By now we've all seen the story of Mo Isom, the LSU soccer goalkeeper who had designs on making the Bayou Bengals football roster as a kicker. It seems the dream has been put on hold, for now, because Les Miles cut the would-be kicker, except it wasn't for her kicking.
Tackling. That's what sunk Isom's ship as she attempted to be the first woman to don the purple and gold football uniform and just the second woman to play FBS level football. Les Miles just was not comfortable with the possibility that the 6'1" 190 lbs Isom could go out there and get the job done when it comes to getting a man down on the ground.
There's a couple of things to take away from this; LSU didn't bite on the publicity windfall that would have come their way had they put Isom on the roster just for the sake of putting her on, so kudos to them for that. Isom is already a well-known commodity thanks to her awesome "Meaux Vs." segments done against all sorts of LSU athletes. She's great in front of the camera, knows how to handle the media and ultimately had LSU insert her on the roster. The avenues opened to them would have been amazing, with or without Isom ever getting a shot to kick. Especially with Drew Alleman, their solid place kicker returning for the 2012 campaign.
The second takeaway is how much of this was a Les Miles cop-out to avoid the distraction that his national championship hopeful team, (that just got embarrassed only two months ago), really does not need. Drew Alleman and James Hairston combined to make about a tackle and a half a season ago. Hairston with a solo and Alleman with an assist. Those aren't exactly stellar tackling numbers for guys who played some 24 combined games a season ago. To put it another way, they're not exactly Luke Kuechly or Patrick Willis out here making tackles.
Ultimately Les Miles made the right call. It isn't fair to Isom to just trot out there if the staff has no faith in her ability to get the job done, regardless of how often that aspect of the job is actually called into play. The team most certainly will benefit from a quiet spring and summer of licking their BCS Title Game wounds, retooling their offensive attack under Zach Mettenberger and replacing some of the lost pieces on the defensive side of the ball.
However, Miles, being the gambler that he is, did hedge his move by leaving the door open for Isom. She can have another shot in the fall and that gives her a little chance to work on tackling and prove that she can be counted to make a play should her number be called for the Bayou Bengals.
Lead image courtesy of CNN.com.