Friday, July 22, 2011
Les provides Miles of smiles for Tigers
By Chris Low
HOOVER, Ala. -- He eats grass, says weird things and loves to roll the dice on fourth down.
He's LSU coach Les Miles, and his unpredictability has become must-see TV for everybody in college football, even his players.
"It's crazy. I mean, he's a character," LSU linebacker Ryan Baker said of what it was like to play for Miles on a day-to-day basis.
The Mad Hatter is clearly a hit with his players. They love how fearless he is, whether it's calling a fake field goal when nobody else expects it or going for it on fourth down when the defense is daring you to do so.
Les Miles keeps things interesting for the Tigers.
"Some of the guys, we sit around and talk about that," Baker said. "We never know what to expect from our coach. We love it. We go into every week not knowing what to expect, but we always know that he has our back no matter what the situation."
It's not just on the field, either.
Baker said during his freshman season that Miles showed up for a team meeting in preseason camp wearing a headband and tight shorts and doing his best "Soulja Boy" dance.
Apparently, Miles has an affinity for rap. He and Snoop Dogg are also boys.
Baker thinks Miles even listens to a little rap from time to time.
"I'll see him on the plane with his headphones, and he'll give it a head rock," Baker said.
Miles, whose Tigers are a consensus top 5 selection to begin the 2011 season, hasn't always been so popular with the LSU fans, who skewered him for well-chronicled clock management mistkaes in 2009 against Ole Miss and last season against Tennessee.
He's also been known to say things that make you wonder if even he knows what he's trying to say at times.
Baker said one of the players usually brings a dictionary to team meetings.
"Yeah, it's off the wall," said Baker, doing his best to keep a straight face.
One day in practice, Baker said Miles reeled off a word that stumped everybody.
"I don't even know what the word was," Baker recounted. "It was a long word, seven or eight syllables."
Finally, one of the LSU players looked up the word and explained to everyone what it meant.
Pressed again on what the word was, Baker shrugged and said, "I really don't remember. It happens a lot."
Baker said receiver Russell Shepard does the best impersonation of Miles.
"He's pretty good, too," Baker said.
Sometimes, the LSU assistants are as lost as the players when Miles gets rolling on his Miles-isms, according to Baker.
"You can sort of tell. They look around and wonder," Baker said.
And if he goes to defensive coordinator John Chavis for a translation, Baker said he usually gets the same response.
"He's like, 'Yeah, what coach said,'" Baker said chuckling.
"He keeps us upbeat. We love it. We love playing for somebody like that."