7/29/15 5:45 am CDT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
To all of you LSU basketball fans who’ve been saying that Coach Johnny Jones is an outstanding recruiter but he needs to hire an outstanding Xs and Os assistant, you’ll be happy to know that he did just that. Yesterday the school announced the hiring of the Brenden Suhr, 61, a man with an exceptional résumé as an NBA and collegiate coach, and a reputation of being among the best Xs and Os coaches in the business. Suhr built his résumé and reputation as an assistant for the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets, Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, and New York Knicks. He was also the head scout for the gold-medal United States “Dream Team” at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, and the assistant coach for two NBA All-Star Games (1988, 1990). Suhr’s most recent gig was at the University of Central Florida, where he was Coach Donnie Jones’ assistant since 2012 and Director of Program Development since 2013. Based on everything I’ve heard and read about the man, I’d say he’s clearly a slam dunk hire.
For more on Suhr and his hiring, here’s the full press release by LSU: FORMER NBA CHAMPIONSHIP WINNING ASSISTANT COACH BRENDAN SUHR JOINS LSU MEN’S BASKETBALL COACHING STAFF
One more basketball tidbit before moving on: In a radio interview with Ben Love of Bumper to Bumper Sports, Coach Johnny Jones said that forward Craig Victor won’t be eligible to play for LSU until “roughly around December 12-13.” Victor, a native of New Orleans, transferred from The University of Arizona to LSU and had applied for a hardship waiver which would have allowed him to play right away. His case for the waiver was that he transferred to be closer to an ailing family member, as opposed to transferring simply for reasons related to playing time. Evidently, the waiver was denied, so Victor won’t be able to practice or play with the team until after the Fall semester.
In football recruiting news, I wrote a few days ago about TCU trying to flip LSU wide receiver commit Stephen Sullivan, and now it appears that LSU is trying its best to flip TCU linebacker commit Sewo Olonilua. At 6-foot-2, 217 pounds, Olonilua is a versatile athlete who could play safety, linebacker, or even running back, but it appears that LSU is recruiting him as a linebacker, which is one of the Tigers’ biggest positions of need in this year’s class. LSU already has commitments from two other outstanding linebackers from the state of Texas – Erick Fowler and Rahssan Thornton, and it is likely that LSU would take as many as four linebackers in this year’s class. (Remember, they didn’t sign any last year.) Among the Tigers’ top LB targets are Louisiana’s own Michael Divinity (6'2", 200) of John Ehret High School and Keion Joyner (6'3", 200) of Havelock, North Carolina, who has family in Abbeville, LA.
In other football news, we all know that a good case can be made for LSU claiming the DBU (defensive back university) moniker, right? Well, you might be interested to know that Fox Sports’ College Spun website has named LSU “Running Back University.” The website analyzed the number of NFL running backs produced by each school over the last 16 years and LSU came out on top with 13 draft selections during that time. The next closest was Miami with 10 selections. With the way LSU has recruited the RB position for the last two years, they could very well hold on to that title for at least a few more years. Interestingly, the Tigers do not yet have a running back commitment in this year’s class, although they appear to be in good shape with their primary target, Devin White (6'0", 258, North Webster), who is the No. 1 player on our list of Top LA Prospects for 2016.
As for our ongoing series on LSU’s 2015 football opponents, we’ve already covered the first eight games and have now reached the point on the schedule where the team has its first open date before playing Alabama. Just as the team will need a break that week to prepare for Bama, so do I need a break from this series to allow me more time to dedicate to that big game’s writeup. Look for that installment of the series in tomorrow’s report.
Moving on to our Countdown to Game Day, which has reached the 38 days mark, let’s look at Les Miles’ biggest victory as coach of the Tigers. I’m referring to LSU’s 38-24 victory over Ohio State in the 2007 BCS National Championship. The 38 points were an amazing achievement considering Ohio State came into the game allowing just 10.7 points per game. In fact, seven of the Buckeye’s opponents had been held to seven points or less, and only one opponent, Illinois, had scored more than 17 points. I can remember well sitting in the Superdome alongside Dad and fearing LSU might fall victim to Ohio State’s stifling defense as the Buckeyes jumped out to an early 10-0 lead with LSU accumulating negative 14 yards in the process. But then the Tigers went on a remarkable 31-0 run from the middle of the 1st quarter through the opening drive of the third to take a commanding 31-10 lead. Included in the amazing turnaround were 28 penalty yards against the Buckeyes that aided LSU’s first TD of the contest, a blocked field goal by Ricky Jean-Francois that led to a 60-yard-TD drive, and a Chevis Jackson interception that led to a 24-yard TD drive and 24-10 halftime lead. Even when Ohio State forced LSU to punt on their first drive of the third quarter, the Tigers received a huge break when a Buckeye defender whiffed on a punt block attempt and collided into Patrick Fisher, giving LSU a first down. A personal foul penalty further aided the drive and eventually led to a Matt Flynn four-yard TD pass to Early Doucet. After a Flynn interception led to an Ohio State TD, the Tigers responded in the fourth quarter with a Flynn to Richard Dickson 5-yard TD that gave LSU an insurmountable 38-17 lead with less than four minutes remaining. The Buckeyes scored a meaningless TD against the Tigers’ backups to make the final score 38-24. You can relive the memorable game with these video highlights. I’ll tell you what, New Orleans, and the whole state of Louisiana for that matter, was buzzing that night. Five years later, that buzz has worn off and Tiger fans are chomping at the bit to see Les Miles hoist that Crystal Ball above his head once more. Could this be the year? In 38 days we’ll be one small step closer to answering that question, and I can hardly wait!
A couple of closing tidbits:
• Former Tiger outfielder Chris Sciambra has enrolled at Nicholls state for postgraduate studies and will compete as a placekicker and punter for the Colonels’ football team. Sciambra graduated from LSU this past spring and had exhausted all of his baseball eligibility, but he still has one year of eligibility to play football. From what I understand, Sciambra wanted to continue his studies and loves the game of football (he actually walked-on to the LSU football team last August, but never appeared in a game), so this turned out to be the perfect opportunity for him. Actually, it’s a win-win all around as Sciambra will get to have part of his continuing eduction paid for, and Nicholls will get not only a very gifted athlete for their football team that went 0-12 last year, but also an outstanding young man.
• A little later today I will be updating our Ticket Exchange page with several new listings, so if you are looking to sell (not buy) LSU tickets, please email your information for posting.