After apologizing for his “impertinent and poor” choice of words in Saturday’s post-game news conference, LSU coach Les Miles turned to a more cheery, but just as timely, subject.
“I look forward to Thanksgiving, and I think our team does and I think our country does,” Miles said Monday at his weekly press luncheon. “I think it’s a wonderful time to put things first, like your family, the Lord and football. Happy Thanksgiving to all.”
He’s right in his reference to the rest of his team, as many players offered up those same thanks in the week leading up to Thursday’s observation of Turkey Day and Friday’s matchup with Arkansas.
Some thanks were as simple as being alive, as is the case for sophomore safety Ronald Martin.
“I’m thankful to see another day, each and every day,” Martin said.
But naturally, many gratitudes were about football. For freshman cornerback Jalen Collins, it’s about having a chance to show what he can do after never getting thrown at in high school.
Junior receiver Kadron Boone realized the scarce opportunity he’s been allotted.
“Thousands of kids want to play college football, but for me to actually be here and get an education also, I’m very thankful for that,” Boone said.
Scores of athletes may desire to bring their talents to the next level, but not many can fathom doing it for six years. Senior offensive lineman Josh Dworaczyk, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility after several knee injuries, is thankful for just that.
“Days I don’t feel like practicing, the memory of how fortunate I am gets me going,” Dworaczyk said.
Family was another obvious favorite. Sophomore receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., who hail from Convent and New Orleans, respectively, gave thanks for their families being close enough to see on Wednesday before the team departs on the true holiday.
Sometimes, family and football collide.
“I’m thankful for being able to be around my team, looking at those guys as my brothers since I’m the only boy in my family,” said junior safety Craig Loston.
For those players who aren’t close enough to see their families for a holiday dinner, the team will likely get together like it did prior to Thanksgiving and Arkansas last year for its own celebration. Collins, from Olive Branch, Miss., said he’ll miss his aunt’s sweet potato pie.
With a game to play the next day, Loston said his teammates shouldn’t expect too many desserts, one of the only parts of the meal he prefers, along with ham and fried turkey.
“I’m not really the Thanksgiving food guy,” Loston said. “That’s not my style of eating. I’m more of a pasta guy.”