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7/18/18 5:45 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

We’ll start today’s report with some news on the injury front that has just come to light. Sophomore tight end Jamal Pettigrew (6-7, 262, Saint Augustine HS) suffered a knee injury this summer and is likely to be out for the season. I always hate to hear of an injury like this, especially to a player like Pettigrew who was just starting to come into his own. Though he only had one reception last year, he had a couple of impressive catches in the Spring Game and seemed poised for a breakout season. Fortunately for LSU, the Tigers have depth at the position behind senior starter Foster Moreau with guys like fellow senior Jacory Washington, sophomore Thaddeus Moss, redshirt freshman Aaron Moffitt, and true freshmen Zach Sheffer. Here’s wishing Pettigrew a full and quick recovery. 

Now for some news on the Kristian Fulton front. As has been well documented, the junior cornerback is 18 months into a 24-month suspension for violating the NCAA’s Drug-Testing protocol. Sports Illustrated reported last month that the Fulton family made a “last-ditch effort” appeal with the NCAA to have the suspension lifted, and yesterday NOLA.com provided an update after hearing from Don Jackson, an Alabama-based attorney representing Fulton. Their report indicates that Jackson is “optimistic” that a resolution could be in sight and that they could have an answer in 2-3 weeks. If the appeal is successful and Fulton is cleared to play this season, that would be icing on the cake of an offseason filled with nothing but good news before the revelation of Pettigrew’s injury.

As mentioned by Coach Orgeron at SEC  Media Days, determining who starts at the cornerback position opposite of preseason All-American Greedy Williams is going to be one of the focal points of fall camp. “We brought in Terrence Alexander, a graduate transfer from Stanford who will have an opportunity to compete at that position,” Orgeron said. “Kelvin Joseph, one of the top signees from the state of Louisiana at cornerback, Jontre Kirklin, and Kary Vincent… It will be exciting to see who is going to be that other cornerback.” Obviously, having five-star Fulton in the mix as well would be a game-changer.

Quoting Orgeron above makes a good segue to a new series we’ll begin today in which we discuss a few key quotes from SEC Media Days and what they mean. We’ll start with a telling quote from Coach Orgeron about how he’ll interact with Steve Ensminger and the rest of his staff, and one by Foster Moreau that sheds some light on the transition to Ensminger’s offense. Here we go…

Talking Tigers: Quotes that Caught Our Ears from SEC Media Days
Part 1: 

Ed Orgeron on Matt Canada/Steve Ensminger/offensive input: 

“I have no problem walking in there and saying, ‘Hey man, what are we doing here? This needs to be fixed.’ And I’m sure they have no problem saying, ‘Yes sir, you’re right.’ I think we’re on the same page, and as far as me being in there on a daily basis, I’m not going to do that. I choose to spend most of my time on defense and special teams, but if I do see something I think is wrong, I have complete authority to go in there and fix this and say, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ And they’ll say, ‘Yes sir, you’re right.’”

The lead story on ESPN.com Tuesday morning was Ed Orgeron admitting he made a mistake hiring Matt Canada as his offensive coordinator last year. Those of you who follow this site daily understand that this is not breaking news. We know he regrets hiring Canada, and that the two struggled to get along. This is a respect thing, and as head coach, Orgeron expects and demands respect from his coaching staff. The quote above is important because he knows he can approach his current offensive staff without any major pushback. That wasn’t the case a year ago. This quote tells us that by promoting Ensminger, he’s making a decision as LSU head coach the way he wants to make it. It’s a gut call. If this fails with Ensminger as offensive coordinator, he won’t have any regrets because he went with his guy. If he can’t produce big wins at a big university like LSU, well, at least he did it his way. And I think there’s something to be said for that.

Foster Moreau on new offense: 

“When you guys see it first, I’m sure you guys will be able to tell as a whole how it looks. But since we’re around it, it’s kind of like being with your son all the time, and you never really see him grow. And then, one day, you’re like, ‘Oh wow.’ You’re taken aback by how tall he’s grown, if you see pictures or you mark a wall. I think that’ll be how it goes.”

