12/13/17 5:40 am CST
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The Tigers returned to practice yesterday and, aside from a few exceptions, seem to be in pretty good health as they begin preparing for the New Year’s Citrus Bowl. As reported by The Advocate, junior edge rusher Arden Key and senior linebacker Donnie Alexander were not seen at practice, but that’s not a complete surprise. Key missed the last two games with a knee surgery and had surgery to repair a broken pinky a couple of weeks ago. Alexander has been dealing with various injuries all season. The good news is that LSU’s offensive line appears to be returning to full health. Tackle KJ Malone (sans knee brace) and guard Garrett Brumfield were full participants in the drills, which is noteworthy since Malone missed the last half of the season with a knee injury and Brumfield exited the game against Texas A&M with a stinger.
After the practice, Coach Ed Orgeron met with reporters and dished out a lot of information. Here’s a video of the complete press conference, and below are a few key quotes.
On this week’s schedule…
Tomorrow (Wednesday) we’ll have a spring practice type of day, we’ll work on ourselves with just a sprinkling of Notre Dame, more or less a fundamental practice in pads. And we’ll do the same thing on [Thursday], then the guys are gonna have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. The coaches, at night, are going recruiting… so we’re balancing both… We have a very big weekend of official visitors – I think the number is up to 12, maybe a little more, and then obviously Sunday is a dead period… Next week we’ll focus totally on Notre Dame.
On how he likes recruiting and the early signing period…
You know, I like it myself, especially when I go to one home and there’s some gumbo with potato salad. And I went into the next home and it was the best red beans and rice and fried chicken and cornbread I’d ate in a long time. So, get some bigger pants but besides that, it’s gonna be fun. But I like it. I enjoy it. I think that it’s a very exciting period, it’s gonna be an advantage for us. We may sign 15-20 guys and then we can zero in on the last five….
I think that if you sign the number I expect to sign it gives you time to target in on the big-time guys….. and it gives you the advantage of junior recruiting. We’ve always said 2019 is a great year in Louisiana as you can see by the reports that are coming out.
On Arden Key’s status….
Arden is questionable. He hasn’t come around like I thought he was gonna come around. He’s questionable right now. He’s not practicing. He’s questionable and that’ll all I know.
On recruiting for the trenches…
It was the goal of this recruiting season was to rebuild the lines. Obviously, I can’t talk about the guys that are committed but we’re very excited to have five defensive tackles committed and four offensives lineman committed…. that doesn’t mean we’re gonna stop now.
On draft-eligible juniors…
Most of the guys are gonna talk to me after the bowl. Nobody that I know has made a clear decision.
On Derrius Guice…
Derrius loves football… I’ve never seen him down. And he wants to finish strong. I’m sure he’s motivated. A 10-win season for him would mean a lot for us. I’m not sure he’s made a total decision about leaving or not after talking to him, so we’ll see.
On Notre Dame…
It’s gonna be a challenge… Their [offensive] line is the best line we’ve seen… it’s very physical and big and well-coached.
In other football news, a third Tiger received All-America recognition yesterday when Donté Jackson was named second-team All-America by Sporting News. Jackson, a draft-eligible junior, started 11 games for the Tigers this year and had some exceptional moments this season, particularly against Auburn and Arkansas. In LSU’s thrilling 27-23 win over Auburn, Jackson broke up four passes, including three on Auburn’s final drive, to help LSU pull off what will go down in Tiger lore as one of the program’s greatest comebacks. Against Arkansas, Jackson recorded a career-best seven tackles, including a sack, two tackles for loss, and a pass breakup in the 33-10 win. Jackson, a native of Marrero, Louisiana, is the third Tiger to earn an All-America honor, joining redshirt freshman cornerback Greedy Williams, who picked up a third team honor from the Associated Press on Monday, and sophomore linebacker Devin White, who was named second-team All-America by the FWAA and USA Today.
The LSU men’s basketball team returns to action tonight to face its biggest test since returning from Maui in a red-hot Houston basketball team. The game tips off from the PMAC at 8 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network. The Cougars come into tonight’s contest with a seven-game win streak, and get this, Houston has beaten each of its last three opponents (Arkansas included) by no less than 19 points. I couldn’t think of a better measuring stick following LSU’s 97-84 win against UNC-Wilmington than tonight’s game. Last season, LSU was horrendous at defending the 3-point shot, and we’ve seen some of that carry over this season, especially in Maui. Well, Houston comes to town with a 42 percent field goal percentage from behind the arc, which ranks 17th in the nation. Can the Tigers build off of Sunday’s win against the Seahawks where LSU held UNC-Wilmington to just 36% shooting from behind the 3-point line? And can Duop Reath continue to be an enforcer underneath, while the versatile Tremont Waters continues to grow into the most well-rounded point guard LSU has had in quite some time? If so, a win against Houston could be a difference-maker on the Tigers’ resume this season.
Lastly, I love seeing former Tiger greats do great things off the field, and yesterday an outstanding one did just that. Former LSU offensive tackle extraordinaire and current Los Angeles Ram Andrew Whitworth donated 550 bikes to Grape Street Elementary (Los Angeles), one for every student. The is just the latest of many generous acts by Whitworth and his BigWhit 77 Foundation, which promotes the development of young leaders and supports many causes through its charitable events. Here’s a video of him presenting the bikes to the students.
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