NCAA Baseball Championships:
DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.
10/25/14 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans, it’s Game Day!
LSU will be in the college football spotlight today as the No. 23/24 Tigers host the third-ranked and undefeated Ole Miss Rebels at 6:21 CT in Tiger Stadium in a key SEC West contest between longtime rivals. The game will be televised on ESPN, and LSU is expecting the largest crowd in school history in the newly–expanded Tiger Stadium. Not only will ESPN be televising the game, they’ll also be airing their popular GameDay show live from the LSU Parade Grounds starting at 8:00 this morning, so I hope that many of you will head out there to represent the Tiger Nation shortly after reading this report with your second cup of coffee. It should be a great day, and I look forward to making it out there to enjoy the festivities. Since I’ll be watching the game from my normal South End Zone seats, I won’t be doing my usual tweeting for tonight’s game, but I look forward to giving you a full report in the morning.
I’m sure you don’t need any help getting pumped up for a game like this one, but just in case here’s a great new LesMiles.net LSU hype video that will do the trick!
My five keys to an LSU victory:
Start fast, keep crowd in the game
At the opening kickoff, Tiger Stadium will be rocking with its largest crowd in school history. The noise level will be off the charts, and the excitement will be sky-high. For the Tigers to make the most of this huge home field advantage, they must get off to a fast start like they did against Kentucky and keep the crowd in the game. Considering LSU’s struggles in the passing game and Ole Miss’ outstanding secondary, I suspect the Tigers would have a hard time battling back from a big deficit late in this game.
Establish the run
Some fans will cringe when they read this, but this LSU team (like every Les Miles’ Tiger team) is most effective when it pounds the rock over and over to the point of wearing out a defense. This approach didn’t work against Auburn and Mississippi State, but LSU’s offensive line and its stable of four talented running backs are playing much better now. Look for LSU to employ this strategy with success, but only if they can throw the ball enough to avoid being overly predictable, and avoid facing eight or nine men in the box.
Avoid obvious throwing situations
Building on that last key, LSU can’t afford to always run on first and second down and then be faced with an obvious passing situation on third-and-long. In his midweek radio show, Les Miles implied that they will dial up a passing play about 50% of the time on first down unless they are in need of running out the clock, and I hope that’s the case.
Pressure Bo Wallace
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace is known to be somewhat erratic. Although there’s been much more of “Good Bo” than “Bad Bo,” I can’t help but believe that if LSU is able to keep Wallace uncomfortable by bringing the heat from the edge with Jamal Adams and Danielle Hunter, good things will happen for LSU.
Come out on top in turnovers and hidden yards
Ole Miss leads the SEC in turnovers and has 15 interceptions on the year. Against Alabama, A&M, and Tennessee, the Rebels benefited from a combined turnover ratio of 9-1. The Tigers simply can’t afford to be on the losing end of the turnover margin in today’s game. Like turnovers, hidden yards generated by special teams could be very significant today. (Think punt returns, field position, etc.). Last week LSU’s special teams were outstanding, and if Coach Bradley Dale Peveto can get similar production from his units in this contest, it might very well be the difference in the game.
In recruiting news, several players already committed to LSU and several key targets for 2015 and 2016 will be visiting for tonight’s game. For a list of expected attendees, see this thorough list by my friend Jimmy Smith of nola.com. The only thing I have to add to Smith’s list is that Jerry Tillery (OL, 6-6, 315, Evangel, No. 4 on our list of Top LA Prospects), who is currently committed to Notre Dame, will actually be taking his official visit to LSU today. And the even better news is that he’s planning to come back in two weeks for the Bama game.
Another interesting development in recruiting is that linebacker Adonis Thomas (6-3, 230, Lawrenceville, GA ) has de-committed from Florida and has said he’s now considering LSU and Alabama in addition to the Gators. With linebacker being a big priority in this year’s LSU recruiting class, that is certainly good news.
In basketball news, as expected, the LSU Board of Supervisors approved a two-year contract extension and pay raise for LSU Coach Johnny Jones in yesterday’s meeting. The two-year extension means that Jones’ contract now extends through the 2019 season and his salary will go up $400,000 in the TV/Multimedia/Radio portion of his contact to bring his total compensation to $1.5 million. There is no change in any of the bonus agreements set up in the original contract and the buyouts remain as stated in the original contract. Here’s what Vice-Chancellor/Director of Athletics Joe Alleva had to say about Jones via a press release issued by LSU yesterday: “Johnny has our men’s basketball program heading in the right direction. On the court, his up-tempo style and the energy in which his teams play is something that is appealing to our fans and is attractive to recruits. Off the floor, Johnny and his staff have done a great job of making academics and community involvement a priority. We look forward to having Coach Jones lead our men’s basketball team for many years to come.”
