BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU senior defensive end Lewis Neal tuned into the North Carolina State-Notre Dame game last Saturday afternoon and couldn’t help wonder: Why not us?
As the Wolfpack and Fighting Irish slogged through a torrential downpour in Raleigh, Neal and his teammates were dealing with an unexpected bye week after the conference office postponed Florida’s scheduled game against LSU.
“It could have been handled way better than it was, to be quite honest,” Neal said.
Neal didn’t just bellyache about the postponement, though. He offered a solution he would have acted on if placed in charge of the situation — and perhaps a bit of shade at those who were in charge on Florida’s end.
“If I was in charge, I mean, you knew the hurricane was coming,” Neal said. “There’s different scenarios. If you’re concerned about player safety, get them out of the state for safety. Or the game could have been played Sunday or Monday. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute. Anybody who was smart would have planned ahead. A hurricane is coming, you know?
“It’s common sense. Make some plans ahead of time.”
Neal, for what it’s worth, is a sport administration major, and apparently a fairly studious one.
Conditions ended up being perfect for football in Gainesville on Sunday and Monday. And even if they weren’t, Neal would have been willing to play. The native of Wilson, N.C., has a handful of friends who play for NC State, and he thinks even in terrible conditions they had more fun playing football than he did watching it.
“I talked to my friends. They had fun,” Neal said. “It looked fun. I would have played in it. But that’s not my decision.”
But as fixated as fans and media are on the Florida game, Neal says he and his teammates are putting it behind and focusing on Southern Miss.
“We have to forget about what happened — what didn’t happen — last week,” Neal said. “Because we’ve got a big game coming up.”