Embattled LSU coach Les Miles declined to defend himself Wednesday and says he hopes to be at LSU another 11 years.
Miles’ 11th regular season at LSU ends Saturday with a home game against Texas A&M, and the coach has never faced more questions about his job security. Multiple national reports Monday confirmed The Advocate’s report last week that Miles was coaching for his job in the last two games against Ole Miss and A&M.
Miles has not been told anything about his job status, a source told The Advocate, and he confirmed as much Wednesday night in a post-practice interview session.
“I have no idea,” he said when asked if he’d be the coach next season at LSU. “I would love to think that there’s another 11 years. I enjoy them so much.”
Pressed about whether he’s been told anything about his job, Miles pointed to his previous answer: “I would have answered that question honestly.”
The coach continued to sidestep questions about his future earlier during the SEC teleconference, choosing instead to focus on the clash with the Aggies (8-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference).
“I’m not going to look to defend or make a case (for myself),” said Miles, 62. “That’s really not what I’m going to do. I love the place. Going to work hard. I’m not going to get into what is my view. I’m fortunate to be the head coach here. I’ve always felt that way. I love the players I’ve recruited. They work hard. I’m fortunate to coach with a group of men that coach their players hard. I’m going to do my job. I’m going to look at this opponent, attack this opponent.”
Miles said he spoke to athletic director Joe Alleva on Sunday after the 38-17 loss to Ole Miss, but the discussion did not regard his job, the coach said.
“It was regarding another issue,” he said. “It was a business matter. Not to do with anything pertinent to the questions (about my job).”
Alleva has declined comment until after the season. Miles said he expects to meet with Alleva after the season at the “appropriate time.”
News of Miles’ shaky job stability has spread throughout the nation over the past few days. LSU (7-3, 4-3) has lost three straight games for the first time since 1999, all of them by double-digit margins, a first since 1966.
Miles currently has the best winning percentage (.774) of any coach in the past 100 years of LSU football, and he’s won a national title and two SEC championships. The Tigers currently have the No. 2-ranked recruiting class for 2016 and, just three weeks ago, were 7-0 and No. 2 nationally.
Miles called the distractions of his job “prevailing and evident,” he said Wednesday night.
Asked if administrators should defend him, Miles deflected the question.
“It’s hard for me to go talk about what I’ve done and all of those things,” he said. “Honestly, that’s not me. I’m working on the game plan, and I like that. That’s preparation without distraction. It’s how I’ve always done it.”
Players over the past few days have defended Miles, and some have praised his coaching record at LSU.
“He’s our guy. We love him,” right guard Will Clapp said.
Miles, meanwhile, has provided no real news regarding his future and says he’s burying his head into his work. He knows the stakes, though. Before the loss to Ole Miss, Miles referred to LSU’s situation as a “crisis,” and he said he was working like “there’s no tomorrow.”
Miles has a contract that runs through 2019, paying him $4.3 million and including a buyout of $15 million.
On Wednesday, Miles said he liked the “attitude and energy” of the team in the past two practices and said they’re “focused and prepared.”
They took another injury hit, though.
Receiver Travin Dural is out for the season, Miles confirmed Wednesday. He suffered a hamstring tear against Ole Miss that will need surgery. It’s a three-month recovery for Dural, a redshirt junior projected as a second or third-round NFL draft selection.
“We’ll have plenty of guys. We’ll fill his position very capably,” Miles said.
Dural is the third starter that LSU has lost for the season this year, joining tight end Dillon Gordon and fullback J.D. Moore.
Also, defensive back Jalen Mills missed the first six games after fracturing his leg during preseason camp. Starting left tackle Jerald Hawkins has missed the past six quarters of play with an ankle injury. Miles said he’s expected to play against A&M.
Miles’ 10-minute interview on the SEC teleconference wasn’t all serious. He was asked what Bo Schembechler, his former mentor and coach at Michigan, would have told him in a time like this.
After a laugh, Miles said, “I think that Bo would have a very strong opinion, would have the enjoyment of giving it. I would listen and probably take it.”