Success can be achieved in multiple ways — just look at Mark Richt and Les Miles.
The two Southeastern Conference head coaches display contrasting personalities, but both have mirrored success in their 13 years of coaching experience.
Miles, who was the head coach of Oklahoma State for four years and is now in his ninth season as No. 6 LSU’s (4-0, 1-0 SEC) head coach, holds an overall record of 117-42 and is most known for his motivational skills and eccentric personality.
On numerous occasions Miles has gone off on emotional, almost psychotic, tirades in front of the media, letting his mouth run and curse words fly — something much different than that of Richt.
Richt, the head coach of the No. 9 Bulldogs (2-1, 1-0) for the past 13 years, presents an overall record of 120-41, and is recognized for his calm, cool demeanor on the field and in front of reporters.
Regardless of the drastic differences in coaching style, both coaches have had great success with their respective teams, and have a 2-2 record when matching up against each other with Miles winning the most recent matchup 42-10 in the 2011 SEC Championship game.
“Coaches are different in their own way and obviously both have been successful doing it their own way,” senior safety Connor Norman said.
In this today’s stage of football it seems that fans are more geared toward the motivational style of coaching displayed by Miles, and in the past fans have constantly criticized Richt for his cooling manner.
But not Georgia players. Certain Bulldogs explained how they gain confidence from Richt’s calm manner, and believe in the way their head coach carries and motivates his team.
“I feel like if you’ve been around football enough you don’t say that kind of stuff because you kind of know that everyone has a different personality and everyone has a different way of motivating,” junior wide receiver Michael Bennett said. “That’s coach Richt’s way and it works.”
Fans only see Richt on Saturdays, but according to Jordan Jenkins, there’s a side of Richt that most of the world will never see within private settings.
“Coach Richt can’t get pretty feisty. People think he doesn’t show emotion, but can get pretty amped up and fired up,” he said. “I feel like last week, me and Christian LeMay were talking about the pre-game speech he gave when we watched an inspirational video. That was just one of coach Richt’s, we thought that was one of his better speeches in the past year or two. I really got pumped up from that. I know it wasn’t a top-10 team, but they were still a good team, and it got me really pumped up after hearing that speech.”
Despite the drastic differences between coaching styles, there are similarities between that lie between the two successful SEC programs.
“I think certainly both schools have their similarities and their differences,” Miles told LSU reporters on Monday. “Yeah, I can imagine that somebody could make some comparisons. I'm just so comfortable in this (indiscernible) that it's hard for me to figure it any other way.”
“It's not likely for me to want to wear red. It's just not going to happen.”
Although Miles won’t wear the colors of his opponent, Miles and Richt run a similar offense. Both coaches have stayed away from the ever-evolving spread offense, and have continued to demonstrate a physical pro-style package.
“We like to play physical as well, we like to run the ball, we’re not a spread team, we’re not trying to get everybody out in space, although we have some elements of that,” Richt said. “We have elements of going high tempo, but we have ways to use formations and sets to take an advantage of something without having to go fast. I think we’re pretty diverse in that way, but we do try to play with a physical brand of football and if you don’t, if you can’t match up physically, you’re going to get beat down.”
Two similar teams, and two contrasting personalities will match up on Saturday in a contest between two top-10 opponents, and two successful coaches that have been at it for a long time.
“I think just to be a head coach for 13 years, I don’t think it’s been 13 years straight at LSU, but I guess he’s been a head coach for 13 years or whatever it is, but to be able to last as long as he has at his school, and me at my school in this league, you’ve certainly had enough success to keep going,” Richt said.