Simon knows young DBs will be tested during season
Former LSU soccer star Mo Isom’s attempt to walk on to the Tigers football team ended Friday when coach Les Miles told her there wasn’t room for her on the team.
“We had a short meeting today,” Miles said after practice Friday. “She wanted this to be done right. She competed well, and she’s a great person. It was heartfelt for her to be with us, and I appreciate it, and that’s why she got serious consideration.
“Frankly, she kicked well. The good news is our top three field goal and extra-point people are really, really strong.”
Senior Drew Alleman made 16-of-18 field goals and 62 of 63 extra points last season. Sophomore James Hairston handled kickoffs last season and is being groomed to replace Alleman as the field goal and extra point kicker next season.
“You can’t add her to the team because it takes a spot from a guy like (defensive lineman) Jeremy Peeples, who really is a walk-on that will practice every snap as a demonstration player, and we’re going to give him snaps to play in a game,” Miles said. “So there’s a very strong daily contribution to the team that’s easily visible whereas, frankly, Mo being a very good kicker, she would be fourth or fifth behind our guys.”
Isom broke the news via her Twitter account Friday afternoon, tweeting “I am heartbroken, but my head is held high. Knowing I gave everything I had is the greatest victory. Unending thanks to my LSU football fam.”
In a separate tweet, Isom thanked Alleman, long snapper Reid Ferguson and punters Brad Wing (who’s the Tigers holder) and Jamie Keehn, calling them “amazing men who selflessly took me under their wing for 18 months.”
Isom began crossing training for the transition from soccer to football in January 2011 and had his first tryout during spring practice this year. She was attempting to make one of the most difficult teams in the nation for a walk-on kicker. LSU is ranked No. 3 in the preseason poll and has devoted two scholarships to place-kickers — Alleman and Hairston.
“You could see that if this wasn’t an elite program where you had great kicking and we have really very, very fine players at every position that there might be something for Mo to do on a number of football teams,” Miles said.
Former Tigers cornerback Tyrann Mathieu’s adoptive father is non-commital about his son possibly enrolling at LSU. Mathieu, who was kicked off the team Aug. 10, is in a drug rehabilitation center run by former NBA star John Lucas in Houston.
“Tyrann is in good spirits,” Tyrone Mathieu said Friday. “He’s getting mentored every day. We’re very happy with Mr. Lucas. We’re taking it one day at a time.”
The elder Mathieu wouldn’t speculate on whether his son would be back at LSU before Wednesday, which is the last day to enroll for the fall semester.
Young DBs to be targeted
With Mathieu’s departure, Tharold Simon became LSU’s No. 1 and only experienced cornerback. That means opponents are going to attack his inexperienced colleagues.
“I tell them that all the time,” Simon said. “I say, ‘man, it might not be the first few games, but when we play teams like Arkansas and Auburn and Alabama, they’re going to know that you’re young guys, and they’re going to test you more than they’re going to test me, so ya’ll have to be on your high horses and be ready to go.’ ”
Simon, who got added attention last season when opponents chose to stay away from Mathieu and fellow All-American Morris Claiborne, said he doesn’t like the idea of teams throwing away from him.
“I want to be that corner that people want to throw to,” he said. “I don’t want to just be out there not doing anything.”
Miles said running backs Spencer Ware and Michael Ford, who missed the scrimmage Tuesday because of injury, got “meaningful snaps” during practice Friday.
He said safety Craig Loston, who has been sidelined for most of preseason camp, has not returned to practice but could get “some snaps” in practice Saturday.