Normally, the suspension of a punter wouldn't be that big of a deal.
In the case of LSU punter Brad Wing, however, it is. At least in theory, anyways.
LSU has suspended the sophomore punter for the Chick-fil-A Bowl meeting with Clemson for a violation of team rules, according to a release from the university.
Wing was arguably the MVP of the 2011 regular season meeting with Alabama, when he pinned the Crimson Tide inside the 20 four times and unleashed a 73-yard bomb to flip the field in the fourth quarter, which played a big part in LSU's 9-6 overtime win.
He went on to earn All-American honors as a freshman in 2011 by several outlets, including the Associated Press, and was in line to be a big part of Tigers' plans in 2012.
Instead, 2012 has been viewed as a bit of a down year for Wing, despite the fact that his stats are rather similar to those he put up last season.
He has averaged 44.8 yards per punt, which is slightly higher than his 44.37 yards per punt average of 2011. But only 21 of his 59 punts landed inside the 20, while 27 of his 59 punts did so one year ago.
I know, I know. Punters don't matter.
Well, Brad Wing does; and his absence from the Chick-fil-A Bowl will hurt the Tigers.
If head coach Les Miles had his way, this game would be a ball-control, field position game. It may be asking too much for Clemson's defense to stop anybody, but if they do, Wing's ability to force Tajh Boyd and Co. to go the length of the field will go a long way towards helping the LSU defense.
Plus, even if we won't admit it, we all secretly wanted to see another premature celebration in the bowl game from Wing, even if it gets called back by the ridiculous unsportsmanlike conduct rule.
Jamie Keehn will replace Wing in the lineup. He punted three times this season and averaged 41 yards per punt.
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