It might be a bit of a stretch, but this quote seems to suggest two things. First, the offense must be considerably different than Les Miles’ pro-style and Matt Canada’s shift-happy offense. Second, it must feel pretty comfortable to the players, so much so that they have to take a step back to go, “Wow, this offense really is different.” It’s also interesting to note that Ed Orgeron has repeatedly talked about three-wide to five-wide looks, and so far he’s been so transparent with us that we have no reason to doubt him. (Think about how he’s talked about the quarterback race being tight and then what we saw from the quarterbacks in the spring game.) Plus, we got a chance to look at the offense quite a bit in the spring game, and the sets certainly fit the narrative. But back to Moreau’s quote… as a father, I can fully appreciate it and can’t wait to see how much LSU’s offense will have grown in the seven months, 23 days since Ensminger was named offensive coordinator.

Now, while we’re counting days, let’s move on to our countdown to game day, which has reached the 46-day mark. For this one, let’s hop into the “wayback machine” and revisit a 1946 LSU team that flies under the radar. The Tigers welcomed back 11 starters that year, plus 28 service veterans returning from World War II. Future NFL Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle quarterbacked the crew and got backing from such stars as Ray Coates, Dan Sandifer, Gene Knight, Abner Wimberly, Ed Champagne and Walter “Piggy” Barnes, who would go on to a career in Hollywood. The Tigers lost only to Georgia Tech (26-7) in a game that was 12-7 in the fourth quarter. LSU pulled off a six-game winning streak that included the first victory against Alabama (31-21) in 37 years and a 41-27 thumping of Tulane. LSU rose as high as No. 8 but was passed over for the Sugar Bowl in favor of North Carolina. The Tigers settled for a Cotton Bowl date with Southwest Conference champion Arkansas, which resulted in the infamous 0-0 Ice Bowl deadlock. I hope you enjoyed that journey back in time.

Closing Tidbits: 

• Remember the former four-star quarterback, Cord Sandberg of Bradenton (Fla.), who we mentioned is returning to football after six years in minor league baseball? Well, yesterday he announced his finalists as LSU, Auburn, and N.C. State. Sandberg is expected to take official to all three schools this month with LSU’s coming the weekend of July 28-29.  

• Thanks to Jake Martin for his collaboration on the Talking Tigers series we began today. Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow. Later this week, Jim Kleinpeter will chime in with some quotes from LSU opponents that we’ll call “Talking Tiger Bait.”

• Lastly, as promised, I’ve updated our way too early LSU football depth chart to include the newcomers and their jersey numbers. Don’t read too much into the chart as it’s just a guess at this point and includes a lot of duplication. (Feedback/suggestions welcome.) It’ll become much clearer once the Tigers get a few fall practices under their belts. 

Have a great day, Tiger Fans.





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7/18/18 5:45 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

We’ll start today’s report with some news on the injury front that has just come to light. Sophomore tight end Jamal Pettigrew (6-7, 262, Saint Augustine HS) suffered a knee injury this summer and is likely to be out for the season. I always hate to hear of an injury like this, especially to a player like Pettigrew who was just starting to come into his own. Though he only had one reception last year, he had a couple of impressive catches in the Spring Game and seemed poised for a breakout season. Fortunately for LSU, the Tigers have depth at the position behind senior starter Foster Moreau with guys like fellow senior Jacory Washington, sophomore Thaddeus Moss, redshirt freshman Aaron Moffitt, and true freshmen Zach Sheffer. Here’s wishing Pettigrew a full and quick recovery. 

