The focus of Thursday’s press conference for Morris Claiborne and Michael Brockers was the duo’s decision to enter the NFL draft.
But with LSU still just three days out from a 21-0 shutout loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game, it was all but assured the questioning would eventually turn to the season’s disappointing end.
For two guys who had just fallen short on the biggest of stages, they handled themselves nicely.
“We’ve had a great year, and it’s nothing to hang your head down of,” Claiborne said. “We fell a little short at the end, but that’s football. You can’t win them all.”
Brockers echoed that sentiment, saying the returning players shouldn’t allow the disappointment to outweigh the team’s yearlong accomplishments.
“Some of them were taking it kind of hard, and I was trying to lift their spirits up,” he said. “We had an amazing season. We’re SEC champs, we beat (Alabama) Nov. 5, so don’t hang your head down. You’ve always got next year.”
Of course, the lucrative paydays that await both Brockers and Claiborne in a few short months probably go a long way toward offsetting the disappointment.
“I don’t like losing, but I know it’s a part of life and it’s part of this game,” Brockers said. “I’m a pretty level-headed guy, I understand that you can’t win them all, and going into my future I’m just very excited.”
It wasn’t all so optimistic, however. Claiborne bristled at a question suggesting the Tigers had forgotten to show up to the game, and asking what had happened to the LSU team from the regular season.
“That same team was there Monday night. That same team came to play just like we came to play all year,” Claiborne said. “It just wasn’t in God’s plan for the game to come out that way. But we’ve been fighting all year and that same team was out there Monday night fighting.”
Added Brockers: “That was the same 13-0 team we’ve seen all season -- the undefeated team, the SEC champions. It just wasn’t our will that night. We were playing against an amazing team in Alabama, and they just did all the right things.”