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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Miles shouldn't be bitter about Orgeron turning him down

BATON ROUGE - LSU coach Les Miles was asked about the dance he had last week with former New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ed Orgeron on Monday.

"I thing there was some respect for a quality coach," Miles said. "That's about it."
As is often the case, Miles did not tell the whole truth.

Miles offered Orgeron the opportunity to be defensive line coach, associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for about the same or more money than new LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis will be making, which is about $500,000 a year.

Orgeron was not going to be making $700,000 a year at LSU like he was telling some people. But he would have been close to $600,000 a year. This has happened before.

Alabama associate head coach and inside linebackers coach Kevin Steele made a larger salary last season than did Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

But Orgeron turned the job down and took more money and less pressure at Tennessee. With Miles coming off an 8-5 season, he will be under much more pressure to win bigger next season than will new Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin. That's another reason Orgeron took Tennessee over LSU. It wasn't just money. If Miles has a losing season next season, he could be gone and Orgeron would be job hunting for the third straight year. If Saints coach Sean Payton has a losing season next year, he could also be gone. If Kiffin has a losing season, he'll be back in 2010 because he's just starting out.

Miles also made a comment that could be interpreted as a little shot at Orgeron.

"John's a team guy," Miles said of Chavis. "That was probably one of the pieces that was important for me to see John possess. You can just tell when you talk to him. He's really admired LSU from afar. I think he wanted to be at LSU. He's been awful loyal to the place he was at and to the coach. To me, you talk to people that have been coached by him and coached with him - he is a team player. And I think we'll enjoy him."

Miles knows Payton, who recently criticized Orgeron for not exactly being a team player late last season with the Saints because Orgeron was so concerned with his next job and possibly not the next game.

Miles should not be bitter toward Orgeron. Orgeron did to three teams - the Saints, the Tigers and the Vols - what so many coaches do to prospects every recruiting season. And he was obviously as good at that as he is at recruiting.

Miles should not be trying to distance himself from the fact that he wanted Orgeron on his staff. Miles should be credited for trying to hire Orgeron even if it didn't work out. Miles' effort to hire Orgeron illustrates just how much Miles will do to get LSU back to elite status. Miles went after Orgeron for the betterment of LSU even though he and members of his staff have had their differences with Orgeron.

That's what a smart head coach does. He gets the best players and coaches available.

Orgeron's fiery personality is just what LSU's underachieving and, in some cases, overweight defensive line needed. Ricky Jean-Francois, Al Woods, Kirston Pittman, Drake Nevis and Lazarius Levingston all underachieved in 2008. None of them have developed as they should have. Orgeron is also an excellent recruiter. His hire at LSU would have meant he would not be recruiting against LSU, which is what he will be doing in Louisiana for Tennessee.

Again, great try, Les. Miles put aside any bad blood he and his staff may have had or still have with Orgeron and tried to hire him. The two actually made up somewhat at the Superdome early this month during the high school championships.

Maybe Orgeron would not have mixed well with LSU's current staff. But sometimes that's what a staff needs. Everyone got along famously on LSU's staff last season, but they lost five games with great talent while getting along so well. Some of the best staffs do not get along. Jimbo Fisher and Miles did not always get along, but they won big and no Fisher quarterback ever played as poorly as Jarrett Lee did this season.

Orgeron would have been a great hire. Miles made a great effort.

Miles also was interested in Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis, who is a rare former LSU player in the coaching profession. That also would have been a good hire, but in the end Miles got a better coach than Davis. Brick Haley has SEC and NFL experience. He also has something in common with Orgeron. He's a yeller. And LSU's defense certainly needed that this past year. New secondary coach Ron Cooper is also known as a yeller and has a lot of SEC experience as well.

As Miles said Monday, he has "three guys" with a lot of SEC experience, counting Chavis. Orgeron would have been a great addition, but Miles still has put together the best defensive staff he has ever had at LSU. Chavis will not only be better than what LSU had this past year, he will also be better than former defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, who lacked SEC experience and it often showed. Chavis will be a much better blitzer than Pelini, who never really got that.

Miles knows this.

"I think there will be some pieces in place now that we needed to have in place," Miles said. "I think the future is very bright here."


Blogger DrB said...

What about Chavis' buddy Dan Brooks as DL Coach? I've seen little about this on LSU forums. Is there some reason he's not coming along? He was mentioned several times as Clemson was courting Chavis.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miles should not be bitter, but LSU is better off w/o Orgeron, except for him recruiting against them. Miles' indirect shot at Orgeron may read as, "he is not collegial" or "he is not committed to LSU"..

9:35 AM  

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