Category Archives: LSU Football

A Tiger Returns Home To Give Back

By Serena Crawford

A Louisiana native, a two time SEC champion, with one national title, and two time super bowl champion. Corey Webster who grew up in a small town outside of New Orleans by the name of Vacherie began to catch the eye of in state college football coach Nick Saban, while playing as an all-state quarterback at St. James High. Webster was recruited out of High School as a wide receiver, however went on to become one of the top defensive backs in college football. Being one of the Defensive Backs who began LSU being considered the DB-U of college football. During Webster’s time at LSU under Saban he had the honor of not only winning two conference championships and one national championship, but as well being named a Jim Thorpe award semi-finalist two years in a row. Which is the highest honor a defensive player can be considered for in college football.

In 2005 Webster was drafted by the New York Giants, where he went on to win two super bowl championships. In the NFL that’s a near impossible achievement for any NFL player. Webster played his last year in the NFL for the Giants in 2013. Soon after Webster decided to return back home to Louisiana.

However his reasons for returning back to Louisiana instead of staying in New York may surprise many who do not know him.

“I will always have ties to Louisiana and I want to impact the next generation in Louisiana in a positive way,” Webster said.

Currently Webster is making constant efforts in order to impact this generation and the next. This past year he attended his first semester at LSU as a Graduate Student in order to receive his Master’s in Liberal Arts.

“I’ve been a lifelong learner and education is very important to me,” Webster said.

Even though he is involved with other professions and endeavors he believes attending Graduate School will only assist in the professions he currently obtains.

“I want to be very educated on everything I have going on. Like my financial information, CWF Foundation, and other organizations I contribute my time and effort to. So, I’m always willing to learn as much as I can,” Webster said.

Since being in the NFL Webster has been involved in the act of giving back. While playing for the Giants, Webster was involved in many charities such as Thanksgiving food drives for chosen families and donating coats to under privileged kids in New Jersey, just to name a few.

Webster has brought back the spirit of giving to Louisiana. He not only assists in helping with his high school alumni and LSU, he is currently involved with POPB. Program on Personal Branding which gives former professional athletes the opportunity to learn how to leverage their association with the NFL to launch their next career. Life after the NFL. This program began in 2010 as Webster works along two other colleagues. Dray Louviere who is currently an LSU graduate student, and Dr. Thomas Karama a professor in the LSU Marketing Department.

Louviere assist’s in planning the POPB seminars for former and current athletes.

“Corey has been our connection in finding former players that need assistance now that they are finished with their profession football careers,” Louviere said.

Louviere had many commemorating things to say about working alongside Webster.

“Corey brings experience and knowledge of what the players that come through our seminar have gone through. Corey really displays a passion for this program because he just wants to help former players succeed in their future endeavors,” Louviere said.

Louviere notices that because of Webster joining the POPB, that the program has grown enormously,

“Before Corey joined the program, we had a missing piece that we needed in order to be successful. Now that Corey is part of the program, he brings us the connection to all of the players that need assistance because those players trust Corey,” Louviere said.

The POPB most recent client was former LSU Tiger Marcus Spears, assisting in his brand with his current position at the SEC Network. Spears a former teammate of Webster’s at LSU. Both Webster and Louviere only see this program continuously growing. Many could agree that they aren’t looking for praise for their efforts, conducting this program for self-benefit, they really want to help others.

“The next generation is the future so it’s vital that I invest in it. More people should live their lives with the future generations in high importance that would ultimately help transform the world into a better place” said Webster.

Currently the POPB is also assisting in forming a brand for student athletes.

Webster will influence not only the next generation, but also his peers and those who came before him can look up to his actions and follow in his giving footsteps. Many may not realize that most players who decide to retire from the NFL or if their careers come to an end to unfortunate circumstance, aren’t sure which direction to take in order to obtain a career.

Because the money that they were making while playing in the NFL won’t last forever, so there has to be a backup plan set in place. The Program on Personal Branding will allow for these former professional athletes to figure out what career path to take after football.

