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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Love that Maize and Blue

BATON ROUGE - I've always thought it was funny how LSU and many other schools with major football programs invest a lot of time and money with media consultants to help their young football players relate with the media. I like to call them the truth police, because young people tend to tell the truth more. And big schools don't want to have too much of that.

Yet, these same media consultants do not spend as much time with the coaches, and believe me they need to. Curley Hallman was in desperate need of a media consultant when he was at LSU. Mike Archer and Jerry Stovall could have used one, too. Gerry DiNardo could have used one at Vanderbilt, but he polished up his act while at LSU and it worked until he started losing.

Nick Saban has benefitted from some consultant advice, namely from Skip Bertman.
Present LSU coach Les Miles could use a media consultant. He's actually good with the media and has gotten better each year he's been here. Problem is from the LSU perspective, Miles tends to be a little too honest. Had he been more careful or had a consultant spoken to him, he would not have had that embarrassing outburst at the Bayou Bash. With a little advice last summer, he may have thought about it and got his facts straight before ripping Pac-10 teams like UCLA and California, which were good last season.

A media consultant today would likely tell Miles to lay off the loving bouquets he often throws Michigan's way, especially with Michigan possibly about to have an opening for a head football coach and a desire to talk to Miles. I like what Miles has to say about Michigan. I like his honesty. DiNardo used to say Notre Dame didn't mean that much to him because he only spent a few years there. As was often the case, I didn't believe him.

Miles loves his former school, and he doesn't mind saying that. It also doesn't necessarily mean he wants to go coach there.

But if I was an LSU fan I might be angry if I read my coach saying the following:
“Let me tell you the history,” Miles said after bringing up the winged helmets of Michigan on Wednesday. “Historically, they raised that area on the helmet to provide an extra cushion for contact. They raised it along the crown of the helmet. They raised it along the forehead and they raised it in areas where specific contact would’ve taken place with the head."

It's a harmless comment to me as were Miles other comments early this season about how the "Maize and Blue" would bounce back from that loss to Appalachian State. He threw out similar bouquets last season as the Ohio State-Michigan 1-2 battle approached. Again, I found it refreshing. But I could see where an LSU fan would be upset, especially with Michigan seemingly about to go fishing for Miles.

How many schools have won two national championships in four years and lost the head coach each time?

Miles is often saying how much he loves the LSU experience, too, but it is interesting that Miles has not come out and said he will be the LSU coach next year.

He has been asked that multiple times but avoids a direct answer as he often does.
He goofed Wednesday, though, and so did LSU's media consultant for not heading him off at the pass.

When asked for a second time about a possible Michigan opening, Miles said, "That’s the last one (question)."

Then he looked away, smiled and said, "Well, for now.”

Again that's a little too honest. I like it because Miles deserves a chance to look at an opening at his alma mater, where he coached twice and where his Michigan-born wife also coached basketball. It's where they met. It's home. This is America. He can look if he wants to, and he can take it if he wants to.

But if I'm an LSU fan, I might be pretty upset, especially this season. It would be one thing if this was just another bowl season. This is a national championship season, and your coach is kissing Michigan!


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