The last time LSU coach Les Miles’ team played against Northwestern State it was in a hastily scheduled makeup game in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Miles, whose Tigers host the Demons on Saturday night, was in his first season as Oklahoma State’s head coach when the terrorist attacks occurred.
The games scheduled for the following weekend were postponed, and the Cowboys wound up scheduling Northwestern State for Sept. 29 after they couldn’t agree on a makeup date with Northern Arizona, the original scheduled opponent on Sept. 15.
“As I recall, we practiced right up until Thursday before the decision was made unilaterally not to play that game,” Miles recalled. “The next game we played on the road at (Texas) A&M. That was a red, white and blue game, and there was a flyover. The mood was very tense, because you didn’t know how football or how our way of life would continue with these issues of terrorism.”
Miles coached his third game with the Cowboys under unprecedented security for the Sept. 22 game in College Station, Texas.
“That was the first time I had ever been spoken to by a police officer and instructed to wear a bulletproof vest,” Miles said, “nor did I have instructions ever again on how to remove my team from the area and get on the bus and where we would go.”
Miles, who said he chose not to wear the bulletproof vest, remembered visiting with then-Aggies coach R.C. Slocum before the game.
“There was a conversation with R.C. Slocum across the field that I’ll never forget,” he said. “We talked about some things that had to do with security. It was a much different time.”
“This game and this wonderful country are pretty special,” he said. “They overcome every hurdle and every obstacle.”
Sunday will be the 10-year anniversary of the attacks.
Running back depth
Spencer Ware and Michael Ford emerged from a preseason competition at tailback to get nearly all of the carries in the season-opening 40-27 victory against Oregon last week. Ware had 26 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown, and Ford had 14 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Alfred Blue, who was in a three-man race for the starting position during the preseason, had the only other carry for tailback, gaining 2 yards.
“It’s a friendly competition every day,” Ware said. “We know we have a job to do to try and help this team win and help this offense be productive week in and week out.”
Ware had two more carries against the Ducks than he had all of last season as a true freshman.
“I felt a littler sore, a little banged up, but I think that’s normal,” he said. “It felt good.”
Ford said he doesn’t look at the situation at tailback as a competition.
“We don’t feel like we’re fighting for a job, because we’re teammates and a family,” he said.
“So when a player is out there getting the ball or getting a touchdown we’re cheering for him just like we were getting the touchdown, so there’s no competition for us.”
Miles said he still expects Blue to get a significant number of carries and to work freshman Terrence Magee into the mix.
Demons pay tribute
During a six-week stretch from mid-May to early July, two of Northwestern State coach Bradley Dale Peveto’s three brothers died.
Garey Birt Peveto, 47, died of a heart attack while returning from the Texas state high school track meet.
Jeff Peveto, 52, succumbed to a lengthy battle with cancer in July.
Both men were coaches, following in the footsteps of their father, Ed, who was a legendary high school football coach in southeast Texas.
As a tribute to the Peveto family, Northwestern State’s players are wearing decals on the backs of their helmets with the initials of their coach’s brothers.
The “Demon Deacons,” a group of Northwestern team leaders, made the decision to wear the decals and surprised their head coach with the news the day before the season opener.
Ex-Tigers to meet fans
Former Tigers players Demetrius Byrd and Ciron Black will meet fans and sign autographs Saturday at The Cook Hotel and Conference Center at LSU as part of the buildup to the home opener.
Byrd and Black, both members of the Tigers’ 2007 national championship team, will be available from 9:30-11 a.m.
Fans will be limited to two items per person to be autographed.
Real Sports Fundraising will have a variety of items for purchase to be signed as well as an array of other autographed memorabilia.
The Cook Center is located at 3838 West Lakeshore Drive.
Advocate sportswriter Scott Hotard contributed
to this report.