9/20/18 5:30 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
In his two weekly speaking engagements, Coach Ed Orgeron spoke of his team and its upcoming game against LA Tech, which is set to kick off Saturday at 6:00 p.m. CT on ESPNU. Below is a rough summary of his comments from the SEC Teleconference, as well as our weekly recap of his radio call-in show. Then, for a little extra on the football front, be sure to see the tidbits at the end of this update.
COACH O SEC TELECONFERENCE
• Tight end Thaddeus Moss is set to make his Tiger debut this Saturday. He’s been out with an undisclosed injury, but Orgeron said he looks like he’ll be able to play this week. Thaddeus is, of course, the son of legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss, and the hope is that he’ll become a valuable component of LSU’s passing game.
• Outside linebacker Ray Thornton, who was injured on the opening kickoff in the Auburn game, is also expected to return to action this Saturday.
• Orgeron is happy with the evolution of LSU’s offense under OC Steve Ensminger and said they’re still finding out what some guys can do. They’re working toward becoming more of a spread offense, but that takes a while since LSU has been such a pro-style offense for so long.
COACH O SHOW RECAP: LA TECH WEEK
• At the beginning of the show, host Chris Blair asked Orgeron his thoughts on the game Joe Burrow had against Auburn. Orgeron was obviously happy with Burrow’s performance and was quick to credit the offensive line for much of his success since it gave up only one sack and gave Burrow time to throw. He also credited the receivers for making some tremendous catches, notably Dee Anderson, Stephen Sullivan, and Derrick Dillon. He ended by saying Burrow had a great surrounding cast and is a winner who plays 60 minutes. He gives everybody confidence and doesn’t choke.
• Jeff in Ponchatoula asked how Austin Deculus did in his first start of the season at right tackle. Orgeron said he’s proud of Deculus and that he had one of his better games. Orgeron knew he could go on the road and handle the job because he did it last year at Florida.
• Brett in Bossier City called to say last week’s Auburn win should be known as “The Assumption Game” since everyone assumed LSU would lose and it was a kicker from Assumption College who kicked the game-winner. Orgeron said he and his team certainly didn’t have that assumption and he wouldn’t call it that.
Since the crew was having trouble with the phone lines, most of the remainder of the questions came from host Chris Blair and the live audience.
• When Blair asked O about the O-line’s big game, Orgeron immediately gave props to offensive line coach James Cregg. He said Cregg had been taking some heat for the O-line play at Southeastern but that he’s a tireless worker who made great adjustments and had a great game plan for Auburn. Orgeron also had high praise for center Lloyd Cushenbury, saying he’s been more impressed with him than anyone and calling him the team’s most consistent player.
• When discussing the defense, Orgeron spoke of the unit doing a great job of limiting the big plays and also pointed to the big stop after the failed fake punt attempt, and the interception by Greedy Williams, as being critical moments in the game. Overall, it was a tremendous defensive effort, he said.
• From the live audience, the Evil Twin gave a spiel about the Sistine Chapel and turning the lights on in the Vatican and then asked two questions: What is Cole Tracy’s maximum distance on field goals and what is the injury status of Kristian Fulton. Orgeron said the answer to the first question is easy since Tracy’s 54-yarder against Miami hit the crossbar and went in. He added that they feel comfortable with Tracy at 50-53 yards. As for Fulton, he is hurt right now, but they do believe he will play this Saturday.
• Toward the end of the show, Blair asked Orgeron about so many people stepping up when their name was called. Orgeron agreed and praised OG Chasen Hines and OLB André Anthony for doing just that. Hines filled in when Garrett Brumfield was out with injury and did great. Likewise, Anthony stepped up after Ray Thornton went down on the first play of the game during the kickoff return. That injury led Orgeron to declare that Thornton won’t be used on special teams anymore.
In basketball news, Coach Will Wade’s highly anticipated second season as LSU’s head coach will begin in just 48 days. Yesterday, the complete 2018-19 LSU basketball schedule was unveiled, complete with television coverage and start times. Non-conference play begins Tuesday, Nov. 6 against Southeastern LA and league play tips off on Jan. 8 with a home contest against Alabama at 8 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. Fans will have plenty of opportunities to see the Tigers in action as all 18 SEC games (home and away) and six non-conference games (Memphis, Incarnate Word at home, St. Mary’s in Las Vegas and the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando) will be available on the ESPN family of networks (SEC Network, ESPN/2/U) and the ESPN App. The Tigers return six players from a season ago to go along with four JUCO transfers and the No. 4 recruiting class in the country, which includes five-star forwards Naz Reid and Emmitt Williams, three-time Louisiana Mr. Basketball Ja'Vonte Smart, and four-star forward Darius Days.
It’s unusual to have LSU football, basketball, and baseball all in one update, but such is the case today since fall baseball practice begins this Sunday. According to Tiger Rag, Coach Mainieri revealed yesterday that senior right-handed pitcher Caleb Gilbert underwent shoulder surgery this summer and will miss the six-week fall practice session. You’ll probably recall that Gilbert’s performance took a big step backward last season with decreased velocity and control. Apparently, this was related to some fraying in his shoulder. The hope is that with this surgery he can recover quickly and return to being the highly effective pitcher he was in the 2017 season’s College World Series run. Also, veteran reliever Matt Beck will miss fall practice due to elbow discomfort. Shortstop Josh Smith, who missed almost all of last season with a back injury, is 100% and will be a full participant in fall ball.
A Few Football “Extras” in Closing:
• Here’s an excellent LSU-Auburn film study by former Mississippi State quarterback, Matt Wyatt. This guy knows his stuff and does a great job of breaking down key plays in an easy to understand manner.
• Guess who made the front page of the LA Times sports section? Cole Tracy, the kid who wasn't supposed to play Division I football, just made a dream come true.
• LSU will unveil a statue of the late Dr. Billy Cannon, the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner, on Friday, Sept. 28, the night before the Tigers host Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium. Read all about it here.
• Lastly, I’ve posted an unsolicited “Letter to the Editor” that I received yesterday from a longtime reader of this site. In it, Brad Nolan draws some interesting comparisons between this year’s LSU football team and the 2011 team that played for all the marbles. In posting this, I’m not suggesting that we at DandyDon are predicting the same outcome this season, but it’s certainly not out of the question, and the parallels make for an interesting read.
Have a great day, Tiger Fans!