Miles has a way of overcoming rash of distractions

 Ed Daniels    The summer of discontent continues at LSU.
    Wide receiver Russell Shepard was a scratch from SEC media days. A compliance issue had his status for the start of the 2011 season in doubt.
    That was small potatoes compared to major violations in the football program named by the NCAA, and now the bar fight early on the morning of Aug. 19 that allegedly involved several Tigers, including starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson.
    As the controversy swirls on Internet message boards, I don’t think there’s a better coach in America than Les Miles to handle “the distractions.”
    In 2005, LSU’s home game against Arizona State was moved to Tempe, where LSU won. At the end of that season, his team was whipped soundly by Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Weeks later, LSU returned to the Georgia Dome to smack Miami in the Peach Bowl.
    In 2007, LSU lost two games in triple overtime. The Tigers then won the SEC title game over Tennessee. With Matt Flynn injured, backup Ryan Perrilloux led the Tigers to victory. One month later, LSU beat Ohio State at the Superdome in the BCS Championship Game.
    The next spring, Miles booted Perrilloux off the team. Miles suffered through a 3-5 record in the SEC.
    In 2009, there was the “Meltdown at Ole Miss.” The following week, LSU bounced back to beat Arkansas in overtime.
    In 2010, the Tigers pulled off an improbable win over Tennessee after horribly mismanaging the final half-minute of the game.
    Miles bounced back to upset Alabama. His only losses last season were on the road against Arkansas in Little Rock and against eventual national champion Auburn. In that game, LSU and Auburn were tied in the fourth quarter.
    Since Miles has arrived at LSU, his teams have played a most stunning eight overtime games. Last year, Les called for the fake field goal at Florida and the tight end reverse to Deangelo Peterson on fourth down against Alabama.
    So, in the days leading up to the Oregon game, stories will swirl about who will and won’t play for LSU against the Ducks. The term “distraction” will be used by the media one million times (or more).
    And, oh, by the way, as we went to press, Miles had not signed his contract extension. He and the university can’t seem to agree on language regarding compensation if LSU is found guilty of major violations in its football program.
    In his New York Times bestseller, “The Survivors Club,” author Ben Sherwood asks if there is such a thing as the resilience gene? If so, the head football coach at LSU has it.
    Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26. He can be reached at edaniels@clarionherald.org.

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