Lastly, there were some great LA prep football games played last night and you can check out the scores in our statewide scoreboard. Once tonight’s games are done and the remaining scores are entered, we’ll process the picks and name the Week 7 winner in our Louisiana High School Football Pickem.
Reader Comments: Scott: I subscribe to Sports Illustrated and they just sent me this article that I thought you and our fellow LSU fans might enjoy: Stadium Spotlight: When LSU's Tiger Stadium was literally home
10/24/14 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
The LSU football team will be looking to win its third consecutive SEC contest tomorrow when they take on the 3rd ranked Ole Miss Rebels in what should be a great battle of longtime rivals. Folks, these kinds of games are what its all about: ESPN Game Day - night game in Tiger Stadium - perfect weather - undefeated opponent - underdog status - payback for last year’s loss - record-breaking crowd - what more could you want in a game? And with this being LSU’s Homecoming, there will be added festivities going on in campus as you can see in these Times of Interest for Tomorrow’s Game.
On a related note, LSU has issued this news release encouraging fans to arrive early and take advantage of all of the activities being held on campus tomorrow. The release also offers several reminders and suggestions to be aware of when coming to the game.
Yesterday it was great hearing from many of you about Part 1 of my Q&A with Mike Detillier. Mike always speaks his mind and doesn’t pull any punches, and it’s always good to get his thoughts. As promised, today I’ve posted the second part of the Q&A. In this installment, I get Mike’s thoughts on LSU’s defense and special teams, and get his prediction for the big game.
In just a bit I’ll give you my prediction for the big game (and for several other contests), but first let's take a look at how the two teams stack up:
LSU Offense vs. Ole Miss Defense
Throughout the rest of the regular season, the Tigers won’t face a better defensive backfield than the one they’ll face tomorrow. In that regard, LSU seems fortunate that its bread and butter is pounding the ball. The bad news, however, is that Ole Miss has proven to be exceptionally good at defending the run too. The Rebels are ranked sixth in the nation in allowing only 97.14 rushing yards per game. They’re also first in the nation in fewest points allowed with a 10.6 average. Stretching the field against this athletic defense will prove to be a chore, so LSU’s best bet is to employ just enough of a passing attack to prevent Ole Miss from stacking the box, while relying heavily on their stable of four very talented running backs in an attempt to wear down the Rebel defense. It’s going to be an uphill battle to get any traction against players like Robert Nkemdiche, Deterrian Shackelford, Serderius Bryant and Denzel Nkemdiche, and a big concern is the playmaking ability of the Rebel backfield, which has created five fumbles and 15 interceptions in just seven games.
Advantage Ole Miss
LSU Defense vs. Ole Miss Offense
LSU has had trouble against dual-threat quarterbacks in an option-based offense. Unfortunately for the Tigers, that’s what Ole Miss offers. With a seasoned veteran in Bo Wallace at quarterback, the Rebels’ offense has been more consistent and hasn’t turned the ball over like it has in years past. The skill players are there on the perimeter with Cody Core, Vince Sanders and Laquon Treadwell being the top playmakers. The Tigers’ secondary is outstanding and can hold its own against anyone, but will LSU be able to generate pressure? Or perhaps more importantly, will LSU be able to stop Ole Miss’ option offense? With Kendell Beckwith at middle linebacker, and Danielle Hunter and Jamal Adams emerging as great playmakers on the edge, LSU’s defense has improved greatly in the past two games, but just not quite enough for me to give them the advantage here.
Slight Advantage Ole Miss
If LSU is to pull off the upset, the Tigers have to dominate the third phase of the game like they did last week against Kentucky. Some of the greatest LSU/Ole Miss confrontations have come down to special teams, with Billy Cannon’s Halloween run and Odell Beckham’s similar punt return in 2012 coming to mind. Fortunately for LSU, Tre’Davious White showed against Kentucky that he has the capability to find the creases his wall of blockers generate, and Terrance Magee proved to be a dangerous threat in returning kicks. An interesting stat regarding Ole Miss is that the Rebels are last in the SEC in punt return average. That, along with the fact that LSU is higher than Ole Miss in punting average and field goal accuracy, gives LSU a big edge in one of the most important phases of this rich rivalry. I predict a big specials team play or two will be the difference in the ball game.
