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Deke Bellavia

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Deke Bellavia: Tough week for Black, Purple and Green!

 Yes, last week was a tough one for all three home teams. I’m talking football, of course.  LSU saw their star player check into a different kind of training camp.  The Saints lost a player Coach Vitt said, “mastered the system.”  And, the Green Wave lost their best player and best player in Conference USA in terms of defense.

The season is just beginning and all three--Saints, Tigers and Green Wave have taken hits and the remainder of the preseason is still ahead of us.  What has taken place with each should be a clear sign that you just never know.  That’s why the game is played on the field.

If I would have told you two weeks ago that LSU’s “Honey Badger” Tyrann Mathieu would no longer be a Tiger; that Saints linebacker Chris Chamberlain would be lost for the season to an injury; and Tulane’s star linebacker Trent Mackey would be arrested, you and I both would have thought I was crazy.  I mean think about, when is the last time two schools, 80 miles apart had to dismiss their top players?

LSU’s was a violation of team rules and called a “behavioral problem”…while the situation at Tulane is clearly a problem of behavior in the loss of Mackey.  But now Joe Vitt, Les Miles and Curtis Johnson, must all move on to “plan B.”

Tulane and LSU have less than two weeks to prepare for their season opening games against North Texas and Rutgers, while the Saints will get a super big test this weekend in the only preseason game worth a flip as they entertain the powerful AFC Houston Texans.

Yes, how times have changed in the Lone Star State as the only NFL team considered a Super Bowl contender is the team that wears stars on their helmets.  Oooooo that hurts doesn’t it?  Maybe instead of saying “how ‘bout ‘dem Cowboys” the team’s new slogan could be “Cowboys were ya’ been?”

Curtis Johnson was having a solid camp and his Tulane football team was getting some hype due to his presence as head coach and the return of the conference’s best defender--tackling machine Trent Mackey.  Now the whole world has changed.  How could this happen?  How could a young man four and half months away from being in position to make millions of dollars risk his future for an alleged “home invasion/armed robbery?  Just another sad story we’ve seen too many times.
I know C.J. did the right thing and will continue to do so, but this is a blow to the Green Wave, a team that only won two games a season ago.  And the man called the “Mad Hatter” in Louisiana’s Capital City is a little more experienced in dealing with serious team and PR issues.

Believe what you want about Les Miles, but he had to make a very difficult decision for himself as head coach and for his team.  And now some think LSU won’t be as good.  One poll still ranks the Bayou Bengals #1; another dropped LSU down to #3.  Was the Honey Badger that good?  Yes…maybe… probably!  We’ll all find out very soon how the Tigers and Wave will fare without their star defenders. 

And we finish up with the Black and Gold.  I don’t think anyone is in a state of panic right now after the Saints 1-2 pre-season start.  I mean, come on…let’s get real.  Green Bay is 0-2 this preseason and Cleveland and Jacksonville are 2-0.  Do you think the Jags and Browns have instantly become Super Bowl caliber teams, while the Saints and Packers have fallen off the face of the NFL earth?  Hell no! 

It’s preseason, people.  Like Hokie Gajan always reminds us, “don’t get too excited and don’t get too down about the preseason.  It’s just a period of evaluation and realistically the only game of the preseason that matters is the third one.”
So maybe that helps some of you Who Dats.  Calm down for a while…or at least until next week!

Tags :  
Topics : Sports
Social :
Locations : ClevelandJacksonvilleLouisiana
People : Chris ChamberlainCurtis JohnsonHokie GajanHoney BadgerJoe VittLes MilesTrent Mackey

08/20/2012 1:39PM
Deke Bellavia: Tough week for Black, Purple and Green!
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