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Posts tagged with Les Miles

How Kansas QBs learned the offense during early stages of Les Miles’ 1st year

Kansas quarterback Thomas MacVittie looks to take a snap from offensive lineman Api Mane on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at the indoor practice facility.

Kansas quarterback Thomas MacVittie looks to take a snap from offensive lineman Api Mane on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at the indoor practice facility. by Nick Krug

Thomas MacVittie was only two-thirds of the way through spring football when he plopped down in one of Mrkonic Auditorium’s numerous seats inside Anderson Family Football Complex.

The University of Kansas quarterback and his teammates had just wrapped up their 10th practice and MacVittie had yet to take off the wristband he uses not to wipe sweat away from his forehead, but as a convenient reminder of the offense’s available play calls.

“These are pretty long,” MacVittie told the Journal-World at the time, glancing down at two laminated notecard-sized lists attached to his wristband, with the name of a different play call printed out on each line.

Although the Jayhawks kept much of the offensive details for Year 1 of the Les Miles era under wraps during media sessions this spring, MacVittie was glad to at least shed some light on the process of learning it all.

KU quarterbacks, MacVittie explained, often reference their wristbands when they’re lined up under center. But the usefulness of the uniform accessory isn’t limited to that situation. The wristbands are most useful for what MacVittie, a junior who joined the program this year as a transfer, described as “the long plays.”

In some situations, the KU offense has two possible plays to run when they line up and the one they choose before the snap depends on what they see from the defense in front of them.

“And we’ve got to check to the right play,” MacVittie explained. “That is what the wristband is for. Those are pretty long.”

How many plays were on there at the moment, with 10 of KU’s 15 spring practices completed?

MacVittie flipped the top flap of plays out of the way and eyed the second card beneath it.

“Umm. Let’s see. We’ve got 34,” the QB replied. “Adding to it every day.”

Throughout the spring, KU’s offensive coaches installed new plays for every practice. And for the Jayhawks who relay those calls to the rest of their teammates before every single snap, that meant huddling up in the QBs room before each of those practices to learn the details.

“This is what we’re gonna go do on the field in an hour,” MacVittie related of offensive coordinator and QBs coach Les Koenning’s typical message during those pre-practice meetings.

“It makes you learn fast, adapt fast and really kind of play on your feet,” MacVittie said of why he appreciated the process. “You can’t be back there thinking. You’ve just kind of got to do. And that comes with preparation, as well.”

Blue team quarterback Thomas MacVittie throws against White team safety Bryce Torneden during Late Night Under the Lights on Saturday, April, 13, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Blue team quarterback Thomas MacVittie throws against White team safety Bryce Torneden during Late Night Under the Lights on Saturday, April, 13, 2019 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Of course, MacVittie took other necessary steps to familiarize himself with the offense, through reviewing practice footage and other measures.

“Every day I come in,” the 6-foot-5, 215-pound QB shared of his spring football study routine. “I think I’m at the facility for probably five hours outside of needing to be. Asking coach to quiz me. Pulling up the film from practice. Kind of getting an edge on any new plays coming in.”

According to MacVittie, quizzes proved to be a valuable factor in his progress. What felt like almost every day throughout the spring, he said, Koenning provided the quarterbacks with brief tests of their playbook knowledge, with the help of senior offensive consultant Brent Dearmon.

Every KU quarterback would be handed a sheet of paper with specific play calls listed. The QBs then had to show off their X’s and O’s abilities by drawing up the plays correctly.

A former reserve QB at Pittsburgh and a starter in 2018 at Mesa Community College (Ariz.), the potential KU starter for Miles’ first season with the Jayhawks, MacVittie said he took pride in doing well on the quizzes, preparing for them by studying the playbook every night.

“They’re random,” MacVittie said of the plays that would show up at test time. “They could be from Day 1, they could be from Day 6. So you’ve really got to know it all.”

By the time the Jayhawks finished up spring football, Miles said they had gone through “at minimum” 50 percent of the offensive playbook. Obviously much more will be installed during preseason camp in August.

Just as he did throughout March and April, MacVittie expects to memorize it all, and prove his knowledge on quizzes and the practice fields. The expectation, he said, is to master the assignments for all 11 offensive players on every play call.

“The reads, the steps, what everybody’s doing,” he said, “to a ’T.’”

Reply 2 comments from Maxhawk Dane Pratt Jim Stauffer

KU’s Les Miles lands just inside top 40 in Power Five coach rankings

Kansas head coach Les Miles surveys his team during football practice on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 within the new indoor practice facility.

