'Spectacular' KU football fans greet Les Miles for first 'Hawk Talk'

Miles expects KU to have 15 players in 2019 signing class

Newly-hired Kansas head football coach Les Miles sits next to his wife, Kathy, as they listen to Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long tell a story about hiring Miles during the "Hawk Talk" radio show on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Johnny's West in Lawrence. Miles was announced as the head coach earlier in the day.

When new University of Kansas football coach Les Miles emerged from the kitchen inside Johnny’s Tavern West on Sunday night, approximately 350 fans welcomed him to Lawrence with 30 seconds worth of cheers and applause.

On his first evening on the job, Miles and his family were hustled across town following his introductory press conference so that he could sit down and talk KU football on the team’s weekly radio show, “Hawk Talk.”

The reception from the crowd, described by Hanni as the largest in the show's history, didn’t surprise Miles, though, even though he had only been in the state of Kansas since 10 a.m.

“The following is spectacular,” Miles said as he sat in between the show’s hosts, Brian Hanni and David Lawrence. “I see it everywhere I go. It’s in the buildings. It’s when you stop for gas. It’s everywhere. It’s pretty special.”

Miles said such enthusiasm for the program will help as he attempts to make a difference and, as KU Athletic Director Jeff Long likes to put it, break the cycle.

“We’re going to hire the type of staff,” Miles added, “that will make a change.”

Miles’ first recruiting class

Earlier in the evening, during his press conference with Long, Miles said he would “really get after” assembling his staff on Monday.

The new KU coach will need to do so quickly, too, a month out from college football’s early signing period.

As of Sunday, the Jayhawks have just one commitment in place for their 2019 class — a longstanding pledge from two-star running back Cole Mueller (Wentzville, Mo.).

Related document

Les Miles contract with KU ( .PDF )

Miles told the Journal-World during a separate interview session that he was aware of KU’s situation, not only in terms of the lack of commitments in place, but also the limited number of scholarships he and his staff will have to offer, before signing his five-year contract.

Miles expects KU’s 2019 signing class will have about 15 players — 10 shy of the NCAA maximum of 25.

Over the past few years, David Beaty and his staff have utilized blueshirts, athletes who don’t sign letters of intent but join the program on scholarship and count toward the following year’s recruiting class. That strategy is finally catching up with KU.

When Miles watched the Jayhawks’ Saturday loss at Oklahoma, though, he felt encouraged about the future.

“I really think they’re close,” Miles told the Journal-World. “I think they need a good, quality recruiting class. I mean, really one. If you can put in the style of team, the kind of recruits that you have in specific needs, you’re going to be a good football team.”

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Can that be accomplished with only 15 to give?

“Fifteen might do it,” Miles said. “It’s a decent number.”

Assembling staff

While no members of Miles’ first staff at Kansas have been announced at this juncture, the coach indicated he had coordinators and assistants in mind. Plus, he plans to interview every member of Beaty’s staff to see if any of them would fit into his plans.

Miles didn’t offer a specific timeline for completing his staff, but the idea is to make it happen as quickly as possible.

“The reception that we have had as we polled some of the key candidates was very strong,” Miles said, adding that he would touch base with coordinators first, shrink the list of candidates and go see them or bring them to Lawrence to start the hiring process.

“As soon as you finish with the coordinators, you take up the assistant coaches really very quickly,” he said, adding position coaches will likely come from a pool of candidates who already know the coordinators well and/or have strong reputations in specific recruiting areas.

Comments

Dirk Medema

The existing coaches have a chance and we aren't far away but then neither is the early signing period. This should be a fun few weeks.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Brian Wilson

Miles will get whom ever he wants for coaches. But I do hope he keeps Hull..<br><br>
Glad to hear that Miles letting everyone know that a class of 15 is enough. It proves that Beaty is not leaving KU in worse shape. You can only have 85 scholarships. It is impossible to recruit 25 scholarship players every year because it is not allowed. The average number of scholarship recruits is 21.<br><br>
What this really tells you is KU and Miles already have enough players for next year and we actually need to hold a little back. It's time to recruit some quality and not quantity. If he recruits 15 this year while holding back 3 scholarships, next year KU will be in position to recruit a full 25 players his second year around and redshirt a bunch of them. Beaty never had this luxury. Miles inherits what looks to be more than 50 Seniors and Juniors along with some young talent like Pooka. Comparatively, Beaty had less than 25 Seniors and Juniors and anybody that was any good was chased out of town.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Eric Eakins

