LSU again commits the "helmet off" penalty, but Jerald Hawkins not embarrassed by it

LSU learning lessons after second "helmet off" penalty

LSU's going to get those helmets tightened up.

Les Miles said he's instructed the LSU equipment manager to refit every player's helmet after the Tigers were called for another penalty this past weekend. First it was Lewis Neal last week, and then Jerald Hawkins got flagged for "participating without his helmet" against Eastern Michigan.

It happened in the third quarter with LSU facing a 3rd-and-20. Hawkins had his helmet pushed off by the EMU defender, but he continued to engage with him downfield, and the two got in a bit of a shoving match as the play came to an end.

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LSU didn't actually lose any yardage, because the penalty was declined. But it's back-to-back weeks a Tiger got flagged for losing his lid.

"If you looked at that penalty," Miles said, "the defender put his hand right in the facemask of our offensive tackle. Of course, he continues to block through the whistle, and that's what has to get fixed."

Miles does agree with the rule. He believes in player safety and that's what it's intended to accomplish.

He just needs his players to stop if that helmet comes off.

Hawkins wasn't made available for interviews Monday to provide his take on the situation. But his fellow linemen offered insight into what they're instructed to do.

"If you're engaged and your helmet comes off, stay engaged with him so you don't get hurt," said right tackle Vadal Alexander. "But you don't want to run a guy downfield or chase a guy. Do your best to keep him where he is."

Alexander said it's still a "very rare situation" when that happens, even though it's now happened twice in one week. He also admitted he'd have a hard time slowing down his aggression if it ever happened to him.

"It's tough when you want to be physical," Alexander said. "That's our mentality. You naturally want to continue blocking your guy. It's hard to just stop...but you do it for your team. You don't want to get a penalty. We learned from it."

LSU's coaches went over it with all their players again Monday. There wasn't any anger or frustration though, as you'd expect from a false start or holding.

Hawkins wasn't even embarrassed by it. Instead, his teammates applauded the effort.

"The dude yanked off his helmet," Alexander said. "He couldn't do anything to control it. He dominated the guy on the play. He had to knock his helmet off to try and do anything, and it still didn't work."


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