Wednesdays With Les is a weekly post bringing you comments from LSU coach Les Miles during his three media opportunities each Wednesday during football season.
Tre'Davious White, Jamal Adams and a handful of other LSU players say they plan to do the traditional "Lambeau Leap" Saturday against Wisconsin if they score a touchdown.
They'll be hitchhiking if they do, their coach said Wednesday.
"I promise you that if anybody jumps (for) the Lambeau Leap, they’ll end up with thieir thumb out to see if they can get a ride home," Miles said on the Southeastern Conference teleconference on Wednesday morning.
Leaping into the stands — customary for Packers players after scoring — is against NCAA rules and would result in a 15-yard penalty. Under Rule 9, Section 2 of the NCAA rule book, "Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player (or players) attempts to focus attention upon himself (or themselves)" is prohibited. The rules also prohibits, “Going into the stands to interact with spectators, or bowing at the waist after a good play.”
If NCAA excessive celebration rules are applied, Wisconsin or LSU players could be penalized…
"It’s college football," Miles said, "and we’re going to play it that way. I think our guys understand that we’ll do it right."
Do they? White, LSU's starting punt returner and cornerback, said earlier this week that he'll do the Lambeau Leap — no matter the repercussions.
"Definitely. I’m pretty much just open to whatever punishment that’s going to come my way Monday," he said.
During interviews Monday, White guessed that the punishment would "be bad." Now he knows how bad: hitchhiking the 1,100 miles back home.
"It’s going to be bad, but I feel like, it’s just a dream of mine," the senior said. "Whatever Coach Miles has in store, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be some bad things. I’m ready to do it. It’s my last year. I want to make some memorable moments."
Fournette, the kick returner?: Despite not being listed as the starter, Miles reiterated that Leonard Fournette may return kicks this season, having practiced it live on Tuesday. Backup running back Derrius Guice was listed as the starting kick return on the Week 1 depth chart. Fournette, who practiced fully this week after returning from an ankle sprain, did not return kicks last season. He returned a kick for a touchdown in his final game as a freshman, a 31-28 loss to Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl. “We had a kickoff return practice yesterday and he returned kicks with great speed in that drill,” Miles said. “Having them both available certainly, but I would think Derrius would be the first.”
- Players understand no Lambeau Leaping: Miles said he did address his team about the rules against “Lambeau Leaping,” and all players are clear about what the penalty would be – kicking off from the 20-yard line. He did mention the possibility of the NCAA suddenly changing the rules for the Tigers’ opener at Lambeau Field but didn’t think that would happen. With a big smile, Miles acknowledged he may let his players do it at the end of the game. “I think those are things you think of at the end of this game week,” he said.
- Early games: Miles likes the idea of playing big name opponents early in the season because it ramps up preparation in preseason practices. “Playing a very quality opponent to start the season, everybody realizes the preparation has to be pretty good,” he said. “And you have to ready to play and play at a very high level in the first game. That’s how they’ve practiced. That’s how they’ve prepared.” Miles also acknowledge the climate in Green Bay should be cooler but hydration will still be an emphasis because it “can be an issue with the first game.”
- Injury updates: Miles said backup quarterback Danny Etling practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday and “practiced well today.” Miles previously told The Advocate that Etling recently suffered a “catch in his get along” but continued to practice. Miles also said tight end DeSean Smith would play and “play significant snaps” against Wisconsin. Smith, who had been dealing with a lingering knee injury in preseason camp, was not listed on the depth chart at tight end.
- Neutral sight advantage: Miles also enjoys that the opener will be played at neutral sight to accommodate the 30,000 LSU fans he expects to attend Saturday’s opener at Lambeau Field. “Wisconsin’s stadium never would have been able to accommodate – the ticket department, maybe – would never be able to accommodate 30,000 fans that would want to go to watch LSU play at Wisconsin.” Miles also said he planned to take the team around the Packers Hall of Fame, including where former Tiger and NFL Hall of Famer Jimmy Taylor is honored. “It’s really, I’ve been told, the place where pro football is really best represented, in it’s infancy, in it’s start. So we’re pretty excited about it."
- Two-headed monster: Miles was asked about the Tigers’ running back rotation and if Fournette and Guice could be in the game at the same time. “You can see Guice and Fournette in pretty regular doses. I think Darrell Williams will also get an opportunity to play a lot at running back. And, yes, I think you can see both Guice and Fournette in the game at the same time."
- Divinity continues to impress: Radio host Chris Blair asked Miles about something that has been a pleasant surprise in in preseason practice. The name that came to the coach’s mind was freshman outside linebacker Michael Divinity, the only true freshman listed as a starter on the Week 1 depth chart. Divinity could join only four other true freshman starters in the Les Miles era. “Boy, he’s really come on,” Miles said of Divinity. “I think that defense is playing fast to the ball. I think they’re improving routinely.”
- ‘Expect a fistfight’: Wisconsin, like LSU, is typically a team willing to battle in the trenches, a fact Miles clearly understands. He lauded the Badgers rushing attack, which is led by Corey Clement, fifth-year senior quarterback Bart Houston and a defense he believes can throw out multiple looks. “We expect a fistfight,” Miles said. “Certainly, it’ll be all that is represented to be."
- Battling Bart: Miles also gave a scouting report on Houston, who will be making his first collegiate start. Still, the Tigers are preparing for two quarterback to play. “Tall, strong arm, has the ability to extend plays with his feet, very accurate.” Miles said of Houston. “Really, (Houston) took on what was a newcomer (redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook). He’s had a great camp, certainly won the job. But we might expect to see both quarterbacks at the same time.”
- Emotional Return: Former Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is now LSU’s new coordinator, and Miles thinks it could be an emotional night for one is his newest staff members. “He coached a lot of those players. Those are people that he knows, we went to work with and cares about. I think in some vein, he’s going to be very competitive and want to win that game. They’re not going to feel sorry for Dave either.”