Webster and his colleagues are making efforts to make sure that these athletes have a life after football. Many people in the business aren’t really concern with such things. That says a lost about Webster and his character, being that he wants to do all he can in order to help others.

An Inside Look Into Football Scheduling

By Joe Trinacria

With the recently implemented College Football Playoff system, the importance of schools having a strong out of conference schedule has increased greatly.

In order for teams to look their best in the eyes of the playoff selection committee, a signature win against a tough non-conference opponent goes a long way.

Just look at how this year’s “final four” selection was made. Ohio State, which had never been ranked higher than No. 5 all year, slipped into the four-team playoff bracket on the final selection day due to its overall strength of schedule and total quality wins.

Year in and year out there will be a number of top programs with similar records, most likely one-loss teams, all fighting for the last few spots in the final four. The only way for the committee to distinguish these teams is by examining the collective competitiveness of their opponents, and how well each team played up against it.

Verge Ausberry, LSU’s Senior Associate Athletics Director and supervisor of football scheduling, explains that there are a variety of factors to consider when selecting the best non-conference opponent.

“First of all, we look for a quality BCS opponent that is going to give us a good game and draw up some national interest,” Ausberry said.  “For the fan base, you want to have a good game.  Most fans aren’t going to want to come see some of the mid-level teams that we play.  Those are the games that parents bring their little kids to.  The fans want to see us play somebody more on our skill level.”

If any fans out there are thinking that you’ll soon be seeing less of UL-Monroe, New Mexico State, or any of the other “cupcake” programs that LSU has played in recent years – think again.  These games will continue as always to help the program rack up some easy wins, but expect to see at least one decent non-conference match-up for the Tigers each year.

In choosing an opponent from another power conference, fitting the game on the schedule is another logistical barrier for Ausberry.

“The way you place an out of conference game is important – it can’t just be dropped anywhere on the schedule,” Ausberry said.  “If you did that you’d be playing Texas one weekend and then a team like Auburn the next.

“Early games make the most sense for both teams, because if you end up losing you can still come back and win your conference.  That would be good enough to get you into the playoff.  The national champion is probably going to have one loss in today’s game.”

Neutral sites are a great way for out of conference opponents to make some money for their program and share national exposure and other benefits.

LSU played a neutral site game at NRG Stadium in Houston this past season against Wisconsin, and will be traveling up to Lambeau Field in Green Bay to take on the Badgers in 2016.

“Neutral site games help our brand, are fun for fans, and always get us national television exposure,” Ausberry said.  “Houston, Dallas and New Orleans are areas that have strong alumni connections to LSU and we’re comfortable playing there.  It’s good for recruiting and for our fans outside of the Baton Rouge area.  We talk about LSU being a national brand, being bigger than Louisiana.  We want to be at the top, and scheduling top non-conference games helps us get there.”

The current quality non-conference game schedule for LSU is as follows:

2015 – @ Syracuse University

2016 – @ University of Wisconsin (Lambeau Field in Green Bay)

2017 – vs. Syracuse University

2018 – vs. University of Miami (AT&T Stadium in Dallas)

2019 – @ University of Texas

2020 – vs. University of Texas

LSU In The NFL

By Jessica Busada

(Photo from Saturday Down South)Former Tigers Tyrann Mathieu, Odell Beckham Jr., Patrick Peterson, Jeremy Hill and Jarvis Landry

(Photo from Saturday Down South)
Former Tigers Tyrann Mathieu, Odell Beckham Jr., Patrick Peterson, Jeremy Hill and Jarvis Landry

At the beginning of this season LSU had 43 former players on NFL rosters. Many of them are making a name for themselves in their rookie season.

Around the NFL tweeted, “Dolphins drafted a keeper in Jarvis Landry. Has been a big difference maker for his offense.”

According to NFL.com, Jarvis Landry currently has 63 receptions, 573 yards and five touchdowns. He is 23rd in the NFL for total receptions.

Odell Beckham Jr. made an amazing catch that caught the attention of all sports fans and is currently the “Best of the Best” on “SportsCenter.” The internet went crazy immediately following the catch.

