Monday, November 28, 2011
Miles gives Mathieu some Heisman love
By Edward Aschoff
For the first part of the season, Tyrann Mathieu was one of the most popular figures in college football.
His "Honey Badger" persona took LSU's campus by storm and he showed each week that even with his 5-foot-9, 175-pound frame that he did indeed have the ability to take what he wanted.
But what started off as a promising season was tarnished by a one-game suspension stemming from a failed drug test. His Heisman campaign was all but over and his reputation took a major hit. Mathieu even admitted afterward that he let his celebrity status get the better of him.
The Honey Badger had been relatively quiet since his suspension, but came back with a fury against Arkansas over the weekend. He made his first start at free safety in place of the injured Eric Reid and finished the game with eight total tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown in LSU’s 41-17 win over Arkansas.
Mathieu's performance against the Razorbacks has his name being thrown back into the Heisman mix. His campaign certainly isn't as loud or alive, but he's inching back into the discussion.
When asked if Mathieu deserved to be placed back into the Heisman race, LSU coach Les Miles said Mathieu deserved to be in any discussion that involved a national award that his sophomore defensive back was eligible for.
"I think that Tyrann is a very special player, and I think in the national award that might get viewed of him would have to understand how important he is to our team," Miles said. "So, that being said, he plays special teams, he plays defense and he just seems to make plays. I would think he could be in consideration for any national award, including the Heisman."
Miles said it was hard to compare Mathieu, who leads LSU with 66 tackles, has two interceptions and has forced six fumbles, with other players around the country, but he said that Mathieu is one of the best players he's coached.
"Having been around some very, very fine players in my career ... Tyrann Mathieu matches as well as any," he said.
Miles said Sunday that he expects Reid, who missed the Arkansas game with a quad injury, to play Saturday against Georgia in the SEC title game.
MIles said Reid went through warmups last week and looked good, but he decided against playing him.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said wasn't sure if defensive end DeAngelo Tyson would be available for Saturday after leaving the Georgia Tech game with an ankle injury that occurred when Yellow Jacket's lineman Omoregie Uzzi was flagged for an illegal chop block on Tyson.
"I know he won't be practicing (Monday)," Richt said. "That's all I know at this point."
Richt was also uncertain about running back Richard Samuel, who has been out since undergoing ankle surgery on Nov. 1. Richt said he didn't think Samuel would practice Monday.
The good news for Georgia is that Richt believes starting running back Isaiah Crowell will be back in the lineup after missing the Georgia Tech game with an ankle injury.
"Unless there’s a setback I would think he would play in the game,” Richt said.