Les Miles is Playbook's Arbiter of Swagger

June, 19, 2012
6/19/12
2:41
PM ET


Les Miles loves swagger.

It's clear when he speaks to a graduating class at his old high school, and sends those young people into the world, urging them to "operate with swagger."

He brought it up when describing LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne in an interview at the NFL draft.

"We use the word 'swagger' in our program. It's the modern-day word for confidence," he said. "But it comes with preparation and hard work and collisions."

He invoked it when he talks about the defection of key quarterback recruit Gunner Kiel, who signed with Notre Dame, by saying Kiel lacked it.

He expects it of his team, and he nods toward it when he tells fans of the two new SEC schools, Texas A&M and Missouri, what to expect this fall:

"I think they'll have an interesting tour their first go-round. Certainly we play at A&M to welcome them into the conference," Miles said. "I think they'll realize that the level of play week in and week out is really a very strong level of play. I think after a couple of times through, both A&M and Missouri will certainly understand what it's about, and look to man up, turn to compete best."

During Miles' visit to ESPN headquarters on Tuesday, Playbook took the opportunity to allow Miles to adjudge some burning issues. Here, from the ultimate arbiter, are rulings on manners of swagger:

Recently, Drake tweeted that "the first million is the hardest," and T. Boone Pickens, a guy you're familiar with from your Oklahoma State days, replied, saying "the first billion is a helluva lot harder."

First billion? That's what I call major swagger.

It's strange to imagine T. Boone keeping up with Drake on Twitter.

You'd be surprised at how social media really touches so many different styles of people that wouldn't necessarily show up in the same room, but they might follow each other.

Bryce Harper, the 19-year-old Nationals phenom, was asked by a reporter in Canada if he was going to have a celebratory beer since the drinking age was lower there, and he replied, "That's a clown question, bro."

Wow. I like that one. I understand it. I certainly understand it. In other words, you're going to have to give me something stronger than that if you want me to answer the question. I enjoyed that.

What about NBA players such as Dwyane Wade wearing lensless glasses in a postgame interview?

Lensless? Reeeaaally. There's no lens? No lens. In other words, there's not even glass? Now that is purely style. Obviously no substance. The view being explained only in the fact that they want to be more intellectual. So that's the only issue.

So swagger, or no swagger?

It's Dwyane Wade? Probably swagger.

Steve Spurrier, just in general...

The Ol' Ball Coach. Gotta enjoy him. Certainly his quotes are unpredictable and some swagger is involved.

Saying "have a great day" at the end of a press conference when you're angry?

I think that guy right there was certainly in a hard, difficult feeling, being too revealing in his thoughts. So I think "have a great day" was exactly what needed to be said. Certainly there's some swagger there as well.
Dave Wilson is a college football editor for ESPN.com. He joined ESPN.com in 2010 and previously worked at The Dallas Morning News, San Diego Union-Tribune and Las Vegas Sun.

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