LSU coach reproves bad sportsmanship
By Chris Gibson The Reveille
Baton Rouge, LA (U-WIRE) -- Sportsmanship in sports hit a low over the weekend -- particularly in college football where the game between the University of South Carolina and Clemson University was marred by two fights including a brawl that lasted several minutes in the fourth quarter, coach Nick Saban said Monday during his last regular season press meeting.
"It's not good for young people, it's not good for the leagues we play in, it's not good for college football," Saban said.
Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth said teams should see the big picture of what kind of affect their actions will have.
"I think it takes a maturity level [within] your team and an understanding, that's all senseless," Whitworth said. "There's no reason for any of that stuff. That altercation should have been ended when that guy [pushed the South Carolina quarterback in the face]."
Center Rudy Niswanger said there may be nothing teams can do to prevent a situation like the fight from occurring. However, he said, individuals on each team should take a lot of responsibility for their own actions.
"[It was] one of those rare occurrences that happens when things just explode out of control," Niswanger said. "It was definitely a wild incident. As far as preventing it; I don't know. I'm not a coach and trained in stopping those sort of things. It's got to come down to the individual responsibility as a player and how they react to that situation."
Defensive tackle Kyle Williams says he does not know what teams can do specifically to make sure a melee like that does not occur again, but he said players have to have enough pride not to engage in such activities that cross the line.
"It got seriously out of hand and I couldn't believe it," Williams said. "But, you never know what happened to trigger those guys. You can't really bash them; you don't know what happened to them to make them go off like that.
"I think it kind of leaves a bad taste in everybody's mouth."
Whitworth on a tear
After a solid performance against Ole Miss in which the offensive line helped pave the way for a 250-yard rushing performance by sophomore running back Alley Broussard, left tackle Andrew Whitworth was named one of the LSU Offensive Players of the game by the coaching staff, Saban announced on Monday.
This is not rare for Whitworth, who shared the honor for the third straight week.
"He's played extremely well," Niswanger said. "He's played very physical, tough and smart. He's done very well for us."
Niswanger said Whitworth has become more of a leader, something that has been needed since the departure of seniors Rodney Reed and Stephen Peterman from last year's offensive line.
"He's really stepped up the way he's played," Niswanger said. "[He's also stepped up] his leadership. Not only with the offensive line, but the entire offense."
Broussard also praised the play of the junior Whitworth.
"Whit is just bulldozing people," Broussard said. "You have to give him credit. The whole offensive line did a great job."
Williams: Wroten motivated
By the fourth game of the year, junior defensive tackle Claude Wroten had lost his starting spot to true freshman Glen Dorsey.
However, 6-foot-3-inch, 293-pound Wroten regained his starting spot four weeks later against Troy University and has proven to be very effective. He is third on the team with four sacks and tied for second alongside Williams with 10 tackles for a loss.
Williams said he has no doubt that the demotion weighed heavily on Wroten. He said he thinks it served as motivation for the lineman.
"I think Glen came in and played well and it elevated Claude to where he felt like he needed to get on another level to get his spot back," Williams said. "I think the competition was healthy there. It keeps the fire burning through the season. I think it was good, he responded well to it."
Wroten continues to be listed as the starter. For the season, Dorsey has two tackles for a loss and one fumble recovery.
Saban took time to welcome former Florida coach Steve Spurrier back to the Southeastern Conference coaching fraternity as it looks all but certain that he will be taking over South Carolina.
However, Saban also praised Lou Holtz, who's last game, a defeat to Clemson, was spoiled by the aforementioned fight. South Carolina and Clemson announced Monday they will not accept any bowl bids. Thus, it seems Holtz's career as a collegiate coach is finished.
"I have a lot of respect and admiration for Lou Holtz," Saban said. "We've had our differences through the years, but as I told him long ago 'There's only two of us from Kent State in this business and we ought to be nice to each other.' We've gotten along very well ever since then."
(C) 2004 The Reveille via U-WIRE