Now for some news on the Kristian Fulton front. As has been well documented, the junior cornerback is 18 months into a 24-month suspension for violating the NCAA’s Drug-Testing protocol. Sports Illustrated reported last month that the Fulton family made a “last-ditch effort” appeal with the NCAA to have the suspension lifted, and yesterday NOLA.com provided an update after hearing from Don Jackson, an Alabama-based attorney representing Fulton. Their report indicates that Jackson is “optimistic” that a resolution could be in sight and that they could have an answer in 2-3 weeks. If the appeal is successful and Fulton is cleared to play this season, that would be icing on the cake of an offseason filled with nothing but good news before the revelation of Pettigrew’s injury.

As mentioned by Coach Orgeron at SEC  Media Days, determining who starts at the cornerback position opposite of preseason All-American Greedy Williams is going to be one of the focal points of fall camp. “We brought in Terrence Alexander, a graduate transfer from Stanford who will have an opportunity to compete at that position,” Orgeron said. “Kelvin Joseph, one of the top signees from the state of Louisiana at cornerback, Jontre Kirklin, and Kary Vincent… It will be exciting to see who is going to be that other cornerback.” Obviously, having five-star Fulton in the mix as well would be a game-changer.

Quoting Orgeron above makes a good segue to a new series we’ll begin today in which we discuss a few key quotes from SEC Media Days and what they mean. We’ll start with a telling quote from Coach Orgeron about how he’ll interact with Steve Ensminger and the rest of his staff, and one by Foster Moreau that sheds some light on the transition to Ensminger’s offense. Here we go…

Talking Tigers: Quotes that Caught Our Ears from SEC Media Days
Part 1: 

Ed Orgeron on Matt Canada/Steve Ensminger/offensive input: 

“I have no problem walking in there and saying, ‘Hey man, what are we doing here? This needs to be fixed.’ And I’m sure they have no problem saying, ‘Yes sir, you’re right.’ I think we’re on the same page, and as far as me being in there on a daily basis, I’m not going to do that. I choose to spend most of my time on defense and special teams, but if I do see something I think is wrong, I have complete authority to go in there and fix this and say, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ And they’ll say, ‘Yes sir, you’re right.’”

The lead story on ESPN.com Tuesday morning was Ed Orgeron admitting he made a mistake hiring Matt Canada as his offensive coordinator last year. Those of you who follow this site daily understand that this is not breaking news. We know he regrets hiring Canada, and that the two struggled to get along. This is a respect thing, and as head coach, Orgeron expects and demands respect from his coaching staff. The quote above is important because he knows he can approach his current offensive staff without any major pushback. That wasn’t the case a year ago. This quote tells us that by promoting Ensminger, he’s making a decision as LSU head coach the way he wants to make it. It’s a gut call. If this fails with Ensminger as offensive coordinator, he won’t have any regrets because he went with his guy. If he can’t produce big wins at a big university like LSU, well, at least he did it his way. And I think there’s something to be said for that.

Foster Moreau on new offense: 

“When you guys see it first, I’m sure you guys will be able to tell as a whole how it looks. But since we’re around it, it’s kind of like being with your son all the time, and you never really see him grow. And then, one day, you’re like, ‘Oh wow.’ You’re taken aback by how tall he’s grown, if you see pictures or you mark a wall. I think that’ll be how it goes.”

It might be a bit of a stretch, but this quote seems to suggest two things. First, the offense must be considerably different than Les Miles’ pro-style and Matt Canada’s shift-happy offense. Second, it must feel pretty comfortable to the players, so much so that they have to take a step back to go, “Wow, this offense really is different.” It’s also interesting to note that Ed Orgeron has repeatedly talked about three-wide to five-wide looks, and so far he’s been so transparent with us that we have no reason to doubt him. (Think about how he’s talked about the quarterback race being tight and then what we saw from the quarterbacks in the spring game.) Plus, we got a chance to look at the offense quite a bit in the spring game, and the sets certainly fit the narrative. But back to Moreau’s quote… as a father, I can fully appreciate it and can’t wait to see how much LSU’s offense will have grown in the seven months, 23 days since Ensminger was named offensive coordinator.

