LSU goes to water park for 'team-building'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday July 11, 2013

Posted by: Chris Vannini on July 11, 2013

On Wednesday, LSU's football team traveled to the Blue Bayou water park in Baton Rouge for a day of fun.

In the sweltering Louisiana summer, it was a nice way to cool off, but there is more to it.

LSU Sports Radio Network's Gordy Rush joined to talk about the day, and what it provides to the group.

"Within all NCAA rules, they do a team-building exercise where they bring them to Blue Bayou water park. ... It's a workout when you need to climb those slides," Rush said. "You're talking about 10 flights and stairs and you do five or six slides, you're winded. It's not the relaxation (strength and conditioning coordinator) Tommy Moffitt might have wanted, but needless to say, it's a good time.

"Why I'm bringing this up is this: For all the different things that have been written or said about Les Miles, he does a good job, and his staff does a good job of preaching that team philosophy. Getting the buy-in from the kids, getting the relationships and building those off-the-field relationships and the sense of unity from his kids. They ultimately play for him. He's known throughout the summertime to do different events like this that are team-building exercises that are very beneficial and that have paid dividends and why it's been the most successful stretch of football in school history.

"Being a manager, the biggest responsibility you have is getting buy-in from your team and having them want to come to work or having them want to come to the practice field and get better and do their job more times than they don't."

It's the time of year when incoming freshmen are getting their first college experiences, and it can be overwhelming at times. Miles is known for his quirky personality, clock management and playcalls, but Rush wanted to make sure people know why he has such a strong relationship with players.

"Your first taste of college, you've got class and then you go run in 110 percent humidty, it feels like 102 (degrees) and all that good stuff," Rush said. "But even for the returning players. These kids are living on a fixed budget. Whatever it costs to get in there, it's not something they're doing 10-20 times. They really relish the opportunity to go out there and enjoy these things. Then the stories that will come out of going down these slides and doing all these different things. All that stuff is good stuff.

"Again, it's part of some of the off-the-field things that Les Miles has done that don't make front page of the newspaper. One, it's not as if they put a press release out. It's the type of thing that goes un-talked about. One of the things he's done well that he hasn't gotten credit for, I wanted to bring it up because it's an important part of what he's done at LSU."

Below is a photo of the wave pool from sports information director Michael Bonnette.




Chris Vannini is the lead writer for and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to

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