|Miles and Tigers weather another storm|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 03 September 2008 15:21|
He has a pool in the backyard, but wasn't about to use that either.
``A tree smashed the back fence and fell inches short of the house and it's getting plenty of water because it's in the pool, so it'll be alive when we chop it up,'' Miles said with a grin.
Miles has moved his family into LSU's football operations building and also invited his entire staff and their children to stay in the stout, concrete and stucco structure as Hurricane Gustav approached on Sunday night.
``All of our staffs' kids have become just great friends because they live in the operations building,'' Miles said. ``It's sleep-over at all times. ... It's a lot of family time, a lot of kids, some pretty special moments.''
They're all still there because the building has backup power.
Some of his assistants had roof damage, in addition to having trees and fences blown down.
``The good fortune is that there is a facility like this that we can gather in and be safe and practice in and regroup and go,'' Miles said. ``The best place for us is right here.''
Miles has been sleeping on the couch since attempting to join his wife on an air mattress the first night. He said it kept deflating and he ended up spending part of the night on the floor.
Miles said his team was hoping to be able to play this Saturday night at home against Troy and was disappointed by Wednesday's decision to postpone the game until Nov. 15, but understood.
``There's a great deal of compassion from this program, from this athletic department, for people in this state that were affected,'' Miles said. ``We wish everybody well. We understand there's a lot of rebuilding and a lot of discomfort right now.''
LSU remains scheduled to play at home on Sept. 13 against North Texas. He said his players wanted to keep practicing this week and look forward to getting back on the field to lift the spirits of fans who may be hurting personally. LSU embraced a similar mission in 2005, when hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit within one month.
``It's interesting,'' said Miles, who now has seen his team disrupted by three major storms in four seasons. ``I could not dictate in my words what they should want to do, and I asked the unity council, which is the leadership of our team, and had them stand and tell us what was in their heart.''
Miles recounted defensive end Tyson Jackson saying, ``I'm not worth a dang as a carpenter and I can't drive nails. ... Really the thing I do best is play football, so let's do that.''
``So we took his lead,'' Miles said.
The Tigers will keep practicing until Friday, then get the weekend off, when some players will return to their home towns in Louisiana to help their families deal with damaged property. They'll return on Monday, when classes also are expected resume.
WIDE LOAD: Huffing and puffing for 72 yards can take a lot of out a man. On Sunday, it took about 6 pounds off Kentucky defensive lineman Myron Pryor.
Pryor clinched Kentucky's 27-2 win over archrival Louisville last week by scooping up a fumble and chugging to the end zone. His celebration was muted, maybe because he couldn't breathe. Moments after the biggest play of his career, Pryor vomited onto the Cardinal Stadium turf.
Pryor's efforts were rewarded Tuesday with the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the week award - the first time since 1992 a Kentucky lineman had achieved that distinction.
As for the run, Pryor said he got plenty of congratulations along with a few stylistic tips. Eventually, he took his phone off the hook.
``I was trying to run as fast as I could, and afterward my legs were burned out,'' he said. ``To do that and be in the spotlight on TV makes me proud. Afterward, people kept telling me to kick my knees up to go faster.''
Cornerback David Jones joked that he didn't realize just how slow Pryor's run was until he saw the replay on TV.
``I thought they had it in slow motion,'' Jones said. ``He did a good job.''
GARCIA RISING: Troubled South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia might finally play in a real game.
With a shoulder injury to starter Tommy Beecher, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier will go with Chris Smelley at quarterback against Vanderbilt. That means Garcia slipped in to the No. 2 spot for Thursday night's game.
Spurrier says if Smelley gets hurt, his redshirt freshman quarterback could indeed see his first serious action in college for the Gamecocks (1-0).
That would be a big step forward for a player who Spurrier repeatedly said was a solid No. 3 on the depth chart.
Garcia has had his troubles in less than two seasons on campus. He enrolled in January 2007 and was considered Spurrier's best quarterback prospect since taking over the Gamecocks four seasons ago.
Garcia's spent more time in Spurrier's doghouse than in the Gamecocks' huddle though after three run-ins with law enforcement and suspensions from the last two spring practices.
He could play, Spurrier said, if Smelley ``gets bumped on the head and comes out dizzy. Yeah, we'll put Stephen out and let him go.''
Beecher missed two days of practice with a sore shoulder. He threw four interceptions in his debut as a starter until getting knocked out with what Spurrier at first called a head injury.
Smelley came on to lead three TD drives in the fourth quarter of a 34-0 win over North Carolina State last Thursday night.
GOOD INJURY NEWS: Ole Miss could get defensive tackle Peria Jerry back just in time for their game at No. 20 Wake Forest on Saturday.
Jerry returned to practice this week after arthroscopic knee surgery Aug. 18. He isn't expected to play a lot, but his return has buoyed a unit beset with injuries this summer.
``He's just been awesome,'' coach Houston Nutt said.
The 6-foot-2, 290-pound senior from Batesville, Miss., was expected to anchor a dominant defensive line this season. But his operation to repair torn cartilage in his right knee and the loss of Greg Hardy with a broken foot possibly through September left the Rebels with holes to fill.
Jerry has made a quick return from surgery, perhaps quicker than expected. He had an injury-plagued 2006 season and 2007 preseason before finishing with 14 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks last year, so his return should improve Ole Miss' defense in a difficult road game. But Nutt still isn't sure how much he'll contribute.
``You just don't know how really close he is to full speed,'' Nutt said. ``I don't think he's 100 percent. I still think there's a little ways to go.''
BAD INJURY NEWS: Mississippi State starting middle linebacker Jamar Chaney is out for the season.
Chaney broke his left leg in the fourth quarter. Trainers originally hoped he might be able to play later this season, but the fracture continued to grow when he put weight n his leg. He had surgery Sunday.
``That's definitely a blow to us,'' coach Sylvester Croom said. ``That guy was definitely a good football player for us, he played well the other night and his leadership will definitely be missed.''
The 6-foot-1, 236-pound senior from Fort Pierce, Fla., led the Bulldogs with 89 tackles last season. He's made 27 starts at Mississippi State and could return for a final season because he has yet to take a redshirt.