“That has to be the greatest catch I have ever seen,” NBC’s Chris Collinsworth tweeted.

“There is your play of the year, maybe of the decade, whatever. That is just impossible,” NBC’s Al Michaels said.

“It is spectacular, and it’s truly Odell Beckham. I saw him and Jarvis make catches like that in practice all the time,” LSU coach Les Miles said in response to Beckham’s catch.

On Dec. 7, Beckham had his sixth straight game with at least 90 receiving yards. No other player had an active streak of more than two games entering that Sunday.

Two former LSU players set a NFL record on Nov. 17. Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue became the first rookies from the same college to rush for 150-plus yards on the same day in NFL history.

Former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger set records in his rookie NFL season. With 345 passing yards he became the fifth former LSU football player to throw for 300-plus yards in a NFL game and the first since Matt Flynn in 2012.

Mettenberger became the fourth LSU quarterback to start on Monday Night Football in his game against the Steelers on Nov. 17, according to LSU’s football twitter page.

The rookies are not the only former Tigers catching the attention of fans with their success.

Former Tiger Brandon LaFell is in his fifth season of professional football. He is ranked 34th in the NFL for total receptions with 57. LaFell has 753 yards and seven touchdowns.

Bennie Logan is now in his second season of professional football and is ranked 18th out of all NFL defensive linemen.

It is clear that LSU produces football stars with major talent setting them up for success in the NFL.

 

 

Luke Boyd: A Football Path Like No Other

Untitled

By Joe Trinacria

To say that the road Luke Boyd took to playing big-time college football at LSU was the road less traveled would be an understatement.

Most student-athletes start their playing careers at 18 years old, not 27.  Most do not have to worry about juggling the responsibilities of class in addition to that of a husband and father.  Most are not staff sergeants in the United States Marine Corps and Afghanistan War veterans.

Boyd, however, is all of those things.  He may be the “old man” and resident badass on the Tigers, but in the locker room Boyd is just one of the guys.

“Some of the guys I’m close to on the team will tease me and say I look old when I have a little stubble on my face,” Boyd said with a laugh.  “But they’re not so bad usually.”

Unlike the stars roaming the field for the Tigers every Saturday, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound wide receiver was not a heavily sought after prospect coming out of high school.

There was no pile of recruitment letters filling up his family’s mailbox, and no Division I coaching legends were wandering the halls of Stafford, Virginia’s Colonial Forge High School with hopes of coaxing Boyd towards their program.

“I always knew that I was destined to play college football,” Boyd said.  “Even though I had great numbers coming out of high school, there was no Wes Welker or other little guys making plays in the NFL at the time.  No matter how big your heart was, big schools just weren’t going to take a chance on a guy my size back then.”

After receiving offers from mostly smaller local programs, the LSU walk-on began his collegiate football journey by playing Division III ball at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.

Boyd was unhappy with the level of competition at Fairleigh Dickinson, and in 2006 he decided to follow his high school girlfriend (and now wife) Tina to Baton Rouge.  Tina was a track and cross-country runner at Savannah State University in Georgia, who at the time had recently transferred to LSU to run for the Tigers.

Unable to afford the cost of tuition for himself to attend LSU, Boyd worked a series of odd jobs when he first started living in Baton Rouge.  Whether it was working for a moving company or laying floors or landscaping, nothing seemed to fit him quite right.

Boyd eventually obtained his real estate license, but once he discovered that he lacked the passion for selling houses, his next career move would put him on a course of action that would drastically alter his life.  In May 2008, Boyd shipped out for boot camp after enlisting in the Marine Corps.

“It certainly was a culture shock,” Boyd said of his first arrival on the base.  “The Marines break you down completely and build you back up as a new man with discipline and goals.  It’s not just lessons that you bring with you to the football team; it’s something that gives you perspective every single day.  Joining the Marine Corps was the best decision of my life.”

Boyd achieved the rank of sergeant after less than two years of service and was deployed to Afghanistan for active-duty in 2010.  While overseas, he worked as a tactical service data technician, setting up air traffic control towers over the countryside to produce ground and air pictures of the terrain.