Kansas head coach Les Miles surveys his team during football practice on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 within the new indoor practice facility. by Nick Krug

What a difference a year makes. Or more specifically, in the case of the University of Kansas football program, what a difference two leadership shakeups seem to have made.

A year ago at this time, when CBS Sports rolled out its rankings of Power Five college football coaches, the man in charge of KU football, David Beaty, finished dead last.

In the 12 months since then, KU chancellor Douglas Girod fired Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger, the man responsible for hiring Beaty. After observing what proved to be Beaty’s final season with the Jayhawks, KU’s new AD, Jeff Long, fired Beaty and replaced him with a reputable name and face (and hat) in the college football universe.

The presence of Les Miles didn’t propel Kansas from worst to first in the coach rankings. Far from it. But given how low the program has been, worst to 38th doesn’t look or sound that bad.

It’s not the kind of accomplishment that will inspire commemorative T-shirts, or even a social media hashtag, but seeing KU’s football coach ranked ahead of 27 other men in charge of Power Five programs seems like progress, even if the legitimate signs of growth will have to be proven in, you know, actual college football games this coming fall.

In the meantime, we have this list as one reminder that Miles’ presence alone has more people paying attention to KU, even at the national level.

Clearly the college football writers at CBS Sports who voted on these rankings don’t envision Miles’ arrival meaning the Jayhawks are ready to conquer and leapfrog a number of Big 12 programs. It just means Miles’ 142-55 combined record during his 15-plus seasons in charge of the football programs at Oklahoma State and LSU still carries some weight — even though when Miles makes his KU coaching debut this fall it will mark his first time on a sideline since September of 2016, when LSU fired him four games into the season.

Miles’ time away from the game likely hurt him in these rankings, which CBS’ Tom Fornelli points out involve “no strict guidelines.” Miles only ranks seventh among Big 12 coaches on the list. He’s ahead of Texas Tech’s Matt Wells (No. 43) and Kansas State’s Chris Klieman (No. 56), but the national championship ring Miles won at LSU to cap the Tigers’ 2007 campaign wasn’t enough to land him ahead of the Big 12’s seven other coaches more than a decade later.

Here’s a portion of what Fornelli wrote about Miles for the rankings, which counted down Nos. 65 through 26, ahead of the yet to be released top 25:

“I think there's been an overall tendency to underestimate Miles' ability as a coach, as people had a penchant for ascribing his success at LSU to it being LSU. Still, I think this is probably a little too low for Miles (I only had him at 33 myself) considering he has won a national title.”

The poll ranked Baylor’s Matt Rhule (No. 31) and West Virginia’s Neal Brown (No. 36) ahead of Miles, and when the rest of the list is published, TCU’s Gary Patterson, Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, Texas’ Tom Herman and Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley will be ahead of KU’s coach, too.

And if that fact ruffles your crimson and blue colored feathers, just remember: It could be worse. KU could have the 65th-ranked coach on this list.

Reply 4 comments from Chicagohawkmatt Dane Pratt Brett McCabe Dirk Medema

Les Miles and Bill Self become ‘Step Brothers’

New Kansas head football coach Les Miles talks about his first recruiting class of the program during his Signing Day press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 in Mrkonic Auditorium.

New Kansas head football coach Les Miles talks about his first recruiting class of the program during his Signing Day press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 in Mrkonic Auditorium. by Nick Krug

The Kansas football fans who showed up Saturday for the Jayhawks’ spring game at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium got a bit of a surprise during one of the breaks in the action.

And for that matter, so did the man responsible for drawing so many of them there.

Les Miles admitted Monday he was caught a bit off guard when a skit he and KU basketball coach Bill Self teamed up for began playing on the giant video board at the south end of the stadium.

“I was walking off. I had no idea. I was oblivious to where they were going to play that,” Miles said. “I mean, if somebody would have asked me before. … No, obviously they’re not gonna play it at the spring game.”

The KU-produced video featured the athletic department’s two biggest names reenacting a scene from the Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly comedy, “Step Brothers.”

“So I’m walking off the sideline, I go, ‘I’m hearing my voice. What am I doing?’ And I look over there,” Miles described of his reaction when it began playing, “and I go, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me.’ I bet I waited three to five minutes before I said, ‘What a terrible waste of a jumbotron.’ And off I went.”

The two don’t build a bunk bed together, but the video opens with Self asking Miles a simple question, once the football coach enters the room: “Who are you? And why are you in my office?”

Before long, Self and Miles are in staredown mode, both claiming to be “the Kansas ball coach.”

After some namedropping boasts about players each has coached in the past — Self shows off a photo of Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid before Miles lets him know he coached Odell Beckham Jr. — the two compare national championship rings, as well as pictures from each of their team’s trips to the White House.

