Miles Smith has been around football seemingly his entire life.
As the youngest son of recently hired Texans head coach Lovie Smith, Miles has absorbed the game and for the last seven seasons has walked the sidelines as an assistant coach for his father.
This week, Miles was named the Texans linebackers coach on his dad’s staff. The younger son, however, isn’t shy about what his true aspirations are down the road.
“I think if every coach was honest, they would tell you they want to be a head coach one day,” he said. “I want to be the head coach one day.
“Ultimately, we’re in a profession where we are the alpha males of the alpha males, so if you really have that type of mindset, I think there’s only one place that you ultimately want to get there. God willing, I’ll be able to do that one day.”
He has certainly had one heck of role model to pattern his career after with his dad as a ground-breaking Black head coach. Lovie, of course, is heading up his third NFL team after leading the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl and then later taking over in Tampa Bay.
Miles, who was just a kid during his dad’s run in Chicago, joined him on the sidelines in Tampa Bay, then spent five years with him at the University of Illinois before being a part of the Texans defensive staff last season when his dad was the defensive coordinator.
Miles says he learned of his dad’s appointment as Texans coach earlier this month about the same time as everyone in Houston.
“I kind of stayed out of that whole process,” Miles said this week when the new assistant coaches met with the media at NRG Stadium. “As a linebacker coach they’re not really asking my opinion on the matter, so when team leadership and Coach Smith and the McNair family decided to go that route eventually I was told and the celebration started.”
Lovie’s hiring was a bit of a surprise and seemed to come out of nowhere. It seemed like Brian Flores was the desired hire to replace David Culley, but when Flores filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and three of its teams he quickly dropped off the Texans’ radar.
But what had been interesting throughout the entire process is when general manager Nick Caserio fired Culley after just one season, he left pretty much the entire coaching staff in place while he looked for a new head coach.
After an extensive search, Caserio turned to the 63-year-old Lovie Smith.
It seemed that Lovie Smith had run out of head coaching opportunities after unsuccessful stints at Tampa Bay and also Illinois. But Miles wasn’t surprised at all when this opportunity came his way.
Lovie and his Tampa 2 scheme had returned the Texans’ defense to respectability even in a disappointing 4-13 campaign.
“Ultimately, I’ve always been taught that if you do a good job on your current job then other jobs will come up,” Miles said. “I always kind of held out hope that he was going to get another opportunity. I think he has shown that he is a good coach and if you are a good coach then you are going to continue to rise in the profession.”
For those who maybe had thought Lovie’s aggressive Cover 2 defense had lost its edge, saw last season that with a few tweaks it is still capable of slowing down the NFL’s high-powered offenses.
“Our defense has kind of turned into something unique,” Miles said. “It helped out being in college because we got to see a lot of the elements that were going to come to pro football where we were able to adjust things a little bit.
“Going into my seventh year in the system, we are a very different defense than we were in 2014, my first year.”
Another thing that also has changed since his first year is how he references his dad when the two are at work.
“Up here he is only Coach Smith,” Miles said with a smile. “Thanksgiving might be a little bit different but in this context he is only Coach Smith.”