As has been the case with virtually every aspect of the LSU football program these days, the specter of the police investigation into Friday’s melee outside a south of campus bar involving Tiger football players permeated Les Miles’ first radio call-in show of the new season.
Miles, answering questions live Wednesday night before a packed house of excited but pensive LSU fans at T.J. Ribs on Acadian Thruway, addressed the issue to start his show before taking questions.
“Obviously there is an investigation going on concerning one of our teammates,” Miles said. His reference was apparently to news that broke shortly before Miles’ show that police conducted a search of quarterback Jordan Jefferson’s off-campus apartment Wednesday afternoon for evidence pertaining to the bar fight.
“It’s a side distraction to a great season that we do not want,” Miles continued. “But I told our (players), we made our bed and now it’s time to get it right.
“The want and desire now to redirect this team is being taken by every member on it. I know my young guys are good guys by and large. They’ve definitely made some mistakes, but they will get by this and will develop into a good football team.”
Running to taper off
In one of the radio show’s few light moments, Miles was asked about his team’s conditioning.
“We’re doing a lot of running these days,” he said, alluding to the extra running the Tigers have been doing as punishment for Friday morning’s bar fight.
Miles also indicated that the disciplinary measures will soon come to an end as the No. 4-ranked Tigers get closer to their Sept. 3 season opener against No. 3 Oregon in Arlington, Texas.
“Certainly there has to be a point in time where you pull back on the running and let their legs get fresh again,” said Miles, who didn’t exactly say when that would be.
Lee ahead of Mettenberger
Miles was asked about the progress of sophomore quarterback Zach Mettenberger, a popular question that has taken on added urgency recently considering Jefferson’s off-the-field issues.
Miles again replied Mettenberger is doing well, but that he remains behind senior Jarrett Lee on the LSU depth chart.
“He’s a very talented thrower,” Miles said of Mettenberger, “he just needs time in the system.
“In my opinion, Jarrett is ahead of him. He’s been in the system a lot longer and is making some of these plays that should be made with experience.
“That said, I’m sure Zach will eventually be there.”
Miles again expressed his pleasure with the progress of true freshmen Anthony Johnson, Terrence Magee and La’El Collins of Redemptorist.
The coach said Johnson and Collins will both make significant contributions this season, Johnson at defensive tackle and Collins on the offensive line, where he’s primarily playing guard.
As for Magee, a converted quarterback turned running back, Miles expect him to make an impact in a couple of areas.
“He’s one of those very mature young freshmen who come into a team and can immediately improve us on offense and special teams,” Miles said. “He has great vision at finding a hole, is very physical and has great speed.”
Tickets on sale Saturday
LSU will begin selling single-game tickets and four-game mini plans starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Single game tickets are available for the Tigers’ home games with Northwestern State on Sept. 10, Western Kentucky on Sept. 24 and Kentucky on Oct. 1. The cost is $50 for the Kentucky game and $40 for Northwestern State and WKU.
In addition, LSU will sell four-game packages for Northwestern State, Kentucky, Western Kentucky and the Nov. 25 home finale against Arkansas. Those tickets are $180 each.
Tickets are available at the LSU Athletic Ticket Office, online at www.LSUtix.net and by phone at (800) 960-8587 or (225) 578-2184.
The weekend before
The Tigers didn’t practice Wednesday, taking a day off after Tuesday’s final preseason scrimmage.
The team will practice Thursday, Friday and Saturday then begin a normal game- week routine by taking Sunday off before returning to practice Sunday.