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LSU seniors aim to help team ignore Les Miles rumors, close with final win

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Russillo: Les Miles' inability to live up to Nick Saban is his demise (1:54)

Ryen Russillo shares his thoughts on recent reports that LSU will buy out Les Miles' contract due to a failure to beat Alabama and an underachieving offense, according to a high-ranking source involved in the decision regarding the coach's future. (1:54)

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Lamar Louis has been around LSU long enough to understand the concept of tunnel vision, even when the off-the-field buzz seems deafening.

As one of 15 senior Tigers, Louis has that experience to fall back on this week as LSU coach Les Miles' job status has become a national topic of discussion. But this is a young team -- only about half of that group of seniors has ever played much at LSU -- and Louis realizes that he and the other veteran leaders have an obligation before Saturday’s game against Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3 SEC) to keep the focus on the Aggies as best they can.

“With a young team, it’s probably most definitely a concern,” Louis said Monday afternoon. “I was just reading before I came here and I didn’t know we had so little seniors that were actually starters on the team this year. I didn’t even realize that. But yeah, the team is real young. I’m pretty sure that’s going to be one of the emphasis in [Monday’s team] meeting is just staying focused.”

Try as they might, it was virtually impossible for players to ignore the noise about Miles after LSU (7-3, 4-3) lost its third consecutive game on Saturday. Speculation about whether the school’s all-time winningest coach would survive the season was too widespread.

“I tried to stay away from it, but you know with people texting you, calling you, seeing it on the news, you can’t really run from it,” Louis said.

Thus, not only will Louis and his teammates attempt to fix the many problems that led to losses to Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss, they’ll work toward Saturday’s finale under a cloud of speculation about their coaching staff’s future.

“It’s tough to hear all of that stuff, but we’ve got to ignore all of it and just get back to work this week,” redshirt freshman offensive guard Will Clapp said. “We’ve still got a good Texas A&M team to play and I want to send our seniors off with a victory in their last home game.”

Perhaps that will be the rallying point this week for the Tigers. Not only would they like to make a statement about their coach’s leadership by closing the regular season with a win, this will be the final game at Tiger Stadium for seniors like Louis, Jalen Mills, Vadal Alexander and Deion Jones.

That group has been part of LSU teams that have gone 24-4 before home crowds over the last four seasons. One more win would help end a disappointing November -- one that they started as the No. 2 team in the initial College Football Playoff rankings prior to their three-game slide -- on a positive note.

“Going 9-3. That’s not a bad season. Nobody wants to hear that because we were 7-0, but that’s not a horrible season,” Louis said. “But us seniors and us juniors that actually get a lot of playing time, actually experience a lot, have just got to step up and take those younger guys and put them in the right direction.”