Former LSU coach Les Miles to attend UM-Indiana game

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Les Miles

Ann Arbor – Les Miles joked that these days he is busy trying to be busy.

With that in mind, Miles, fired in September as head coach at LSU where, in 11 full seasons he led the Tigers to a national championship and two Southeastern Conference titles, has added a trip to his alma mater with his free time.

Miles, who played offensive line for Bo Schembechler, lettering in 1974 and 1975, plans to attend Michigan’s final home game of the season against Indiana Nov. 19 at Michigan Stadium. He will be watching with wife, Kathy, who he met at Michigan while she was an assistant basketball coach and he was a graduate assistant (1980-81) for Schembechler.

“I’m going to see if I can find my M jacket,” Miles said laughing during a phone interview Wednesday with The Detroit News. “It may be a little snug.”

Miles’ name was prominently mentioned during Michigan’s recent coaching searches, including in 2014 when Jim Harbaugh was hired.

He is very pleased to see where Harbaugh, like Miles a former Michigan player, has taken the program in his second season. The Wolverines are No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings and is unbeaten heading into a night game at Iowa Saturday.

“I am thrilled with Jim Harbaugh,” Miles said. “I love what’s going on. He’s competitive, he fights and he’s teaching what he knows. I can’t be any happier.

“They have the opportunity to play for the college playoffs and that says something.”

The way Harbaugh has coached the Wolverines these last two seasons looks familiar to Miles.

“It’s being run the way Bo would have had it run,” Miles said. “The success is reminiscent of the success we had when Bo was here. I just know that Jim, I love the Block M hat he wears. You’ve got to understand something, for a guy who has worn a hat to cover my head my whole career, I could not be any more kin to that hat.”

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Miles hasn’t been to Ann Arbor since Schembechler’s funeral in 2006.

He hasn’t been in the stadium for a game since the early ‘80s and after that experience, he was done.

“I knew I would never sit in the stands in the game again, because everyone knew more than the greatest coach in the world on the field,” Miles said, referring to Schembechler.

For now, Miles is “busy trying to be busy” but he said he has more coaching to do.

“I’m not done climbing,” Miles said. “There has to be another championship out there I can win somewhere.”

Flexing the coaching muscles

Cornerback Channing Stribling was more than aware that he was lackluster in run support in the Michigan State game at the end of last month.

The Spartans had 217 rushing yards in large part because of Stribling’s failures, which he fully acknowledged.

Mike Zordich, who coaches the cornerbacks, said Stribling realized the errors and fixed it.

“And you keep building on it,” Zordich said Wednesday before practice.

But Zordich, for good measure, made sure Stribling knew his thoughts on what transpired.

“I probably didn’t have to, but I had to,” Zordich said, smiling. “He knew he was in the wrong. But I’m his coach. He needs to know from me, his coach, what he did right. There’s a time you pat him on the butt, and there’s times you let him know he’s wrong.”

Grading himself

Linebacker Mike McCray, after what he graded a B-level performance for himself in the Maryland game, decided to vent on Twitter last Sunday.

“Gotta be better. And I will. I promise that,” McCray, who overcame a knee issue to run down a Maryland player, tackling him before the goal line just at the end of the first half in the Wolverines’ 59-3 victory.

After practice Tuesday night, McCray admitted he probably shouldn’t have gone so public.

“When I posted it, I was like, ‘Dang, I shouldn’t have did that,’” McCray said. “But I just left it up.”

As usual, McCray watched the film after the game and gets input from his father, Mike, who was a linebacker and team captain at Ohio State.

achengelis@detroitnews.com

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Michigan at Iowa

Kick-off: 8 p.m. Saturday, Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa

TV/radio: ABC/WWJ

Records: 2 Michigan 9-0, (6-0 Big Ten), Iowa 5-4 (3-3)

Line: Michigan by 21½