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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Miles should look at Michigan

BATON ROUGE - Mere moments after Appalachian State's upset of Michigan on Saturday, there was talk on radio shows about LSU coach Les Miles possibly replacing Lloyd Carr as Michigan's coach after this season.

It is very early, but it could happen. Carr's popularity was not the greatest at Michigan even before what some are calling the biggest upset in college football history.

Carr is 62. He is in his 13th year at Michigan. He could be getting tired of it. He certainly didn't appear to have a lot of fire about him following the game. He also said his team was not "prepared," which is a synonym for "coached."

There has been talk for some time that Carr was about to step down anyway, and he would likely land a cush job in the athletic department or with the university like former Auburn coach Pat Dye did.

There are only two current Division I-A coaches who played at Michigan - Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and Miles. There is only one Division I-A coach who played at Michigan and coached at Michigan twice. That is Miles, who played under Schembechler in the mid-1970s, coached under Schembechler in the 1980s and coached under Gary Moeller, who followed Schembechler, in the 1990s.

Harbaugh, 43, is a well-known former Michigan quarterback for coach Bo Schembechler and a former NFL quarterback who looks the part of a rising, young coach. He's already in his second head coaching job, though he is only his sixth year as a full-time coach. He was previously the head coach at the University of San Diego and an assistant for the Oakland Raiders.

But Harbaugh made some disparaging remarks over the summer about Michigan and how its able to get questionable recruits in school and keep them there via easier majors. These comments were true, and they would be accurate in describing most major schools, including LSU. But that's not the point. Harbaugh drew the ire of Michigan faithful. Angry fans don't care what the facts are. Just ask Nick Saban.

Miles, 53, also played for Schembechler and is in much better graces with the Michigan faithful. He stayed relatively close to Schembechler, frequently calling him during recent seasons. He went to Schembechler's funeral during the game week of the Arkansas game last season. He derives a lot of his coaching philosophy from Schembechler, particularly his team discipline.

It would mean a lot to Miles to be the coach at Michigan. He still keeps close to the program. His secondary coach, Doug Mallory, played at Michigan. Miles always speaks fondly of Michigan.

Miles would be a natural interview for the job should it open. He won relatively big at a suffering program at Oklahoma State and he's kept a great program at LSU winning. He should be coming off a great season this year. He should be a hot candidate, even though he is not thought of nationally as a great coach yet.

An interview doesn't mean Miles would definitely leave LSU for Michigan. Miles has it pretty good at LSU. He is immensely popular. People no longer focus on how much Miles inherited from former coach Nick Saban because they're so focused on hating Nick Saban. Miles doesn't have to worry about the shadow because the shadow is the devil in these parts. Fans and media like Miles so much they lie for him and apologize for him when he messes up, such as in the "f-ing Alabama," episode.

Miles has shown the ability to hire coaches and recruit players that could keep LSU at the top. He could win the national championship here this season and still have a very good team next season. That's a lot to walk away from.

Miles should definitely look at the Michigan job should it open, and fans shouldn't persecute him for that. He also should be allowed to interview. It is a free country. Anyone can leave any job for another one. It's still very early, but be prepared. It could happen.


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