But as good as Mathieu was, LSU showed it could get by without him. He was suspended for the Auburn game and the Tigers won 45-10. The Tigers also dealt with several suspensions early in the season, but nothing slowed them down until they lost the BCS championship game against Alabama.
"He gave us a lot of examples that we can learn from and I think that he's a quality, quality guy who had a behavior issue and that's it," Miles said. "Certainly the overview of his time with us is positive."
Mathieu, a New Orleans native, has two years of eligibility left and could transfer, but he would have to sit out this season if he went to another school in major college football. If he moved down a level, to FCS, he could play right away.
"I can't imagine he would be here and not want to transfer and go play football," Miles said. "We will help him in every way we can."
LSU isn't quite as deep at cornerback as it was last season, when it had All-American Morris Claiborne and often used Mathieu as a nickel back. Tharold Simon is the other starter opposite Mathieu. Second on the depth chart are redshirt freshman Jalen Collins and freshman Jalen Mills.
As for returning punts, Miles mentioned wide receiver Odell Beckham as a possible replacement for Mathieu.
Even without the Honey Badger, LSU is loaded with talent.
"The good news is we have good players" to fill the void left by Mathieu, Miles said.
Last season, LSU beat Alabama 9-6 in a regular-season matchup dubbed the Game of the Century. The two SEC rivals met again in the national championship but this time the Crimson Tide dominated, winning 21-0.
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