Two men stood in the Georgia Dome in the fourth quarter of what would be Georgia State’s 23-20 loss to Charlotte on Friday, saying the same thing over and over, “Goodbye, Miles.”
They were, of course, talking about Trent Miles, the coach of the Panthers whose record fell to 1-24 with Friday’s demoralizing defeat to a third-year program that now has one more FBS win than does Georgia State.
Social media was just as unkind as the two men, with some Georgia State fans calling for athletic director Charlie Cobb to fire the football coach. Others said they are through with the program, which carries a little bit of weight because once again there weren’t a lot of people at Friday’s game.
I asked Miles how he was going to try to shield the players from what could become an overwhelming and paralyzing distraction of his future should the losses continue.
“Sticking with what we do and working hard,” he said. “We don’t talk about our team on social media. There’s always going to be something negative.
“We will continue to go to work to help these kids have a better life and become better football players. Will do that as long as we are supposed to.”
I’m not going to ask Cobb about Miles’ future after one game. There are still 11 to play. Besides, Cobb said before the season that winning games is a measurement of progress.
Unfortunately for Miles and his players, this was one of a very few winnable games. Next week at New Mexico State is also one. But if the Panthers’ offense doesn’t play better than it did against the 49ers it likely won’t matter.
Miles’ contract ends after the 2017 season. It could have been extended after the 2014 season but wasn’t. It still could if the football fortunes turn.
Miles has a base salary of $463,500 this year. If he is fired without cause after the season, he will be owed 50 percent of his remaining base salary over the next two years plus his appearance stipend ($50,000). So, Miles would be owed approximately $513,500.
Safety Bobby Baker was asked if he felt like the team was playing for Miles’ job. He said he felt like each player was playing for his job each week, the implication being if they do that then the coaches’ jobs shouldn’t be in jeopardy. It was a polished answer.