Chad Washington / The Advertiser.com
LAFAYETTE -- On the final stop of the LSU Tiger Tour, athletic director Joe Alleva told area Tiger fans about how excited he is about the expansion of Tiger Stadium, which will put capacity numbers over 100,000.
And he plans to use those new upper-deck seats for when a certain team comes to Baton Rouge. “When Alabama comes, (their fans) will be at the top of the new stadium seats,” he said. “They're going to need telescopes to see the game.”
But while he said that the new seats will be ready for the home opener on Sept. 5, Alleva addressed some of the key issues that have some Tiger fans concerned heading into the 2014 season. One of them is the traffic situation on campus that has some fans in bumper-to-bumper traffic going to and from Tiger Stadium.
“We’re working with our police, the (Baton Rouge) police and the sheriff to do some things to get our fans out quicker,” Alleva said. “There has been some cooperation and I’m sure that we will make some improvements in that area.”
Another concern is whether the new SEC Network will be picked up by major cable or satellite carries by its August debut.
Only AT&T and Dish Network have agreed to carry the channel, which is co-owned by ESPN. But Alleva sounded confident that fans will be able to get the channel, even if they will have to change providers.
“They may not be able to watch (the network) with the carrier they have now, but they have the option of changing carriers,” he said. “So they can get it if they change carriers. But as we get closer and closer to August, you will see more people picking it up.”
Alleva also reaffirmed his displeasure of the SEC schedule format, which he and Miles criticized in the past few weeks. But he has decided to let it go. “We’ve moved on past that and are moving on to the next thing,” he said. “Our job is to schedule non-conference games that put us in the best position to compete for championships.”
Alleva thinks the format will be up for some improvements, especially with how the new College Football Playoff looks, especially with how strength of schedule will be such an important cog in how the final four teams will be selected.
“I think we have to see how the playoff system works and how teams are chosen,” he said.
Meanwhile, head football coach Les Miles sounded optimistic about his team heading into the season. Despite another deep loss of talent to the NFL and having two inexperienced quarterbacks in Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris, Miles thinks the rest of the offense will be experienced and very strong.
“Our offensive line is the most veteran offensive line that we’ve had,” Miles said. “The tight ends are back, fullbacks back, got two veteran tailbacks back. We got a nice young receiving corps and a couple of tailbacks that we have to get in place. Offensively, we’ll be explosive. And I like our quarterbacks.”
Miles also expressed some kind words for the local college team in town in UL (Louisiana-Lafayette). The Ragin’ Cajuns have won three straight bowl games and won the Sun Belt Conference title last season. But he was tight-lipped about the possibility of setting up a game with the Cajuns.
“How wonderful it is,” he said. “You always root for the in-state schools and they continue to improve. I’ve been at their football camp watching my son participate in the 7-on-7 tournament, and they’re doing it right. They know the best players and they go after them.
“I think it’s great. I’m going to be rooting for them.”