Originally written on Saturday Night Slant  |  Last updated 10/19/11



Well, today was interesting.  

Rumors slammed LSU message boards this morning that some LSU players would be suspended.  It was later learned that the players in question were Tyrann Mathieu, Spencer Ware, and Tharold Simon, and that the offense was a failed drug test.   The LSU Reveille and later the Times Picayune and Associated Press ran with stories that confirmed, through their own sources, that suspensions were indeed issued to those players for this weekend's game.  Tiger fans promptly climbed tall buildings, opened their mouths (or keyboards) and spewed forth some of the most ignorant filth you can imagine.   It was as disgusting as it was predictable.   

Les Miles had a press conference Wednesday evening and did not confirm anything.  He did not confirm that anyone is suspended.  He did not confirm the names of any players who may be in any sort of trouble.  And he scoffed at the mention that a failed drug test is the reason behind all of the speculation, telling one reporter, "You're way left of center..." when referencing those reports.   I assume Miles meant that the reporter was way off base with that report, but you never know what he really means.   

So factually, we do not know anything.  However, Miles also did not deny that some discipline issues are ongoing. Despite Miles all but denying that drug tests are the source of this disciplinary issue, I'm inclined to think that they are indeed the reason for these suspensions.  There is simply too much smoke regarding these three players and the failed drug tests. 

Now the big question...are these suspensions for one game only?   It appears that is the case.  As the guys at And The Valley Shook first sent out via Twitter on Wednesday, LSU's drug testing policy was as follows for the 2010-2011 academic year:  

1st offense - No penalty
2nd offense - Player misses 15% of remaining games
3rd offense - Player suspended for one year

With this allegedly being the second offense for these players, they are looking at a suspension of 15% of the remaining games.   That's why many have deduced that this suspension will be just one game.   

If you are waiting for some kind of confirmation to come from LSU on this, do not hold your breath.  It's probably not coming.   If these guys do not play this weekend, I'm sure the most we will get is a "Violation of Team Rules" type of statement.   But I seriously doubt we will know anything for certain regarding the availability of these guys for the Alabama game until the team takes the field.  

So it is what it is.  We (probably) have a violation of team rules by three players that will likely warrant a one-game suspension.   The suspended players include what I consider to be LSU's best offensive player and best defensive player, and the game is one against a ranked conference opponent.  So this IS a big deal.  But it is not the end of the world, or the end of this season.  

It's probably safe to come down off the ledge, Tiger fans.  Oh, and you can shut your mouth too.  Be upset.  Be disappointed.  Be angry.  I am all of those things.  Just don't be an idiot.  

Tyrann Mathieu is not a trash-talking druggie thug.   He's a Tiger.  A damn strong one.  And even though his actions, if true, were pretty ill-advised, SNS still has his back.  And you should too.  

Les Miles has not lost control of this program or this team.  He's simply dealing with issues that every program in the nation deals with at one time or another.  In fact, Les deals with less of these issues than most coaches.   I'll tell you something...teams that disrespect their head coach do not end up ranked #1 in the BCS in the middle of October.  

This is not a good situation, especially when you're in the middle of a very special season and especially after dealing with the Shady's drama in late August.  But this is not a nightmare either.  It's a speed bump.   And if LSU can get over it, then all signs point to having all hands on deck for the most important game of the season.  

So can LSU get over the speed bump?  I think so.   Vegas still considers the Tigers a three touchdown favorite against Auburn.  And if nothing else, this incident will certainly re-focus the team's efforts this week leading up to the weekend.   I think we can expect to see Alfred Blue taking on the "hammer" role that Spencer Ware has occupied thus far this season.  We'll see more of Mike Ford, Terrance Magee and yes, Jordan Jefferson running the football.   On defense, expect Ron Brooks to get the start at corner opposite Morris Claiborne.  I suspect we'll see Ronnie Vinson and Craig Loston on the field quite a bit in nickel and dime sets too.   Those are my initial thoughts, but I'll have more on that in a game preview that I hope to have up sometime tomorrow night.  

But relax everyone.  Don't spew ignorance.  Support the team on Saturday.   If the team takes care of business, this train will be back on the tracks heading into the bye week.  



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