By Sean Isabella | LSU Reveille
Move over, chewing tobacco. Eating grass is the new, trendy thing to do in sports.
And LSU football coach Les Miles is to blame.
Just when college football fans figured the man known as the "Mad Hatter" couldn't get any more peculiar, Miles once again showed his unique — and often misunderstood — personality in the fourth quarter of Saturday's win against then-No. 6 Alabama.
Seconds before junior quarterback Jordan Jefferson connected with sophomore wide receiver Rueben Randle for a two-point conversion to give LSU a 21-14 lead, Miles reached down, picked up a blade of grass and put it in his mouth without hesitation.
It was just another typical day on the job for Miles. His grass-snacking habits were still prevalent 48 hours later at his weekly press conference.
"I'll put my knee on the ground and look for a small blade now and then," Miles said with a smile. "You might try it. It's not a bad deal. I suspect it's better than chewing tobacco and some other things that people put in their mouths."
LSU Sports Information even poked fun at Miles on Monday, putting a bin full of grass on a table with a sign that read "Tiger Stadium grass."
The love for luscious green grass dates back to Miles' football- and baseball-playing days as a youngster when his intriguing pastime was born.
"I've always seemed to enjoy a blade or two now and then, not that this was a meal in any way but more of kind of being in touch with where I was at," he said.
The current turf — Celebration Grass — in Tiger Stadium is only six months old, which could have helped entice Miles' urge to taste test. Bullseye Bermuda grass had inhabited Tiger Stadium in the recent past, but a switch to Celebration Grass was made in June following the Bayou Country Superfest.
Whether Bermuda or Celebration, the taste of grass easily trumps synthetic turf for Miles.
"[Synthetic is] not nearly as tasty," Miles said.
Miles' preference for grass and not artificial turf could potentially pose a problem with the release of Sunday's Bowl Championship Series standings. LSU currently sits at No. 5 — which is the highest ranking of any one-loss team — and could find itself with a possible Sugar Bowl berth with wins against Louisiana-Monroe, Ole Miss and at Arkansas.
"Our football team is enjoying the position that we're in," Miles said. "It's an earned position. It's not one that is void of schedule."
LSU is mathematically also still alive for a trip to the Southeastern Conference championship game in Atlanta. LSU would need to win the rest of its games and hope Auburn loses at home to Georgia this weekend and at Alabama on Nov. 26.
"I don't think there is any way that our team will not have interest in that [Auburn-Georgia] score," Miles said. "Certainly there is a favorite that we might cheer for, but that has no bearing on our preparation."