LSU’s Miles moves to land of expectations By Brett Hait, [email protected] August 03, 2005 Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban made national headlines last week after reducing rookie defensive lineman Manuel Wright to tears during a practice-session verbal scolding. Saban’s intense and fiery style worked wonders at LSU, where he captured the 2003 national championship and coached five years before moving on to the NFL last winter. Some tears might be shed in the LSU training camp this month, too, as new coach Les Miles arrives with much of the same mentality as Saban. “When you get out on the field, both of them are very intense, love what they’re doing, are coaching you hard and want to win,” Tigers defensive tackle Kyle Williams said. “If you’re not getting it done, they’re going to let you know it.” http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/index.cfm?section_id=7&screen=news&news_id=43346 Only two years removed from a national crown, the Tigers still feature tantalizing talent and are picked by some to win the SEC championship this fall. LSU fans expect nothing less, as Miles discovered during his tour of the state earlier this year. In more ways than one, Baton Rouge is a long way from Stillwater, Okla. “The fact that we have some talent, the fact that this football team comes in expecting to achieve, certainly that's what we want,” Miles said. “That's what any coach would want. So I enjoy that. I don't have to convince anybody.” Miles took over at Oklahoma State in 2001 after serving as an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys and quickly infused energy into a moribund program. OSU posted winning years in each of the past three seasons and beat rival Oklahoma in two of Miles’ four years. “What he accomplished at Oklahoma State in the short time he was in Stillwater speaks for itself,” former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman said. “It takes some time,” he said. “You don't manufacture it. It doesn't all come together early. I think the feel that a team gets from its coaching staff comes on the practice field and experiencing game days.” Unlike the rebuilding job Miles faced at Oklahoma State in 2001, plenty of skill and depth are on hand at LSU. Sophomores JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn will battle for the starting quarterback job. The winner will be surrounded by a stable of impressive running backs, including Alley Broussard, Joseph Addai and Justin Vincent. LSU’s collection of wide receivers might be the SEC’s deepest and most talented; the Tigers return players who accounted for 98 percent of their receptions and 99.7 percent of the receiving yardage in 2004. Junior Craig Davis is the headliner. First-year defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, former head coach at Nebraska, joined Miles’ staff this year and should field a solid unit. Senior linebacker Cameron Vaughn and junior safety LaRon Landry are candidates for post-season honors. Talent won’t be an issue for Miles as he tries to maintain LSU’s winning ways. “I don't think that there will be limitations based on talent,” he said. “It will be limitations on other variables. … Certainly one of the reasons that I enjoy the opportunity at LSU is because of the success that Coach Saban had. The program is in great shape. There's arguably maybe no finer football program in the country being run.” Welcome to Baton Rouge.