LSU continues game week preps as Isaac looms

1:45 PM, Aug 28, 2012   |    comments
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BATON ROUGE, LA - School is out at LSU on Tuesday and Wednesday. The campus is closed. But football went on Tuesday morning.

The Tigers were scheduled to meet and then practice at about noon ET Tuesday as they simultaneously prepare for their season opener Saturday and Tropical Storm Isaac, which was expected to hit the Louisiana coast south of New Orleans on Tuesday night or early Wednesday as a Category 1 hurricane.

The Tigers, No. 1 in the USA Today Sports preseason coaches poll, play North Texas on Saturday in Tiger Stadium(ESPNU, 7 p.m. ET) - weather and its wake permitting.

"We will evaluate the impact of the storm and its aftermath as we learn more throughout the week," LSU athletics director Joe Alleva said.

LSU has had to change scheduled football games five times since Category 3 Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and the Mississippi coast on Aug. 29, 2005. Les Miles has been the coach that entire span.

His LSU debut Sept. 3, 2005, also against North Texas, was postponed by Katrina. His next opener a week later against Arizona State was moved from Tiger Stadium to Tempe, Ariz., as the LSU campus was still serving as a makeshift emergency central for Katrina victims with a field hospital, trauma center and morgue.

Miles' first home game against Tennessee was then moved from a Saturday night to a Monday night by Category 3 Hurricane Rita, which hit the Louisiana-Texas line on Sept. 24.

In 2008, Category 2 Hurricane Gustav pushed the kickoff of LSU's season opener against Appalachian State on Aug. 30 from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. to help with evacuation. Gustav ransacked Baton Rouge and damaged Tiger Stadium enough Sept. 1 to push LSU's game with Troy from Sept. 6 to Nov. 15.

"Coincidentally, it was North Texas in the exact same setup," Miles said. "We know how to do this. We'll figure it out. We'll be prepared to play.

Miles is 4-1 in games changed by hurricanes with the loss to Tennessee, 30-27 in overtime.

LSU's plans for Wednesday have not been finalized. Miles' regular Wednesday night radio show might be canceled.

Most of LSU's players have lettered in hurricanes. Approximately 40 of them are from the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas. They all have Katrina and/or Gustav memories.

"My family is evacuating from New Orleans," wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., a sophomore, said after practice Monday night. "My dad (Odell Beckham, a tailback at LSU in the early 1990s) might come stay with me. Some of the family is going to Atlanta."

Beckham and his family evacuated to Washington, D.C., for Katrina.

"You just know the damage that hurricanes can cause," he said. "You see what happened to the city. I definitely hope that it's not going to be as bad as that. Our home was damaged."

LSU starting tailback Alfred Blue's family evacuated their home in Boutte, near New Orleans, north to a campsite near Alexandria for Katrina, Rita and Gustav.

"A tree fell on our house in Katrina, but that was about it," he said. "No real damage."

Real damage happened last fall. Blue's family is now in Raceland, not far from Boutte, after a fire destroyed their home. Blue's mother, Erica Clement, is planning on riding Isaac out.

"My mom said she's not going anywhere," Blue said. "She's kind of figuring it's not going to be what everybody assumes it's going to be. So she said she's going to stick it out. I'm going to call her right when I leave here."

Blue said he and other LSU players from south Louisiana do not have to open up the eyes of their teammates from north Louisiana about hurricanes.

"I think they kind of got an assumption of what a hurricane is because of Katrina," he said. "I think they know the seriousness of a hurricane when they say to evacuate certain areas."

LSU free safety Eric Reid, a junior from Geismar, near Baton Rouge, said his family is getting ready.

"I know my dad (Eric Reid Sr., a track star at LSU in the 1980s) got a generator and stocked up with a lot of water and stuff," he said. "They're just holding it down at home."

(USA Today)

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