Tag Archives: #Les Miles

Brandon Harris’ high school coach told him to leave LSU

Brandon Harris (left) and Anthony Jennings are expected to compete for the starting QB job again. (AP)

Brandon Harris (left) and Anthony Jennings are expected to compete for the starting QB job again. (AP)

David Feaster, Brandon Harris’ high school coach at Parkway, told the quarterback to transfer from LSU to a junior college over the Christmas holidays, the coach said on a north Louisiana radio show Wednesday morning.

Feaster tried to talk Harris into transferring, he said on the Tim Fletcher Show.

Despite Feaster’s advice, Harris decided to remain at LSU this semester and is expected to compete for the starting quarterback job this spring along with Anthony Jennings.

Feaster said that LSU is telling receiver recruits to “‘come over here and play with Brandon Harris.”

“I couldn’t talk him into it,” Feaster said of Harris transferring. “Brandon is enjoying LSU. He’s all in for it. He’s going to try to go over there and compete.”

Here’s the full interview with Feaster.

Harris flourished over the first month of the season off of the bench and earned the starting nod for the game at Auburn. He struggled in LSU’s 41-7 loss, the worst of the Les Miles era. He went 3-for-14 and was yanked in the second half.

Harris never saw significant playing time again, despite Miles saying several times over the final months of the season that Harris would play.

“Last time I talked to him, I was trying to talk him into transferring to go to junior college,” Feaster said on the show. “You go to junior college and because he’s a qualifier he can be there for one year, leave at midterm and restart the reruiting process all over again.”

On ESPN 104.5’s After Further Review, Feaster admitted that Harris was right about remaining at LSU.

LSU spring game set for April 18

Les Miles begins his 11th spring practice. (Bill Feig)

Les Miles begins his 11th spring practice. (Bill Feig)

LSU will kick off spring practice on March 7 and will hold its annual spring game on April 18, the school announced on Monday.

A time for the spring game has not been set. The game coincides with LSU baseball’s series at Georgia. Spring football practice will overlap with the school’s spring break, which starts on April 3.

The Tigers will host pro day on March 27, and the program’s annual coaches’ clinic will be on March 19-20 this year.

For a second straight season, LSU spring practice is expected to be headlined by a starting quarterback battle between Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris. The Tigers also must replace left tackle La’el Collins and center Elliott Porter and defensive backs Jalen Collins and Ronald Martin, along with both starting defensive ends from 2014.

The Tigers will have four early enrollees who will participate in spring practice: cornerback Kevin Toliver II, fullback David Ducre, tight end Hanner Shipley and quarterback Justin McMillan.

‘The Cajun Cannon’ and ‘The Hat’ reunited

Les Miles and Bobby Hebert pose for a photo Wednesday. It appears that they've buried the hatchet. (Paul Spradley)

Les Miles and Bobby Hebert pose for a photo Wednesday. It appears that they’ve buried the hatchet. (Paul Spradley)

The silence between LSU coach Les Miles and New Orleans radio personality Bobby Hebert has ended.

Miles dined at Hebert’s restaurant in Metairie on Wednesday afternoon, the first interaction in three years between the man known as “The Cajun Cannon” and the coach known as “The Hat.”

Frank Wilson joined Les Miles at Bobby Hebert's restaurant. (Paul Spradley)

Frank Wilson joined Les Miles at Bobby Hebert’s restaurant. (Paul Spradley) Click to enlarge this photo.

Hebert and Miles haven’t met up since the former quarterback’s infamous exchange with Miles in the press conference following the Tigers’ 21-0 loss to Alabama in the 2012 national championship, said Paul Spradley, executive vice president for Hebert’s restaurant, “Cajun Cannon.”

Miles and recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Frank Wilson ate lunch Wednesday at the restaurant, and Hebert just happened to be around. The two talked and posed for photos.

Did they talk about Hebert’s rant and question after LSU lost to Alabama? Who knows. If you forgot about that exchange in January 2012, here’s a reminder:

Hebert

 

LSU AD Joe Alleva on football hires, Haley’s job title, men’s hoops

Joe Alleva is happy with the Tigers' new football hires. (Patrick Dennis)

Joe Alleva is happy with the Tigers’ new football hires. (Patrick Dennis)

LSU athletic director Joe Alleva is “pleased” with the two new football hires and says that former defensive line coach Brick Haley could be in for a job title change if he sticks around Baton Rouge.

