There was a tint of purple and gold covering the ESPN studios in Bristol, Connecticut, on Monday as LSU coach Les Miles spent the afternoon participating in ESPN’s “Car Wash.”
The day included 16 programs, four networks, two mediums and one Mad Hatter.
Miles went from set piece to set piece, discussing every major talking point revolving around the Tigers and the upcoming 2014 season. He made appearances on “SportsCenter,” “First Take,” “Numbers Never Lie,” “College Football Live,” “SportsNation,” the Colin Cowherd radio show and the SVP and Russillo show on ESPN Radio, among other programs.
As was the case at Southeastern Conference media days last week, everyone wanted to talk about freshman running back Leonard Fournette.
“He’s done a tremendously good job coming to college,” Miles said. “As the plays get put in, his comfort with the offense will progress. I think he’s had a very humble approach. It’s just one day at a time.”
During his time at Hoover, Alabama, on Wednesday, Miles compared the five-star recruit’s work ethic to that of NBA great Michael Jordan, increasing Fournette’s hype before preseason camp opens in August.
Miles said he believes he has a future leader on his hands.
“I think (Fournette will) be a guy you can turn to and go to in key situations,” Miles said.
“I promise you, this guy is all we can expect him to be. We’re not ready to put the expectations so far out there that he never gets to that.”
Fournette will have to step into a starting running back role left vacant by former Tiger Jeremy Hill, who was taken in the second round by Cincinnati in the NFL draft.
While on the set of “Numbers Never Lie,” Miles explained why LSU often loses so many juniors to the pro level every offseason.
“I think there’s something we invest in our players both in the weight room and in the style of practice and who we are as a culture that make them very attractive to the NFL,” Miles said.
“The opportunity to leave early is certainly something that needs to be reviewed.”
Miles pointed out that the decision to leave for the NFL is a business move for every draft prospect, and LSU can combat the losses of its upperclassmen by staying ahead on the recruiting trail.
The Southeastern Conference is a recruiting battleground between the powerhouse schools in the West, most notably LSU and Alabama.
Though Miles has targeted the same prospects as Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban over the years, he told Colin Cowherd that there’s never been an encounter with his LSU predecessor while on the hunt for new Tigers.
“I cannot tell you that I’ve crossed paths with coach Saban (while recruiting),” Miles said. “I know we’ve recruited the same guys. It would be met with very cordial greeting (if it were to happen).”
Overall, the day proved to be a hectic one for Miles, but he found time to provide ESPN’s audience with the occasional quirky answer, including how he would recruit Wolverine from X-Men if given an opportunity.
When all was said and done, though, Miles had one statement he wanted to make known. “Winning is a thing that is inherent with how you were raised,” Miles said while on Numbers Never Lie. “It’s something that you carry with you for a lifetime. To pretend that it’s deposited at a place and left, it is not. It’s always carried with the participants of the people that are there.”