Les Miles Defends Handling Of Pooka Williams Jr.

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Les Miles, back in the Big 12 for the first time since his final game as the head coach of Oklahoma State in 2004, spent the first portion of his opening remarks waxing poetic about the league—and the Dallas Cowboys—during his time at the podium on day one of 2019 Big 12 Media Days.

Item No. 2 on his agenda? Addressing the Pooka Williams situation.

Williams, who is unquestionably the most talented player in Miles’ locker room, after rushing for 1,125 yards and earning a first team All-Big 12 selection as a freshman last season, has been suspended from team activities since being arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic battery last December.

Last week, it was announced that Williams will be suspended one game—the Aug. 31 opener against Indiana State—before re-taking his spot in the Jayhawks’ backfield.

“Action was taken immediately,” Miles said. “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.”

Miles continued, explaining that Williams went through a legal investigation with “the legal community,” and also was required to go before the conduct board at Kansas.

“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,” Miles said. “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.”

Miles diverted from there, discussing his view than an 81 percent graduation rate at Kansas “is a tremendous positive,” and describing his team as “real capable” on the field.

And that was it.

The floor was opened for questions. Eight were asked, none were follow-ups regarding Williams, and Miles was set free to move about the cabin.

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Between the rigors of leading a college football team in the hunt for a conference championship, and juggling coursework, Richmond’s Joe Mancuso has a lot on his plate.