The scene culminates with Self asking, “What is your favorite rapper from Florida?”

In unison, the coaches answer: “Rick Ross!”

That, of course, prompts Miles to deliver one of Ferrell’s memorable lines from the movie, “Did we just become best friends?” before the two high five.

Between the “Step Brothers” parody and Miles’ recent video announcing the Rick Ross performance for KU’s spring game, the 65-year-old who led LSU to a national title has proven open to embracing his less serious side at KU — even if there is some slight hesitation.

“What goes through my mind,” Miles said of when such ideas have been pitched his way, “is ‘I hope that my wife and kids don’t see this.’ That’s the first thing that I think. I enjoy the challenge. I really enjoyed the Bill Self thing. That was great fun.”

The way Miles sees it, “you only get to go around one time. There’s no do-overs. You might want to have some fun.”

None by Kansas Jayhawks

Reply 2 comments from Brjam Dane Pratt

‘Painful’ early-morning conditioning work introduced Jayhawks to Les Miles’ standards

Kansas quarterback Thomas MacVittie pulls back to throw during football practice on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 within the new indoor practice facility.

Kansas quarterback Thomas MacVittie pulls back to throw during football practice on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 within the new indoor practice facility. by Nick Krug

Don’t bring up the Kansas football team’s offseason conditioning sessions around Thomas MacVittie if you don’t want an honest response.

And if for some reason there happen to be children nearby when you do broach the subject with the junior quarterback, just tell the kids to earmuff it before MacVittie is reminded of those pre-sunrise sprints.

“(Expletive),” was MacVittie’s instant and visceral reaction when those workouts were mentioned.

Head coach Les Miles, his assistants and KU’s strength and conditioning staff made a point in February and early March, before the team’s spring football practices began, to push the players with intense conditioning work that doubled as a wake-up call — and an early one at that.

“It’s hard to kind of put into words, because there’s so many pieces that went into that puzzle,” MacVittie elaborated a few weeks back, when asked about how challenging that form of training was for the players. “First of all, waking up at 5 in the morning was a struggle, knowing the stuff that you were about to go through.”

The conditioning began promptly at 5:55 a.m. And even Miles admitted the workouts were not exactly designed to bring joy to the players’ lives.

“It tests you,” the KU football coach said. “It’s painful.”

However, as MacVittie would explain, the players understood how important it was to experience those mental and physical demands. A 6-foot-5, 215-pound QB from Cincinnati, Ohio, MacVittie said even though he’s no early riser, he appreciated the discipline instilled in the Jayhawks through the process.

To further their early a.m. misery, MacVittie said the coaches used what he called a “ding” system while watching the players’ runs. Any time a player failed to touch a certain line while sprinting back and forth on the turf at the indoor practice facility that player got dinged for coming up short.

“They time every rep that you have,” MacVittie added. “So if your rep is a couple of seconds (off), you’re not trying as hard, you’re dinged for that.”

According to Miles, the Jayhawks had to run “perfect sprints” at the very end of each morning workout, and they went through eight drills that were “very much like football games.”

The scrutiny didn’t end there, though. MacVittie said the whole coaching staff would watch video footage of the conditioning sessions “for two hours” after each one concluded. Each and every drill and every last Jayhawk was accounted for, thanks to the multiple cameras that captured every second of it from every feasible angle.

Even the players who were waiting in line had to be in “an athletic position,” with their wrists above their knees.

“And if you weren’t,” MacVittie said, “you would get dinged.”

As the Jayhawks endured it all, there was also a T-shirt system that measured their progress. MacVittie said everybody started off in gray KU football T-shirts. A player would receive a white one to wear if coaches deemed that particular Jayhawk was showing proper progress. What’s more, if players were what the QB described as “super-disciplined,” they got to wear a blue T-shirt.

What did that signify?

“You’re being a leader. You’re excelling in the things you need to do and you’re driving the team. Everybody was striving for the blues,” MacVittie shared. “If you got one ding you couldn’t get a blue shirt.”

Of course, all of this also made it easier for the Jayhawks to transition to spring football practice mode, once that began on March 6.

“I think it shows to the team that the details matter,” MacVittie said of the idea he took away from those demanding drills and sprints. “The details are why you win in the fourth quarter or overtime. Details are important. They’re going to be a first down or a fumble. It’s that small. It’s that small, getting your wrists above your knees. It’s that small, touching the line.

“That’s going to win games, believe it or not,” MacVittie said, “just that discipline.”

