Les Miles is absolutely itching to get back into college football. The Tennessee Volunteers desperately need a veteran football coach who has proven that he can get a program into the national title discussion.
So, what’s the hold-up here?
The concern here is that if Phil Fulmer and Tennessee were to hire Miles it would be perceived as “settling.” Tennessee reached out to Miles early in the head coach hiring process through a third party but has gone in several well-publicized directions since.
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The fact of the matter is that Tennessee is now longer in a position to get picky. They need a head coach hired within in the next week.
Arkansas looks like it with go the youth route in its coach search as Memphis’ Mike Norvell (age 36) and SMU’s Chad Morris (age 49) are said to be the leading candidates. But truth be told, those are risky hires. Neither has proven that they can win consistently in the SEC. Miles has.
Miles did an interview with Yahoo! in early November about a return to coaching and he at least seems like a young 64-year-old. From the Yahoo! piece:
“Les Miles, a quality football coach by any metric, turns 64 next week. The guy in the white shirt looks slim and brims with an energy that belies his age. He’s 30 pounds lighter, a spry vegetarian in black Lululemon workout shorts. He’s also a connoisseur of juice bars, a self-proclaimed ‘elliptical king’ and weekly podcaster with his oldest daughter, Smacker, and former Michigan quarterback John Wangler. And none of it quite feels right: ‘I’m still not what you’d consider real good around the home.”
At LSU, Miles ran a program much like Fulmer did during his time with the Vols. The Tigers focused first and foremost on having a powerful defense and routinely pounded the ball in the run game. That isn’t to say that Miles hasn’t adjusted his thinking on what works in today’s college game.
“We would want a Deshaun Watson-style guy [at QB],” Miles told Yahoo! about his next college football stop. “As we recruited, if we end up with [Zach] Mettenberger [dropback style], we’d be thrilled. If we’re fortunate enough to have great personnel, we put them on the field first, no matter who.”