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Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Miles backs off Kiel ... sort of

By Matt Fortuna

LSU coach Les Miles was on the Scott Van Pelt show Tuesday when the subject turned to ... well, you can probably guess.

But instead of completely ripping Gunner Kiel -- as he has done multiple times since losing the prized quarterback recruit to Notre Dame -- Miles actually backed off a bit, saying it is every recruit's right to change his mind.

Here is the exchange between Ryen Russillo/Jonathan Coachman and Miles, which occurs around the 15-minute mark:
When you get a big-time recruit like a Gunner Kiel and he decides not to come to LSU, how do you react to that and how do you move on and how do you act like it's not a big deal?

Miles: Well it really isn't. The responsibility of any prospect's decision really rests on him. And I have to be honest with you: If somebody says 'I'm coming,' you plan his spot. If he changes his mind he is completely correct, and there's reasons for guys not wanting to accept that challenge, reasons for wanting to stay home and play among your friends and family. For you to step into our stadium, lead our team -- it takes a different breed of cat. It needs to be somebody that's very confident, very wanting to put in the hours, the hard work. And to do it in Louisiana. And I really, I mean it very honestly, I wish Gunner Kiel all the best. I'm excited about the guys that are choosing to accept the challenge at Louisiana State and I'm not excited about those other guys.

Yes, there's a not-so-subtle zinger in there about a "different breed of cat." But Miles, for once, seems to have overcome the denial stage in losing Kiel, saying things similar to what most other coaches do when a prospect gets away so late in the recruiting game. The Tigers' coach had gone from telling a crowd in February that Kiel lacks "the chest and the ability to lead a program" to saying two months later that Kiel lacks confidence and "swagger."

Now here we are, two more months later, and Miles seems to have finally embraced the acceptance stage, wishing Kiel the best and saying he is no longer thinking of him. Two months from now, fortunately, Miles will have games and on-field matters to talk about, officially putting the episode to rest.