DEVILLE: LSU fans got what they asked for

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - LSU fans have been wanting LSU coach Les Miles to show some emotion. They got their wish Saturday.

As the second year LSU coach left the field at halftime, trailing 10-7, CBS sideline analyst Tracy Wolfson stopped Miles for a few comments before entering the locker room.


Obviously Miles was none too pleased with Wolfson's line of questioning, which pertained to LSU's two earlier losses at Florida and Auburn. Miles, who was still fired up from an earlier (and yet another) blown call by a replay official, spouted off something at Wolfson, including the phrase, "We are going to play our ass off (in the second half)."

Afterwards, a more subdued Miles apologized for the remark.


"At halftime, a very nice CBS gal said to me something about (losing) to two nationally ranked opponents on the road and the difficulty that we had," Miles said. "I didn't respond well. But the point was we needed to beat a good football team on the road and we did that today."


Miles may not have responded well at the time, but his team surely did in rallying from a 24-21 fourth quarter deficit to beat No. 8 Tennessee 28-24, the Tigers' first road victory of the season.


The win didn't come without some kicking and scratching.


The Tigers turned the ball over four times, including three JaMarcus Russell interceptions, were flagged for a number of penalties yet still managed to dominate Tennessee on the stat sheet and, in the end, get the victory.


Miles praised his team afterwards, but again got warm when the first question asked concerned his team's inability to finish in two previous road defeats. Miles grew agitated and raised his voice admitting his team played sloppy at Florida, but insisted they did finish at Auburn, despite a loss.


"I want you to know something, anyone who thinks we didn't finish at Auburn, just didn't understand what finish means," Miles said. "We busted our tail until the last second. (Raises voice) You don't think we finished that game? Go watch that film because we finished that game. We made some mistakes in one game that cost us a game. We made some mistakes in this one that didn't cost us this one because we finished. We have finished in every game except one (Florida).


"To be honest with you, speaking of finishing, we only turned the ball over in one of those games. Finishing isn't the issue, we just need to be a little smarter and maintain our poise and not get too excited."


Tiger fans had been asking for passion from their coach. Saturday they got it.




While Miles has been feeling some pressure since losing both road games against top five teams at Auburn and Florida, another prominent LSU official has been feeling some heat lately as well.


Rumors have been swirling about the future of athletic director Skip Bertman and his association with LSU. An earlier investigation revealed some shady dealings between he and former baseball coach Smoke Laval and there is still an ongoing investigation into discounted housing he may have offered his players during his 17-year tenure as the Tigers' baseball coach.


Some think Bertman is on the way out.


Saturday night, Bertman was in the press box and was as emotional as his head football coach. Throughout the third and fourth quarters, Bertman sat along the top row of the press box at Neyland Stadium. With each second half turnover, Bertman bellowed and moaned. At one point, the LSU AD pounded his fist so hard on the desk in front of him it drew the attention of reporters throughout the press box.


Just before JaMarcus Russell's final, game-winning touchdown pass to Early Doucet, Bertman had his head down on the desk with hands folded as if praying for a touchdown. It is obvious Bertman desperately needed something positive to come out of the trip to Knoxville.




I had the opportunity to mingle with the LSU fans Friday night before the game.


As a special guest of Jim Dumigan, who puts together amazing LSU trips to away football, basketball and baseball games, my wife, Beth, and I attended a party in downtown Knoxville at Calhoun's, a popular hot spot on the Tennessee River.


Dumigan hosted a party of some 200 Tiger fans that were all eating, drinking and being quite merry. As the night wore on, a somewhat subdued party turned into a full fledged LSU bonanza, complete with DJ and gyrating partygoers.


When the party finally wound down, we moved downstairs to the bar area where I happened to run into former New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Volunteer wide receiver Donte Stallworth, who now plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. Stallworth said he misses New Orleans and he wishes them the best.



From the mailbag:


There seems to be controversy surrounding which stadium seats are illegal in Tiger Stadium and which ones we've been banned from using. After a long search, we finally found seats that were not only comfortable and versatile, but were in LSU colors with the LSU logo.


This means that the manufacturer and seller paid a licensing fee to LSU, which they passed on to the buyer. (Were they not approved by someone in the licensing process?) Now we're told that the seats are illegal, yet I still see them for sale in local stores. First of all, why are the seats illegal when they fit between the seating marks?

Secondly, if they are, in fact, illegal, why are they still being sold?


Will the same seats be illegal for baseball? What about softball? Will they soon physically measure our backsides? Incidentally, there are a large number of backsides in that stadium that take up much more space than my stadium seat. Should these people be required to purchase more than one ticket per extra-large backside?


We've been sitting in the same area in the Northeast Corner of Tiger Stadium for more than 40 years and in our current seats for 38 years. All this time, we've waited patiently for LSU to extend the yellow seats into our area. But it seems that our section, located adjacent to a yellow seat section, has not been on LSU's priority list for upgrades. Even though ticket prices continue to rise, we still sit on bleacher-style seating after all these years. Last year, I purchased comfy seats from the LSU Book Store but the zippers promptly broke at the first game so I was out 80 bucks for the poorly made seats.


Can somebody please tell me why we can't enjoy the comfortable seats (with great arm rests, by the way) for which we paid good money and for which LSU got its share of the purchase price? They don't infringe on anyone else's seating space. If the seats are, in fact, illegal, why are they still being sold in local stores? Why have they not been recalled? If/when they're recalled, will we get money back for the slightly used seats?


More importantly, will LSU pay back the licensing fee to the stores?


Personally, I am sick and tired of the weekly changing rules for LSU season ticket holders. All I'm asking for is a comfortable seat. It's difficult for someone with a bad back to sit through game after game on a hard bleacher with no back rest. I've found seats I enjoy and find very comfortable and now they're banned from the stadium? In all the ruckus of getting 95,000 fans into the stadium, LSU still finds extra people to play stadium Gestapo for each game.


G. B. Landry

Baton Rouge, Louisiana



Response from LSU senior associate athletic director Herb Vincent:


There are a few issues:  first, there is a width-limit (16 inches) for seats in Tiger Stadium because we don't want portable seats to be bigger than the seat space allowed for obvious reasons; second, yes, we do license seats that are larger than 16 inches because the seats are used for purposes other than LSU football games, i.e., youth games, high school events, etc.


This issue has raised its head this year because of seats that were being brought to Tiger Stadium that are bigger than allowed and we have to regulate it.




Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag magazine. Reach him at

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