Colby Delahoussaye’s life may never be the same.
As he goes through treatment for a second-degree burn on his leg, he is reminded of a fateful night in late July, when he was the only survivor of a fiery car crash in Wisconsin.
But returning to the state for his final collegiate season isn’t weighing on LSU’s projected starting kicker, he said. In fact, it’s therapeutic.
He’s anticipating several people, who supported him through a summer of adversity, to be in attendance for the Tigers’ Sept. 3 matchup against Wisconsin at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
“Yeah, it’s going to be nice to see all those faces, definitely,” Delahoussaye said. “I got to see a few of them, but to just get some hugs and tell everybody hi is going to be great.”
Delahoussaye is expecting the mother of former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler — who, along with Nebraska punter Sam Foltz, died in the crash — to attend.
He also said coaches from the Kohl’s Kicking, Punting and Snapping Camp, which Delahoussaye, Sadler and Foltz had attended in Wales, Wisconsin, will be there. He’s also excited to see Wisconsin kicker and friend Rafael Gaglianone.
“To see all those guys, it’s just going to be a blast. I’m really looking forward to it. I'm really not worried or anything when it comes to going back to Wisconsin.”
Sadler’s mother, Karen, actually drove Delahoussaye and his father, Dwayne, to the Milwaukee airport a day after the crash. As she fought back tears, Delahoussaye was struck by how composed she was hearing about her son’s final hours.
“She’s such a strong woman,” Delahoussaye said. “You could tell she was holding back tears while talking to me. She just wanted to know how was Mike’s attitude before the accident and all that. And I was just so amazed at how strong of a woman she was. She just smiles. It was really an eye-opening experience.”
Delahoussaye said he feels “great” physically and is unaffected by the wrap covering his leg burn. The wrap is changed frequently to keep sweat off the wound, and he said he will visit the burn unit again in about three weeks.
“I’m hoping — and this is from what the doctors have told me — I’m pretty sure I’m past the stage of infection and all that, which is a really good thing,” Delahoussaye said. “It’s just keeping it clean, just like any open wound.”
Gamble’s back, 'getting better'
Junior kicker Cameron Gamble has dealt with muscle tightness in his back in recent practices, but Delahoussaye said Gamble kicked in Thursday’s practice and his condition was improving.
“He’s doing better,” Delahoussaye said. “I talk with him about it every day. He kicked today. He says it’s getting better.”
Gamble is battling freshman kicker Connor Culp for the kickoff duties, and Culp appears to have been given more reps due to Gamble’s injury. At his radio show on Wednesday, Les Miles lauded the performance of Culp in last Saturday’s scrimmage, saying he booted a kickoff “three rows deep” against a stiff rain.
Even Delahoussaye was wowed by Culp’s leg strength on that kick.
“We had just finished field goals, so I just went to sit down on the bench,” Delahoussaye said. “I just remember watching the first kickoff. Cam wasn’t out there because his back was still bothering him, and Connor gets up there. The rain’s coming down, and I was worried about his plant and all that, because I’ve slipped on that field a few times whenever it got really, really bad. But he cranked one. I watched it, and it just kept going, just kept going. He bombed that one.”
Hawthorne to be honored
Chris Blair, LSU’s new “Voice of the Tigers,” hosted his first Les Miles Radio Show on Wednesday at T.J. Ribs. Naturally, the old “Voice of the Tigers,” Jim Hawthorne, called into the show.
But Blair won’t speak about the retired Hawthorne in past tense.
“Well, if isn’t the ‘Voice of the Tigers,’ Jim Hawthorne, joining us,” Blair said.
“No, it’s the former ‘Voice,’ Hawthorne rebutted.
“No, no, no, no,” Blair playfully disagreed.
Hawthorne, who served as the football, basketball and baseball radio broadcaster for more than three decades, told Miles and Blair he would continue to be visible around the program. He also said there would be a field presentation on his behalf during LSU’s Oct. 1 home game against Missouri.
Hawthorne and his wife, Carol, were among those severely affected by the recent flooding in South Louisiana, receiving 16-18 inches of water in their home, he said. For hours, friends and colleagues were unable to reach Hawthorne by phone due to a loss of electricity, and he was unaware of any manhunt taking place.
Though he reiterated he was never in any real danger, four men from Brusly rescued the couple from their home.
Hawthorne also expressed his well-wishes to Blair, who will call his first LSU football game on at Lambeau Field. Blair reminded Hawthorne that there will always be a seat open him at the radio show or in the radio booth.
“Let me tell you, my friend,” Hawthorne said to Blair. “You’re in for the ride of your life now that you’re part of the Tiger Nation and LSU football. There’s nothing like in the broadcast world.”
“I promise, I’ll try to do you proud next week,” Blair said.
The dream Chris Blair had on the eve of his first real day as LSU’s Voice of the Tigers invo…