You Do Not Want Les Miles – Investigating the Worst Candidates for the KU Football Job

Hey. Here we are. Four years after the coaching search that landed Kansas with David Beaty, Kansas is searching for the coach to replace David Beaty. I remember 2014 well. I had opinions, many of them wrong. Most of them wrong. I could even recognize it then! I’m probably going to make a number of statements that will embarrass me in four years within this very post! It’s okay to be wrong, especially when you’re a dipshit like me with no power of any sort.

HOWEVER.

Since we’re in this period in time, the discourse is rampant. This discourse festers in KU Football twitter hashtags, on message boards, and in my melatonin and white wine induced nightmares.

A lot of people believe that they know who the next KU head coach should be. Many of those people do not have a fucking clue what they’re talking about and haven’t legitimately put any effort into finding a legitimate candidate. Ultimately, no matter who I say, the opinions of me who has put too much time into this and dudes named JayhawxFan2241 and BillSelfisMyHomeBoy and Fake_ScotPollard who are throwing out the names that they remember seeing on ESPN four years ago will ultimately fly into the wind as ashes, meaning and influencing nothing.

But until that wind comes, I must convey why these coaches you’re floating as potential KU head coaches are absolutely awful ideas.

LES MILES

les miles.jpg

Les Miles has a national championship ring. Les Miles beat Alabama twice in two years. Les Miles allegedly accepted the LSU job during Oklahoma State’s bowl game in 2004. Les Miles absolutely one time said “Let Er Rip” before losing a game by 42 points.

Les Miles flamed out at LSU after one too many single-digit win seasons in 2016. Les Miles, who repeatedly turned out top-ten recruiting classes (5th in 2015, 2nd in 2014, 6th in 2013) and matched those off-season performances with 9-win seasons.

I recognize that Kansas fans would canonize a coach who could nine games on a yearly basis, and if I could believe that Les would be able to match that consistency in Lawrence, then, sure, give me Les.

But here’s the issue. Les Miles had Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. on the same offense in 2013. His team finished third in the SEC West. Leonard Fournette rushed for around 3,800 yards in three seasons under Les Miles, and they didn’t finish with double-digit wins in any of them.

What I’m saying here is this: Les Miles should have been able to out-talent other teams, and at the end of his time at LSU, he lost that ability. He could still get top-five talent to LSU, but he finished with top-twenty teams.

That’s all well and good, but, uh, we don’t get those guys here. Kansas’ best ever recruiting class (2011, during Turner Gill’s time) finished 40th. I know recruiting rankings don’t mean everything, but when one needs that talent to succeed and almost always underachieves in spite of that talent, you’ll be scratching in the dark in perpetuity in Lawrence.

People who want Les Miles want Les Miles because they’ve heard of him. The reason they’ve heard of him is because he coached at a high-profile program. He was available because he failed at that program. That’s also precisely a phrase that described Charlie Weis in 2012.

BRET BIELEMA

bert.jpg

I’ve actually read some solid claims supporting BERT. That is fine. For what it is worth, Kansas resembles the Wisconsin program within which Bielema succeeded much more than the Arkansas program within which Bielema underachieved, and I think he’d have an easier time getting the guys he’d want to KU than he did at Arkansas.

But there’s an operative word there. Underachieve. Bret Bielema couldn’t hold up to the standards of Arkansas, a program much closer to southern recruiting hotbeds in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas than Kansas, one which plays in the best-regarded conference in major football. Arkansas, by most means, should be an easier job than Kansas, and Bret Bielema finished with a losing record there.

Perhaps his run-heavy style of play would succeed against Big XII defenses more accustomed to jet sweeps than fullback dives. I could see that. I just do not feel good about picking up a guy clearly taking a step down after that sort of underachievement.

If KU picks up BERT, then… fine. I get it, and he will probably outperform David Beaty. I think that’ll mean 4-8 instead of 1-11, which is an improvement, but I don’t think it’s the best improvement possible.

Also, apparently, he’s having a darn good time with the Patriots and we should leave him to it.

MARK MANGINO again

mark.jpg

Dad is never coming home.

Okay, even at his best, Mark Mangino was, like, a lucky coach. He brought a level of competency to the program that allowed for his 2007 team to capitalize on a weak schedule and his then-new offensive scheme took the conference by storm.

Nostalgia is a powerful, powerful opiate. Mangino’s last winning season as a head coach was a full decade ago. Mangino’s last season as a head coach was nine years ago. Mangino’s never coming back home. And it’s probably best for his legacy if he doesn’t.

no i’m serious here there are people who want JASON BROWN

jb

Yeah the uh, the Netflix guy. The push for Jason Brown isn’t strong, but we’re early in the coaching process and we have to nip something in the bud while we still can.

If, after Peyton Bender throws like his third pick to a Central Michigan defender, and your eager fingers take to Tweetin’, then please, for the love of God, don’t try to work yourself into the state of mind where the Netflix guy sounds like a genuine choice. There are coaches with more impressive wins in the region at Garden City Community College, Pittsburg State University, and if we’re counting them, the Wichita Force of Champions Indoor Football. Honestly, Peter fucking Vermes’ success as a football coach in the state of Kansas is exactly as congruent to the KU job as Brown’s would be. Which is not at all.

But, to be fair, people have heard of Jason Brown, and that is as much as anyone needs to be deemed competent. The only thing more valuable than money is being heard of.

OTHER GUYS

I thought about adding, like, comedic candidates here too, but the problem here is that Kansas already made one of the funniest hires in football history in 2012. Kansas would still have the funniest possible football coaching hire title locked down had Arizona State not hired an ESPN analyst last year

But it would be very funny if Jeff Long picked up like Jack Del Rio to head the Jayhawks next season.


Next week, I’ll get into my personal desires for KU head coach. This will come with the understanding that I don’t know a damn thing and I also cannot influence a damn thing, but I will post them. Follow me on Twitter and yell at me on Facebook.

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