Understandably, Boyd prefers not to speak in-depth about his time in Afghanistan, but offered, “We took care of business over there and we were fortunate enough to not have any casualties in our unit.”

After his tour of duty had concluded, Boyd returned home and was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California.  The base had a Marine football team that played against other military and law enforcement teams in the area, which he joined.  In his first year, Boyd starred as a speedy wide receiver, winning league MVP honors in 2011.

As a reward for this achievement, Boyd was given the chance to attend the 2012 NFL Draft in New York City, where he announced the Seattle Seahawks’ third-round selection of quarterback Russell Wilson.

Not one to let opportunity pass him by, Boyd met LSU head coach Les Miles in Radio City Music Hall’s green room.  Miles was in attendance to support former Tigers receiver Reuben Randle, who had just been drafted by the New York Giants in the second round.

Before the draft, Boyd had recently been accepted into the Marine Enlisting Commissioning Education Program (MECEP), which allows veterans to attend the college of their choice free of charge in exchange for remaining on active-duty as an instructor for an on-campus ROTC program.

“I was thinking to myself, man if I could go to school anywhere I would go to LSU and try to walk on,” Boyd said.  “And this was my chance!”

Boyd chatted with Miles about football, and was encouraged to get in touch with Sam Nader, the coordinator of LSU’s walk-on program.  After Nader and other members of the coaching staff reviewed his Marine football highlight film, Boyd was officially invited to walk on to LSU’s football team.

Now while this part of the story may call to mind Rudy, arguably college football’s most famous walk-on player and inspiration behind the 1993 film, Boyd puts any similarities to rest quickly.

“I’m fully capable of playing at this level,” Boyd said in response to the comparisons.  “Don’t get me wrong, I’ve taken my fair share of licks too.  I can remember the first hit I took at practice was from Lamin Barrow on a crossing route.  I may not have the same speed as I did when I was a young man, but I certainly can hold my own out there.”

It is a walk-on’s often thankless job to help the starting players grow by giving it everything they’ve got, all the time.  Boyd credits his time in the Marines as helping him to persevere.

“On the field, discipline-wise, I’m able to get through anything football can throw at me,” Boyd said.  “All the times you are pushing, fighting, thinking that you can’t go further, the Marine Corps gave me the knowledge that I have more to push.”

Being a student-athlete at a Division I school is a full-time job.

Most fans don’t understand the true commitment it takes day in and day out to be a part of team at that level, with workouts and practices and film study.

“Me and my wife joke that football at LSU is a 40-hour work week,” Boyd said.  “All of the football I had been a part of before was just practicing and some film study.  Playing at this level is definitely a full load, but it’s an experience I would ever trade in.”

A typical day for Boyd begins at 5:30 a.m., where he supervises the Southern University ROTC program until around 7 a.m.Then it’s off to campus for scheduled workouts before class.

Football practice begins at 2 p.m., and Boyd usually doesn’t get home until around 6:30 for dinner.  He spends most of his time at home playing with his 2-year-old daughter, Natalie, before she heads to bed.  After that, Boyd shares some downtime with his wife before he has to hit the books and do it all again the following day.

“I can micromanage a 24-hour time frame to get so much done,” Boyd said.  “When you’re going through basic training there isn’t a moment you aren’t doing something.  You learn to use every minute to do something productive.”

The payoff for Boyd is simple – it’s you, the fans, rocking Tiger Stadium on Saturday nights in Death Valley.

“The first time running out onto that field was an out of body surreal experience,” Boyd said.  “I remember having one of those ‘Am I really here?’ moments, running out and trying to take it in at the same time.

“After you’ve done it a few times it turns into this really amazing feeling.  You just want to get out there and get the crowd pumped up and have them pump you up.  It’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced before.”

Even if he never gets the chance to check into a game for the Tigers, Boyd has cherished his experience with the team.

“I always believed I was good enough to play, but I never thought it could work out as great as this,” Boyd said.  “Sometimes I wish I could’ve played back in my prime. Things hurt a little longer now and I’m not as quick as I once was, but everyone’s got a different path.  Even with the way it worked out, I’ll always have this great story to tell my children and grandchildren some day.”

Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette

By Jessica Busada

When news breaks involving LSU football, Michael Bonnette is the contact media outlets need. The news will not be official without the confirmation from the school’s Sports Information Director.

At times this news is negative and other times positive, but either way Bonnette is first to know what is happening.

Michael Bonnette is in his 15th year as LSU’s Sports Information Director. He is currently in his second year as Senior Associate Athletic Director.

Including his time as an Associate Sports Information Director, Bonnette is in his 21st year with the LSU athletic department.

LSUsports.net states that his 2012 LSU Football media guide was named “Best in the Nation” by CoSIDA. This is one of the several awards he has received from the organization and in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association annual writing contests.

Bonnette is also an LSU graduate in the class of 1993. He formerly served as the president of SIDs for the Southeastern Conference and is currently the vice president for SIDs for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

Outside of work, Bonnette is husband to Robin Arnaud Bonnette and father to three sons, Peyton, Grant and Max. Family is a major part of his life.

The most difficult part of his job is, “maintaining good balance between the demands of work with that of being a good parent and husband,” Bonnette explained.

“During football season, this is a seven days a week job and it’s easy to get caught up with your work life and forget about what’s going on at home.

“Being a good parent and husband is very important to me and in order to do both, you have to have a great staff, which I’m fortunate to have,” Bonnette said.

Bonnette is a Lake Charles native who was introduced to the media relations profession at a young age. The profession has found a place in several members of the Bonnette family’s lives.

Retired McNeese State Sports Information Director Louis Bonnette is Michael’s father. Louis is also a member for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame.

The field at Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles was named Louis Bonnette Field after Michael’s father.

Michael’s brother Matthew Bonnette followed their father in the position of Sports Information Director at McNeese State in 2012.

It is easy to see that working in sports media relations is a profession the entire Bonnette family has grown to love.

Michael Bonnette serves as the chief contact for LSU’s nationally ranked football team as well as overseeing all publicity activities for the 21 sports sponsored by the LSU athletic department.

Bonnette explained his position as, “I serve as the media liaison between Coach (Les) Miles, our players and the media. LSU’s image and brand is one of the biggest in college football, so everything we do has to keep that in mind.”

“We prepare the coaches and athletes on what to say and try to give them pointers on what not to say. We basically help manage image and the brand of LSU football,” he said.

The most rewarding part of his position is, “the relationships that you make with players, coaches, media and fans. It is fun when LSU wins because it makes so many people happy and it’s exciting to be part of that,” he said.

Being the LSU Sports Information Director for 15 years has given Bonnette the chance to experience some of LSU Football’s most exciting moments.

“Winning two national titles is obviously a great memory. And being able to go to the Heisman Trophy ceremony with Coach Miles and Tyrann Mathieu was a once in a lifetime memory,” Bonnette said.

“LSU football gave me the opportunity to go the White House twice, the NFL Draft six or seven times and travel the country,” he said.

“I am very fortunate to have been to some of the places that I have gone and it is all because of LSU football and the success that we’ve had here. I am very lucky.”

Bonnette has worked with multiple student workers and full time workers and they will basically all tell you how wonderful he is at his job and to have as a boss.

He has worked to take what could be an overwhelming and stressful job and turned it into an enjoyable one.

“Michael has made a strong impact on me since the day I started working in his department. I have always said he has one of the toughest jobs in the country as the media contact for LSU football and it has been incredible getting to see it first hand,” third-year student worker Brandon Berrio said.

“Going to work every day does not feel like a job because of our office dynamic. He has created a fun environment but still expects the best out of everyone in our office. That balance is something I will take away once I graduate,” Berrio said.

“Michael is the best boss I have ever had because he did not micromanage people and he cared about you as a person,” said former Associate Sports Information Director Bill Martin, now SID at Mississippi State. “Working with a program like LSU that is on the national media spotlight every day of the year is a tremendous challenge but fun at the same time.

