Posted by Adam Butler on November 28, 2012
Just when you thought the 2012 Arkansas Razorbacks football campaign couldn’t get any nuttier, an off-the-wall rumor about a standing, 5-year, $27.2 million UA offer to LSU Head Coach Les Miles started making the rounds yesterday. Then, it was debunked, before it gained steam again.
Almost immediately, Arkansas fans found the nearest ledge and started threatening to jump. The nearly universal thought among Hogs (and Tigers?) fans seems to be that LSU wins despite Miles–the 2011 AP National Coach of the Year.
Is it even possible for that notion to be completely true? Yes, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban left Miles a program that was rolling on the Bayou. And, The Hat’s success admittedly looks so easy even a Cave Man could do it.
But, former LSU head coaches Mike Archer, Curley Hallman and Gerry Dinardo–a combined 76-70 from 1987-1999–probably beg to differ.
So what does this mean for Arkansas as it reportedly eyes Miles? It’s hard to say at this point.
What we know is that Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long is a budding master of misdirection. After a couple of near misfires before he had time to get his UA office furnished (Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe, former Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden) Long has proven to be a capable hirer of head coaches.
And, recent history shows that the latest Miles rumors fit a pattern for Long.
While Razorback Nation has been (sometimes in a delusional state) contemplating the fate of its marquee programs in the hands of either disappointing (former Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables, Florida St. head coach Leonard Hamilton) or ultra- exciting (former UNC head coach Butch Davis, Kentucky head coach John Calipari) rumored frontrunners during Long’s last few coaching searches, he has managed to pull a couple of unexpected rabbits out of his hat (Bobby Petrino, Mike Anderson).
This search should be no different. I’m not saying Long will land former Super Bowl-winning head coach and current Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden or Boise St. head coach Chris Peterson. In fact, I feel strongly that he won’t.
But I do expect Long to make a very solid, and potentially excellent hire after putting the Fear of Les into Arkansas fans’ hearts. That’s Long’s recent M.O.–lower the bar and then clear it with room to spare.
I do not know who the hire will be, but I think its much more likely that Arkansas ends up with a head coach like Vanderbilt’s James Franklin than a wildcard like Miles.
If so, Razorback fans might ultimately be counting their lucky stars and relishing the fact we aren’t in AR-KANSAS, anymore.