Second, football is just around the
corner. The Tiger Rag Football Preview is headed to the press and should find
its way into your mailboxes in a couple of weeks. The cover date is Aug.
Third, to go along with the
football theme, there are those isolated mid-summer headlines that rise to the
surface allowing Tiger fans just enough to talk about for weeks until the start
of fall camp. This summer’s biggest headline so far is the Chase Pittman saga,
which we will expound on shortly.
Fourth, mid July means the British
Open, which abruptly ended on a sour note for LSU golfer David Toms. Toms
disqualified himself after Thursday’s opening round for signing an incorrect
scorecard. He signed off on a two-over 74, but in reality tapped in a moving
ball on 17, which was a two-stroke penalty. Toms assessed the penalty on himself
meaning he shot a 76. Technicalities! Those persnickety golf rules…. I tell
But as midsummer rounds the bend
toward August, LSU fans have been treated to a few enticing extras this July.
Chase Pittman surely spiced things up with his early morning melee at a
bar. But the whirlwind surrounding Smoke Laval and the ongoing discussion
concerning the construction of the new west upper deck has kept the radio talk
shows and Internet message boards buzzing.
First, let’s tackle the
All of you know LSU fans can be
critical. But let’s take it easy on the powers that be concerning this west
upper deck thing. If you remember, it took almost two years to construct the
east upper addition opened in 2000.
The west upper was torn down and is
being rebuilt in a window of nine months. This is a project no one has dared to
try before and if LSU pulls it off should be commended.
Heck, if they can get the thing
habitable it will be an accomplishment.
The fact is, this is the only way
this project could be done. LSU couldn’t just announce, ‘all right, we will not
have the west upper deck for the 2005 season.’ That couldn’t happen. The
athletic department had the luxury of taking two years on the east upper because
it was not previously in use.
For those of you who feel
reconstructing the west upper was a waste of time and resources because the old
one was good enough, you obviously never had the pleasure of visiting the press
box or club level sections. Plus, when completed, Tiger Stadium will be visually
appealing as each deck will be symmetrical.
Moving on to Chase
Les Miles was forced to handle his
first domestic issue in terms of disciplining a player (Shawn Jordan doesn’t
count because he was in Texas).
Chase Pittman’s incident at Bogie’s
bar & Grill earned an indefinite suspension and a boatload of discussion in
a traditionally slow news month.
Let’s get the facts
Pittman slugged a guy in a bar. The
unnamed recipient of Pittman’s punch suffered a swollen guy and visited Our Lady
of the Lake
subsequently was arrested for battery. Pittman was suspended by
Here’s what we don’t
Did Pittman throw the punch taking
up for a co-ed who was violated by the unnamed sluggee. Pittman said the person
in question groped a young lady, he stepped in and the anonymous bar-goer took a
swing at Pittman, to which he retaliated. Also, the man that threw the first
punch was 5-7 compared to Pittman standing 6-4. (What was that guy
It sounds like a whole lot of bar
talk here, but from what we understand, something happened and Miles did what he
had to do. Pittman was suspended but is suspected to return to the team for the
season. These are the type of things that happen with college aged kids –
football players or not. There has been a great deal of discussion about what
Miles should do with Pittman, even suggestions that Miles should ban all players
frequenting night clubs.
Whatever the outcome, Miles cleared
his first major hurdle as head coach handling the issue quickly and
Could Smoke say
yes to Oklahoma?
Finally, what about
Rumors out of Oklahoma say he is a
candidate for the head coaching vacancy there.
Smoke says he is not.
The rumors were silenced a bit when
State’s gene Stephenson
apparently accepted the job early last week. But when Stephenson had a change of
heart, the rumor mill was revitalized.
Laval denies any talks with the Sooners, but
athletic director Skip Bertman has spoken with the newspapers a little too often
to believe there is nothing there. Plus, Bertman has made comments concerning
Smoke’s team “underachieving” and the fact LSU will not “offer Laval more money to stay” if he does talk to Oklahoma.
Sounds a little fishy on this
But it also begs the question, why
wouldn’t Smoke go?
At LSU, he has won more SEC games
in four years than any other coach in the league (75), made two trips to the
College World Series and has an SEC title under his belt. Yet, fans still scream
for his head on a daily basis.
Because Laval is and never will be
the kind of coach fans want him to be – namely Skip Bertman. Laval will never possess
the fire in the dugout Bertman had nor will he ever be able to pump out five
national titles in 10 years.
How about ‘pack your bags for
At Oklahoma, Laval would
obviously make more money than he does at LSU (Laval isn’t among the leaders in salary in the
SEC). Also, toss in the fact he would be playing in an easier conference, face
fewer expectations and at the same time shed the Bertman shadow. Plus, he would
be able to build his own program, much the way he did at UL-Monroe.
While Laval says he isn’t
interested in the Sooners and Bertman is leaving the door open for speculation
with a host of cryptic comments, we say happy trails Smoke. You can’t say the
prairie grass of Oklahoma makes for greener pastures, but
anything is better than the rising heat in this LSU pressure cooker.
Matt Deville is the editor of
Tiger Rag Magazine. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.