Saturday, August 20, 2011
LSU's Les Miles is fighting mad
By Chris low
Coaches (and fans) are always looking for good vibes going into a season.
But the vibes surrounding the LSU football program right now are the kind that would make anybody uneasy, especially LSU coach Les Miles.
Miles is peeved, and he should be.
The Baton Rouge Police Department is investigating an early morning fight Friday at a bar that sent four people to the hospital, and several of Miles' players have been implicated.
Not just any players, either, but senior leaders.
Starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson has been implicated, and Miles said Saturday at a strongly worded news conference, which included members of the team's unity council, that senior offensive guard T-Bob Hebert was also there at the bar. Police have said as many as 20 LSU football players were present.
To be fair, nobody has been arrested, and police are still conducting interviews.
Miles isn't waiting around. He said Saturday that's he already started disciplining some players and suggested that some suspensions could be forthcoming.
Over and above what the police determine, Miles said the players broke their 10:30 p.m. curfew on Thursday. He called his team's behavior "unacceptable" and apologized for the actions of the players involved.
“At the appropriate time, we’ll take very strong action," Miles said. "I want to find out more that went on. The pieces that I have ... first of all, they should not have been there. So first and foremost, I take discredit for that."
Before anybody on LSU's team is branded as anything, let's first allow the legal process to play out. There are two sides to every fight, especially bar fights.
Though it's fair to question the leadership and the focus on this team when a bunch of players, including guys who are supposed to be senior leaders, not only violate curfew, but are shortsighted enough to get themselves involved in a bar fight at 2 0'clock in the morning during the middle of preseason camp.
It's not like LSU is opening the season in two weeks against some directional school. No. 3-ranked Oregon awaits in a game that will go a long way toward shaping the most anticipated season at LSU since the Tigers' last national championship in 2007.
This is not the way Miles wanted to go into that game, having police question his players and holding news conferences to apologize for his team's behavior.
And if Miles ends up having to suspend key players, it's a night out on the town that may well cost the Tigers a shot at the national title.
In the meantime, we'll wait and see what the police investigation turns up.
If the Tigers manage to make it through this unscathed, their fans can only hope that they're as willing to fight on the field this season as they were off it last Friday morning at Shady's Bar.