Feldman went a long way to convincing me that it would be best if Miles were to cut ties with Perrilloux. I will attempt to paraphrase the substance of Feldman's interview:
While Perrilloux's situation is the least serious legally, it is probably the most significant in terms of impact on football. Miles is in a tight spot because he does not have another experienced quarterback on the roster, and while the LSU coaches like Jarrett Lee he is only a redshirt freshman and was not expected to have a big role in the offense yet. But Miles has to be careful because this is the sort of situation that could lead to rot from within. Last year's success was built in part on high character players like Hester, Dorsey, and Steltz, but now those people are gone. If low character guys like Perrilloux are allowed to get their way, it could lead to discord and conflict on the team, as other players will want to get treated like Ryan Perrilloux. Meaning, Perrilloux is allowed chance after chance to come back despite not following rules, when other players might be dismissed from the team for the same things.
The man makes a point.
Bruce Feldman has proven in the past to be an intelligent and insightful observer of college football. His book Meat Market is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the inner workings of a BCS-level college football program. His interviews on the radio are among the best and most interesting segments Paul Finebaum ever has. In short, he's one of those guys who, even if I disagree with him on some point, I'm going to listen to his perspective with an open mind.
In counterpoint, let's all realize two things:
- Ryan's legal troubles are small-potatoes compared to some other people's; and
- Miles has disciplined Ryan quite harshly in the past, to the point where I don't think you can say he lets Ryan "get away" with stuff.
It is my impression that Miles intends to allow Ryan Perrilloux back on the team if he can abide by certain rules between now and the time he is to be allowed back on. Those conditions and Miles' time table for reinstatement probably will never be discussed publicly. In the meantime, I expect Perrilloux to miss part or all of Spring Practice and possibly much more.
A time table like that would cut to the bone, both for LSU and for Perrilloux. If Ryan showed one on-field weakness last year, it was in game management, by which I mean he often struggled to get the team out of the huddle and properly lined up in time to get the play started. It's a correctable problem, but in order to correct it he will need repetitions under center. He won't be getting those repetitions if he's suspended.
Another long suspension I think takes away the problem of "rot from within" that Bruce Feldman discussed. A long suspension means that Perrilloux isn't getting away with anything. He's being excluded from the team and set back in his development.
And if, ultimately, we move on without Ryan Perrilloux, we are fairly well set up to do it. We have a very good offensive line in place to protect a young quarterback. We have several very good running backs to take the pressure off of a suspect passing game. We will probably have a strong defense that will allow our offense to play somewhat more conservatively than it otherwise would. We can move on without him if we need to, and I think if Perrilloux sees that, he may decide to fall in line.