The big news in college football is about Hugh Freeze. Nope. The NCAA and its list of allegations didn’t catch up to Freeze. At least not yet. His “misdialing” an escort service is what proved to kill his career at Ole Miss. And now the Rebels are looking for a new head coach.
Matt Luke is serving as interim head coach as Ross Bjork begins the not so long search process. Being a month away from the 2017 season means that the pickings are slim. Due to that time constraint, the perfect candidate may seem like a long shot. This ideal candidate would need to have a sparkling image to go along with the ability to coach top-shelf talent. And in the perfect world, this candidate would bring enough name recognition to piece the 2018 recruiting class back together.
What if I suggested Les Miles as the perfect candidate for Ole Miss? Would he be someone you’d be interested in?
It has been reported that Miles has been in contact with Ole Miss. It’s no secret that he’s wanted back in coaching ever since LSU cut him loose. And with the season looming, who else with a national championship pedigree is going to be available or interested in the cleanup job at Ole Miss? The timing couldn’t have been better for Freeze’s escapades to surface if you’re Miles.
Miles does come with a certain amount of baggage. But it’s not NCAA baggage or $100-for-an-hour-in-the-backseat type of baggage. The baggage that Miles comes with is an inability to find and develop a quarterback. The last few offenses that Miles had at LSU were offensive. And that was with Leonard Fournette in his backfield.
Freeze’s strong suit just so happens to negate the offensive coaching deficiencies of Miles. Freeze was a magical recruiter. Was it always on the up-and-up? We’ll let the NCAA’s kangaroo court decide that. But Freeze will have left Miles with a stud of a quarterback in Shea Patterson. All Miles would have to do is hire an offensive coordinator to hand Patterson over to. And this time the offensive coordinator has got to be better than Cam Cameron.
Miles could win right away at Ole Miss provided he hires the right offensive coordinator and then gets out of his way. A name that I would like to see considered if Miles lands in Oxford is Dave Christensen. Christensen is now a consultant at Arizona State so he’s arguably available and his abilities as an offensive coordinator can’t be ignored. Just look at what he did as Gary Pinkel’s offensive coordinator at Missouri. Give his offense a quarterback like Brad Smith or Chase Daniel and his offenses will hum. Patterson and Miles would do just fine with Christensen as their offensive coordinator.
As far as the potential contract is concerned, Miles holds all the leverage. Miles could basically name his price, and if Bjork is smart, he’ll say yes. Remember, there is money for a new football coach since Freeze gave up his buyout when he resigned rather than being fired. At the age of 63, Miles could sign a 5-7 year contract with a clause that lets him walk away if the NCAA does end up hammering the football program.
Ole Miss needs a football coach. Miles wants a job and would be the best available candidate for most jobs. It’s now up to Bjork to make it happen.
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E-mail Seth at seth [dot] merenbloom [at] campuspressbox [dot] com or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.
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