Reply 10 comments from Greg Ledom Dirk Medema Brett McCabe Mcgirl Brian Hosfelt Estebanbugatti Len Shaffer Rockchalk1990 Daddioku

Jayhawks experience new indoor practice facility for first time

None by Kansas Football

After nine months of construction time, the Kansas football program’s new indoor practice facility was finally ready to be put to use on Tuesday.

Returning players and spring enrollees were up bright and early for a 6 a.m. conditioning session on the full-length turf, sprinting and cutting as head coach Les Miles and his staff instructed and observed.

While spring practices won’t commence until March, the Jayhawks are able to work out without footballs while out of season at this time of the year. NCAA rules allow college football players 8 hours of work per week, with no more than 2 hours in a week spent reviewing game footage or walking through plays.

The other six hours are limited to conditioning and weightlifting, and Tuesday’s early morning workout was all about speed, changing directions and building the stamina the players will need for spring football. No skill instruction is allowed at this time of year, so there aren’t any footballs or blocking sleds or the types of drills one would expect to see at an in-season or spring practice.

But such workouts still hold great value for Miles and his assistants, as the staff members get a better understanding of their players’ individual abilities and how each Jayhawk approaches all that goes into playing at this level.

While there are still more bells and whistles to come for the indoor facility, with the playing turf ready to go, the Jayhawks got a sneak peek of the pristine venue on Monday, as donors Dana and Sue Anderson welcomed them to the space where the current and future players will spend countless hours in the months and years ahead.

In a video posted to KU football’s Twitter account, a number of Jayhawks offered their reactions to being inside the practice building for the first time.

“It’s a beautiful place,” senior receiver Daylon Charlot said. “We’re thankful for the opportunity for getting this. So we’re about to come in here and work hard every day.”

Junior quarterback Thomas MacVittie, one of the top signees from KU’s 2019 recruiting class, could be seen with his iPhone in hand, letting his father, Thomas Sr., get a live look of the facility via FaceTime.

“Man, this is something special,” the KU quarterback said. “This place is going up. It’s going to be fun.”

Between the social media posts provided by the football program, Jayhawks such as Najee Stevens McKenzie, Bryce Torneden, Corione Harris, Mike Lee, Hakeem Adeniji, Carter Stanley, Miles Kendrick, Quan Hampton, Evan Fairs, Elmore Hempstead Jr., Khalil Herbert, Codey Cole, MacVittie, Ezra Naylor and Andrew Parchment could be seen taking in and/or working out in the facility.

“This is beautiful right here. We love this,” redshirt junior cornerback Julian Chandler said in one of KU’s videos. “We’re ready to get some work in right here.”

Herbert, who served as the host for a live Instagram video of the players’ initial tour, enjoyed the bouncy feel to the fresh turf, as well as the prospect of staying warm and dry during workouts.

“It’s about to snow tomorrow, but that doesn’t matter to us,” Herbert said. “We’re fixing to be inside.”

Lee, who will be a senior safety this coming season, said it felt good to finally be inside the structure.

“We worked hard for this,” Lee said. “It’s about time we change this program around and get some dubs, and turn rock chalk nation to extreme.”

None by Kansas Football

Reply 2 comments from Dirk Medema Doug Roberts

Les Miles left Louisiana, but his name remains influential in ‘The Boot’

Newly-hired Kansas head football coach Les Miles shares the story of how he met his wife between radio broadcasters David Lawrence, left, and Brian Hanni, back right, during the "Hawk Talk" radio show on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Johnny's West in Lawrence.

Newly-hired Kansas head football coach Les Miles shares the story of how he met his wife between radio broadcasters David Lawrence, left, and Brian Hanni, back right, during the "Hawk Talk" radio show on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Johnny's West in Lawrence. by Nick Krug

The Les Miles brand grew to the height of its powers in Louisiana.

It’s where Miles coached the football team at the state’s flagship university, LSU, from 2005 to 2016. And it’s a place that he continued to call home for the past two years, during his hiatus from the sidelines.

His accomplishments there — see: Miles’ 114-34 record in 11-plus seasons at LSU, including two SEC titles and a 2007 national championship — are what made his arrival at Kansas this week so buzzworthy on the national college football landscape.

The hope among the suddenly energized KU football fan base is that the coach’s ties to the state affectionally referred to as “The Boot” will reinforce a recruiting pipeline from Louisiana that the program already has in place.

The Jayhawks’ current roster includes nine players from Louisiana: freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr., junior receiver Daylon Charlot, freshman cornerback Corione Harris, junior safety Mike Lee, redshirt freshman receiver Takulve Williams, sophomore safety Ricky Thomas, freshman running back Ryan Malbrough, redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Malik Clark and junior long snapper Logan Klusman.

