Mathieu Kicked Off Team
What It Means
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The crazy part is that LSU losing a Heisman-caliber
defensive back probably won't matter too much.
Of course Tyrann Mathieu is a special talent and of course
it's never a positive for any team to lose a
tremendous playmaker, but if any team can absorb a
hit like this, it's LSU.
The Tiger cornerback well isn't quite as deep as it was last year when the defense was able to absorb the hit of
Patrick Peterson leaving early for the NFL, but
Tharold Simon is a good corner who'll instantly
become the No. 1 shut-down guy and safety Eric Reid will clean up a lot of messes. But more than anything else, the key will be that LSU won't have to face too many top passing teams and will still win games by bludgeoning teams with its nasty offense.
This might matter on the road at Texas A&M and it will certainly be a problem at Arkansas to close things out, but that's about it. LSU has a slew of young talents waiting in the wings who should know what they're doing by the time they have to face those two. As long as the offensive line stays in one piece and as long as the running game is beating people up like it did throughout last year against everyone but Alabama, nothing changes in terms of the preseason projections for the Tigers.
There's one other key aspect to remember: Mathieu
isn't exactly a top-shelf corner, and the 2013 NFL
Draft will show that.
He's a do-it-all playmaker who's at his best when
he's allowed to fly around and make big things
happen. Remember, he was a Heisman finalist because
of his big special teams plays to go along with his
decent work as a defensive back. In a perfect world
he's a nickel back, not a corner.
Even so, Mathieu was a catalyst. LSU might have blown out Arkansas and Georgia, but it was Mathieu who rolled the snowball that started the avalanche with a punt return for a score in each game. It was his huge forced fumble that turned around the game in the win over West Virginia.
A phenomenal college football player, he'll find a
home somewhere as anyone else in America would love
to have him in their secondary, knucklehead streak
and all, but if LSU can go on without Peterson and
Morris Claiborne, it can survive without the Honey
Nothing stops. LSU should still win the national
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - LSU has dismissed Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu from its football program for violating school and team rules.
The junior defensive back nicknamed Honey Badger was a surprising Heisman candidate last season as the Tigers won the Southeastern Conference championship and reached the BCS title game. LSU lost the championship 21-0 to Alabama.
At a news conference Friday, coach Les Miles would not specify the reason Mathieu was kicked off the team.
``We'll miss the guy,'' Miles said. ``The football team's got to go on. We'll have to fill the void.''
The Tigers enter this season as one of the favorites to reach the national championship game again. They are No. 1 in the coaches' preseason poll and expected to be right near the top of the AP college football poll when it is released Aug. 18.
Mathieu won the Bednarik Award as national defensive player of the year last season and was big-play machine at cornerback and on special teams. The All-American scored four touchdowns - two on punt returns and two on fumble returns - intercepted two passes and caused six fumbles and recovered four.
He was also suspended for a game last year for failing a drug test. The Tigers beat Auburn 45-10 without Mathieu.
Mathieu has two years of eligibility left and could transfer, but he would have to sit out this season if he went to another school in major college football. If he moved down a level, to FCS, he could play right away.
``I can't imagine he would be here and not want to transfer and go play football,'' Miles said. ``We will help him in every way we can.''
LSU isn't quite as deep at cornerback as it was last season, when it had All-American Morris Claiborne and often used Mathieu as a nickleback. Tharold Simon is the other starter opposite Mathieu. Second on the depth chart are redshirt freshman Jalen Collins and freshman Jalen Mills.