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Les Miles is studying the Baylor offense and sounds ready to change

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Miles has mostly kept a low profile since LSU fired him in September, but that’s not his long-term plan.

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl - LSU v Texas Tech Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

LSU fired 12-year head football coach Les Miles at the end of September. While the Tigers have gotten off to a 3-0 start under interim replacement Ed Orgeron, his predecessor has generally stayed quiet. But Miles doesn’t want to be off the grid forever, as he told Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel in an interview published Tuesday.

Miles has maintained since LSU fired him that he wants to coach more football. In his interview with Thamel, he explained how he might go about doing that, and it sounds like Miles is ready to be a different kind of coach than he was in Baton Rouge.

Miles’ LSU offenses didn’t change a lot over the years. While college football spread itself out and became more about tempo, Miles stuck with a powerful running game that had worked for the Tigers over the years. But he told Thamel he’s spent time studying more opened-up offenses at Baylor, Tulsa, and Western Michigan, and he signaled he won’t be locked into any particular style of play if he gets another job.

"The evolution is always based on where your best talent is,” Miles said. “I'm a guy that very comfortably sees the guys he has and can adapt. We can be gun run and throw 50 percent or more of the time. I can be very comfortable with a Cam Newton-style of player at quarterback. Or we can have a guy more comfortable back in the pocket. The reason we've had longevity is that we've had the ability to evolve and we will always evolve."

How adaptive Miles’ LSU teams were is open for debate.

None of his LSU teams ever came even close to throwing 50 percent of the time, so doing so would mark a massive stylistic change.

On one hand, it would’ve been odd to throw that much with running backs like Joseph Addai, Stevan Ridley, and Leonard Fournette on the roster, and with pedestrian quarterbacks in a lot of Miles’ years at LSU.

On the other hand, LSU had some brilliant receivers during Miles’ tenure. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry were both prolific in 2013 but not nearly as heavily targeted in other years. NFLers like Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Lafell, and Rueben Randle had good-to-great seasons, but having them didn’t suddenly turn LSU into a passing team.

Miles was who he was at LSU, for better or worse. His way worked for a long time and eventually went stale, as things in this sport tend to do.

But the idea of a Miles team emulating a Baylor or a Tulsa is pretty interesting.

Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery is an Art Briles disciple, and his Golden Hurricane are 12th nationally in points per game. Miles will also make trips to NFL facilities in the coming weeks to “continue gathering strategy and ideas,” Thamel writes.

There are a lot of ways to score points in college football, and a different approach could work for Miles.

I think it’s doubtful we’ll ever see a Miles-coached team try to win games by out-sprinting the opposition in track meets. Away from LSU, he’ll have a hard time recruiting the caliber of athlete to execute such a strategy, anyway. That’s part of why Miles doesn’t make great sense at a place like Purdue.

But seeing where a new approach takes Miles, whatever that approach is, would be a story well worth watching.