Football vs. McNeese St. Canceled by Rain, Lightning

by Todd Politz (@tpolitz)
Patrick Peterson - Pregame Interview Football vs. McNeese St. - Postgame Press Conference Quotes Football vs. McNeese St. - Audio Replay +0
Football vs. McNeese St. Canceled by Rain, Lightning

BATON ROUGE — Saturday night’s football game between LSU and McNeese State was canceled after a 3 hour, 46 minute rain delay, it was announced at 10:36 p.m. CT.

The game kicked off at 6:39 p.m. as scheduled, but after 11 minutes of play and one offensive drive by each team, lightning halted play in a scoreless game. After heavy rains chased most of the fans from Tiger Stadium, additional lightning in the area prevented a restart.

The game will not be made up.

“It boils down to player safety,” said Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director Joe Alleva said in a press conference. “At the end of the day, we have to be concerned about the player’s welfare. After talking to our doctors and trainers, we felt like we would need a full warm-up to start again. I’m talking about a 30-minute warm-up. We had a lightening strike just now, so even if we decided to start right now, we would still have to wait 29 minutes from the lightening strike before we could go out on the field and then have a 30-minute warm-up. We just felt that it was not in the best interest of our players to go out and play this game. I apologize, but we can’t control the weather and I’m sorry.

Alleva indicated that playing on Sunday was not an option, as McNeese would have had to travel back to Lake Charles on Saturday and return on Sunday. Additionally, logistics of hosting a game on Sunday at Tiger Stadium would be nearly impossible.

“Tomorrow is really not an option. McNeese had to go home. They didn’t have a hotel. They would have had to go home and come back. We just felt like it was not an option to play tomorrow. It would be logistically very, not difficult, but almost impossible for our staff to get the stadium ready to play – from another safety standpoint – for our fans.”

Alleva also indicated that LSU was not prepared to make public options for ticket holders, but these options will be publicized as soon as possible.

“I’m not prepared right now to present options that we are going to give our fans as far as a refund is concerned, but we will address that issue in the future with our fans.”

 

 

LSU Football v. McNeese State
September 5, 2015

LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva

Opening Statement…
“Obviously, we didn’t have the opportunity to play the game today. I want to thank our fans for coming out. We had a great crowd here today, a lot of them stuck around. I’m sorry that we didn’t get the chance to play, but it boils down to player safety. At the end of the day, we have to be concerned about the player’s welfare. After talking to our doctors and trainers, we felt like we would need a full warm-up to start again. I’m talking about a 30-minute warm-up. We had a lightening strike just now, so even if we decided to start right now, we would still have to wait 29 minutes from the lightening strike before we could go out on the field and then have a 30-minute warm-up. We just felt that it was not in the best interest of our players to go out and play this game. I apologize, but we can’t control the weather and I’m sorry.”

On rescheduling the game…
“You know, we only have one opening day during the year. They don’t have an opening day on that day, so that would not be conducive to reschedule the game.”

On Sunday being an option to play…
“Tomorrow is really not an option. McNeese had to go home. They didn’t have a hotel. They would have had to go home and come back. We just felt like it was not an option to play tomorrow. It would be logistically very, not difficult, but almost impossible for our staff to get the stadium ready to play—from another safety standpoint—for our fans.”

On LSU’s obligation to McNeese and to fans…
“Yes, we will have to pay them. Yes. I might as well address this right now, I’m not prepared right now to present options that we are going to give our fans as far as a refund is concerned, but we will address that issue in the future with our fans.”

LSU Football Head Coach Les Miles

Opening Statement…
“We extended our opportunity to see the weather and get on the field as long as we could. We really felt that the need to play was here with our team. Two reasons, one we would like to figure that final tally in what we might accomplish as a win. We would have liked to prepared best for Mississippi State having a first game under our belt before we played in Starkville. That’s why we waited as long as we could. That second storm was going to be prohibitive in terms of us playing. The idea that we wait until just before midnight to see if it would possible for us to get on the field and play until 3 a.m. in the morning was not in the best interest of our players. We felt like the health consideration there was overriding the necessity to play the game. We have to accomplish our same goals without this game. The preparation will have to be a little better. Either way, play or not, we will be prepared to play our next opponent.”

On the difficulty now to prepare for Mississippi State…
“All of that gave reason to extend the timeline by which we judge if we could get on the field and play a game. I think Joe (Alleva) and Event Management people did a great job of what was coming. They did a great job. There were six minutes worth where you could have got out to the field and then lightning struck. Our event management crew predicted it all along. We recognized this thing was not going to happen anytime soon. It’s possible we would have never gotten clearance to go out on the field. How can you ask for college football players to start that late? I, as a coach, have never coached or played a game that started that late and played until 2:30 or 3 in the morning.”

On the few things you can take from today’s game…
“We prepared. We kicked it off. I promise you we will correct those plays. I think our guys will enjoy the freshness with the weekend off. I think we prepared well for McNeese and it will help us in the long run.”

On the fans who stay throughout the weather…
“I want the fans to know, ‘thank you for coming. We tried. We gave every consideration we could to get on the field and play that game.’ I felt for the opponent and the away locker room. The drive in front of them in my opinion is probably a wise decision for both teams.”

McNeese State Head Coach Matt Viator

Opening statement
“We are obviously disappointed. We certainly wanted to play, as did LSU. I think the way it was handled by LSU was exactly correct. I was feeling like it was going to be started around 10 or 10:30. But, like I said I think that it was handled correctly. Unfortunate for both of us, I think the right decision was made at the right time. I commend LSU. First- class in everything they do. The president of the university even came to our dressing room to see us and express his disappointment. I think it was unforeseen, obviously what happened. Like I said I think it was handled right, and I think the right decision was made.”

On getting updates…
“LSU had people in our locker room conferring with me, Bruce (Hemphill) and Matt (Bonnette) and everybody else. They had people literally in our dressing room. At one time, about 9:15, both the associate athletic directors came to our dressing room and met with us and felt like they had a window where we could start at 10 o’clock. We kind of got geared up again and then we were told that more lightening struck so that pushed it back 30 minutes and then another. LSU was saying that Coach Miles was saying the earliest was possibly 11:45 maybe but the game had to be started before midnight. I thought at the time they all came out and I certainly appreciate that and Bruce and I met their athletic director, Coach Miles and the whole group. Obviously Coach Miles expressed his disappointment like us. We certainly need to play and they do too. They’ve got a game next week obviously and we open conference so just for those matters we wanted to play.”

On playing the first game in conference …
“I’ve been concerned about that for the last two or three hours. We’ve got to figure out a way to get it done. To get the kids back up and get them back motivated in practice because we’ve got a big game Saturday as does LSU.”