Most of them relocated to Lawrence because of the connection they felt with KU’s third-year running backs coach, Tony Hull, a New Orleans native with immeasurable recruiting connections down south, in The Pelican State.

Since signing his five-year contract with KU, Miles has appeared open to the idea of retaining members of David Beaty’s current staff.

“When I took the job at both Oklahoma State and at LSU, I kept guys because I wanted to work with them and I wanted to see what their conversation would be about their room, the guys that they coached,” Miles said at his introductory press conference. “I wanted to see how the recruiting end was going.”

Miles plans to sit down and “interview” every current assistant, presumably early next week, after KU finishes its season.

Although Miles told the Journal-World he never directly crossed paths with Hull while at LSU, he definitely heard about the head coach at New Orleans’ Warren Easton High, where Hull’s reputation blossomed.

“I know Tony Hull — not necessarily so much him, but I know guys that know him and I did research on him,” Miles told the Journal-World. “He’s a very quality person.”

Hull, also currently KU’s associate head coach, was the lead recruiter for three of the team’s most heralded signings from the past few years: Williams, Harris and Lee.

According to Miles, he didn’t have any prior relationship with those talented Louisiana prospects when he was at LSU.

“No, I think that they got recruited when I was disposed,” Miles said. “But I can tell you that I watched those guys and they're quality men, and the corner, Corione? Yeah, he's, in my opinion, he's going to grow up to be a really good player.”

FILE — Former LSU head coach Les Miles, center, is mobbed by LSU football alumni of the 2007-8 BCS National Championship team during a halftime ceremony in an NCAA college football game against Auburn in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. Miles became the incoming head coach at the University of Kansas on Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

FILE — Former LSU head coach Les Miles, center, is mobbed by LSU football alumni of the 2007-8 BCS National Championship team during a halftime ceremony in an NCAA college football game against Auburn in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. Miles became the incoming head coach at the University of Kansas on Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

During the past several months, Miles repeatedly was spotted at high school games in Louisiana.

And Lee, who remains in touch with those he knows back in his home state, thinks KU’s coaching move created some excitement there, as well.

“Coach Miles, he’s caught a lot of Louisiana guys’ attention. And most of them are going to either commit here or they’ll be thinking about committing here just because Coach Les Miles got the head coaching job,” Lee said, speaking generally on the new KU coach’s name recognition in “The Boot.”

Reply 11 comments from Dirk Medema Jhawki78 Brett McCabe Buck Bukaty Spk15 Karen Mansfield-Stewart

And the winner is … KU football fans select Dave Doeren over Les Miles

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

The results are in, voting has closed and the Kansas football fan base has made its choice for the program’s next head coach.

On the final day of voting in our KU Football Coaching Search Bracket, in what may be considered a mild upset by some who have been following along, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren defeated former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach Les Miles by the slimmest of margins — 51% to 49%.

Perhaps Miles’ backers within the KU fan base were too busy wondering about flights from Lawrence to Baton Rouge, La., that never materialized to remember to vote in the finals. Or maybe the bulk of our readers just plain prefer Doeren, a former KU assistant (2002-05) who grew up outside of Kansas City.

Either way, KU’s athletic director, Jeff Long, would be fortunate to be able to hire Doeren away from N.C. State — though doing so in reality would include a hefty $6 million buyout.

Currently in his sixth season with the Wolfpack and eighth as a head coach, Doeren, 46, led N.C. State to just its sixth 9-win season in school history in 2017, capping the year with a Sun Bowl victory over Arizona State.

Doeren is 63-37 as a head coach with a 40-33 mark since moving to N.C. State from Northern Illinois. His final team at Northern Illinois was 12-1 and received an Orange Bowl bid before Doeren moved on to the ACC.

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2011Northern Illinois141130.786
2012Northern Illinois131210.9231622
2013North Carolina State12390.250
2014North Carolina State13850.615
2015North Carolina State13760.538
2016North Carolina State13760.538
2017North Carolina State13940.6921423
2018North Carolina State9630.66716
8 YrsOverall10063370.630
2 YrsNorthern Illinois272340.852
6 YrsNorth Carolina State7340330.548
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

Eliminated in finals:

Les Miles - Former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach

Eliminated in semifinals:

Jeff Monken - Army head coach

Seth Littrell - North Texas head coach

Eliminated in Round 3:

Chris Klieman - North Dakota State head coach

Willie Fritz - Tulane head coach

Bryan Harsin - Boise State head coach

Jason Candle - Toledo head coach

Eliminated in Round 2:

