While reminiscing about Les Miles’ glory years with former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson on Thursday morning, a simple question was brought up: Back in your playing career, could you have ever imagined that Miles — who had already won a national title and captured hearts around the country — would be fired?
Jefferson’s response: Yes.
“It was a discussion — is coach Miles on the hot seat? — at the beginning of the season my junior year,” Jefferson said.
That means Miles’ job security was discussed as far back as 2010, after Miles had gone a combined 17-9 in the two years following his national title.
Jefferson’s teams helped their coach dig out of trouble.
“We ended up going 11-2 that year, then the following year we went 13-1,” the former quarterback said. “So, a lot of those conversations that were held before the season kind of went the opposite direction because we had so much success. We beat Alabama those last two years. We ended up winning the Cotton Bowl. Winning the SEC championship.”
A 21-0 loss to Alabama in the 2012 national title game began Miles’ second spiral out of favor in Baton Rouge, and now he’s just the seventh SEC coach ever to leave his post in the middle of a season.
“I think he deserved to coach the whole season, but it’s not up to me to decide what happens with coaches,” Jefferson said. “He’s a great guy. Great family man. I enjoyed playing for him. There’s a lot of other players that definitely enjoyed playing for him as well. Nobody wants to see a coach go out like that, but I think he’s in position to find another opportunity somewhere and he’ll definitely end his coaching career on a great note.”
There’s an extra pressure that Jefferson sees on players and coaches since he last played at LSU: social media culture. It’s the culprit — he believes — for death threats made to Tigers quarterback Brandon Harris after a rough Week 1 performance against Wisconsin.
“I never really dealt with any of that type of negativity,” Jefferson said. “I think now, social media’s more involved with college sports. The persona of players is more magnified at a different level now. I think that’s probably one of the main reasons why I never really received or witnessed any type of situations like that.”
Jefferson spent time in the NFL, CFL, AFL and the Fall Experimental Football League after leaving LSU. He’s now the quarterbacks coach at Destrehan (New Orleans) High, where he became a prep star a decade ago.
His little brother, Justin, is a wide receiver for the Wildcats, who have gone 18-1 since the elder Jefferson signed on as an assistant last summer. The Destrehan legend wants to work his way through the coaching food chain: graduate assistant, college quarterbacks coach, NFL quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator …
“I’ll probably have to gain 15 or 20 years of coaching experience to get the exact opportunities that I want, and I’m willing to go through that,” Jefferson said. “So, I enjoy what I do, man. I have a passion for football, and my players feel my passion every day we go to practice.”