Now, while we’re counting days, let’s move on to our countdown to game day, which has reached the 46-day mark. For this one, let’s hop into the “wayback machine” and revisit a 1946 LSU team that flies under the radar. The Tigers welcomed back 11 starters that year, plus 28 service veterans returning from World War II. Future NFL Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle quarterbacked the crew and got backing from such stars as Ray Coates, Dan Sandifer, Gene Knight, Abner Wimberly, Ed Champagne and Walter “Piggy” Barnes, who would go on to a career in Hollywood. The Tigers lost only to Georgia Tech (26-7) in a game that was 12-7 in the fourth quarter. LSU pulled off a six-game winning streak that included the first victory against Alabama (31-21) in 37 years and a 41-27 thumping of Tulane. LSU rose as high as No. 8 but was passed over for the Sugar Bowl in favor of North Carolina. The Tigers settled for a Cotton Bowl date with Southwest Conference champion Arkansas, which resulted in the infamous 0-0 Ice Bowl deadlock. I hope you enjoyed that journey back in time.

Closing Tidbits: 

• Remember the former four-star quarterback, Cord Sandberg of Bradenton (Fla.), who we mentioned is returning to football after six years in minor league baseball? Well, yesterday he announced his finalists as LSU, Auburn, and N.C. State. Sandberg is expected to take official to all three schools this month with LSU’s coming the weekend of July 28-29.  

• Thanks to Jake Martin for his collaboration on the Talking Tigers series we began today. Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow. Later this week, Jim Kleinpeter will chime in with some quotes from LSU opponents that we’ll call “Talking Tiger Bait.”

• Lastly, as promised, I’ve updated our way too early LSU football depth chart to include the newcomers and their jersey numbers. Don’t read too much into the chart as it’s just a guess at this point and includes a lot of duplication. (Feedback/suggestions welcome.) It’ll become much clearer once the Tigers get a few fall practices under their belts. 

Have a great day, Tiger Fans.

7/17/18 5:40 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for our quick-hitting Tuesday’s Tidbits format for today’s update. Timing-wise, this works out well as LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, junior defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence, senior tight end Foster Moreau, and junior linebacker Devin White all spoke during yesterday’s SEC Media Days and dished out lots of tidbits perfect for this format. After touching on the key points from Media Day, we’ll close out with a few miscellaneous tidbits. Grab yourself a cup of joe and let’s get to it.

DandyDon.com’s Tuesday Tidbits – Your Daily Dose of Tiger News Delivered in a Baker’s Dozen Quick Hitters

1. Coach Ed Orgeron seemed at ease at the podium and genuinely optimistic about his 2018 Tigers, and a big reason for that is the comfort level he has with his staff. In his opening comments, Orgeron praised each of his assistants and complimented strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt for the outstanding job he’s doing with the team this summer as he prepares the players for fall camp. He also mentioned having ten analysts helping out (up from five last year), and called special teams coordinator Greg McMahon one of his best friends.

2. Orgeron is very high on offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and the direction in which he is leading the offense. He made it clear that he and Ensminger are on the same page, while also making it clear that he and Matt Canada were not. “It's tough when you make a mistake,” Orgeron said, “but it’s even tougher not to admit you made a mistake when it’s just not a good fit.” He added, “I had to do what I thought was best for the LSU program, and that’s what I did.”

3. As for the kind of offense we can expect under Ensminger, Orgeron described it as a spread offense with three, four, sometimes five-receiver sets. He also said they are going to throw the ball a lot and be 50/50 between the run and pass. He implied it would be more like offenses that were run at Miami and USC when Orgeron was part of their national championship seasons.  

4. Orgeron spoke highly of transfer quarterback Joe Burrow and the three returning QBs. He said he hopes the quarterback competition will be settled in fall camp but reiterated that if it is not he’ll play two quarterbacks. It seemed by his comments that he’s awfully confident in his newest quarterback and doesn’t expect to have to do that. As for how LSU found Burrow, Orgeron said new safety coach Bill Busch was on the staff at Ohio State and highly recommended Burrow. Upon further research, they found that he was exactly the type of quarterback that could come in and compete at LSU.

