LSU All-American cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from the football team for violating team policy, head coach Les Miles announced on Aug. 10. Miles did not specify the policy which Mathieu had violated.
In a statement, Miles said, "This is a very difficult day for our team. 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." Miles also said in his statement, "It's hard because we all love Tyrann. 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."
During a press conference on Friday, Miles said that Odell Beckham Jr. will takeover for Mathieu on punt return duties. Beckham Jr. returned nine punts in 2011 for 77 yards. As far as defense goes, I expect redshirt freshman Jalen Collins to get the most snaps at cornerback. Other players who could try to fill in for Mathieu will be Jalen Mills, Dwayne Thomas and Micah Eugene. All four of the potential replacements are freshmen.
I think the Tigers will feel the loss of Mathieu most on special teams. The depth at defensive back is slim in terms of experience, but not potential. However, Mathieu's knack for causing turnovers cannot be replaced by any one player. In just two seasons, Mathieu had already set the school record for forced fumbles at 11. He had a good chance to to set the NCAA record in the category in 2012. Despite his great athleticism, Mathieu's height was always going to hinder his ability as a cover corner.
Mathieu returned two punts for touchdowns last season to go with a 15.6 punt return average. In addition, he also was a skilled punt return gunner. One of his touchdowns last season occurred against Oregon when Mathieu stripped the ball from punt returner Kenjon Barner and walked into the endzone for the score.
Some fans and writers have already decided to trash Mathieu for getting kicked off the team. I'm not going to go there. He's not the first player to get dismissed from the LSU football team and he won't be the last. I think the thing to do is to wish the kid the best in the future.
As an LSU fan, I hope Mathieu can put his priorities in order at another school and continue to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.
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"Mathieu dismissed from football team", LSU Sports.net
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