Saturday night in Death Valley. It may have seemingly lost a bit of its luster over the years with fans leaving early, but with a No. 3 Ole Miss team coming to town and LSU pitted as an underdog on Homecoming night, you better believe Tiger Stadium will be rocking. The Tigers are coming off back-to-back wins and developing swagger with the stage set against a top-ranked team in front of the largest crowd in school history. Saturday night represents the reemergence of the magic of Death Valley. Underdogs or not, you better believe LSU will come out firing on all cylinders, giving LSU a big advantage in the intangibles department.
Big Advantage LSU
And without further ado, here are my weekly predictions. Last week I went 9-2, straight up, and on the season my record is 73-22 (.768). Here we go…
LSU 23 Ole Miss 20
Mississippi State 33 Kentucky 17
Alabama 30 Tennessee 14
Auburn 38 South Carolina 24
Arkansas 42 UAB 27
Missouri 41 Vanderbilt 10
Southeastern LA 35 Stephen F Austin 28
UL-Monroe 31 Texas State 21
McNeese 48 Incarnate World 10
LA Tech 32 Southern Miss 23
Northwestern State 27 Central Arkansas 24
One more note about tomorrow’s game: Yesterday LSU’s Michael Bonnette tweeted that LSU will recognize the wife and daughter of late LSU football coach Bo Rein, and I think that’s great. It will be first LSU football game for the two. For those of you unfamiliar with the Bo Rein story, here’s an excerpt from our Game Day countdown (Day 80) back in June when we remembered Coach Rein and his tragic accident on January 10, 1980:
Without ever coaching a game in Tiger Stadium, Bo Rein (pronounced Ry-an) was viewed by many of the Tiger faithful as the renaissance man destined to lead the Tigers to greatness in a post-Cholly Mac football world. In his few months as head football coach, Tiger fans were excited by Rein's personality, his motivational charisma, his innovative style, his intensity, and his passion for the game. Sadly, Rein never got the chance to rebuild the Tiger football program. On January 10, 1980, the 34-year old coach was heading back from a recruiting trip in Shreveport when the private plane transporting him experienced trouble and went off course, ending up in the Atlantic thousands of miles away. Out of respect, LSU honored his children by paying for their college educations at the universities of their choice, and each year Tiger fans think of Bo Rein and what could have been had he been able to institute the program he envisioned. Rest in peace, Coach Rein.
Last but not least, congratulations to former Tiger quarterback Zach Mettenberger for being named the Titan’s starter for this Sunday’s contest against Houston!
Reader Comments: Scott, here’s a good article to pass along about Danielle Hunter. We need him to “play loud” tomorrow! - LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter a man of few words, much energy
10/23/14 5:40 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Before getting to our normal order of business, I’ve got a couple of good links to share with you today:
First, with the anticipation building for an epic battle between rivals LSU and Ole Miss, our friends at SaturdayDownSouth produced this hype video that’s sure to get your blood flowing.
Next, as mentioned in yesterday’s report, I have a new, two-part Q&A with football analyst Mike Detillier to begin sharing with you today. In this first installment, I ask Mike to explain a statement he made about LSU not winning another game this season. I also get his thoughts on quarterbacks Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris, as well as the entire LSU offense. In tomorrow’s installment, I’ll get Mike’s thoughts on the defense and special teams, and his prediction for the LSU-Ole Miss game. Please take a moment to read Mike’s comments, then drop us a line to let us know what you think. And be sure to return tomorrow for Part 2.
Last night I enjoyed listening to the weekly Les Miles radio show which aired live from TJ Ribs in front of their largest crowd of the year. Here’s my weekly rough summary of its key points:
• Sadie, an 11-year old from Denton, Texas, was the first caller and she said her Dad dislikes Ole Miss almost as much as Alabama. She also asked how LSU’s cornerbacks match up with the Rebels’ wide receivers. Miles said he thinks his secondary will match up very well, and added, “I’m with your Dad, and we’re looking forward to playing best.”
• Steve from Covington commented on Leonard Fournette, suggesting that he’s having trouble grasping the zone blocking concept and instead wants to run to a particular hole. Steve asked Coach Miles if there is some kind of drill that they can practice to help Fournette see the cuts. Miles answered by saying that they practice an “avoidance drill” and a “stop and cut” drill, and also simulate snaps in every practice. He then added that Fournette is improving and sees things pretty well most of the time.
• Michael from Morgan City called to say he’s got a corn-dog for Miss Katy Perry and then asked Coach Miles if the Saints could borrow LSU’s defense for this week’s Packers game. Miles said he thinks he’ll keep his guys and that they’re really coming together.
