|ESPN.com: College Football||[Print without images]|
In hiring Les Miles, LSU appeared to apply the exact same criteria he used in wooing Nick Saban away Michigan State after the 1999 season.
Bertman found a winning coach at the "other" school in the state, a coach who might flourish once he got out of the shadow of his archrival. Saban, away from the University of Michigan, did just that, going from 35-24-1 at Michigan State to 48-16 with a national championship at LSU.
Miles went 28-21 at Oklahoma State, and this season's 7-5 finish was something of a disappointment. But his Cowboys went 2-2 against Oklahoma, which speaks to his ability to prepare his team for a big game.
Miles will find a locker room full of talent. Saban recruited well, especially at home, and Miles's ability to sell himself within the state will determine his success.
The biggest challenge Miles will face is the pressure and demands made on a coach at an SEC power. Miles is a Bo Schembechler protégé, and likes to run his program in the same sort of fortress-like manner that Schembechler did (and Lloyd Carr does) at Michigan. That may not be possible with the passionate LSU nation and the hungry SEC media.
-- Ivan Maisel
|LSU turned to Les Miles after running into dead ends elsewhere.|