A bomb threat at LSU that led university officials to evacuate the entire campus wound up forcing Les Miles to cancel a game-week practice for the second time in a month.
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The second-ranked Tigers were permitted to return to campus and the football operations building Monday evening, but Miles elected to hold only meetings and film sessions of last Saturday night’s 63-14 victory over Idaho.
One practice also was canceled several days before LSU’s season opening win over North Texas because of Hurricane Isaac.
”These are the first two practices I’ve lost,” said Miles, who is in his 12th season as a head coach overall and eighth at LSU. ”Our team will respond.”
Miles is accustomed to disruptions, having dealt with Hurricanes Katrina in 2005 and Gustav in 2008. Those storms canceled games, meaning Miles did not have to cancel practices and yet still play a game in the same week.
The threat was called in to the university late Monday morning, six days before LSU opens its Southeastern Conference schedule at Auburn on Saturday.
”We recognize that this is a conference opponent this week,” Miles said. ”The incentive to improve is greater this week. We’ll have more time later in the week to make up for (Monday’s missed practice). Our preparation will be fine.”
Miles said Monday was not an easy day for anyone involved with the Tigers football program.
”There were some tense moments around here today,” Miles said. ”It was a moral issue. You couldn’t have the players come to the (football) building.
”I hope they find the person who did this and make him pay the price.”
In any event, LSU (3-0) is getting back to football and still awaiting a reasonable challenge following lopsided victories over North Texas, Washington and Idaho. The Tigers have outscored those three teams by a composite score of 145-31. Miles expects Auburn to provide his team a bigger test this week.
”The caliber of opposition increases this week,” Miles said. ”The game has more importance. It’s a conference opponent and it’s a division opponent. There is a need to improve and play well.”
Auburn (1-2) needed a field goal in overtime to edge Louisiana-Monroe for its first victory last Saturday. Miles said he won’t be fooled by Auburn’s stumbling start.
Under Miles, LSU has lost two of three games played at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.
”Not long ago, Auburn was the national champion,” Miles said. ”Auburn has had some really quality teams. We have not done as well as we liked in games there. We are looking forward to getting on the road. Auburn is a live venue, a wonderful place to play. We will get our opponent’s best shot.”
LSU will be without starting running back Alfred Blue against Auburn. Blue, who has rushed for 270 yards and two touchdowns, suffered a knee injury during the Idaho game. Miles declined to specify what was wrong with Blue or how long he would be out.
Kenny Hilliard, who is LSU’s top rusher with 303 yards and a SEC-best six touchdowns, will be the starter at running back, and depth is not a problem at that spot with Michael Ford, Spencer Ware and Jeremy Hill in reserve. Ford and Ware were LSU’s top two rushers last season.
Blue is the fourth starter now missing from the LSU lineup. Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from the team last month for a failed drug tests. Linebacker Tahj Jones is academically ineligible. Starting offensive tackle Chris Faulk is out for the season with a knee injury.