LSU has removed star defensive back Tyrann Mathieu from the team just weeks before opening up what looked to be a promising 2012 season. Mathieu was shown the door as a result of violating what Les Miles confirmed to be team and school rules, although the details of the reasoning at this point are noting more than speculation and unconfirmed reports.
“This is a very difficult day for our team,” Miles said. “We lose a quality person, teammate and contributor to the program. However, with that being said, we have a standard that our players are held to and when that standard is not met, there are consequences.
For those who are just checking out our site for the first time, I feel I should inform you that Mathieu has been one of our favorite players to cover since we launched the site last summer. We have done a number of posts discussing what he brings to the field, his chances to become a Heisman player and so much more. So the news actually hits some of us pretty hard too. We can only imagine how the team reacts to this news as well.
“It’s hard because we all love Tyrann," Miles said. "We will do what we can as coaches, teammates, and friends to get him on a path where he can have success. We are going to miss him.”
Yeah, we're all going to miss him. Especially Verne Lundquist!
As shocking as this news appears to be, perhaps we should have seen this coming. Early Friday morning LSU's football office released their latest video on YouTube and it was quite noticeable that none of the highlights in the five minutes and 18 seconds of hype video footage included a single highlight authored by Mathieu. This should have been a bit of a red flag, because anyone who watched LSU last year knows that Mathieu had his hands in a number of fantastic, and game-changing, plays from the season opener in Dallas against Oregon through the SEC championship game against Georgia. Mathieu can be given credit for taking control of each of those games, and more.
Mathieu is seen in the video, but he clearly is not the focus of any of the clips shown. Here is the video that was released.
Following that, LSU also uploaded a pair of defensive teaser videos on their YouTube channel. Neither one of these videos includes Mathieu's presence. LSU has been producing all kinds of hype videos over the summer, so these videos may have already been in the stock pile, ready to roll. But it is interesting that these videos are all uploaded today, with no real sign of the Honey Badger.
Was this all part of a strategic plan by LSU? Or just a mere coincidence? Or were these videos previously uploaded and just given a retouch to remove the image of Mathieu in the wake of today's news?