“And he made the job fun because none of us took ourselves too seriously, especially when you are around each other more than you are around family and work seven days a week in season.

“Les Miles has spent 10 seasons at LSU and Michael has crafted a likeable image of Les where the national media gravitate to him,” Martin said.

Working with the media is extremely important and the smallest mistake can cause major problems for an entire athletic department and possibly the university as a whole. Bonnette has been very successful as the LSU Sports Information Director, and LSU athletics is lucky to have him.

Photo by Chris Parent Michael Bonnette and Les Miles with the media

Photo by Chris Parent
Michael Bonnette and Les Miles with the media

Coach Les Miles, Odell Beckham Jr and Michael Bonnette at the 2014 NFL Draft

Coach Les Miles, Odell Beckham Jr and Michael Bonnette at the 2014 NFL Draft

Four Tigers Receive All-SEC Honors

By Joe Trinacria

While Les Miles and his No. 23 LSU Tigers have been hard at work preparing for their Dec. 30 Music City Bowl matchup against Notre Dame in Nashville, Tennessee, several members of the team have been selected for All-SEC honors by the Associated Press.

Senior left tackle La’el Collins was named to the All-SEC first team, while both junior linebacker Kwon Alexander and senior safety Ronald Martin Jr. made All-SEC second team.

Rounding out the list of honorees for the Tigers was junior offensive guard Vadal Alexander, who was recognized as an honorable mention.

Collins, who was named to the coach’s second team All-SEC last season, stepped up his game in 2014 and anchored the LSU line in the trenches.

Collins was one of the Tigers’ iron men on offense, starting all 12 games and paving the way for LSU to rush for a total of 2,634 yards this year.

Alexander was one of the most feared Tigers on the defensive side of the ball, and rightly so given his excellent playmaking ability.  He led the team with 79 tackles, posting highs in both solo (32) and assisted (47) categories.  Alexander also possessed a strong nose for the ball, contributing two forced fumbles.

Martin is a graduating player that Tiger fans are surely going to miss.  He was one of three LSU players tied with two interceptions this season, none more memorable than when he picked off Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace in the closing seconds to preserve the 10-7 upset win over the Rebels.

When he wasn’t causing turnovers (he also had two forced fumbles to go with his interceptions), Martin was laying punishing hits that made opposing receivers think twice about going over the middle.

The loss of Collins on the offensive line will be tough for LSU, however Alexander is ready to follow in his footsteps and take over as leader.

Alexander has the experience as a veteran player, and already was a key cog on the Tiger line this past season.  The one game that Alexander missed for LSU was against Arkansas, which also happened to be the worst rushing performance the Tigers had all season.

Tigers Headed to Nashville

By Jessica Busada

The LSU Tigers will play Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. on ESPN. This will be the first time the Tigers appear in the Music City Bowl.

The Music City Bowl was established in 1998 and this year will mark the 17th annual bowl game. Last years game resulted in a victory for Ole Miss over Georgia Tech.

Before the announcement, LSU athletic ticket manager Brian Broussard said, “We receive 8,000 tickets for the bowl games and currently have requests for 2,500-3,000 total tickets for the game.”

The Tigers and Fighting Irish will meet for the 11th time overall and the fifth time in a bowl game.  Norte Dame finished the season 7-5 and LSU finished 8-4.

The bowl game will be the 15th straight bowl game appearance for LSU.

Senior running back Terrence Magee said, “We are excited about the match up.” Overall reaction to the bowl matchup has been positive from LSU fans and players.

“The bowl took great strides this year to improve our selection process, and I think this year’s match-up proves that it was worth it,” said Toby Wilt, bowl selection committee chairman for the Music City Bowl. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said, “We’re thrilled with the opportunity to face LSU –one of the preeminent programs in all of college football.”

LSU coach Les Miles reacted to the matchup announcement saying, “We are very excited to bring our football program and the great LSU fan base to Nashville to play Notre Dame in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

“Notre Dame is a traditional football power and we are looking forward to renewing what has been a tremendous rivalry between the two programs through the years. Nashville is a great city and the opportunity to play in an NFL venue makes this a very attractive bowl destination for us.”

