You can spot the times Les Miles doesn’t want to talk about something by the circular patterns imbedded in the way he’ll start to answer a question.
He’ll spin this way and that way without ever really saying anything, to the point the reporter asking the question won’t be able to find their way home without a Sherpa guide and a GPS device.
That’s often not the case when Miles speaks at the annual Bayou Recruiting Bash on National Signing Day.
Maybe he’s more relaxed talking to fans instead of the media, though by now he should know well that everything he says anywhere publicly can and will be used against him in the court of public opinion.
Whatever the reason, over the years The Bash has served as Miles’ personal missile test range.
Remember the year he F-bombed Alabama?
How about the time he skewered quarterback Gunner Kiel for not having “the chest” to come to LSU, backing out on his commitment before signing with Notre Dame? Kiel, it must be said, later admitted he couldn’t complain about anything Miles said about him because he probably committed to the Tigers prematurely.
Wednesday, Miles completed the trilogy, though given his speech making at this event it may only be the end of the first of three trilogies, like the “Star Wars” saga.
During his monologue, he spoke of the players from Louisiana who don’t choose to sign with LSU.
What followed was, to use a Miles-ism, an interesting piece.
“If he finds a way to wiggle out of the finest state in America, if he finds a way not to enjoy Louisiana ... to hell with him,” Miles said.
The purple and gold crowd went predictably flipping wild, like they did when Miles F-bombed Alabama. Perhaps it was because someone finally said something to make the $150 tickets they bought worthwhile.
Miles didn’t name names. Even when he was talking about Kiel he didn’t call him out by name.
But it wouldn’t have been too hard to guess the identity some of the people that piqued him.
Patterson wide receiver Daylon Charlot, who gave LSU hope when he decommitted from Alabama before eventually signing with the Crimson Tide, is probably one. Shreveport Evangel offensive lineman Jerry Tillery, who committed to Notre Dame in 2013 and could never be swayed by LSU, is another.
Overall, they are just two of the four members of The Advocate Super Dozen not to sign with LSU, the others being Destrehan wide receiver Kirk Merritt (Oregon) and East Jefferson cornerback Deshawn Raymond (TCU).
Merritt got a scholarship offer from LSU last February, while LSU offered Raymond in May, but the Tigers never appeared to be a serious player or seriously miffed that they didn’t get either one.
Meanwhile, LSU pulled in the other eight members of the Super Dozen: University High’s Nick Brossette (who looked for a time that he might flip to Texas), Pine’s Derrick Dillon (who did flip from a commitment to Florida), Lakeshore’s David Ducre, West Feliciana’s Jazz Ferguson, Catholic’s Derrius Guice, Riverdale’s Donte Jackson, Warren Easton’s Tyron Johnson (the state’s top prospect) and East St. John’s Xavier Lewis.
There are many numerous other Southeastern Conference-caliber players from Louisiana — such as Newman’s Kendall Bussey, who went to Texas A&M, or Shreveport Woodlawn’s T.D. Moton, who chose Mississippi State,
None of these are players Miles would want to see come back to haunt his team, but there are simply too many top-level prospects in Louisiana for LSU to find room for them all. And surely he didn’t issue a blanket condemnation to all those players by his off-the-cuff remark at the recruiting bash.
Miles can be excused for blowing off a bit of steam at the end of what has to be a taut and exhausting recruiting season. Unless you’ve been a college coach, I don’t think any of us can truly appreciate what it’s like to have your career depend on the whims of what 17- and 18-year-olds decide to do, people who have been known to pick schools based on a dream or a song or a soft-serve ice cream machine.
As a reporter, someone for whom quotes are currency, I hope Miles is always the style of man (to use another Miles-ism) who gives interesting quotes.
But when he draws his sharp words, he needs to aim them a little more carefully.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.