Count stud tailback Leonard Fournette among those relieved by LSU retaining coach Les Miles.
Miles, whose job status had reached a point where multiple outlets were reporting an imminent firing after the season, told the team that “it was going to hurt him” if the school let him go, Fournette said. That statement didn’t sit too well with his players.
“Everybody knows it’s a business. We took it personal,” Fournette said.
Knowing this, the Tigers faced Texas A&M in their regular season finale with Miles on their mind and eventually hung on for a 19-7 win.
After that game, when LSU athletic director Joe Alleva announced that Miles would continue to coach the team, Fournette and others could exhale.
“It was a lot. Without his signature on that letter, we wouldn’t be at LSU,” Fournette said. “Just playing for him. He always told us just to play for the seniors. But we wanted to play for him instead.”
And Miles’ handling of the very public ordeal? Well, that turned out to be a pretty great example for his players.
“No matter the situation that came his way, he kept it professional,” Fournette said.