Greg Schiano - Ohio State defensive coordinator

Neal Brown - Troy head coach

Jim McElwain - Former Florida and Colorado State head coach

Major Applewhite - Houston head coach

Scott Satterfield - Appalachian State head coach

Matt Wells - Utah State head coach

Troy Calhoun - Air Force head coach

Jim Leavitt - Oregon defensive coordinator

Eliminated in Round 1:

Mike Locksley - Alabama offensive coordinator

Lance Leipold - Buffalo head coach

Bret Bielema - Former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach

Mike Norvell - Memphis head coach

Butch Jones - Former Tennessee and Cincinnati head coach

Mike MacIntyre - Colorado head coach

Todd Graham - Former Arizona State and Pitt head coach

Ed Warinner - Ohio State O-line coach

Tim Beck - Texas offensive coordinator

Ken Niumatalolo - Navy head coach

Jeff Tedford - Fresno State head coach

Chris Creighton - Eastern Michigan head coach

Frank Wilson - UT-San Antonio head coach

Brian Bohannon - Kennesaw State head coach

Craig Bohl - Wyoming head coach

— Review how the bracket played out: 2018 KU Football Coaching Search Bracket

Reply 5 comments from Robert  Brock Layne Pierce Karen Mansfield-Stewart Michael Maris Jeff Coffman

Make your choice: Les Miles and Dave Doeren reach coaching search bracket finals

It all comes down to this.

After dominating their competition in each of the first four rounds, former LSU and Oklahoma State coach Les Miles and North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren are the only two candidates remaining in our fan-driven KU Football Coaching Search Bracket.

The athletic director at the University of Kansas, Jeff Long would consider himself fortunate if his finalists turn out to be as good as these two.

And, realistically, Long would find himself in a pretty enviable spot if he had a shot at hiring either of the other two coaches who cracked the bracket’s Final 4.

Eliminated in semifinals:

Jeff Monken - Army head coach

Seth Littrell - North Texas head coach

But now that the pool has been whittled down to the two football coaches who most intrigue the KU football fan base it’s time for you to get this fictionalized contract with your favorite candidate finalized.

Fans have all day Tuesday to vote for the champion, so to speak.

— Les Miles - Former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach vs. Dave Doeren - N.C. State head coach —

LES MILES

FILE — Former LSU head coach Les Miles watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

FILE — Former LSU head coach Les Miles watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Miles won 114 games and lost 34 over the course of 11-plus seasons with LSU. He was voted Coach of the Year by the AP in 2011, following his second SEC championship and a 13-0 start to the season. Miles’ Tigers won the national championship in 2007.

His name continues to be the most popular reportedly tied to Long’s search, which is officially in its second week.

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2001Oklahoma State11470.364
2002Oklahoma State13850.615
2003Oklahoma State13940.6922414
2004Oklahoma State12750.58316
2005LSU131120.846536
2006LSU131120.846833
2007LSU141220.857211
2008LSU13850.61573
2009LSU13940.69211417
2010LSU131120.8462158
2011LSU141310.929412
2012LSU131030.7693214
2013LSU131030.76912614
2014LSU13850.615138
2015LSU12930.75014416
2016LSU4220.5005513
16 YrsOverall197142550.721
4 YrsOklahoma State4928210.571
12 YrsLSU148114340.770
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

DAVE DOEREN

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Now in his eighth overall season as a head coach, Doeren has won 63 of 100 games and guided his teams to five bowl appearances — with another one on the way this year.

North Carolina State has won the St. Petersburg Bowl, Independence Bowl and Sun Bowl under Doeren's watch.

Unlike Miles, of course, Doeren is an active head coach, currently preparing his Wolfpack (6-3, 3-3) for a Saturday matchup with floundering Louisville.

Whether Long considers Doeren a candidate or would seek him out to fill KU’s vacancy is unknown at this time.

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2011Northern Illinois141130.786
2012Northern Illinois131210.9231622
2013North Carolina State12390.250
2014North Carolina State13850.615
2015North Carolina State13760.538
2016North Carolina State13760.538
2017North Carolina State13940.6921423
2018North Carolina State9630.66716
8 YrsOverall10063370.630
2 YrsNorthern Illinois272340.852
6 YrsNorth Carolina State7340330.548
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

— Now’s your chance. Pick KU football’s next head coach at our bracket: 2018 KU Football Coaching Search Bracket

Reply 13 comments from Len Shaffer Robert  Brock Dirk Medema Forever2008 Kall3742 Texashawk10_2 Seth Nesmith Hosshawk Jim Stauffer Dane Pratt

Just 4 candidates remaining in KU football coaching search bracket

The search for the Kansas football program’s next head coach is nearly complete — at least as far as our online bracket is concerned.

