Les Miles is a Michigan Man.

I think I’ve heard just about enough of that. OK, everyone knows his bio. He played and coached under Michigan legend Bo Schembechler. And for most Wolverine fans, that’s good enough to go out and hand Miles the job on a silver platter.

The “Michigan Man” thing has been overhyped since the day Miles was rumored to be coming to Ann Arbor to replace Lloyd Carr. Just because he knows what Schembechler was all about doesn’t mean he’s the perfect fit for the Wolverines.

Apparently character shouldn’t matter that much, or Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz would have more support.

Miles doesn’t have a spotless record in that category.

Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson has recruited against him in the South. He didn’t say it outright, but he wasn’t quick to squelch the rumors about some of Miles’s shady practices on the recruiting trail.

Does Michigan really need a guy who has a reputation like that to go to the National Championship Game?


But are you willing to sacrifice integrity in the coaching staff so you can brag about returning to college football’s elite status?

Even overlooking Miles’s recruiting practices, is he really that good? His Louisiana State team, clearly the most talented in the nation, has lost two games (on the road at Kentucky and at home against Arkansas) this season in triple overtime to knock the Tigers out of the National Championship picture. And don’t forget he needed some miraculous fourth-down conversions to pull out wins against Florida and Auburn.

His team is spilling over with talent, and he’s kept the Louisiana State program a national contender in the post-Nick Saban era, but he still hasn’t captured a National Championship, something Carr collected in his third season at the helm in Ann Arbor.

Yes, you’re enamored by Miles because he’s gutsy, takes as many risks as he can get away with and is emotional on the sideline. He has a personality, and that much I like. But there’s something to be said about being wary of the hot-topic candidate. He may be talked about a lot, but that doesn’t mean he automatically inherits the job.

Oh yeah, for all those worried about beating Ohio State, Miles didn’t fare that well the only time he faced the Buckeyes. His Oklahoma State team was demolished 33-7 in the Alamo Bowl in 2004 by Ohio State.

Sure, he was coaching Oklahoma State, a far cry from having the talent Michigan draws every year, but it is still something to consider.

Miles is definitely a Michigan Man – there’s no contending that. But one question should be asked: Is he the right Michigan Man?

– Wright can be reached at kpwr@umich.edu.

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