LAWRENCE — In his own words, Les Miles oversaw a first spring game with Kansas football that was vanilla by design.

Miles’ first news conference following that scrimmage and his parting remarks from the Jayhawks’ spring practice slate spiced things up considerably.

Addressing the media Monday night following the team's 15th and final spring practice session, a noticeably upbeat, playful and at times bold Miles gave what could be described as one part State of the Union, one part standup routine. The former national championship-winning coach dished on his joy upon returning to the sideline after a two-year hiatus. He roasted a reporter for wearing purple, the color of in-state rival Kansas State.

Miles reserved the most heat for an answer to a question inquiring how competitive he feels this squad can be in Year 1 — a response that highlighted extreme confidence in the players he has on hand.

“I look at first years at other places — I think we’re more talented here in my first year, if I had to go back and look at other opportunities I had to be a head coach,” Miles said. “I think I could be more talented here in my first year.”

Considering Miles’ resume, that comment is at the very least worthy of a double take.

Miles was head coach at two stops before arriving at KU, guiding Oklahoma State (2001-’04) and LSU (’05-2016) to a combined 142-55 record and 15 bowl game appearances across 16 seasons. The Cowboys finished 4-7 in Miles' first year in Stillwater, earning an upset victory over Bedlam Series rival Oklahoma in the regular-season finale. In his first year at LSU, Miles took the Tigers to an 11-2 mark and a Peach Bowl victory in the team's first taste of the post-Nick Saban era.

What, then, gives Miles enough confidence to declare this as his most talented team in an inaugural campaign, a comment that becomes even bolder when one considers the downtrodden Jayhawks are coming off a 3-9 season and must replace a pair of All-Big 12 first team selections in defensive tackle Daniel Wise and linebacker Joe Dineen?

“They have great speed. They work hard,” Miles said. “Yeah, I think they have the ability.”

A former All-Big 12 second team pick, senior offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji is undoubtedly one of the talented pieces Miles spoke of inheriting. Adeniji said Miles hasn’t shied away from expressing that opinion with the team, though he has included a caveat with the observation.

“We see it. We see we have a lot of talent. We have a lot of guys at every position,” Adeniji said. “The key thing is executing and not killing ourselves. That’s something big that he’s harped on as far as pre-snap penalties and turnovers, self-inflicted mistakes that can bring us down. If we avoid those, we really allow our playmakers to get out there and really excel.”

While Miles didn’t prognosticate on a specific win total for his first season at KU, he added he’s never taken the field for a game without confidence his team could win that contest. If his players can adopt that same mentality, make strides in terms of physicality, work hard and develop chemistry, Miles likely won’t put a cap on the success the group can enjoy.

At the very least, it seems a lack of playmakers won't keep Miles up at night.

“I think that this group is more talented than I would have expected,” Miles said. “I think you’ll find that offensively we’ve improved. We’ve improved personnel. I think defensively we’re going to add four or five guys to our roster in here in the beginning of the year, and those guys are really good. We’re going to have an improved team. I think what we’ll add to the guys that we had will be advantages for us.”

Whether the Jayhawks have the talent an eventual 11-2 team at LSU enjoyed remains up for debate, and frankly, Miles may be alone on his side of that argument.

When it comes to guiding a team hungry to turn around a program mired in college football's wasteland? Well, Miles might just have an easier argument to make on that front.

“I think they’re looking forward to a path that the coaching staff and this coach might be able to take them to. I really mean it,” Miles said. “I think they come into this meeting room with a smile on their face. I think they’ll go and they’ll work hard and yet enjoy each other’s company. Yeah, I think there’s some real chemistry there. ...

“I have to be honest with you: Stepping onto the practice field and seeing guys work hard and do the right things, I enjoy. I’m going to enjoy going to work with this team, certainly this fall but any time, because there’s some people on here who will bust their butt to do the right thing and play — play well.”