgers, and he brings plenty of coaching experience with him to Kansas. Prior to his stint at Rutgers in the Big Ten, Niemann coached the defense at Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa Hardin-Simmons University in Texas, and Drake. He certainly has some familiarity with the landscape of the Big 12, as he played football for Iowa State from 1979-1982.

Woods previously was the defensive coordinator at Columbia, a position he held since 2011. He has also made coaching stops at Bryant University, Harvard, Stonehill College and Mansfield, where he won PSAC Coach of the Year and was named the AFCA Region II coach of the year in 2003, before the university shut the football program down in 2006.

Analysts do not hold any coaching roles on the staff that have any direct coaching of players. Instead, they break down film and help prepare game plans and offer their insight in any way they can.

Kniseley comes to Kansas from Northwestern, where he spent the previous two seasons as an assistant director of video operations.

Kansas makes hiring of Les Miles official

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Kansas has officially announced the hiring of Les Miles as its next head football coach. Kansas will formally introduce Miles as the next head coach at a press conference later today.

Kansas Athletics Director Jeff Long shared the news on his Twitter account, in addition to the released statement published on the team’s website.

“Since the beginning of our search, we focused on identifying and recruiting an experienced head coach with a strong track record of success on and off the field,” Long said in a released statement. “Les Miles is exactly what we need for our program right now. His national reputation as a great recruiter and as a coach who student-athletes love playing for will enable us to break the cycle and return a winning tradition to the Kansas Jayhawks. We are thrilled to have Les and his family as Jayhawks.”

I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the KU football program and I am grateful to Chancellor Girod and Jeff Long for the opportunity,” said Miles.  “We will bring Jayhawk Football back and we will do it with outstanding coaches, tremendous student-athletes of character and ability and an unrelenting drive for excellence.  My family and I cannot wait to be a part of the KU family!”

Miles has not coached since being let go by LSU in the middle of the 2016 season, but he has never been shy about still having an interest in continuing to coach. Miles brings a career record of 142-55 with one national championship to his name. As boasted by Kansas, the Jayhawks are now the only Division 1 school with a national championship head coach in football and men’s basketball. Miles won a national title with LSU in 2007 and Kansas basketball coach Bill Self won a national title in 2008 with the program.

Prior to coaching at LSU beginning in 2005, Miles coached at Oklahoma State in the Big 12 from 2001 through 2004. Miles was 28-21 in his time at Oklahoma State.

UPDATE: According to Brett McMurphy, via Twitter, Miles signed a five-year contract valued at $2.775 million per year.

Son of Les Miles transfers from Nebraska to Texas A&M

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Former Nebraska fullback Ben Miles has announced where he is heading next. Miles, the son of former LSU head coach Les Miles, announced via Twitter he is transferring to Texas A&M.

Miles sat out the 2017 season as a redshirt, but he will still have to sit out a year of college football before he can take the field with Texas A&M due to NCAA transfer rules. But that doesn’t mean he can’t start getting himself acclimated to his new surroundings in College Station, Texas.

It is worth noting there is some history between Les Miles and Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher. Fisher was an offensive coordinator at LSU working under Miles in 2005 and 2006 (Fisher had previously been the offensive coordinator at LSU under Nick Saban). Fisher left LSU to become the offensive coordinator at Florida State under Bobby Bowden, where he eventually succeeded Bowden to become the head coach of the Seminoles from 2010 through 2017.

Fire up the Les Miles rumor mill at Ole Miss, even if just for fun

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The head coaching vacancy that has opened up at Ole Miss has gotten the ball rolling on a number of potential coaching rumors for some notable names on the coaching free agent market. As noted this weekend, the betting favorites have been listed, and they include SMU head coach Chad Morris as the betting favorite, followed by former Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley. Former LSU head coach Les Miles has been given some decent odds to land the job as well, and he is now one of the most interesting names being debated by those monitoring the situation at Ole Miss.

When Miles was pushed out of the way at LSU last season, he made it perfectly clear he was still looking to coach and win. It was just a matter of finding the right opportunity and having the right offer come along. He had his name attached to various coaching rumors during the last go around the coaching carousel last season, but remained a free agent when all was said and done, for whatever the reasons may be. But with a job in the SEC West suddenly on the market, Miles reportedly has expressed his interest in the job.

This should hardly come as a surprise, as Miles has made it known he wants to continue coaching, and the Ole Miss job could be in need of a coach who can weather the storm. The unknown and cloudy future Ole Miss has to navigate through makes the job less desirable on the surface, but a questionable outlook as far as the NCAA is concerned does not mean the job will be without its potential suitors. After all, it may not be Alabama or LSU, but a job in the SEC West will always be worth checking out regardless of the program.

One of the most popular questions asked during a handful of recent radio interviews since the firing resignation of Hugh Freeze has been where will Ole Miss turn next for its head coach? It may be too soon to accurately answer that question, although I have suggested we should not rule out the possibility of Ole Miss landing a good coach, even if that coach is flying well below the radar right now. It may be popular to suggest the Ole Miss job is toxic right now, but if Penn State and Baylor could end up finding decent coaches to take over their programs (and admittedly, Penn State got lucky with hiring Bill O’Brien and we’ll see if Matt Rhule works out at Baylor), then there is no reason to believe nobody would have any interest in the Ole Miss job.

As for Miles, if he wants to have one more chance at winning a championship, Ole Miss may not be the most desirable option. But if scoring revenge against LSU is the motivating factor, then Ole Miss can still work out. Ole Miss hiring Miles may feel like a reach and it feels like a combination that doesn’t quite fit at this point in time, but it would be advisable for Ole Miss to at least make the phone call to Miles and have a discussion.

And all of this may be for nothing. Maybe interim head coach Matt Luke will prove to be a solid coaching option for the Rebels moving forward. We can at least watch him coach a game or two before diving too deep into the coaching future of Ole Miss.

But having Les Miles back on a sideline somewhere will be fun if and when it happens.