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Do the right thing

LSU's Miles should dismiss troubled QB Perrilloux

Posted: Wednesday February 20, 2008 4:47PM; Updated: Wednesday February 20, 2008 5:19PM
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Ryan Perrilloux
Ryan Perrilloux played a key role in LSU's national title campaign as a change-of-pace quarterback.
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As LSU's coaches and players filed into the Louisiana Superdome for Media Day the week of the BCS championship game against Ohio State, head coach Les Miles briefly stopped on the way to his appointed dais to chat with one particular Tiger: Ryan Perrilloux.

The conversation took place out of earshot from reporters, but it was clear from the pair's body language that the tone was serious. Presumably, Miles was offering some terse instructions to his oft-troubled quarterback, who he'd purposefully shielded from media for most of the season but, at this event, did not have that option.

That Perrilloux was the only one of the 100-plus LSU players on hand the day that Miles felt the need to brief personally was hardly surprising. After all, Perrilloux is the only one of those 100-plus players who's managed to retain his spot on the roster despite a litany of disciplinary problems.

Miles announced this week that, less than two weeks before the start of spring practice, the anticipated starting quarterback for the defending national champions has been suspended indefinitely "due to his failure to follow team rules." The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Perrilloux's recent transgressions include missing classes, workouts and at least one team meeting.

Amazingly, this marks the rising junior's third suspension in the past eight months, starting with his arrest in May 2007 for attempting to enter a casino with another person's I.D. (he was underage at the time). He was also left home from the Tigers' Nov. 3 game at Alabama following his involvement in a fight at a nightclub. Earlier in his career, Perrilloux was sought for questioning by federal and local officials investigating an alleged counterfeiting ring. (He was not charged.)

Taken together, one can't help but wonder at this point: How on earth is Perrilloux still on the team?

The most obvious theory, of course, is because Perrilloux is the star quarterback rather than, say, a backup linebacker. When it comes to disciplinary matters, coaches across the country routinely exercise double standards depending on the importance of the player involved.

One need look no further than Miles' SEC counterpart, Tennessee, where on Feb. 13, Vols coach Phillip Fulmer booted sophomore reserves Dorian Davis and Antonio Wardlow for undisclosed violations of team rules. Both had previous misdemeanor arrests on their records.

Four days later, however, All-SEC punter Britton Colquitt was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident (he ran into a parked car). Though it marked the fifth alcohol-related arrest of Colquitt's career, he remains a Vol, albeit with a five-game suspension and the loss of his scholarship.

These things happen all the time. The same coaches who publicly stress the importance of accountability and setting the right example proceed to selectively enforce said morals depending on whether the player in question can help the coach win ballgames.

Miles' ongoing handling of Perrilloux has become the most high-profile double standard in all of college football, one made all the more glaring by the spotlight that comes with winning a national championship and the fact that Perrilloux, last December's SEC title game MVP, is no longer a backup. If anything, he's arguably the Tigers' most indispensable player heading into next season, seeing as their only other quarterback options are a freshman who redshirted last season (Jarrett Lee), an incoming freshman (Jordan Jefferson) or a walk-on transfer from Harvard (Andrew Hatch).

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