LSU will be the designated home team of the Music City Bowl game. LSU is 5-5 all-time against Notre Dame, including a 2-0 bowl record versus the Fighting Irish.

 

LSU vs. Notre Dame

Coach Les Miles is a Family Man

By Lauren Goodman

 

The LSU Tigers are 8-4. They are ranked No. 24 in the College Football Playoffs and are fifth in the SEC West. They are eager to find out which bowl they will be attending, even if they are not in contention for a national championship, plus the outcome of the search to fill the vacant head coaching position at Michigan.

There is a lot of chatter about coach Les Miles. There is always a lot of chatter about Les Miles.

But there is another side to Coach Miles that the public rarely gets to see, and that is Les Miles, the husband and dad.

Miles has been with his wife Kathy since his coaching days at Michigan. They married in 1993. They are parents to four kids: Kathryn (Smacker), Manny, Benjamin, and Macy Grace.

All four are athletes and play sports. All four understand that their dad is not like the other dads.

It is not always easy to have a coach as a father.

“He understands really quickly where his weaknesses are. He’s not a swim coach,” Kathy Miles says with a chuckle.

The Miles’ oldest daughter, Kathryn, is a swimmer at the University of Texas.

“When they were younger, he would try to coach them on their technique, now he just tries to keep them motivated and on task,” Kathy said.

Manny and Benjamin both play high school football. Having a father who has coached national championship teams should be an advantage.

But Coach Miles does not let his role as head coach of the LSU Tigers compete with his role of being a dad.

“Les understands that the boys are doing what their coaches are teaching them to do,” Kathy said. “And they have some great coaches.”

It is a fine line between coach and father, and Miles walks it well.

Macy Grace, a fifth grader, plays youth soccer and softball. Her dad loves to watch her play.

“He loves meeting the other kids,” Kathy said. “People always ask for photos or autographs. He’s happy to do it. The kids understand. They are independent and understanding when he can’t make it to one of their games.”

Being the wife of an SEC head coach requires a special woman.

“Les gets in a great routine during football season with his staff, practices, game days,” Kathy said. “It makes my job a lot easier. I can just help the kids, finish my errands, and I run lunch up to him about once a week.”

Every football team has its own routine during the season. You would think the intensity of a game every week would be the hardest time of year for a coach’s family, but Kathy says the offseason is much more chaotic.

“Football season seems like down time,” she said. “It’s consistent. After the bowls and in the spring, he is in and out of town to recruit, go on tours, and speaking engagements.”

The idea that being a head coach for a football team is just being busy during the fall is off base. There is always something to prepare for, a recruit to meet, an interview to give.

And then there are the games themselves.

We have all seen the camera zoom in on a coach’s wife and family during the game. Some like to sit in the stands, some in a suite, and some cannot even handle watching the game with other people. Family members have their own routines, too.

“The games are intense for me,” Kathy said. “I am focused on watching the game. There’s not a lot of side chatter for me.”

Kathy said now that their kids are older it is easier to make to all the games.

She has maybe missed one or two away games in the past four years. She makes it to all of the home games, as long as the kids do not have a sporting event of their own.

And what about the Miles’ children? They enjoy watching their dad in Tiger Stadium too.

“When they are older, I think they will appreciate the opportunity they had to go to LSU football games,” Kathy said.

Inevitably, as all coaches do, they lose one of these football games. The scrutiny that head coaches are under, especially in what many consider the best conference in the nation, the SEC, not only affects the coach, but his loved ones, too.

“I’m not an internet person,” Kathy said. “I read The Advocate, always the sports section.  I’ll tell Les about an article. He reads even less than me.”

Criticism doesn’t just come from the media. It comes from the fans, too.

“As far as LSU, the squeaky wheel gets the oil,” Kathy said. “There is always a fan with something to say, positive or negative, but the people of Louisiana have been great to Les and our family. It has been such a positive experience for our family.”

It is not always easy to be in school with a famous father, at least not in the football loving state of Louisiana.