Alleva spoke Tuesday morning on the show “Culotta & The Prince” on 104.5 ESPN radio in Baton Rouge. He touched on how the basketball team has left him and fans “disappointed” after losing two SEC games “we should have won,” and how new football coaches Kevin Steele and Ed Orgeron give the staff a “huge jump” in recruiting.

Here are the nuggets:

  • Alleva wasn’t too integral in the search for a replacement for John Chavis and Haley, but he did discuss several possible candidates with coach Les Miles, he said. One in particular.

We talked a lot of Ed Orgeron. I thought he’d bring a tremendous enthusiasm and help the program on the recruiting side.

I’m really pleased where we ended up. Steele is a real professional and he’s also a very good recruiter.

  • Alleva would not reveal contract details for the two assistant coaches, noting that they had not been approved yet by the Board of Supervisors.
  • Miles called Haley an “intern” during a press conference introducing the new coaches last week. Haley’s official title is “administrative intern,” but that could change, Alleva said.

If Brick stays and doesn’t move on to another job, I’d imagine us coming up with another title for him. I think intern’s probably not the appropriate term for a man of his experience. We’d probably come up with another job description for him.

  • Alleva, who sits on the NCAA men’s basketball committee, said LSU needs to win 11 of 18 conference games to make the NCAA Tournament this season after losses to Missouri and Texas A&M. The Tigers lost at home to A&M and on the road at Missouri.

Obviously myself and our fans are disappointed … I think we dropped two games in the conference we should have won. It comes down to end of the game situations. We’ve got to do a better job, take care of the ball better, get a little better guard play.

The home loss is worse than the road loss.

I think we need to win 11 games in the conference. If we can get to 11 games, I think it’ll be a moot point, but if we’re at nine wins or, even, 10 wins, those losses will really come back to haunt us.

LSU coach Les Miles expects Hawkins, Alexander, Mills to return; Rashard Robinson could return

LSU feels good about Vadal Alexander returning to school. (Travis Spradling)

LSU feels good about Vadal Alexander returning to school. (Travis Spradling)

LSU coach Les Miles expects draft-eligible offensive linemen Jerald Hawkins and Vadal Alexander, and cornerback Jalen Mills to return to school for 2015.

The deadline to declare for the NFL draft is Thursday. The school is expected to have a press conference with those who decided to remain in school, as it did last year with La’el Collins.

Miles said suspended cornerback Rashard Robinson remains on suspension, and he’s dealing with “academic difficulties.” The coach did not rule out his possible return.

The Advocate has reported for several weeks that the staff feels “optimistic” about keeping Alexander and Hawkins. Mills told some teammates immediately after the Music City Bowl loss that he planned to enter the draft, but Mills has had a change of heart.

All three are expected to return, Miles said at the news conference announcing the hiring of new defensive line coach Ed Orgeron and new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.

No decision, though, is final until the deadline passes. For instance, LSU’s staff expected running back Jeremy Hill to return to school last year, but he declared for the draft. LSU lost seven underclassmen to the draft last year and 10 the year before.

Three have declared this year: linebacker Kwon Alexander, defensive end Danielle Hunter and cornerback Jalen Collins.

Keeping the two offensive linemen is a significant coup for a program that’s lost so many underclassmen over the years. LSU is losing center Elliott Porter and left tackle La’el Collins to graduation. Sophomore Ethan Pocic would be the only returning starter if Vadal Alexander and Hawkins decide to leave.

Jalen Mills started at safety for LSU last season. (Travis Spradling)

Jalen Mills started at safety for LSU last season. (Travis Spradling)

Mill started at safety this season with senior Ronald Martin after moving from his cornerback spot late last season. He played cornerback as a freshman in 2012, starting all 12 games.

Mills returning would also help a unit losing a host of players. Martin exhausted his eligibility and Collins declared for the draft. Meanwhile, cornerback Rashard Robinson remains under indefinite suspension.

Mills pleaded not guilty in October to a misdemeanor simple battery charge for allegedly punching a woman over the summer at his apartment complex. His next court date is Jan. 27, a status hearing.

