Embattled LSU is focusing on Ducks
BATON ROUGE, La. — No more extra running for the LSU Tigers, at least not as punishment for their roles in a recent bar brawl.
With the season opener against No. 3 Oregon looming this Saturday night, coach Les Miles and the fourth-ranked Tigers are turning their focus toward the Ducks.
"We don't want to just run them into the ground," Miles said Monday afternoon. "There's a point in time where, OK, that's enough. ... Let's go forward. Let's look forward to playing an opponent. ... I'm not going to punish a team that really has been punished many, many times."
The recent offseason has been a series of setbacks, distractions and disappointments for LSU, a team that has most key players returning from a squad that went 11-2 last season and counts itself among the contenders for a national title.
Last week, projected starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson turned himself in after police obtained warrants for his arrests and reserve linebacker Josh Johns' arrests on felony second-degree battery charges stemming from an Aug. 19 melee outside a bar. More players have been implicated and police have said their investigation is ongoing.
Also last week, LSU suspended starting receiver Russell Shepard for an unrelated NCAA rules violation.
"There's a heartfelt loss, if you will, of missing two players," Miles said. "That being said, it's just all about (looking) forward and pulling together and going with a little different cast of characters. There are some things we can control and some things we can't, and right now there are two who aren't in the huddle and we'll line up and play in their absence."
Meanwhile, Jefferson's lawyer says he will ask LSU and coach Les Miles today to consider lifting the quarterback's indefinite suspension while the legal process plays out in the case of a recent bar brawl allegedly involving numerous LSU players.
"It is more than unjust to destroy this young man's career if it's all about a bunch of nothing, which is what I think," defense attorney Lewis Unglesby said Monday.
Unglesby said he does not want to tell Miles how to discipline players, only to make the case that the arrest warrant police obtained for Jefferson is without merit and by itself should not be allowed to ruin his senior season.
" I have no criticism, nor knowledge base, to say what Les Miles is doing is wrong, but I want to make sure he is fully informed that there's a whole other side to this, and that Jordan is not only presumed innocent, but I'm saying that he is," Unglesby said.
LSU vice chancellor for communications Herb Vincent said the school would have no immediate comment on Unglesby's comments.