After two years away from coaching, Les Miles is back on the sideline as Kansas football's head coach. On Monday, he took the podium in Arlington, Texas for 2019 Big 12 media days.
Here's everything the new Jayhawks coach said at Monday's session. Click here for the full ASAP Sports transcript.
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by Coach Les Miles. Coach, welcome to the Big 12 and thoughts about the upcoming season?
LES MILES: First of all, I would like to say how much I am enjoying my reacquaintance with the Big 12. I was privileged enough to be the Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach in this conference and the special group of teams that you have and I'm glad to be here.
I can also say being in this stadium with the tradition that I have with the Dallas Cowboys makes me smile. I like to see how this Dallas Cowboy team has always been about the community. I know that there is an issue that we must discuss so let me get to it if you will. First of all, there is no proper way to put it, there is no violence, violence will not be accepted with women, period.
Action was taken immediately. We felt like a strong point was the made not only with Pooka Williams Jr. but with the team. For seven and a half months Pooka was going through a process and he didn't have the opportunity to spend time with his team, go to the weight room, you know, just be a part. Pooka went through legal investigation with the legal community. Pooka also had a proceedings that went through the conduct board at the university, and he basically understood very much that if he did not meet the criteria that the board asked that this would not last long and he really met every criteria that he could. He has taken responsibility. He's been remorseful. He's learned from this experience as has our team. We're thankful to have him back, and, again, no violence against a woman is okay. I did not make this decision, but I stand by it and see it as a right one.
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Now, I would like to deviate from that and mention that the reason that I am in coaching is to have the opportunity to take these young men, like the ones that we brought today, and prepare them, take them to the field and play games and play for championships. That is still very much what I want to do. These are the kind of kids that 81% graduation rate at Kansas is a tremendous positive. The 2.81 GPA overall for the football team is a tremendous positive. The defense.
When I came in I did not know how capable this team was going to be, but I see that there is a very strong athletic base and a real capable football team in Lawrence. On defense it's got great speed. We're going from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and it's going to be a fast-paced, in-your-face style. We have a veteran secondary. We will put a very, very capable defense on the field. Offensively Thomas MacVittie and Carter Stanley will be the place we start at quarterback. We think both men have that opportunity to step to the field and give us great or good quarterback play.
Special teams, Preseason All-Conference punter, Kyle Thompson, kicker Liam Jones and several other candidates there, so I like my team. Any questions?
Q. Les, I'm just wondering, as far as offenses go is the Big 12 going to change your offense or are you going to change the way the Big 12 plays?
LES MILES: Yeah, I think what we're going to do is the things that our team can do. I've always made a point, you know, doesn't do you any good to say the style of offense you're going to run if you don't have those style of players.
I think we will have the opportunity to throw the football and run the football with balance. I think our talent is there. We will have to see.
Q. Les, if the Kansas people want hope they probably should look at what you did at OSU. How would you compare your inheritance at KU to that of OSU in '01?
LES MILES: I think we have a better talent base here at Kansas than I had when I went with Oklahoma State. I can tell you the things that happened. We were allowed to recruit to a very significant number at Oklahoma State, recruited very well to start. I think that's the same thing here. I think we will recruit well, over time, and I think you will see that this Kansas team is much more talented than their record shows.
𝐑𝐎𝐂𝐊 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐋𝐊 𝐨𝐧 𝟑... 📸 pic.twitter.com/hpnmAj46Lf— Kansas Football (@KU_Football) July 15, 2019
Q. With your experience building that program which you just talked about in Stillwater, what's the balance for you between winning games, winning at all costs, versus building a culture at a place like Kansas?
LES MILES: It's all about culture. It's all about team. It's all about wanting to be a dominant player rather than a player. I think these guys are hungry. I think they've had a great summer. I think they're ready to put a quality team on the field, and I think there will be some similarities in that Oklahoma State experience.
Q. Coach, in 2007 Kansas was able to work their way into the BCS, win an Orange Bowl. How many years do you think you need to start competing for a New Year's Six?
LES MILES: That was a 12-1 Kansas football team in a year when LSU won the national championship. I watched that Kansas team as a potential if we could have possibly got 'em into the playoff mix. They looked really good. They looked athletic. The quarterback was a tremendous asset to them, and having seen that and had that experience and then playing there at Oklahoma State always led me to believe that that football team or that school could have a great football team.
Q. At a tender age of 65 you're back in the game and your fellow Mack Brown is back and how strong was that coaching bug to get back in and how did you spend your time on Saturday afternoons?
LES MILES: Last few years on Saturday afternoons, my eldest daughter who is here, we would run from bedroom to bedroom and living room to den to see different games that were played and talking about decisions that were made, and, you know, it put me in a constant touch with the game I truly love. The actual love for the bug, I don't think I've every felt better in my life than when I took a team to the field and my family, two sons play college football, the eldest who is here swam for Texas and the youngest just was a part of a very good team, great team and won a state championship in fast softball. For me, it wasn't stay home to be with the family. It was go get yourself a good job, go out there and go win some games and we will be right alongside and that's one of the reasons.
Q. What big changes are going to be made to increase offensive production this year?
LES MILES: Well, I don't know what the offensive production was a year ago. I can just tell you they didn't score enough to win games, okay? The key piece to this is how do you play to win with your talent. If you have quarterbacks like I think we have, I like our receiving core, we're going to throw the football. Obviously if we have a great running back or two we're going to run the football. So it would seem that we would be a team that would be balanced, run and pass. I think we will take it to the field and see what we have and then make those adjustments as we go.
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Q. Coach, I want to ask you about this stint. However long it lasts, how will you look back on your Kansas tenure and define success?
LES MILES: I'm looking at the next game we get to play. I'm not really ready to define my success over time. But I can tell you this: I look at it really one season at a time, spring ball, I look at it in the summertime. I want to make sure our team is improving in the summer and when we go to summer camp, the things that we're going to run we're going to run in the games and I guess what I'm saying is that I'm looking at it one game at a time and I'm not looking way down the road and I enjoy where I'm at.
Q. In the short time that you've had this job as the coach of the University of Kansas what are the challenges you have faced and what are the benefits of being the coach at KU?
LES MILES: The opportunity to sell some real credentials academically in recruiting is one of those real positives at Kansas. It's a great school, great curriculum, business, engineering, a school where a football team can graduate at 81 percent and have a GPA at 2.81. I just want you to know, there's a place where the credential of the degree is attainable and the opportunity for them to have this degree kind of launch their career is there. So I think the college decision should always be at some point in time, academic. You're doing a great job in the classroom and having the opportunity to graduate the guys we're recruiting.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you. Best of luck to you on the season.
LES MILES: Thank you very much.