Les Miles describes his ‘hard’ Saturday away from the Jayhawks

photo by: Associated Press

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, left, and Kansas head coach Les Miles talk before an NCAA college football game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Les Mies has basically seen it all in his 200-plus games as a head college football coach. But the 66-year-old was out of his element this past Saturday, when his Kansas football team kicked off a road game at West Virginia, and Miles was some 900 miles away, back at home watching the game play out on his television.

“It was very difficult for me to do that. I sat there — I didn’t sit there, I stood and took notes. It was hard,” Miles said of skipping the game because the end of his COVID-19 isolation came so close to the Jayhawks’ trip to WVU. “The right thing in my opinion, absolutely. But a difficult morning.”

Miles shared Monday during the Big 12 coaches teleconference that he considered in advance of the WVU game calling in to speak with his players during halftime. But because that 20-minute intermission is for coaches to put together plays and strategies, Miles decided to let his staff handle it.

“It would’ve taken time and energy away from the direct path toward adjustment,” Miles said.

The conversations KU’s second-year head coach did have with assistants were ongoing, he revealed, up until about an hour before kickoff.

“It was an interesting position to be in for me,” Miles explained. “I had never been in anything like that. This virus is giving us opportunities that we don’t want.”

The minor symptoms Miles experienced while recovering from COVID, he said, included a headache that minimized during his time isolating.

“We’re doing pretty good,” he said of his status Monday morning, a few days after doctors cleared him to leave isolation.

According to Miles, he still has “no understanding” of how he contracted COVID-19 or where he was when it happened. He wondered aloud if a bus ride before the Oklahoma State game on Oct. 3 had anything to do with it.

Miles noted none of KU’s assistants or staff members had the virus at the time he tested positive, so it wasn’t through contact with any of them that he became ill. Miles also mentioned some undisclosed number of them had the virus previously, long before he dealt with his bout.

“I did not see the course, how COVID and I got together,” Miles said.

KU’s head football coach described his past couple of weeks as a real lesson.

“The more that you put your shield down or you take your mask down, the more likely you are to end up with COVID,” Miles advised, recommending that everyone follow COVID-19 guidelines.

By Sunday, Miles was back at KU’s offices, working his normal routine and preparing for this Saturday’s road game at Kansas State.

Before further addressing his players at their Monday meeting, Miles said his primary message to the Jayhawks had been: “Wish I was with you.”


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