Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
Former LSU coach Les Miles always had to reach a high bar of expectations after winning a national championship.

Les Miles’ jab at Ed Orgeron is right and wrong at the same time

Alex Hickey

SEC Country reporter Alex Hickey will answer your LSU Tigers sports queries each weekday in our LSU Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryLSU@bigahickey or by email to Alex at alex.hickey@coxinc.com.

Question of the Day: Monday, June 18

Otherwise insignificant events have a way of becoming headlines during college football’s slow season.

Look no further than Les Miles’ radio interview last week, which has caused a minor furor because of the calendar more so than what was actually said.

Do you think Les Miles was taking a jab at Ed Orgeron on the radio last week?

In case you missed what Miles said as a guest on The Josh Innes Show, here’s a recap:

“I guess what I’m saying is that I never accepted the feeling of ‘Hey, we need to have patience.’ When you say that you need to have patience, aren’t you really just saying to your team that you’re not good enough? Because I want you to know something. … I never took the field with the Tigers where I didn’t think that I was absolutely going to kick somebody’s tail, and that we were the best team. Period.

“It took me time during the week to get myself in a position where I was like, ‘Yeah. Okay. We got ’em. We got the plan. The plan is in. We’re ready to play.’ Now that took some time, but I never asked to ‘give me break here.’

“Certain people need to have a safety net. If you need a safety net, you need not coach for the Tigers.”

There’s zero question that this rant is aimed in the direction of Orgeron, who indicated this spring that it might take some time for an offense to come together with a new coordinator, quarterback, running backs and starting wide receivers. As such, he requested some patience from fans hoping to see the ball flying around the yard during the spring game.

Miles is right about one thing — after winning the national championship in 2007, no one ever gave him any space for excuses. The expectation was always to return to that level. He had a team capable of doing so in 2016, but was fired just a month into the season when it was clear the Tigers were out of that hunt.

You can’t blame him for being frustrated with the situation from the perspective of “Hey, how come this guy is asking for something I never got?”

But Miles’ critique is slightly off-base because of the fact that LSU would be heading into 2018 in precisely the same position as it is now if he were still in charge — if not a little bit worse.

It’s hard to envision Miles recognizing the area that Orgeron has been quick to address, albeit with mixed results — the LSU offense was an archaic mess. If this were real estate, the Tigers would be referred to as a “handyman’s dream.” And this spring is when the renovation and rewiring got underway after Orgeron decided he didn’t like his first architect’s plans.

Even if Miles had finally come to the realization that Cam Cameron would be in over his head in a rain puddle, he’d also be dealing with the same offensive personnel problems as Orgeron.

Miles also would be starting an inexperienced new quarterback. He’d still be replacing Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams in the backfield. And he’d also be dealing with the same youthful but promising receiving corps — but without Ja’Marr Chase, who was put off by Miles early in his recruitment.

In other words, if Miles were still coaching the Tigers in 2018, he might do something he never had to before — ask the fans for a little patience with his unpolished offense.

To see prior answers to our Question of the Day, we have you covered.