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Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. (Associated Press)

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. (Associated Press)

Hobbs Column: This ain’t your dad’s student section

Last Modified: Friday, November 22, 2013 1:25 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

You’d think that coming up with something that would slow down Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M beep-beep offense would be plenty enough of a challenge for one Saturday afternoon.

Not at LSU.

This is a school that thinks big. This is a school where no challenge is too daunting. As Les Miles would say, this is the kind of dilemma that full-grown adults come to LSU to try to solve.

And a mighty task this one is.

By comparison, solving Johnny Football’s tomfoolery or shadowing a wide receiver like Mike Evans, should be child’s play.

But the school is going after far bigger game.

Maybe LSU has the chest for it.

We shall see, beginning Saturday.

But Flagship U. is going to take a shot at fixing Stupid.

No, no. It’s even more challenging than that.

LSU is going to try to find that elusive cure for Young & Dumb.

Whether a federal grant was secured for this program, I cannot say.

But the experiment will start Saturday with anxious LSU officials holding their collective breath and crossing their fingers.

The noble objective: make fool-hardy, know-it-all immature college students in a mob-mentality group setting mind their manners, and also their elders.

The project, ramrodded by the athletic department with the full support of the bow ties over in academia, is going by the code name “Tradition Matters,” which just goes to show you how gingerly school officials are tiptoeing through this tricky subject matter.

It might just as well be titled “Find some way to settle those gosh-darn kids down — it’s embarrassing and, (expletive), it’s on national TV!”

It’s not a new head-scratcher, but if a solution isn’t discovered soon the LSU Golden Band from Tigerland is going to be reduced to a mime act.

Already many of the band’s old standards have been forced into exile.

So it’s actually a tradition that school officials, having failed to nip in the bud, are now taking drastic, desperate measures to address.

Basically the lab coats are seeking a solution to the Generation Gap — a rift between the student section and the rest of Tiger Stadium, the latter of which, of course, is always a model of civility and decorum unless Miles calls up the middle on third-and-4.

They’ve got trouble.

Right there in River City.

With capital “T.”

And that rhymes with “P.”

And that stands for “Profanity.”

Through the years the students, who are still at that way-smarter-than-their-parents age, like to finish off many of the bands popular ditties with chanted vulgarities.

As a result, some of the band’s traditional songs like “Neck” and “Tiger Rag” and even something as innocent sounding as “Ooh-Wee-Ooh” are no longer even attempted because of the impromptu barnyard endings added by students.

We’re not talking minor, garden-variety, under-breath swears and oaths here.

We’re talking about words like … well, words and chants that not only can’t be printed in this newspaper, but words that I shouldn’t even be thinking about while typing.

Not that you haven’t heard them before, although probably not at the Thanksgiving table (in most households).

But it became quite the “in” thing in the student section to shout them loudly, proudly, most often in gleeful defiance and in something approaching three-part harmony from the rooftop.

There seems to be a certain “look how cool we are” satisfaction among the young rebels.

LSU prides itself on offering a broad-based education, but has decided that perhaps this is neither the time nor the place to be showing off all those new four-letter words the student body has learned away from home.

The school doesn’t want to limit the band to nursery rhymes, which probably wouldn’t help anyway.

So for this week’s Texas A&M game the school has taken drastic measures.

They’ve asked the students not to do it anymore.

Really, that’s the plan.

An open letter from Athletic Director Joe Alleva tried to butter them up first by crediting them with an atmosphere that “makes Tiger Stadium the best place for a college football game” and urges them to “be loud when the Aggies have the ball.”

But he also goes to meddling when he advises to “also keep it clean when cheering for the Tigers.”

“We want the band to be able to play all of their songs.”

There was a similar message from Miles, who was doubly careful to tell them how much he appreciated their vocal support before adding, as only he could “I would hope they would give real thought to it because there are people in the stadium who have to deal with what’s being said.”

Of course, both are way, way over 30, and not to be trusted.

So some of the students’ peers — if future instant millionaires like Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry can be considered peers — were recruited for a video begging them to be nice, which will be used in an all-out social media assault.

Cheerleaders will pass out fliers and buttons with the same message.

It sounds all too simple for such a complex problem.

Until now, the only known cure was time, for the subjects to turn 35-40, at which time they are appalled at what vile things their own offspring must do to up the shock-value ante.

But give this a chance, pull for LSU.

And if it works, who knows?

Maybe for the next project the school can starting working on getting students to do their laundry BEFORE going home for the weekend?

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at

Posted By: Eileen Grantham On: 11/22/2013

Title: Be nice football fans & beyond

Vulgarity is a common factor among those who have been reared in a society of acceptance. Common decency and respect for the average persons morals & standards has been lost in unacceptable behavior. I am confounded by the why of so much unnecessary vulgarity. Our children do not learn vulgarity from school teachers but teachers are subjected to it all day ! So-- ask your kids---would you use vulgarity in church !? Remind them that our world is a church & we should keep it clean. And kids--If you are a leader then be a good example. Let it be known that you find their behavior unacceptable.. Be proud of your clean convictions.

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