• Gary from Baton Rouge asked about what appeared to be helmet to helmet contact against Kendell Beckwith in the Kentucky game. Miles said they have been in communication with the SEC about the no-call and that he has reason to believe that it should have been called.
• Amesly called to ask Coach Miles if he plans on throwing to the running backs more often. Miles responded with “Absoluetly!” and then added that they will just kind of take what the defense gives them.
• In a similar vein, Bailey asked coach Miles if he could dial up more passing plays for the tight ends this week. Miles’ answer was, “We like to throw to the tight ends. Its something we work on off-and-on and prioritize at times. I would guess we might throw it a time or two to tight ends in this game.”
• A little later on, the Evil Twin asked Coach Miles how he decides on a starter at running back for a particular game. Miles’ answer suggested that they would probably start with Founette and then go from there depending on who has the hot hand.
• John from Gonzales asked how LSU would attack an Ole Miss defense which gave up zero rushing yards to Tennessee last week. Miles seemed a little peeved by the question and answered with something like, “First of all, we’re not Tennessee. Secondly, we’re gonna just do the things we do. We’ll apply our passing game and running game.”
• Ron from Kenner said LSU never seems to run the ball on first down, and asked if there’s any possibility we’ll see that this week. Miles said they recognize the need to throw on 1st down and that they’re pushing to be 50/50 (run/pass) on first downs, except when they have a big lead and just need to run the clock out.
• Joe from Lafayette challenged Coach Miles to walk over to the Mike the Tigers’ habitat and shake the cage a bit and encourage him to load up and make it into Tiger stadium for the game. He added that we’re gonna need him, and all the help we can get, Saturday night. So far this season, Mike has yet to be paraded around the field, as he traditionally is for several home games each year. Miles joked that if he can find the time he’ll do that, and said he “has a way“ with Mike and that they “have connected” several times.
• Chris from Alexandria asked Coach Miles if Jamal Adams is the next Honey Badger. Miles answered by saying Jamal Adams is the next Jamal Adams. He’s a very special guy who could have the popularity of any former Tiger Great, including the Honey Badger.
In basketball news, the LSU Board of Supervisors is expected to approve a $400,000 pay raise and a two-year extension to Coach Johnny Jones’ contract when they meet tomorrow. The extension will cover Jones through July of 2019, and the pay raise will increase his salary to $1.5 million a year. Jones could also receive up to $650,000 in bonuses for reaching academic and post-season goals. Currently, Jones’ salary is $1.1 million, which ranks 12th among SEC coaches.
Heading into his third season, Jones has won 39 games, which is the most ever by an LSU coach in his first two seasons. In 2012-13, Jones went 19-12, and last season he reached the 20-win mark (20-14) and made the NIT Tournament. After putting together two solid recruiting classes, expectations for this year’s Tiger team are higher than they’ve been in a while. Just yesterday, the SEC Media predicted LSU to finish 4th in the league and named Jordan Mickey to the five-man All-SEC first team.
LSU will open its season with a free exhibition game on November 7th against Morehouse before officially opening the season on November 15th against Gardner-Webb. Here’s the 2014-15 schedule. In a few weeks, our coverage of LSU basketball will start to pick up as we take a closer look at what to expect from this Tiger team.
In baseball news, despite losing pitcher Mac Marshall, LSU’s 2014 recruiting class was once again named the No. 1 recruiting class in America, this time by Baseball America. This marks the third time this class has received this top honor. Here’s part of what Baseball America had to say about the class: “So when Marshall had a change of heart in late September and withdrew from school to transfer to Chipola (Fla.) JC, the Tigers took it in stride. Not many recruiting classes could withstand a blow like that, but LSU’s incredibly deep class still ranks as college baseball’s best.” The Tigers are currently engaged in fall practice sessions, which will run through early November, and reports are that this team is really swinging the bat well and that the new balls are really popping off the bats. The 2015 season starts on February 13 when the Tigers play host to Kansas in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field, and I can hardly wait.
A few tidbits in closing:
• Our Ticket Exchange has been updated and contains lots of new listings.
• USAToday has published their bowl projections and has LSU playing on New Year’s Day against Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.
• To the those of you participating in our Louisiana High School Football Pickem, please note that the deadline for picking this week’s games is today at 5 p.m. And if you haven’t yet signed up to play, it’s never too late as we’ll be naming a winner each week.
Reader Comments: Scott, Just a quick note. On Thursday night October 23rd, Cedar Hill High will be playing Desoto High of Texas on ESPN 2 at 7:00 pm Central Time. Cedar Hill's QB is an LSU commitment and he's a really good one. The coaches really like him. Please tell your followers to try to catch the game.
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