It is an issue that LSU wants to put to bed as quickly as possible.
Perhaps that happened Thursday morning at a press conference at the school’s athletic administration building.
Head football coach Ed Orgeron introduced his two new assistants, running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Tommie Robinson and wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph.
Both newcomers fielded questions but neither they or Orgeron were made available for additional interviews with reporters after the press conference.
The message was clear. The less said about a reported “boycott” of LSU by some New Orleans area high school coaches, the better.
The internet story said that several were considering such a move, touched off by the demotion of popular running backs coach Jabbar Juluke last Thursday, the day after national signing day.
Several high school coaches told me that such a notion was “silly” and that they were far more concerned about finding funding to get their players to various summer recruiting camps, where the student athletes could be seen by college football coaches.
It was a story that was backed up by Mickey Joseph at Thursday’s press conference.
“I have strong relationships with those coaches in New Orleans. I have been recruiting New Orleans since 1999,” said Joseph. “I either grew up with those guys or mentored those guys along the way. I have spoken to all of those guys. It was never a meeting, where it was going to be discussed about a boycott. Those guys are in it for their kids. I don’t know how it started, how it got out there, but it was never a meeting about that.”
Joseph handled the question deftly and also said he has already spoken to several coaches about any possible hard feelings.
At Thursday’s presser, Tommie Robinson was impressive. He was smooth and relaxed while making it clear that LSU was a great opportunity. But he stressed that the reason he accepted his first coaching position in the SEC was because of his relationship with Ed Orgeron.
“I am here because of Coach O,” said Robinson.
Joseph, the former star quarterback at Archbishop Shaw, was a highlight of the event. He said his mother loved current LSU defensive line coach Pete Jenkins. Joseph noted that 30 years ago, his mother wanted him to sign with the Tigers, but his father preferred Nebraska.
Joseph said he hopes to help provide Louisiana players with an experience he did not have as a college player.
“Ninety-five percent of them when they walk out of that locker room, they go home to a family,” said Joseph. “They get to see their mom, dad, aunt, cousin whatever. But, when you leave the state and you go play away from home, and you come out of that locker room, there’s nobody there. I did that it for five years, that is one of the reasons I wanted to come back to the state of Louisiana and coach ball.”
However, Joseph was quick to add this nugget for those out of state stars considering the Tigers.
“If you have to go out of state and bring em in, this is a good place to be,” said Joseph.
“A good place to be.”