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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Discipline or posturing?

LSU football coach Les Miles has never been known as a hardened disciplinarian. He seems like too nice a guy. That perception may have played a role in Miles kicking off three members of his football team last week - defensive back Troy Giddens and offensive linemen Zhamal Thomas and Kyle Anderson.

All three had been arrested recently. Giddens and Thomas had more serious charges of theft and identity fraud and bail of more than $8,000 apiece. Anderson got into a fight at a bar near campus.

It was refreshing not to hear a coach say the usual. "We will let justice run its course." Blah, blah, blah.

Miles looked at the situations, considered some problems he had with all three players in the past and made his decision.

Was he sacrificing this trio to better the team? Was he waxing his own image?

You probably had never heard of any of the three. They were not starters. But all three were undergraduate players with futures possibly in the starting lineup. The two offensive linemen were badly needed at a position lacking depth since Miles' second year. They were both within range of the two-deep depth chart. He released them anyway.

If Miles is trying to be seen as a disciplinarian, it may come to pass that he paid a large price. Or this action could convince other players who have been thinking they could skate through with no consequences to think twice.

It may have been a step in the right direction for Miles. It was an impressive move. But we'll see what he does when a starter in the week of a game messes up in similar fashion. Remember, Chase Pittman and Early Doucet were both involved in bar fights under Miles and were not publicly suspended, much less kicked off the team.


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