SEC

Six days before facing Missouri, LSU fires football coach Les Miles

LSU fired head football coach Les Miles on Sunday, one day after the Tigers’ heartbreaking 18-13 loss at Auburn. Missouri plays at LSU at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Baton Rouge, La. Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron will serve as LSU’s interim head coach.
LSU fired head football coach Les Miles on Sunday, one day after the Tigers’ heartbreaking 18-13 loss at Auburn. Missouri plays at LSU at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Baton Rouge, La. Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron will serve as LSU’s interim head coach. The Associated Press

Les Miles won’t be stalking the sidelines Saturday when Missouri visits LSU for its inaugural appearance in Baton Rouge, La.

Miles — who was 114-34 in 12 seasons as LSU’s coach, including a 62-28 record in the Southeastern Conference — was fired Sunday along with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. The Advocate newspaper first reported Miles’ ouster.

“Decisions like this are never easy ones to make,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in a statement from the university. “Coach Miles has done a tremendous job here and he’s been a great ambassador for our University, which makes this even more difficult. However, it’s apparent in evaluating the program through the first month of the season that a change has to be made.”

Mizzou plays at LSU at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, the program’s first trip to “Death Valley.”

LSU lost a heartbreaker Saturday at Auburn, when a game-winning touchdown was overturned by replay review in the closing seconds of an 18-13 loss. Time had expired before the snap to quarterback Danny Etling on the final play.

Miles, 62, was nearly fired after the 2015 season. LSU started 7-0 before a three-game losing skid against Alabama (30-16), Arkansas (31-14) and Mississippi (38-17).

It was the program’s first three-game losing streak since 1999 and its first three-game skid by at least 10 points in each game since 1966.

LSU won its regular-season finale 19-7 against Texas A&M and Miles was carried off the field as the 101,803 fans at LSU Stadium chanted his name.

That was enough to save Miles’ job, but only for 10 months.

LSU entered the season ranked No. 5 in The Associated Press preseason poll and was considered a College Football Playoff contender, but the Tigers are 2-2 after dropping the season opener against Wisconsin at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., and the Auburn loss.

Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron will serve as LSU’s interim coach.

“Our commitment to excellence and competing at the highest level is unwavering, and our goals for the remainder of this season haven’t changed,” Alleva said. “We have an obligation to our student-athletes to put them in the best position to have success on the football field each week and we have great confidence that coach Orgeron will do just that.”

Orgeron, 55, is a Louisiana native and previously served as Mississippi’s head coach during 2005-07 and as Southern California’s interim head coach in 2013.

He was 10-25 with the Rebels, including a 3-21 record in conference play.

Orgeron’s Ole Miss teams lost 34-7 at Missouri in 2006 and 38-25 against the Tigers in 2007 in Oxford, Miss.

Orgeron led the Trojans to a 6-2 record in 2013 after Lane Kiffin was fired, but he did not get the job full-time and instead landed at LSU on Miles’ staff.

Miles, who reportedly will receive a $12.9 million buyout, led LSU to an SEC crown and BCS National Championship in 2007, his third season with the program.

He also led the SEC-champion Tigers to the BCS title game in 2011, losing to Alabama in a rematch of a regular-season game won by LSU.

During nine of the previous 11 seasons under Miles, LSU finished the season nationally ranked, including five top-10 finishes, but the program hasn’t finished a season higher than 12th in the AP or USA Today coaches’ polls since 2011.

LSU is 12-10 in its last 22 games against Power Five teams and 4-5 in the last nine games, with a 6-8 record against SEC West opponents since the start of 2014.

Cameron’s offense ranked 110th in scoring offense at 21 points per game, 111th in total offense at 339.5 yards per game and 119th in passing offense at 112.0 yards per game.

LSU — which owes Cameron six months’ salary under terms of his contract buyout, according to The Advocate — has yet to score in the fourth quarter this season, the only FBS team owning that distinction.

Tight ends coach Steve Ensminger will assume the role of offensive coordinator and LSU is expected to hire veteran defensive line coach Pete Jenkins, 75, to round out Orgeron’s staff.

Tod Palmer: 816-234-4389, @todpalmer

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