Do the right thing (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday February 20, 2008 4:47PM; Updated: Wednesday February 20, 2008 5:19PM
Miles has yet to comment publicly on Perrilloux's situation, even canceling a scheduled news conference Monday where he was to introduce the team's new co-defensive coordinators. Behind closed doors, however, the fourth-year coach is undoubtedly wrestling with a potentially tortuous decision.
While there's certainly nothing wrong with giving a guy a second chance, clearly Perrilloux is far beyond that point. LSU fans have become fed up enough to call for the quarterback's head on Tigers fan sites like DandyDon.com, where the site's namesake wrote Wednesday that "a good 90 percent of [his] e-mails are in favor of Les Miles dismissing Perrilloux from the team."
How many of those 90 percent, however, will be quite as understanding come December if Perrilloux's absence causes their favorite juggernaut to slip to, say, 8-5? Though Miles would certainly garner praise from the masses if he were to "do the right thing," it pales in comparison to the criticism he'll endure the first time LSU doesn't measure up to its now lofty annual expectations.
One of Miles' first accomplishments upon arriving at LSU in January 2005 was wooing Perrilloux, the reigning USA Today Offensive Player of the Year at East St. John (La.) High, to sign with the Tigers following a longstanding commitment to Texas. The cocky quarterback began causing headaches almost immediately, starting with his infamous Signing Day proclamation that he would play as a freshman because "JaMarcus Russell struggled last year, and Matt Flynn is definitely not a better quarterback than me."
Perrilloux was humbled soon enough, spending his first three years in Baton Rouge as a backup to both Russell, who went on to become a No. 1 draft pick, and Flynn, the MVP of last month's national championship game. One would hope he also gained some maturity along the way, but his actions over the past year seem to indicate otherwise.
Miles lifted the May 2007 suspension in time for the start of practice last fall, but according to the Times-Picayune, LSU's coaching staff laid out strict guidelines following the Alabama suspension that Perrilloux "had to abide or face possible dismissal." It was these stipulations that he apparently violated most recently.
In fairness, we don't know what personal circumstances might have led to Perrilloux shirking his responsibilities. For one, his biological father recently passed away, though the Times-Picayune reported that the two were not close and that Perrilloux had begun to run astray before that.
Whatever the case, it's unlikely Perrilloux is the only guy on a 100-plus player roster dealing with personal issues. What will it say to all the others who are making the effort to show up for meetings and workouts if Perrilloux is back out there under center for the Tigers' Aug. 30 opener against Appalachian State?
At the aforementioned BCS Media Day, Perrilloux spoke candidly with reporters about his past indiscretions and expressed gratitude toward Miles for sticking by him.
"I think all the time, how maybe I wouldn't have been part of this year," Perrilloux said a few days before the Ohio State game. "Coach Miles took me back on the team because he knows I'm a good person. I wasn't trying to do things to hurt the team."
Whether or not he's trying, the fact is, he's still doing it.
During the Tigers' championship run last season, Miles became synonymous with his unusually bold calls. It's time for him to make what would be his boldest call yet: To send his star quarterback packing.
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