Tuesday, 11 January 2011 16:45

Louisiana Sports: Les Miles, Patrick Peterson Are Big LSU Stories

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Michigan is expected to speak with LSU coach Les Miles on Tuesday about its vacant coaching job.

Miles is scheduled to speak in Dallas on Tuesday at the American Coaches Association convention, Miles' agent, George Bass, lives in Dallas.

"I'm told we will speak, but that time and place hasn't been identified," said Miles, a former Wolverines player and assistant coach. "It's hard for me to speculate on the substance of the meeting."

Miles attended LSU junior cornerback Patrick Peterson's news conference to announced that he is leaving for the NFL draft.

Michigan fired Rich Rodriquez last week. Miles' contract with LSU runs through the 2014 season, He makes $3.9 million annually and Michigan would have to pay LSU a $1.25 buyout if he leaves.

He has reiterated he is content with the Tigers.

"I have not talked to anyone from Michigan, nor has any of my representative done anything but have very distant conversation with representatives of the school," said Miles.

"The only thing I can tell you is that I spent my day today with a number of underclassmen I want to return here. I am extremely happy here. There is really a comfort with my family in Baton Rouge, and I think its best left that way. I don't know there is more to say, but there is no more information that I have other than what I've just shared with you."

LSU vice chancellor and director of athletics Joe Alleva issued the following statement regrading Miles:

"I can certainly understand Coach Miles' desire to accommodate his alma mater by speaking with them during their coaching search. We remain committed to working toward keeping Les Miles as the head of the LSU football program, a program that wins at a high level, graduates its student-athletes and represents the university well in the community under his leadership."

Peterson is considered one of the top five over-all prospects in this year's NFL draft.

"I will be entering the 2011 draft, but this news conference is not about me leaving, but about how great of an experience I had at LSU," said Peterson. "I'd like to thank Coach Miles for coming to South Florida and recruiting me and bringing to the wonderful city of Baton Rouge. I'd like to thank the wonderful fans at LSU. There is no place in America that has the fans and student body that we have.

"I'd like to thank my mom and dad for raising me to be the best main i can be, and for putting me in this position to make a quality decision. I'd also like to thank Coach (John) Chavis as well for the two years he spent with me, bringing his aggressive game planning down to LSU and allowing me to showcase my talent even more.

"I know my brothers and sisters are home and happy that their big brother is finally going to the next level and living his dream. This has been a wonderful time at LSU. I will never forget this place, and LSU will always be in my heart until the day I die. I will always bleed purple and gold."

As a junior in 2010, Peterson became one of the most decorated players in Tigers history, earning the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back and the Banarik Award as the top defender in college football. Peterson was also the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year.

A consensus All-America, Peterson wrapped up his junior year with the Tigers with 42 tackles, six pass breakups and four interceptions. On special teams,Peterson set the LSU single-season records for kickoff return yards with 932. He ranked second in the SEC and among the top 10 in the nation in punt returns with a 16.1 average on26 returns. He also returned two punts for touchdowns.

"The advantage for a guy that comes in, develops, works hard, develops leadership skills,make plays that his team counts on him to make, does hard things with a smile on his face and has exceptional talent puts himself in a draft position  that is really too good to forgo," said Miles. "This is a decision that Patrick Peterson and his family made independent of me, but I want to say simply that I agree with it completely. The decision he made is a quality one."

"Where coach Miles is coaching next year is out of my position," said Peterson. "He's he LSU coach right now. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing him in that purple and gold and definitely finish his career at LSU because he's got another Peterson on the way."

Peterson's brother, wide receiver Avery Johnson, committed to LSU fo next season.
Were he offered the job, a source close to LSU coach Les Miles told ESPN's Joe Schad that the current Tigers coach would accept the job at his alma mater.

According to Baton Rouge television WAFB, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon met with Miles Monday evening at the coach's condo right off the LSU campus.

The station also reported that Brandon and two other Michigan Representatives went from the meeting to the airport where they were seen boarding a plane, which left moments later. Miles was not on it.

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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