“The kids have grown up with it and are used to it,” Kathy said. “There are down times after losses, but they surround themselves with good friends.  They understand that people will say negative things.”

At the end of the day, these men, who have dedicated their lives to football, to fulfilling their dreams of winning national championships, and helping kids fulfill their dreams of playing in the National Football League, are husbands and fathers.  They are not so different from every other parent trying to figure out how to balance a career and a family.

They show up to work every day, they do their jobs to the best of their ability, they work to showcase the talent of their players, and of course, try to win football games.

But, at the end of the day, they return to their families and play a very different role.

“Les is very involved as a dad,” Kathy said. “He is interested in their grades, school, their social life.”

It is clear that the Miles’ family has learned what is most important.

“To the kids, he is just their dad.”

Keep the Class Leave the Trash

By: Serena Crawford

It’s safe to say that the SEC has some of the most passionate fans in College Football. Some may say that this passion can be considered as a gift and a curse. Remember this guy by the name of Harvey Updyke who decided to poison the trees at Toomer’s Corner on Auburn’s campus. Destroying a tradition for an entire university, because of an Alabama lost. Most recently the Ole Miss fan that was caught on camera ranting, and crying hysterically about the Ole Miss lost. During previous years many fans, especially at LSU take certain losses very personal. In 1994 former LSU QB Jamie Howard threw five interceptions during a lost against Auburn. Howard received death threats, and his experience with such vial scrutiny at LSU lead him to actually move away.

On Nov. 15, LSU suffered a tough lost vs. Arkansas, an annual rivalry that fans look forward to at the end of each season. LSU currently leads the rivalry 37-21. However as many SEC fans know for the past 3 years Arkansas’s football program has fallen short of meeting SEC powerhouse expectations. Although the part that hurt many fans the worst, is the fact that Arkansas was on the path of a losing season, until the 17—0 shutout vs. LSU on this unfortunate Saturday night.

Unfortunately post game things took an ugly turn on social media. It’s known that many fans after a lost find a way to let out their frustration. Most fans choose to focus on a particular individual whether it be a player or coach to direct their anger towards and to blame. This time it was LSU’s QB Anthony Jennings. This hasn’t been the first time that Jennings has experienced some type of scrutiny from fans, from being chanted and booed off the field, to receiving nasty tweets on Twitter. Although this time fans, if people could actually call them that, took things to extreme levels. Those tweets will not be quoted in this article due to the explicit content, and the fact that dirt such as those tweets don’t deserve to be replicated.

Jennings who is only age 20 and only a sophomore at LSU, received death threats after the lost vs. Arkansas. Many so call fans took to twitter, threatening to take his life, expressing how bad of a player he is, and taking every stab at his confidence that they could. Yes people have a right to their own opinion and everyone has the right to the freedom of speech. Although many forget that these players or still human just like the fans. An athlete such as Jennings works hard day in and day out to make LSU fans proud, from two-a-days, weightlifting, hours of studying video, and let’s not forget that he is a student first. Which includes him attending class full time and outside tutoring numerous days out of the week. Even with the scrutiny throughout this entire season Jennings still had the respect for LSU, his teammates, and the fans to put on his uniform, and go out on the field and play. Surely there were times he probably would rather just sit on the bench than to take on offensive scrutiny.

So shouldn’t there be a bit more respect for a guy who still goes out on the field and play for fans who may not always support him. Because true fans should love their team win or lose. Taking drastic measures by threatening someone’s life won’t turn a lost in to a win because what’s done is done. Fans should probably take a step back and realize that if Jennings can still go on the field and play for fans who scrutinize him, that those same fans should be able to still support him after a lost. There are other things that actually deserve a lot more scrutiny than Jennings, like the fact that gas is still not a $1.75. That’s something to really be upset about. Fans should realize that kicking someone while their down doesn’t help anyone feel better. Jennings deserves much more respect than having his life threatened over losing a game, try taking a walk in his cleats. Tiger fans let’s show the world more class than trash. Think about it even though Harvey Updyke was completely wrong for poisoning those trees, he wasn’t trying to hurt his own team. So stop the threats and show support.