Each of the top four seeds in the 32-candidate field survived the first three rounds of fan voting at KUsports.com, leading to a chalk semifinal round.

Les Miles. Jeff Monken. Dave Doeren. Seth Littrell. Only two of them can move on.

The other two will have to take the same exit route as some very experienced, talented coaches who already have been removed from contention.

Eliminated in Round 3:

Chris Klieman - North Dakota State head coach

Willie Fritz - Tulane head coach

Bryan Harsin - Boise State head coach

Jason Candle - Toledo head coach

It’s safe to assume most KU football fans would actually be pleased if any of those four coaches knocked out in the quarterfinals actually ended up in charge. But in this head-to-head endeavor, even candidates Athletic Director Jeff Long still may be considering are out of the mix.

We’ve reached the Final 4 in our KU Football Coaching Search Bracket, and you, the program’s fans, get to decide which contenders are worthy of the championship round.

Here are our two semifinal matchups. Make your selections throughout Monday. Voting for the title round, which determines the people’s coaching choice, will follow on Tuesday.

— Les Miles - Former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach vs. Jeff Monken - Army head coach —

LES MILES

FILE — Former LSU head coach Les Miles watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

FILE — Former LSU head coach Les Miles watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2001Oklahoma State11470.364
2002Oklahoma State13850.615
2003Oklahoma State13940.6922414
2004Oklahoma State12750.58316
2005LSU131120.846536
2006LSU131120.846833
2007LSU141220.857211
2008LSU13850.61573
2009LSU13940.69211417
2010LSU131120.8462158
2011LSU141310.929412
2012LSU131030.7693214
2013LSU131030.76912614
2014LSU13850.615138
2015LSU12930.75014416
2016LSU4220.5005513
16 YrsOverall197142550.721
4 YrsOklahoma State4928210.571
12 YrsLSU148114340.770
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

JEFF MONKEN

Army head coach Jeff Monken yells to officials during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tulane on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in West Point, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Army head coach Jeff Monken yells to officials during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tulane on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in West Point, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2014Army12480.333
2015Army122100.167
2016Army13850.615
2017Army131030.769
2018Army10820.800
5 YrsArmy6032280.533
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

— Dave Doeren - North Carolina State head coach vs. Seth Littrell - North Texas head coach —

DAVE DOEREN

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2011Northern Illinois141130.786
2012Northern Illinois131210.9231622
2013North Carolina State12390.250
2014North Carolina State13850.615
2015North Carolina State13760.538
2016North Carolina State13760.538
2017North Carolina State13940.6921423
2018North Carolina State9630.66716
8 YrsOverall10063370.630
2 YrsNorthern Illinois272340.852
6 YrsNorth Carolina State7340330.548
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

SETH LITTRELL

North Texas head coach Seth Littrell, center, watches from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

North Texas head coach Seth Littrell, center, watches from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2016North Texas13580.385
2017North Texas14950.643
2018North Texas10730.700
3 YrsNorth Texas3721160.568
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

— Now’s your chance. Pick KU football’s next head coach at our bracket: 2018 KU Football Coaching Search Bracket

Eliminated in Round 2:

Greg Schiano - Ohio State defensive coordinator

Neal Brown - Troy head coach

Jim McElwain - Former Florida and Colorado State head coach

Major Applewhite - Houston head coach

Scott Satterfield - Appalachian State head coach

Matt Wells - Utah State head coach

Troy Calhoun - Air Force head coach

Jim Leavitt - Oregon defensive coordinator

Eliminated in Round 1:

Mike Locksley - Alabama offensive coordinator

Lance Leipold - Buffalo head coach

Bret Bielema - Former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach

Mike Norvell - Memphis head coach

Butch Jones - Former Tennessee and Cincinnati head coach

Mike MacIntyre - Colorado head coach

Todd Graham - Former Arizona State and Pitt head coach

Ed Warinner - Ohio State O-line coach

Tim Beck - Texas offensive coordinator

Ken Niumatalolo - Navy head coach

Jeff Tedford - Fresno State head coach

Chris Creighton - Eastern Michigan head coach

Frank Wilson - UT-San Antonio head coach

Brian Bohannon - Kennesaw State head coach

Craig Bohl - Wyoming head coach

Dan Enos - Alabama quarterbacks coach and associate head coach

Reply 5 comments from Layne Pierce Jeff Coffman Andy Godwin Dane Pratt

Survey says: KU football fans prefer Les Miles, identify him as most likely hire

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of the Jayhawks' 21-17 loss to the Wildcats on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan.

