Tigers practice in wake of national tragedy

The LSU football team held its regularly scheduled practice Tuesday afternoon, just hours after the nation was shaken to its core by a coordinated terrorist attack in New York City and Washington, D.C. The focus of the players, and those on hand to watch the practice, was not entirely on the upcoming game against Auburn.

The Tigers' were very subdued and serious as they exited buses at the LSU practice facility .

"I don't know how I'm going to concentrate on football," one player was overheard to say. Free safety Ryan Clark, obviously aware of the heavy mood, tried to lighten the mood with some off-the-subject joking. The laughter was brief and nervous.

Other players questioned one another regarding the terrorist attack, one explaining to another the scope of the tragedy and the possible implications to national security.

The fact that LSU opens in Southeastern Conference schedule against Auburn on Saturday seemed to be secondary in the minds of players and coaches, who quietly followed instruction from head coach Nick Saban and his staff.

Meanwhile on the sidelines, reporters with family and loved ones in the affected portions of the country were on cellular phones seeking reassurance of their well-being.

For the record, cornerback Robert Davis did not practice with the team Tuesday, sitting out his second consecutive practice with a knee injury he suffered in the Tigers 31-14 win over Utah State.

Players wearing red jerseys, indicating a no-contact status, were linebacker Jeremy Lawrence, athlete Domanick Davis, defensive end Kenderick Allen, fullback Solomon Lee, and offensive tackle Terry Phillips.

Saban is scheduled to meet with reporters Wednesday evening, by which time the Southeastern Conference and the NCAA are expected to have decided the fate of games scheduled for this weekend.

Commentary: I want to take this opportunity to express my grief for those of you who directly and indirectly affected by today's events. Chances are you are watching television right now and not terribly concerned with what's going on in the world of LSU football.

I agree - the significance of LSU football is non-existent at this moment.

But its overall existence, I think, is quite significant.

Tuesdays are generally a "slow" day for me, as I attempt to take a little time off for myself to account for the work hours I put in over the weekend. I rolled out of bed about 8 a.m. today and, after turning on my radio, learned of what had taken place in Manhattan. My television was switched on soon after the second airliner made impact at the World Trade Center.

I didn't move from my seat for the next three hours.

Around noon time, I made a decision to run an errand I had promised my wife I would do the night before. It was something, given the seriousness of the situation, that I could have easily postponed, but I was struck with the feeling that I should not let what was happening paralyze me.

Yes, I was scared. I was very upset, too. But I felt that by refusing to resume my routine in a somewhat normal fashion, I was helping the terrorists achieve their goal. I didn't want to be a prisoner of the fear they were trying to inflict upon our nation.

I also personally struggled with the decision to attend practice today, thinking there was something else I should be doing. I wasn't exactly sure of what it was, but it almost felt wrong to be heading out to the practice fields to check on the status of the Tigers. But again, I refused to be held captive. In my mind - as twisted as it sounds - I felt attending today's practice was a duty I had been sworn to uphold.

I sort of feel silly sharing these thoughts, but I guess it is part of how I am dealing with what has taken place today. I realize the world will go on if LSU postpones its game with Auburn this weekend. For reasons you probably understand by now, I feel as though the game should take place.

So if reading these reports helps you to assume a normal semblance of your everyday life, I will feel that I have made the right decision in bringing them to you. I am not looking for a pat on the back or to stir controversy. Like I said before, this is part of how I am dealing with the tragedy.

If it helps to share your thoughts on today events, the Tigers, or anything else you want to get off your chest, I am happy to provide a venue for you to do so in Tiger Rag magazine. You can e-mail me at glarose@i-55.com or go to our message board (see link in upper left hand corner).

We will all get through this together.

May God be with us all.

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