LSU’s DC search could “linger”; school flooded with top-flight college coordinators, NFL coordinators

LSU’s search for a defensive coordinator may last several more days, possibly through the weekend, and the position continues to receive interest from top-flight college coordinators and some NFL coordinators.

But any new names? That we don’t have.

John Chavis left LSU for Texas A&M, and the Tigers continue to search for a replacement. (Bill Feig)

John Chavis left LSU for Texas A&M, and the Tigers continue to search for a replacement. (Bill Feig)

Coach Les Miles has kept the search for John Chavis’ replacement tight-lipped, and only a handful of candidates have emerged. Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop is one of few who have officially and seriously interviewed for the position.

The search for Chavis’ replacement could “linger,” according to Footballscoop.com, a trusted and often accurate site with deep roots in the college coaching community.

LSU has been “flooded” with interest in the position from a host of coaches, including NFL assistants, one source close to the staff told The Advocate. Former and current NFL coordinators have applied, the source said.

It’s not a stretch to think LSU could pull an NFL assistant coach or coordinator. Georgia, for instance, recently hired St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer for the same position.

Surging salaries for assistants in major college football makes the transition from pro to college more understandable. Sixteen college football assistants last year made at least $800,000 a year, according to USA Today.

LSU paid Chavis the third-most among college assistants: $1.3 million, a salary that’s expected to remain similar for his replacement. In September 2009, the Los Angeles Times, citing an NFL source, reported that the average NFL defensive coordinator made approximately $850,000, a number that’s likely risen.

Monday marks the 13th day the Tigers will be without a defensive coordinator after Chavis bolted for the same job at Texas A&M a day after LSU lost the Music City Bowl to Notre Dame.

The recruiting dead period ends on Wednesday, a day first thought to be a deadline of sorts for Miles to hire a coordinator. It doesn’t necessarily appear that way any longer.

LSU will host highly rated prospects for official visits the three next weekends leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 4, but the biggest of the groups – especially for defensive players – is expected to be next weekend (Jan. 23-25), said Shea Dixon, a recruiting reporter for 247Sports.

“They’d need someone before Jan. 23,” Dixon said.

Brick Haley is a candidate to be promoted to DC. (Bill Feig)

Brick Haley is a candidate to be promoted to DC. (Bill Feig)

LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley is an in-house candidate, and one former LSU star – Marcus Spears – is pushing to get the job.

Miles, assistant director of football operations Dean Dingman and Miles’ agent, George Bass, are leading the search, multiple sources said. Miles, an offensive-minded coach who rarely dabbles in the defense, is “taking time” with the search and knows “the importance” of the hire, sources said.

Haley, 48, has been on LSU’s staff since 2009. He’s been a defensive coordinator once – for three years at Baylor in 1999-2001. He coached linebackers for the Bears and has been a linebackers coach at three other stops during his coaching career.

Haley’s promotion could make room for a popular name: Ed Orgeron. The former Ole Miss coach and longtime Southern California defensive line coach is out of a job and lives in Mandeville.

Shoop, 48, pulled his name from the search after interviewing with Miles last week. He was not offered the job during the interview but was not ruled out for the gig, sources said.

He received a new three-year contract, according to multiple reports.

Report: Penn State’s Bob Shoop, candidate at LSU, gets new contract

Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, a candidate for LSU’s defensive coordinator job, is expected to receive a new contract with a salary of near $1 million , according to a report from Fox Sports, and Shoop suggested on Thursday that LSU’s timeline to hire a coach wouldn’t allow him to stay in the race.

Shoop interviewed with LSU coach Les Miles for the open coordinator gig Wednesday and then tweeted this Wednesday night, a clear sign he was staying with the Nittany Lions:

Shoop was not offered the job during the meeting with Miles on Wednesday, but he was not ruled out, two sources closes to the coach told The Advocate. Shoop was pressured by Penn State coach James Franklin during this week-long dance with the Tigers, multiple sources say.

On local radio in Pennsylvania on Thursday morning, Shoop suggested LSU’s time frame for a hire was involved in his decision to pull out of the search.

“Ultimately when it came to their decision making time, Penn State was the best opportunity for me and my family,” he said.

