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LSU, Les Miles still don’t get it even in suspension of Josh Boutte for hit on UW safety

It has been a long while since this author and about 200 other media members at the Carmex Lambeau Field College Classic has seen something as dirty in the game of football as LSU offensive lineman Josh Boutte’s hit on D’Cota Dixon.

The hit was inexcusable, but that didn’t stop LSU head coach Les Miles from excusing it anyway.

“I grabbed him right away when it happened,” Miles told reporters after the game. “I’ll have to see the film. He’s an offensive lineman in protection. What happens downfield many times, you can be protecting beyond the play with the idea you don’t know if the ball is even thrown.

“It’s very logical he did not know the guy had gone down and was just running. He just came up on a guy he thought was returning the ball and made a tackle. And that’s what he said (to Miles), and I believe it. He’s not a malicious guy. I can’t imagine  he saw him go down and went and made a tackle.”

On Monday, Miles announced that there would be action for Boutte’s hit and suspended him for one game.

Let’s get one thing straight — what Boutte did was not a mistake, it was a calculated move of a player who believed his team and himself to be better than the Badgers and couldn’t take losing. It was a move of a hot-headed player who lost more than his cool.

As for Miles’ assumption that Boutte couldn’t have seen the play happen and all of that. WE CALL B.S. in a major way.

Take one look at this screen grab from the moment of Dixon’s interception and look where Boutte began his journey to the hit:


What you will notice is No. 76 standing on the right side of the screen with a very direct view of Dixon’s interception and where he was on the play. There’s simply no way Boutte didn’t know what was happening on the play.

Miles choosing to suspend Boutte for just one game is simply ridiculous. Once again, it is a move meant to placate the media while serving his team well for the future. Is LSU really going to miss Boutte for the mighty Jacksonville State Gamecocks?

It is rather convenient that Boutte will just so happen to be back for the start of SEC play, as the Tigers take on Mississippi State.

As Miles said in his announcement of suspension, “even though this play was done by mistake, a play like this does not belong in the game of football and therefore action must be taken.”

Really, Les? Really?

For a play that “does not belong in the game of football,” Miles sure treated it like your typical pot suspension and not something that goes to the core of the game he coaches for a living.

Perhaps the SEC will see to it to take care of a longer suspension, but then again…it is the SEC and with LSU getting out in front of this and announcing a team suspension don’t hold your breath.

In the age of “player safety” Miles has missed the boat big time. Boutte’s hit wasn’t just a blindside, it was intentional and with malice. How else do you explain going to Dixon’s head and nearly taking it off with a forearm shiver/near clothesline?

Yet, Miles seems to not take this as serious as it really was. Dixon was lucky to get up under his own power and to be able to walk, let alone stand in front of bright lights and answer questions from the media following the game.

What would Miles have to say if the hit resulted in Dixon getting paralyzed or some other serious injury? A one game suspension was simply pathetic from a coach who has a long history of being way too lenient with his punishment of just about anything and anyone of his players.

So, perhaps we shouldn’t have seen anything else coming sadly.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball


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