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of the Jayhawks' 21-17 loss to the Wildcats on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan. by Nick Krug

When Jeff Long spoke publicly for the first time about his decision to find a new head football coach for the University of Kansas, the athletic director could only provide some general goals he had in mind for the hire.

“We are going to find a proven leader, a tenacious recruiter and a developer of young men on and off the field,” Long assured a downtrodden fan base. “As I have routinely said, we will break the cycle. My expectation is that the football program should be a bowl-bound program on a regular basis. I believe with the players currently in our program and the recruits who will commit in the coming months, we will be close to annual bowl berths and longterm competitiveness in the Big 12.”

Just whom Long ultimately will hire and whether that coach achieves all of the aforementioned criteria for success remains to be seen.

As his search continues, though, we now have a better sense of what type of expectations KU football followers have for the program’s 39th head coach.

This past week, more than 1,500 readers who visited KUsports.com and self-identified as KU football fans were selected at random to answer survey questions about the coaching search.

Here are the six inquiries posed, and the answers provided.

No. 1: KU is seeking a new football coach. Following is a list of coaches frequently mentioned as candidates for the job. Which coach do you most prefer?

None

A week into KU’s coaching search, 51.1% of fans would be more partial to Long hiring former LSU and Oklahoma State coach Les Miles, the man most often tied with the opening thus far.

North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren, a former KU assistant (2002-05) who grew up outside of Kansas City, was the only other potential candidate with significant fan backing, at 25.1%.

No. 2: Setting aside your personal preferences, which of the following coaches do you think has the highest probability of becoming the next KU coach?

None

An even greater percentage of fans (59.1%) thought Miles will end up being the coach Long actually hires.

And the runner up wasn’t even close. North Texas head coach Seth Littrell garnered 11.4% of the votes.

No. 3: Some of the coaches listed as candidates for the KU job run the triple-option offense. What's your reaction to the possibility of KU running the triple option offense?

None

If KU were to take the zig while everyone else is zagging approach and bring in a head coach, such as Army’s Jeff Monken or Tulane’s Willie Fritz, with a background in the run-heavy triple option attack, it seems most fans would be all right with that — as long as it proved effective.

Although only 13% of those surveyed specifically wanted that drastic stylistic switch, almost half of the respondents (48.8%) said a triple-option scheme wouldn’t bother them if it worked for the Jayhawks and produced victories.

However, 17.1% of fans think the triple option won’t work in the Big 12.

No. 4: Given the KU football program's recent struggles, what is a realistic record to expect of a new coaching staff in 2019?

None

Unless this year’s Jayhawks find a way to upset either Oklahoma or Texas in the next two weeks, the program will finish the season with three or fewer wins for the ninth consecutive season.

However, with a regime change imminent, most KU football fans anticipate 2019 being the first year with four or more wins since Mark Mangino left.

A 4-8 season was the most popular projected record choice, receiving 43% of the votes. Some fans are looking for even better — 13% expect a 5-7 campaign and 4.8% think at least 6 wins and bowl eligibility is a realistic goal.

No. 5: KU Athletic Director Jeff Long said he expects KU football to be bowl-bound on a regular basis. When should the new coach be expected to return KU to a bowl game?

None

Even so, it looks like most of the KU football fan base isn’t about to demand instant success for the Jayhawks’ next head coach.

Only 3.9% of fans surveyed expect the new coach to lead Kansas to the postseason in his first year on the job.

In fact, the 2021 season received the most votes (43%) for the year the yet-to-be-hired coach should deliver a bowl bid. Another 39.1% of fans would like to see the Jayhawks in the postseason by 2020.

No. 6: Kansas has the lowest paid head coach in the Big 12 at $1.7 million per year. What annual salary range do you expect KU to pay its next football coach?

None

Whomever Long lands, KU fans expect the first-year AD will have enough financial support from donors in place to pay the football coach significantly more than the $1.7 million base salary David Beaty’s contract called for this year.

Among the respondents, 42.6% think KU should pay the football coach in a range that could be double Beaty’s salary, somewhere between $3 million and $3.9 million annually.

Another 30.9% called for a less expensive number, between $2 million and $2.9 million.

— Now’s your chance. Pick KU football’s next head coach at our bracket: 2018 KU Football Coaching Search Bracket

Reply 18 comments from Dane Pratt Hawkfan9675 RXDOC Dirk Medema Curtis Hedrick Brjam Robert  Brock Chicagohawkmatt Carsonc30 Jim Stauffer and 2 others

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