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Les Miles continues talking about Gunner Kiel

Apr 7, 2012, 6:51 PM EDT


When Signing Day came and went and LSU head coach Les Miles didn’t come away with the signature of quarterback Gunner Kiel, he fired up his Tiger fanbase with a jab at the character of Kiel. The move didn’t make Miles look all that good, and after Kiel declined a chance to fire back at the coach, many assumed this hubbub would die a quiet death.

And then Les Miles decided to talk about it again.

Catching up with CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, Miles once again looked foolish discussing Kiel’s decision to go to Notre Dame, a decision made at the eleventh hour after a recruiting roller-coaster that included commitments to both the Tigers and Indiana.

Here’s more from Miles and his quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe on the decision:

Miles: “I’m not bitter. I’m glad he stayed there. I really mean it. Here’s the truth: If you don’t have some swagger to you and you can step into this stadium and be able to know the advantage that you’re playing with the Tigers and you’re leading the program that has some real weight and clout, then you really need to stay home with your brothers.

“I don’t mean that [negatively]. I’m for him. He gets a chance to come in here and compete and start on a team that is a great team. I really meant what I said. I was talking more about the confidence and swagger. I was not demeaning. If he shows up, it means he has all those things …

“I mean it honestly, if it’s more about family for him, if it’s more being close to home … he would have never been successful as he needed to be. I mean it very respectfully …

“The guy we got now [Zach Mettenberger], he’s a confident son of a buck. He’s a throwin’, tough kid. If he continues to develop and learn and grow as a leader, no question.”

Quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe, who helped recruit Kiel, also weighed in:

“Gunner’s a great kid. He comes from a very, very close-knit family. When it really comes down to it and time to get on the plane, he couldn’t do it. We knew that was part of the recruiting process. I talked about it with him very candidly.

“When I was playing at West Texas State, my dad [Dave] was coaching at Oregon State. My son’s at Idaho State. I have one in Chicago. I walked him [Kiel] through what it was going to be like. He woke up Sunday morning and was getting ready to go to the plane and said he couldn’t do it. I was disappointed he didn’t come because I wanted to coach him. I really liked their family. I think they’re wonderful people.

“The best way to describe it is, I understand.”

It’s tough to feel any differently about these comments than the last ones, as Miles tries his best to tell us he’s not bitter then takes another dig at a freshman quarterback that decided to play for one of college football’s most popular program that also happens to be in the player’s home state. Miles apparently has no problem taking advantage of keeping kids in-state — he’s got over 70 players on his roster from Louisiana — but apparently if another school defends its home turf it’s a character flaw of the player.

We’ll know soon enough if Gunner Kiel is the real deal or not. But Miles should spend a little bit more time worrying about his offense than the freshman quarterback that got away.


  1. puckthefatriots - Apr 9, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    Les, a 4 on the way in hell Morris Claiborne was going to class down and I’m sure didn’t care..he was winning games much was Claiborne being paid at ‘clout’ do you mean the deep pockets of all those crooked boosters in the SEC? are the biggest dbag in the world of sports

  2. pemalak55 - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    If Leslie doesn’t think that Gunner has what it takes to be successful at L$U, why is he so upset that he didn’t go there?

  3. larrynamesauthor - Apr 9, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Frankly, I think everybody is overreacting to Miles’s comments about Kiel. Anybody with football knowledge knows Miles isn’t all that much as a head coach. He gets the best talent in Louisiana ONLY because there is not another Big Six school in his state. If he had the competition for players that Alabama has or Texas or Florida, LSU would be a mediocre team under Miles.

    • bernhtp - Apr 9, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      I’m not sure that Texas isn’t in a similar situation along with Alabama, to a slightly less extent. UTexas gets virtually the pick of the entire state. While they have some competition from Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas Tech, TCU, Houston, etc., very few top recruits offered by UT go to one of these other schools. That and the fact that Texas is the biggest talent pool in the country puts UT at the top of recruiting rankings every year (or very near it). It’s a crime that they’ve so dramatically underachieved this for the last couple of years.

  4. bracket5 - Apr 9, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Frankly, it looks to me like way too much conversation is being spent on Notre Dame? Who really effin cares?

    Go Trojans!

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:14 AM

      Mark May, is that you!

      Looks like you mistakenly hit the ‘post comment’ button before you finished your comment. Which of these comments were you trying to post?

      Go reduce your scholarships Trojans!

      Go pay the rent for houses in Brentwood Trojans!

      Go create prima dona players like Leinart, Sanchez, and Bush Trojans!

      Go excuse yourself from the postseason for a while Trojans!

      Go become second fiddle to Oregon, Trojans!

  5. bracket5 - Apr 10, 2012 at 5:23 AM

    As long as they keep dominating these poor, pathetic Irish teams, with the one minor setback in 2010 the only hiccup, the Irish will keep calling them daddy. Get used to it. A 9 point fave at home this year and got spanked? Really?

    • nudeman - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      I’m sure if ND lowered their academic standards, didn’t mandate kids go to class, allowed majors in things like Gym, Ballroom Dancing, and Wood Shop, paid their athletes, got them cars and houses, etc … they’d be the perennial power USC is.

      You must be very proud.

  6. bracket5 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Fight On!!!

    • shodolfan - Apr 10, 2012 at 7:29 PM

      Um Bracket you do realize your still 10 games behind ND in their series right………………… much for domination!

  7. macdega - Apr 10, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    N.D. spells it “your”

  8. bracket5 - Apr 11, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Come on out of the stone age and join the rest of us, phucktard. Recent history speaks toward SC dominance. As pathetic as ND’s talent level is, this might continue. Better learn to live with it. How swell it must be to be able to watch your beloved fisheaters mostly every week, courtesy of having your own network. How special you must feel.

  9. fitz79 - Apr 12, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Les, give it a rest already. Aren’t you supposed to be the “adult” here in the situation. I understand being miffed that Gunner changed commitments but give it up already. The same thing happened to us with our star receiver recruit but do you here Kelly still hounding the kid? No, he just wished him good luck. Let’s face it. LSU is not exactly quarterback U!

  10. 1historian - Apr 13, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    We got Gunner Kiel because he wanted to stay around home, we lost Aaron Lynch for just about the same reason.

    Fair exchange – best of luck to both of those kids.

  11. ndgolden - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Pretty tough words for a guy that couldn’t even prepare his team for the BCS title game. LSU and Miles don’t pass any way.

  12. omegadawg4 - Apr 22, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    Parents need to let them grow up

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