Les Miles was fired four games into his 12th season at LSU, this after losing to Auburn 18-13 on Saturday.
Miles won at least 10 games seven times in nine seasons from 2005-2013, not to mention a national championship in 2007. But he went 19-10 over the last 2+ seasons, which, at a place like LSU, isn’t going to cut it.
Still, was getting rid of Miles the right move?
“Well, it was the right move to get rid of him last year,” SI’s Pete Thamel said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “And look, nobody likes Les Miles more than me and I certainly have an understanding of what he accomplished there, but it was just clearly and plainly evident the problems that led to his near-firing last year weren’t going to go away if they brought him back. The guy, over the past few years, ultimately has failed to maximize what is one of the best programs, and they failed because of lack of quarterback development, lack of evolved offensive scheme, and – as we saw time and time and time again in the Les Miles era – brutal clock management. And we saw all those things again this year.”
LSU – a top-five team in the preseason – mustered just 27 points combined in losses to Wisconsin and Auburn. The Tigers are 4-5 over their last nine games dating back to last year.
They scored 17 points or fewer in all five losses.
While Miles had to go, however, he didn’t have to go in September.
“Did they (fire him) too early this year?” Thamel asked. “I honestly think so. They have the No. 6 recruiting class in the country right now. They have 20 verbal commitments. Everyone knows who they’re going to be targeting. It’s either Jimbo Fisher or Tom Herman. Les Miles can recruit. So you endanger that great recruiting class. You at least plant seeds of doubt in it because you have two months of flux. And then, you put your targets in sort of this hailstorm of speculative misery.”
In other words, Fisher and Herman will be fielding a lot of questions about LSU in the coming months.
A lot a lot.
“It’s just this carnival circus of nonsense,” Thamel said. “And you wonder if that becomes a turnoff for these guys, who have to put together their own recruiting classes and deal with their own ADs, and not to mention their own 85 players that they have on scholarship. So it had to be done, but they just bungled it in every way possible. Unless you have a case like Steve Sarkisian – where he was just a mess and you needed to get rid of him for off-the-field reasons – a September firing at a place like LSU when you have a recruiting class in place like that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.”