You step away from the rat race for a couple of weeks abroad, come back re-energized … and dang if it isn't still August.

Nothing lets you know you're home in these parts, nothing snaps you back to reality, like stepping off a 10-hour flight in Houston and being greeted by a 94-degree furnace blast.

Kind of reassuring, actually.

You never change, August.

August Football, either.

I will apologize for being "on holiday," as they say over on The Continent, when, for instance, LSU reported for heavy sweating with the usual high optimism in August.

But I probably could have written the stories in advance.

They never really change.

August is August and will always be thus, particularly for football.

But, if I may sidestep a moment, why, here in early August, is it that every time you turn on the TV, basketball pops up?

That's sort of a new August wrinkle, huh?

When did that happen?

The last sports bar I was in had people gathered around the tube for a cricket match that evidently meant something (I had no idea what was going on, but I've come to conclusion that baseball would be a lot more fun if the players couldn't use gloves).

But back to football, where August is being August again.

The media, which reports most of this stuff with a straight face, is an easy target, but it really has no choice. It has to report something — the public (social media) demands it — even while nothing discernible is happening.

I even heard on the radio that "Thank goodness the ‘talking season' is over now that they're practicing again."

No, no, no, sir. You are wrong. The Talking Season, a phrase invented by a certain Steve Spurrier (who at least could make it fun and interesting), does not end when practice starts. It is just heating up, rife with speculation about what said practices actually mean.

It's all about talk right now.

And, sadly, social media has only intensified the dilemma.

It has a voracious appetite.

So it becomes big news on the day players arrive on campus to be on hand to see what messages some of those players might be sporting on their T-shirts and maybe discern if there's a deeper meaning for it beyond perhaps it was the only clean shirt he had.

It's also pretty well mandatory to observe that this team (and it could be any team) appears to be in the best shape of any team that preceded it. The fat guys have trimmed own and the skinny runts have all beefed up.

Or that the incoming freshman five-star "certainly looks the part in street clothes."

It's hard to fill in much more with the mere toe-tap opportunities the media is afforded while allowed to watch only fairly meaningless portions of workouts.

It has even gotten a name — the "media viewing" portion.

Best I can tell that is basically so the media can take a roll call of who's at practice and who's not, and then scare the bejabbers out of fans with reports that, for instance, LSU pass-rushing whiz K'Lavon Chaisson is not at practice.

I did see where LSU head coach Ed Orgeron was kind enough to explain that there are so-called "August injuries" — strictly precautionary aches that wouldn't be given a second thought if there was a game to play this week — and that he'll let you know if anything game-threatening comes up.

Otherwise, practice is practice.

But never mind. It's important to take breathlessly to social media whenever an acrobatic catch is made — never mind they're in shorts and T-shirts — as if it bodes well for the upcoming season.

In a pinch you can always observe that the hot-shot incoming freshman, looks ready to contribute immediately or, more eloquently, "it's going to be hard to keep him off the field."

And, of course, don't leave out the returnees, especially those who proclaim that it's "night and day" how much better they understand the offense/defense than a year ago.

Soap box alert: Social media has already developed its own annoying clichés and the one that needs to be banished first is: "Joe Football is doing Joe Football things."

Next in line: "Joe Football is really good at this football thing," no matter the brilliance of the subtlety.

On the LSU front, I see the Tigers have sorted out their honorary numbers for the season — All-American safety Grant Delpit gets the playmaker No. 7, while both Chaisson and Lloyd Cushenberry will get the coveted No. 18, a complicated task for the latter because he's a center and can only wear it as a patch on his jersey.

Meanwhile, Orgeron is sticking to his story that this really is going to be a different, possibly dynamic offense, mostly because 29-year-old passing game coordinator Joe Brady is about to reinvent the run-pass option that other schools have been running for years, and it's perfect for quarterback Joe Burrow.

We shall see. August can't last forever.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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