Freshman tight end Caleb Roddy and receiver Russell Gage were directly impacted by the historic flooding in Baton Rouge, coach Les Miles said in a news conference Tuesday.
Both players have missed practice to be with family members affected by destructive flooding that’s killed at least eight people and submerged thousands of homes. Roddy is from Denham Springs, a town of about 10,000 people and one of the hardest hit areas. The family of Gage, a Redemptorist graduate from Baton Rouge, moved to a shelter, Miles said.
“I don’t know how soon they’ll be back in their house,” the coach said in his first address to reporters since the destructive flooding over the weekend.
Christian LaCouture, a senior defensive tackle who's out for the season with injury, was affected. His family had to evacuate their Denham Spring home. The Miles family felt the impact of the rising water. Miles’ brother and his two nieces – his sister’s children – live in Gonzales and evacuated.
“What a great brother I’ve been,” the coach jested. “He texted me. Cell phone wasn’t working. Texted me on my work number and I’m without it for a day and the half. He says, ‘Come pick me up.’ Two hours later, he says, ‘I’m good. Thanks anyway.’ I’m a bad brother.”
Miles’ staff was also affected. Tight ends coach Steve Ensminger evacuated his family from their home, and long-time video coordinator Doug Aucoin’s son’s home was flooded. Equipment director Greg Stringfellow’s neighborhood experienced flooding.
“It looks like Katrina flooding, ok?” Miles said Tuesday. “Certainly the issues of the perimeter prior to this, with the loss of life … Our community is going through some tough times.”
Valentine in full pads
Travonte Valentine, a late addition to preseason camp last week, completed the NCAA-mandatory acclimation period and practiced in full pads Monday, Miles said.
Valentine, the top-ranked junior college defensive tackle in the nation, is expected to play significantly at nose tackle, but he’s not yet eligible for the season. Valentine must complete one summer intersession class to reach eligibility. He missed Tuesday’s practice while attending the morning class, Miles said, but he will scrimmage Saturday.
How’s he looked in full pads?
“Thick, strong, tough to block,” Miles said of the 350-pound Miami native.
Supper intersession classes were scheduled to end Friday, with exams Saturday. Classes will now end Saturday, with exams Sunday, said LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard. Classes were canceled Monday because of the flooding.
Valentine needed to practice four times in no pads for two days and shoulder pads only for two days before donning full pads.