Fox Sports reported on Thursday morning that Shoop was set to get a three-year contract with a salary “close to $1 million per year.”

Shoop was highly interested in the job to replace John Chavis, according to a source close to the coach, and the two sides had flirted since Chavis bolted for Texas A&M last week.

“I was flattered someone had reached out to me,” Shoop said during the radio interview. “I’m very loyal to Coach Franklin. Being from Pennsylvania, I have a dream job that 99.99 percent of people in my profession would trade places with me in a heart beat. It really wasn’t much of a decision when it came down to it.”

Shoop, 48, was one of very few coaches who interviewed with Miles for a job that’s getting a host of interest from around the nation. A salary for the new coordinator is expected to be similar to that of Chavis, who made $1.3 million a year, the third-highest of any assistant in the nation.

So where does LSU turn now? The Advocate reported Sunday night that defensive line coach Brick Haley has “not been ruled out” as a replacement for Chavis, who also coached linebackers.

Haley, 48, has been on LSU’s staff since 2009, the year Chavis started with the program as well. He’s been a defensive coordinator once – for three years at Baylor in 1999-2001. He coached linebackers for the Bears and has been a linebackers coach at three other stops during his coaching career.

Haley’s promotion could make room for a popular name: Ed Orgeron. The former Ole Miss coach and longtime Southern California defensive line coach is out of a job and lives in Mandeville.

There are other names, too.

Alabama linebackers coach Kevin Steele continues to be a candidate, and Miles met with Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops – and possibly others – in Dallas over the weekend.

Shoop wasn’t a flashy name, but he had captained some of the nation’s best defenses.

Shoop just completed his first season as coordinator with the Nittany Lions. Penn State was second nationally in total defense in 2014. He followed Franklin from Vanderbilt. Shoop served as defensive coordinator for three seasons at Vandy, helping Franklin and the Commodores win 24 games in 2011-13. Vandy was never outside of the top-25 in total defense those three years.

Shoop, a Pennsylvania native who played receiver at Yale, has stints as defensive coordinator at Yale (1994-96), Villanova (97), UMass (06) and William and Mary (07-10).

Miles, an offensive-minded coach who rarely dabbles in the defense, is “taking time” with the search and knows “the importance” of the hire, sources said. Still, a hire is expected by the weekend, but Shoop’s exit from the process could extend the search.

The recruiting dead period ends Jan. 15.

Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin and ex-LSU DC John Chavis spoke minutes before Tigers’ bowl game

John Chavis and Kevin Sumlin talked just before LSU's bowl game. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

John Chavis and Kevin Sumlin talked just before LSU’s bowl game. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Former LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis spoke on the phone with Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin a few minutes before the Tigers’ kicked off against Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl.

Sumlin confirmed Wednesday morning on ESPN radio that he was on the phone with Chavis last Tuesday in regards to a tweet posted by his pool boy about the conversation with the then-LSU coordinator.

“Just cleaned Sumlin’s pool. Saw him on the phone, hopefully with our new DC!” Rustin McFarland, a Texas A&M student and then-pool boy for Sumlin, tweeted.

The message was posted around 2:38 p.m. ET last Tuesday, according to a screengrab provided by Troy Machir, Sporting News’ senior social media editor. Sumlin responded to the tweet 11 minutes later, firing the pool boy.

(Troy Machir | Sporting News)

(Troy Machir | Sporting News)

LSU and Notre Dame kicked off in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee, at 3 p.m. ET. Chavis left LSU for A&M after the bowl game, landing in a private plane with Sumlin in College Station, Texas, two days after the bowl.

LSU allowed 449 yards and a 71-yard game-winning field goal drive in a 31-28 loss to the Irish.

Morn’n Rumblings: Orgeron on ESPN Radio; Braxton Miller talk; New QB visit; Brandon Harris talks

  • Former Ole Miss coach and longtime Southern California
    Ed Orgeron lives in Mandeville. (SCOTT THRELKELD)

    Ed Orgeron lives in Mandeville. (SCOTT THRELKELD)

    defensive line coach Ed Orgeron said on ESPN radio Tuesday that he still hasn’t been contacted by LSU for its open defensive coordinator job, but that he’d be OK with being a position coach. That could play out in a scenario laid out in a story in The Advocate on Sunday night. Defensive line coach Brick Haley has “not been ruled out” as a candidate to replace John Chavis. Haley could coach linebackers and coordinator the defense while Orgeron moves into the role as defensive line coach. “That’s a place that all my life I’ve wanted to coach there,” Orgeron said of LSU. The coach said he was contacted by Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen about its opening at defensive coordinator. The Bulldogs re-hired Manny Diaz for that position Monday.