I hope Hull and Bowen get considered as well as the Oline coach. For the first time in a decade the Oline has improved significantly from start of season with Saturday being their peak against OU. O freaking U. That deserves an ovation. Hopefully a similar curtain call against Texas.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Bee Bee

They gave up 55. Coach needs his own people.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Chris DeWeese

I have to agree. I think it's time to say goodbye to Clint Bowen. I think we need fresh ideas and a new perspective. I appreciate all the hard work Clint has put into the KU football program, but his defenses just can't keep up.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Stephen Johnson

We know OU is a terrible offensive team. They put 66 on Baylor, 63 on Florida Atlantic, 52 on TCU and 51 on K-State and Texas Tech. 48 points on Texas and Okie State. How embarrassing that with our superior athletes Bowen allowed OU to score 55. Seriously Bee Bee do a little research.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Waylon Cook

You realize OU gives that up to everyone(except Kstate)?

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Eric Eakins

Exactly my point, everyone who has a legit D1 Oline does that. On Saturday we had a legit D1 Oline. Previous years we didn't do anything close to that. Considering we didn't have a spring game because we had no Oline I am very impressed. Maybe not a good mix for Miles or he has someone better in mind and if so, so be it but the Oline deserves props for this year considering all the crap we have given them in the past. FYI, OU is giving up on average 143 yards rushing per game before the 348 yards to KU. RCJH

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Jim Keen

We ordered 2019 season tickets this morning.
Rock Chalk!

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Jim Stauffer

I have some sentimental attachment to Bowen. Hull seems to offer a very specific value with the NO connection. And Ricker has done an excellent job in the time he has had. Those three, I feel for. Don't know if they make it or not, but wishing them success in the future somewhere if not here.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Brett McCabe

Jim Keen: We did the same last night.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Dennis Strick

I'm proud of your return to the fold Brett McCabe. A believer again. You will not be disappointed in your decision.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Jim Keen

We have a 1200 mile drive from Maryland. So, we'll only make it for a couple games. I figure by early October we'll be filling the stadium and be able to sell our unused tickets at scalper prices. :) POSITIVE THINKING! ;)

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Dennis Strick

Sorry but it is time for Clint Bowen to move on. We need a fresh set of eyes on the D side of the ball. He always does this. Fills our heads with hope only to take 3 steps backwards a few games later or it takes his D 6 games to "Figure It Out" We don't have time for that and we now have one of the best D minds in College Football so lets all thank Coach Bowen and send him off the head coach a DII program.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Eric Eakins

I wouldn't want Bowen to stay as coordinator but as a position coach or some other capacity that he found a spot fulfilling if he loves KU that much and is willing to take a step back just to remain in Lawrence. If he is not willing to take a step back then he needs to move on as suggested IMO. But Miles opinion is what matters now and I'm very happy for that.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Brent Shipley

I would support this.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Chris DeWeese

Agreed

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Robert Brock

Bowen will be fine. He will likely have no trouble landing a DC job somewhere - just probably not at a P5 program.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Brent Shipley

I agree its time for Clint Bowen to move on. He has done some good but there are lots of times his D looks out of place or just terrible.

Les is one of the best defensive minds in coaching. Cant wait to see what he brings in for coaches.

Also what is the status of the "Raise the Chant" upgrades that were all the talk last year? I haven't seen anything in terms of the renovation or upgrades to the stadium in a long time.

Curious if Les asked about putting real grass in?

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Gary McCullough

I don't understand the Bowen haters here. Jeez, guys, we are 3rd in the nation in turnover margin. What the heck do you want from him? His defense has gone up against some of the best offenses in the nation and done as well as can be expected to given the amount of time the offense has left them on the field. AND he loves the University as much as anyone! I think we should keep Bowen and Hull.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Herb Derpson

Agreed. Our defense looks bad at times because our offense can't stay on the field long enough to give them a breather. By the 2nd half they are worn out and have no chance at that point

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Brent Shipley

Don't hate the man but we are bringing one of the best defensive coaches in recent history in. Let him change it up if needed.

Its hard to know how good of job Bowen does or can do because there are so many times our D is on the field for long stretches and we don't have the best talent in the world. But there have been multiple times that I watch and wounder why we are in this formation or what is his thinking on these plays or why isn't he changing up the play calls. Sure its easy to sit back and second guess or complain but after awhile we need something new. Sure he loves this university but that shouldn't guarantee the guy a job,

Turnovers sure we are doing good on both sides of the football, but how about yards given up or yards per play? We rank 111th in yards per play given up. As well as 93rd in the Nation in yards per game. How can y'all justify bringing this back?

Hell even if we can stop them on first and second down we give up 45.53% of third down conversions and that puts us 113th in the Nation.

