Miles: Sexual orientation doesn’t matter to team (and other notes)

Michael Sam announced Sunday that he's gay. (abcnews.com)

Michael Sam announced Sunday that he’s gay. (abcnews.com)

Les Miles said his team would accommodate a gay football player and that a player’s sexual orientation does not matter in his locker room.

“We require so much from our team that we really don’t look at things that make us different. We look at things that make us similar,” Miles said in an interview with The Advocate. “If that was a difference, I think our team would accommodate that guy who’s a really good football player and a contributor to our team.”

Former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, in interviews Sunday night, became the first player of a major sport to come out gay while still playing.

In an interview Tuesday, Miles said coaches would not make decisions based on a player’s sexual orientation.

“I think that those preferences are sincerely the decision of the player and I think that we’re playing the best player, the toughest guy, the most capable, fastest,” Miles said. “I don’t know that we’re making a determination based on any preference. I wish him the very best.”

Sam, the Southeastern Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year last season, is projected as a third-to-fifth round pick in the NFL draft.

Sam told his Missouri teammates in August that he was gay. The Tigers captured the SEC West championship in 2013 and finished 12-2.

Mills likely to stay at safety

Jalen Mills, a rising junior who was moved from cornerback to safety late last season, is likely to remain at safety for spring practice and, possibly, beyond, Miles said.

Jalen Mills might have found a home at safety. (Bill Feig | The Advocate)

Jalen Mills might have found a home at safety. (Bill Feig | The Advocate)

Mills began to make the transition to safety the week LSU played Arkansas to end the regular season. The move was made because of depth issues at the safety spot.

Mills played safety against Arkansas as true freshman Rickey Jefferson struggled. Mills started at safety in the Outback Bowl against Iowa.

“He finished the season at safety and we’d like to give him some corner work certainly,” Miles said, “but I don’t know if we’re going to be in a hurry to move him back at this point.”

LSU has two young cornerbacks in Tre’Davious White and Rashard Robinson. The Tigers lost starting safety Craig Loston and no one ever established themselves last season at the opposite spot.

LSU signed at least three safeties this year, a class ranked No. 2 nationally. One of them, Ed Paris, will participate in spring practice.

LSU begins spring drills March 7 and the spring game is slated for April 5.

QB race: play it out

About a month before spring practice begins, Miles said there is no leader in the race to be LSU’s starting quarterback.

Rising sophomore Anthony Jennings and incoming freshman Brandon Harris are seen as the favorites. Harris is an early enrollee who will participate in spring.

“We’ll let it play out,” Miles said. “It’s going to be all competitive. We’re in no hurry to make a decision. We’re going to teach and let them both grow, all of them I should say, and pick the best. We’ll let their play determine that start to finish.”

Lagniappe

Running back signees Leonard Fournette, of St. Augustine, and Darrel Williams, of John Ehret, will “play very significant roles right away,” Miles said. Fournette is ranked by many as the No. 1 recruit in the nation. Williams is a four-star prospect. … Miles declined comment on his staff opening. LSU lost special teams coordinator and defensive assistant Thomas McGaughey to the New York Jets. The team is not rushing to make a hire.

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