You get an athletic director who panics and fires off an open letter to season-ticket holders, promising to hold accountable a national championship coach who has won 50 games faster than any coach in school history while navigating the toughest conference in the game.
You get a coach with the best record in school history for any coach over his first five seasons defending the indefensible: crackpots on talk radio screaming for his job, and deep-pocket boosters who know more football than the coach with the diamond national championship ring on his finger.
"Let me tell you about the hot seat," Miles said Friday before climbing to the podium at SEC Media Days to hear more about how he was under fire. "We've been on the hot seat since the day we got here."
Here, everyone, is the evolution of Miles on the hot seat: Joe Alleva, the LSU athletic director, fired off his state of the program letter five days after Alabama — and, of course, former LSU coach Nick Saban — won the national championship. Alleva declared that LSU's nine-win season was "nice," but that "nice is not our annual goal."
"We intend to contend for — and win — championships at LSU," Alleva wrote.
That letter came two years after LSU gave Miles a record contract extension, and about two months to the day after the Tigers lost at Ole Miss because of poor clock management — and the complaining from the vocal minority began.
Instead of ignoring it, Alleva threw gas on a grease fire with his letter, proclaiming he would personally work with Miles to "evaluate and improve all aspects of our football program."
Look, maybe it's just me, but a guy who has won two BCS bowls in five years, who has 18 wins over Top 25 teams (eight over Top 10 teams), whose recruiting classes have finished among the top seven in the nation four times, has a pretty good handle on it.
Miles was more subdued Friday when speaking of his job security, saying only that he was "preparing my team for victory." But last month in Destin, Fla., during the SEC spring meetings, Miles told Sporting News that hot seat talk was "crazy."
"Without tooting your own horn," Miles said, "when you're the winningest coach in your first five years at the school you're currently coaching, you enjoy that. You get a certain understanding of the accomplishments that have been made."
Unless, that is, you're among the nattering nabobs of negativism who criticize Miles because he's not Saban, or because Alabama got Saban, or because SEC officials blew a call against LSU that took away an interception from Patrick Peterson and cost the Tigers a chance to beat Saban and the Tide.
"It just doesn't make sense," Peterson said. "How can you have a coach who has accomplished what he has on the hot seat?"
Quick update for those nuts on parade: Saban won 48 games in his first five seasons at LSU. Miles has 51.
"Winning championships is the only point and direction of this program," Miles said.
Maybe the coach and the athletic director are on the same page after all.
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Penn State football coach and 2012 National Coach of the Year shares the challenges in turning around a program shattered by scandal. Real Sports premieres Tuesday, May 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
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