Come on now.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Brian Jahelka

What could Bowen do with some tutelage from Miles and some better players? I think that is the real question. I wouldn't be heartbroken if Les didn't keep Clint on staff, but it would be cool to retain him at some capacity on the sideline. The guy bleeds Crimson and Blue.

Of course, I have some extra sentiment for him, cause he played while I was at KU. And when I asked my wife to marry me, he was sitting at a table near us, saw what was going on, and had a round of drinks and a desert sent over to our table. Classy dude!

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Brent Shipley

See I would like him to stay on but not as the D cord but another maybe a position coach to learn more. Guy is a Jayhawk.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Jim Keen

It was a pleasure watching highlights of the Notre Dame/BC game played on the GRASS at Yankee Stadium this past weekend. Yes.... lets plant grass. And, while we're at it, dig out and lower the playing field another 30 feet and put another several thousand seats in the stands (with stadium chairs).

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Kevin Robert Fest

In sorry but the days if wide open receivers and l mean no defender within 20 yards and gaps big enough to drive a truck through have to be over. Some defensive players are here years making the same mistake as year 1. Goid bye. Need a new voice

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Waylon Cook

Keeping Bowen is the definition of insanity. Had no clue we had this many addicts as posters on here!

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Layne Pierce

Frankly, let's all back off, and let Mr. Miles make the decision.

Bowen is not as bad as some think, but the real question is, why would he stay. For one thing
his defensive philosophy will have to really mesh with what Coach Les wants and expects, and
career wise, does it make sense for him to take a step down, or should he get a job on at least the same level, somewhere else.

When Clint gets it finally organized, the defense is not terrible, but it is not good enough.
One thing you can expect to see from Les Miles is field discipline, that is, if you are not carrying out your assignments properly, somebody else is going to be taking your place. This is something that Beatty and Bowen, refused to instill. At some point they were not playing to win, but only to lose gracefully.

Les Miles did not win that many games without an idea of what really needs to happen. Those nearly 10,000 hours are going to really pay dividends for us.

This atmosphere right now, the resurgence of hope, and the belief that we can really do it, if we want, reminds me of when Monte Johnson hired Larry Brown, there were skeptics then, also, but both men are masters of their craft.

Let's all be skeptical, but constructive, and put some trust in the man.
Rome was not built in a day, and after all we spent nearly ten years building the outhouse that we have now.
RCJH

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Jeff Coffman

I posted about retention basically the following:

1) Riddick - The offensive line coach. Remember the spring game, that's right, we didn't have it because we didn't have a line. Oh how about the starting center. That's right he didn't exist and there wasn't one. The OL coach took a hodgepodge of pieces and has made something work. 350 plus yards against OU and not one sack is a steady improvement on the season. I'm not saying to keep him, but he would be on my list as a first choice. His first year at KU shows he can do something with the KU recruits.

2) Miller - I know a lot of people say Bowen. Bowen has been horrible for four years. We add Miller back to the team, and as people have pointed out, our defense has improved on turnover margin and a few other areas. I still think the defense isn't good, but I would say he was the key difference. I don't think Bowen was the key. Les knows defense, see SEC, and he will have his own ideas. I would not keep Bowen in any capacity.

3) Hull - I'm not a huge fan, I know he has recruited in Louisiana fairly well base don his high school days, but I guarantee that Louisiana folks know the name Les Miles very well and he has some deep roots there. The key is Kansas greater area and Texas. I think Louisiana is expendable from the current staff.

I think Les knows how to get a staff together and I think the offensive coordinator will be his most important hire. When he was starting to get heat at LSU it was because he wasn't creative enough on offense and he liked his guy. Ultimately, if he hires a good OC, we will be fine.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Jack Hoff

Lol the Offensive line coaches' name is Ricker not Riddick. He has done a very good job in my opinion as well! The line has clearly made strides this season!

Bowen definitely gets a lot of heat and I believe it's unwarranted. KU had a top 5 defense going into the Oklahoma game and is among the best in the nation in takeaways. When things go bad we blame Bowen, when things are good we credit Miller. Totally unfair. This defense has played well! That doesn't mean he should stay on staff but the idea that he is a bad coach to me is outrageous and if we are wanting to win over Kansas recruits, I can't think of more people I would want on my staff than Bowen.

Lastly, with a straight face.. you're saying you're not a fan of Hull? Let's not forget he is the running backs coach and that entire group has been among the best performers all season! He can recruit! He's intelligent! What more do you want! Hull brings a lot more than just being from Louisiana. Rockchalk!

3 weeks, 5 days ago

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