  • WAFB in Baton Rouge reported Tuesday morning that Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is “likely” to transfer to LSU. Jordan Schultz, Huffington Post sports columnist, has reported for more than a week that Miller’s finalists for his transfer are Oregon and LSU. No one close to the staff could confirm a flirtation with Miller. Because he graduated two weeks ago, Miller can transfer as a graduate student and play immediately in 2015, and LSU would not have to go through a waiver process if he meets certain standards, according to this story from CBSSports.com. Here’s Schultz’s tweet as recent as Monday:

  • Miller, a two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year, re-injured his throwing shoulder in fall camp in August. He had off-season surgery on the shoulder. His replacement, J.T. Barrett, had excelled before his injury late in the season, and OSU coach Urban Meyer had said there would be competition in the spring. Barrett’s replacement, Cardale Jones, has helped lead the Buckeyes to next week’s national title game. Miller’s shoulder, though, may still not be completely healthy:

miller

  • In other quarterback news, LSU will get a surprise visit from Ohio State quarterback commit and four star dual-threat prospect Torrance Gibson of Florida, according to 247Sports. Gibson is set to visit on Jan. 23. He committed to the Buckeyes in November. Ohio State currently has three quarterbacks on roster who have seen starting time: Miller,  Barrett and Jones.
  • LSU freshman quarterback Brandon Harris said this year was part of a “learning process,” and he’s prepared to compete with quarterback Anthony Jennings for the starting gig this spring. In an interview with Shreveport’s KTBS-6, Harris said:

“Knowing more what to expect.  Going in to the spring this past year I didn;t know what to expect. So, I think the most important thing is going in to the spring, knowing the expectations we have as a team and get better and hopefully be in that four playoff spot, one of those four spots.  It’s not fun when you got to sit home and watch other teams play for something.  I think that’s what everybody who plays for LSU realizes and I think we got a lot of work ahead.  I think I did well this year, besides one game I can think of in particular I’m sure everybody knows.  Everybody must forget this is a learning process.  You don’t just develop overnight.  It takes a process.  I think it’s just going to be a better spring.  I think the 2015 year is going to be a lot different.  I just got, I’m just hungry to do better.  I think that’s just the difference between me and somebody else my age.”

Report: Danielle Hunter struggling with decision; Miles meets with underclassmen

Defensive end Danielle Hunter is struggling with his decision on whether or not to declare for the NFL draft, but he’s leaning to stay for his senior year, according to a report from Yahoo Sports.

Hunter

Yahoo Sports’ Rand Getlin reported two weeks ago that cornerback Jalen Collins would declare for the draft. Collins announced earlier this week that he’d bypass his senior year for pro.

Linebacker Kwon Alexander also announced this week that he’d skip his senior year. Both players – Collins and Alexander – received “stay in school” grades from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee.

Hunter might be the most highly rated of any of LSU’s top underclassmen. He’s projected as a second or third-round pick in many mock drafts. Hunter did not want to speak about his decision when asked a couple of weeks ago.

Underclassmen must declare for the draft by Jan. 15. LSU coach Les Miles has met with all, if not most, of the underclassmen, sources said.

Defensive back Jalen Mills has told teammates that he plans to leave early and go pro, a source said, but he has not announced a final decision.

Offensive linemen Vadal Alexander and Jerald Hawkins have not made a final decision on their future, but the school feels “optimistic” about keeping both linemen. Alexander received a “stay in school” grade, he said. Receiver Travin Dural, a draft-eligible redshirt sophomore, has said he plans to return to LSU.

Yahoo Sports reported Sunday that senior left tackle La’el Collins, projected as a first-round draft pick, has hired Deryk Gilmore as his agent. Gilmore works for Priority Sports in Atlanta.

Here’s a look at a graphic The Advocate published a couple of weeks ago projecting the Tigers’ top underclassmen:

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