After all of the bad one-liners from last season about the Honey Badger, just mere days from the start of the 2012 college football season, we find out that of those lines was true after all.
Honey Badger really doesn’t care.
Tyrann Mathieu, fifth in the Heisman voting in 2011 as a cornerback and dynamic return man, was dismissed from his team for an undisclosed violation of team rules, LSU head coach Les Miles said in a press conference Friday.
“We’ll miss him, but we have to go on,” Miles said.
Mathieu, dubbed the Honey Badger last year, was one of the better stories of the 2011 season, breaking out into the spotlight and leading his team to the BCS Championship Game. But Mathieu broke out for off-the-field reasons as well, missing a game allegedly due to a failed drug test. He also earned a reputation for being rather outspoken on social media as well.
According to reports, neither Miles nor athletic director Joe Alleva specified what the violation was or whether it was related to the drug suspension from 2011. But both said that the issue was not a legal one. Mathieu is expected to transfer as Miles said the dismissal from LSU would be permanent.
(Update: NOLA.com reported later Friday that sources said the infraction was indeed another failed drug test.)
LSU, named the preseason No. 1 team in the Coaches Poll and by Lindy’s as well as No. 2 by ESPN and Athlon Sports, now has to regroup without one of its most dynamic players. What impact will the dismissal have?
As was mentioned by numerous media types on Twitter, you have to believe that other programs are now salivating at the prospect of adding Mathieu, who will have two years of eligibility still remaining, to their fold. Although Pete Thamel of the New York Times speculated that Mathieu would opt for an FCS or NAIA school instead, where he could possibly play immediately rather than sitting out a year.
After learning of Mathieu’s dismissal, Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports dropped LSU to No. 3 in his preseason rankings.
“Simply put, the guy was a difference-maker,” he wrote.
Others, however, said panicking may not be necessary just yet.
Citing Alabama’s success against the LSU secondary in the BCS Championship Game as well as the change in offense behind new starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger, Athlon Sports says LSU shouldn’t overreact.
Miles, meanwhile, had kind parting words for his Heisman hopeful.
“I think he gave us a lot of examples we can learn from,” Miles said. “I think he is a quality, quality guy who had a behavior issue. That’s it. Certainly the overview of his time with us is positive.”
And maybe at his next school, Mathieu will care a little bit more about the rules and his behavior.