LSU coach Les Miles rode out Hurricane Isaac on Wednesday at the Tigers’ football operations building, where he and members of his staff continued planning for Saturday night’s scheduled home opener against North Texas.
Players for the third-ranked Tigers were given the option of staying in their own apartments, at the football operations building or in Tiger Stadium.
”All those guys that will be in their own apartments off campus have been told to reconcile where they’re at and recognize this is a significant storm and that they need to be safe,” Miles said on the Southeastern Conference’s weekly conference call with coaches.
Miles added that those who had the opportunity to be with family in south Louisiana were encouraged to consider that option as well.
”Each guy’s really been given that choice,” Miles said. ”"They had time to find the safest shelter and hunker down.”
Wednesday’s practice was canceled, and Miles said he was hoping his players would be able to resume preparations for the Mean Green on Thursday, depending on the speed at which Isaac moves out of Baton Rouge and how much damage it leaves behind.
”We’re meeting in football and handling our business and reconciling the fact that we missed Wednesday’s practice and all the things that we needed to get covered on what was a Wednesday we need now to get covered on Thursday,” Miles said
Isaac crept slowly across south Louisiana on Wednesday, which happened to be the seventh anniversary of much more powerful Hurricane Katrina. It was a hurricane for part of the day before being downgraded to a tropical storm.
Katrina caused LSU to postpone a game with North Texas in 2005, Miles’ first season with the Tigers. The coach joked that the LSU athletic department would no longer schedule games against the Mean Green, then added, ”I don’t think North Texas really had anything to do with it, but it is an unusual coincidence.”
As of mid-day Wednesday, LSU officials said there was still power on campus and that the season opener remained on its original schedule of 6 p.m. Saturday.
That was subject to change, however, if stronger winds and rain expected Wednesday night made daily life in Baton Rouge too difficult for the community to host a football game attracting in excess of 90,000 fans to Tiger stadium.
”The schedule is obviously in relationship to how fast or how slow the storm moves,” Miles said. ”The schedule (on Thursday) will also depend on how things go (Wednesday) evening.”
LSU vice chancellor Herb Vincent said university officials expected to meet Thursday morning to evaluate damage and consult with area authorities about the condition of the community before making a final decision on whether to play the game as scheduled.