5. Asked what stands out about Burrow and what he brings to the quarterback competition, Orgeron started by mentioning that he comes from a very good family and his father is a respected coach. He also talked about Burrow’s knowledge of the game, his leadership qualities, his ability to run the offense as a pro-style quarterback who can also run the football and extend plays with his feet when needed. “Overall he’s very smart, throws in anticipation and with accuracy,” said Orgeron. “We felt that he would add to the quarterback competition that we already have.”

6. In yesterday’s Mail Call we mentioned the new transfer rules, but there’s also a new redshirt rule that is much more significant, in our opinion. The new rule allows players to play four games in a season and still redshirt. Coach Ed Orgeron said yesterday that he is overwhelmingly in favor of the new rule. “I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “We have a lot of players who have gone and left LSU that would still be on our football team if we had that rule, some very important players.”

7. One particular thing that caught my attention was Orgeron’s statement that the offensive line will be led by Garrett Brumfield. He also spoke highly of Damien Lewis. One of the things I’ll be most interested in seeing this preseason is where those two guys fit in. Brumfield started every game last year at left guard but could be moved to center this season with Lewis playing left guard. 

8. Coach O confirmed that preseason practice will begin on Saturday, August 4 and, according to Twitter, also said practices will be open to the media for select individual drills.  The team will reportedly have split practices for three days to maximize reps for the quarterbacks. They might also have two sets of 7-on-7s for the same purpose.

9. As for comments from Foster Moreau, Rashard Lawrence, and Devin White, here are some tidbits I picked up on social media. Moreau spoke highly of LSU’s O-line and joked that he could even run the ball behind those guys and pick up a few yards. Lawrence commented to reporters about Joe Burrow, saying, “I’m no quarterback expert... but he can sling it in 7-on-7!” As for White, he said he doesn’t want to just be the best linebacker in the country but the best linebacker to ever play at LSU.

10. Speaking of White, he and cornerback Greedy Williams were named yesterday to the 24th Chuck Bednarik Watch List. We’ll probably continuing hearing those guys’ names a lot in coming days as this was just the first of 16 watch lists to be announced over the next two weeks.

11. In LSU women’s basketball news, head coach Nikki Fargas announced the hiring of Michaela Mabrey as Director of Recruiting. Mabrey played for a Notre Dame team that made four consecutive appearances in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and then became the coordinator of program and player development at the University of Miami (Ohio) for the 2016-17 season. Last season while at Miami as an assistant coach, The Redhawks finished 21-11 and ranked first in the nation with the biggest turn-around by a first-year coaching staff.

12. I’ll leave you today with a good read by FootballScoop.com on LSU offensive line coach James Cregg. It’s part of their series on the most important assistant coaching hires of the 2018 season and it lists Cregg at No. 4.

13. Lagniappe: A few of you asked me how I cooked those bacon-wrapped, chicken sausage and cream-cheese-staffed jalapeño poppers that I tweeted about the other day. Well, I don’t have a recipe per se, but here’s what I do: Remove the stem and seeds from the peppers and slit each one just enough to be able to stuff them with the good stuff. In each cavity, I place a little bit of cream cheese and a little sausage, then I wrap it up in bacon and secure it with a toothpick. Throw them on a hot grill, open up a cold drink, and let those bad boys cook slowly over indirect heat (so that there’s enough time for the sausage and bacon to cook). You’ll have to turn frequently to cook the bacon on all sides. 

Oh, we let all 13 tidbits pass us by without continuing our countdown, so let’s just give a quick shoutout to David LaFleur, who wore the number 47 for four seasons. He’s fourth all time among LSU tight ends with 71 career catches and was a third-team All-American as a senior. LSU could use some production like he provided from 1993-96, and might get it from Foster Moreau, Jamal Pettigrew, or Thaddeus Moss. 

Have a great day, Tiger Fans.



 

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