BATON ROUGE, La. — Johnny Jones is tired of watching this crap, too.
Unfortunately for him, he’s also the one responsible for creating it.
“No. Zero,” Jones said when naively asked if there were any positives to take out of LSU’s record-breaking 106-71 home loss to Florida on Wednesday night. “No positives from this game. The only thing positive is that somebody came to watch us play tonight.”
Far fewer somebodies than the announced attendance of 7,009, as photo evidence demonstrates — provided that people still believe in photo evidence of crowds these days.
— Alex Hickey (@bigahickey) January 26, 2017
Those hardy souls who were in attendance — including Jones’ mentor Dale Brown and current employer Joe Alleva, appropriately sitting on opposite sides of the arena — were witness to history. The worst kind of history. The 35-point blowout was the largest margin of LSU defeat in the 45-year-old history of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Brown was on the sidelines for the previous holder of that distinction, a 32-point defeat to Kentucky’s legendary 1996 team in his penultimate season.
Jones was as blunt as he’s ever been when talking about his team. But it’s a case of too little, too late for a group that slipped to 1-7 in SEC play.
“Extremely disappointed in our performance tonight across the board. From coaching to the players, you name it,” Jones said. “To certainly all of our fans, an apology, who came out to watch us tonight or who had an opportunity to witness on their TV on radio or however they had an opportunity.
“We did not represent those letters or those colors in the fashion that I think we’ve been proud to represent those letters and those colors night in and night out. I’ve been coaching for some 30-odd years and we have to figure this team out.”
At this point, it seems safe to say this team has been figured out. It is a pile of junk. Statistically speaking LSU is miserable in multiple categories, from free-throw shooting to 3-point shooting to every form of defense.
If the Tigers were listed in a real estate guide, euphemisms like “Handyman’s Dream” would be used to describe them. But this team will find no takers. And though the situation is beyond repair, LSU can’t get out of the 10 remaining conference games plus the obligatory appearance in the SEC tournament. This slog must be endured.
“As a team, we got to make sure our guys go back and have a chance to look in the mirror and making sure that we’re not trying to get on the phone for a feel-good story and for someone to build us up,” Jones said. “It’s all of our problems. Each one of those guys got to make sure they figure what is it that they can do to allow to this team to get better. If we got people seeking and searching for feel-good stories for somebody, that’s part of the problem.”
Jones won’t have to worry about this team being showered with platitudes any time soon.
“I haven’t been in a position like this and had a team perform that way,” he said. “I don’t think I recruited a guy that performed that way. When you watch guys play and get beat like that, you don’t recruit them.”
There are only two answers to that riddle. Either Jones recruited the wrong guys, or those guys did not develop those habits until they started playing for him.
Regardless of which of those things is true — it’s likely a combination of both — Jones may as well have been calling out himself as he was calling out his team. And that is precisely why LSU will no longer be his team after the next 11 games are mercifully through.