Local coaches excited about new LSU football coach

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 5, 2005


Sports Editor

People need air to breath, fish need water to live and plants need sun to survive.

College football coaches can’t survive without high school football.

LSU named former Oklahoma State head coach Les Miles their new head football coach Monday afternoon. Miles replaces Nick Saban, who left to become head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Home to some of the best high school football in the State of Louisiana, the River Region area head football coaches are excited about the new hire at the state university.

“I think the guy has a nice track record,” St. Charles Catholic head coach Frank Monica said. “Les is going to be a good choice.

A former assistant at Tulane, Miles said he knows what Saban’s former assistants are going through in terms of their future at LSU.

“It depends on the relationship that you have with the departing head coach,” Monica said. “If he has mentioned that he is going to take you with him, I think you will feel very secure about that. On the flip side, if he is not, you are in limbo.”

A member of both college and high school staffs, Monica knows how important the relationship is between the college head coach and the state high schools.

“I think having a good relationship is important because we all want the guy to recruit our players,” Monica said. “We want him to stay within the state. They are going to get most of the kids that they want. They just have to make the right selection.

“I think that it is very important that he steps on campus, that he sees us and we have a positive working relationship. In the past that has not been a problem because they realize that their lifeline is recruiting.”

While the head coach is key, Monica said perhaps the most important decision is who the new head coach will hire as his assistants.

“Absolutely,” Monica said. “Because the head coach is only allowed to visit one time. Those assistants can come once a week and it is very important that you have a relationship with them. It’s not the general out in the trenches, it is his solders.”

With signing day less than two months away Monica feels LSU can still have a solid recruiting class.

“They can still have a super class,” Monica said. “Most college players understand that you will probably not have the same head coach for your tenure at the school. Kids have to make their choices because of the school. The coach is important, but the decision has to be made because of the school.”

When Gerry DiNardo was named LSU’s 30th head football coach, the legend is that he left his press conference and headed to Carencro to try and sign Kevin Faulk. Many expect the same thing to happen with Miles, this time with East St. John quarterback Ryan Perrilloux.

With the head coach’s official visit already used, ESJ head coach Larry Dauterive said it will not be easy for the Tigers’ new head coach.

“Their (LSU coaching staff) first business after the press conference is to probably get in touch with Ryan,” Dautervie said. “The thing is though that Les can’t come here. Saban already burnt that visit. The institution is allowed only one visit by the head coach and LSU has already used that.

“I’m going to have to get Ryan to LSU or he will have to ride over there if the interest is still there and I’m sure it will be. He will just have to go himself.”

Dauterive said he looks forward to working with the new LSU head coach.

“My first impression when I met him when he was recruiting a former player was great,” Dauterive said. “I felt really at home when he came in. You could tell that he was very confident in himself, but he was not all caught up in his own glory.

“I think he is real. That is the main thing. I don’t think that there is anything plastic about him.”

He also said he realizes the challenge that the new head coach will face.

“I have more respect for him today because most people want to take a job that is in the rebuilding stage,” Dauterive said. “A lot of people are scared off from a job of this magnitude where they are one year off a National Championship and coming off of a 9-3 season. That would obviously scare a lot of people off.

“He obviously has a lot of confidence in himself and his ability to do the job. I think the main thing that high school coaches are going to find is he is very accessible.”