LSU cancels practice due to storm

Updated: August 30, 2012, 2:03 PM ET
By Gary Laney | ESPN GeauxTigerNation

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Until Wednesday, the threat of Hurricane Isaac had done little to disrupt LSU's game preparation for Saturday's season opener against North Texas.

That changed Wednesday as Miles canceled practice, saying his team would "hunker down" in facilities around LSU's campus.

"We recognize the fact that we are going to miss Wednesday's practice and have to try to do what we would normally do today on Thursday," Miles said.

While practice was canceled, there was still no change in plans for Saturday's game, set to start at 7 p.m. ET. Miles, who spoke from LSU's football operations building during the SEC teleconference, said the storm would have to pass before an assessment was made. The worst of Isaac had yet to reach Baton Rouge when Miles was on the call Wednesday morning.

As the storm approached, players had choices. On-campus housing, the LSU football operations facility and Tiger Stadium were all available to shelter players. Miles said campus housing, all of recent construction, has been solid in other recent storms. Players who live in off-campus housing that might not be as secure have the on-campus facilities available as shelter.

Isaac crept slowly across south Louisiana on Wednesday, which happened to be the seventh anniversary of much more powerful Hurricane Katrina. It was a hurricane for part of the day before being downgraded to a tropical storm.

LSU has already changed plans for two events.

A Friday soccer match against Stephen F. Austin has been postponed until Tuesday, and a volleyball tournament scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on campus has been moved to Houston. A Sunday soccer match against Houston is still scheduled to be played on campus.

Among other teams affected by the storm, Oregon State and Nicholls State will postpone their season opener that was set for Saturday at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore. The Nicholls State campus in Thibodaux, La., is closed because of Isaac, and classes Friday have already been canceled. The team was scheduled to take a charter flight to Oregon on Friday morning.

The new date is still to be determined.

Tulane will extend its practice near Birmingham, Ala., to Thursday instead of returning to New Orleans as planned, the Times-Picayune reported.

Mercedes-Benz Superdome chief Doug Thornton said Isaac has caused only minimal damage to property surrounding the stadium and that the dome will be ready to host Tulane's scheduled opener against Rutgers on Saturday if the schools still want to play the game.

Tulane expects to make a final call by Thursday morning.

Thornton says the tropical storm, which was a hurricane for part of Wednesday, damaged signs, landscaping and banners, but the roof never leaked and the dome never lost power. Thornton says remaining obstacles to playing the game include the condition of the rest of the city and whether the airport reopens in time for Rutgers' scheduled charter flight Friday.

"We'll get back any time we can, any day they'll allow us back," Tulane coach Curtis Johnson told the Times-Picayune. "The optimum would be to leave after practice Thursday morning, but if we can't we'll do it again (try to leave) Friday. The bottom line is we've got to stay somewhere and as long as we're together and still on track to play the game, we're all right. I like it here. It's been good."

Stephen F. Austin, an FCS school located northeast of Houston, moved its football opener against Southwestern Oklahoma from Thursday to Friday at 6 p.m. CT because of concerns that the remnants of Hurricane Isaac might drift into East Texas.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Gary Laney | email

Reporter, GeauxTigerNation

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