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10/18/18 5:30 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Today’s update is full of  literal “coach speak.” That’s because head football coach Coach Ed Orgeron had his two weekly speaking engagements yesterday and head basketball coach Will Wade spoke at SEC Media Days. We’ll touch on those three events today and then close out with a few miscellaneous tidbits. Here we go…

Starting with hoops, Coach Will Wade said he’s excited about the team and thinks they have a very good mix of veteran guys, especially a veteran backcourt, and talented youthful guys. He also spoke of being without Wade Sims, who passed away on September 28th and doing their best to honor him. He called Sims the ultimate “glue guy,” someone who was dependable and consistent and was a big help with the newcomers. Wade’s most telling quote was “I like where we are right now, but I love who we're going to become. We're going to be able to grow into a very very good team." For more on what was said, here’s an in-depth article by 247Sports, and here’s the full 17-minute video of his comments

I’m sure you’re wondering if Wade was asked about his name coming up on Tuesday during an ongoing hoops corruption trial. He was. Wade gave a brief statement insisting that he has never done any business with one of the men at the center of an ongoing basketball corruption trial. “I’m not really gonna react to what the defense attorney said, I certainly get it. I know the judge didn’t let it in. But I will say I’m very proud of everything I’ve done as LSU’s head coach, and very proud of what we’ve done at LSU. And I, or we, have never, ever, done any business of any kind with Christian Dawkins,” Wade said. If you read the article I linked to yesterday, you know that defense attorneys for Dawkins, an agent/players’ liaison, tried to enter into evidence a taped conversation between Wade and Dawkins concerning 2019 recruit Balsa Koprivica.

By the way, the SEC Media picked LSU to finish 6th in the league behind Kentucky, Tennessee, Auburn, Mississippi State, and Florida. Also, Tremont Waters was a first-team preseason All-SEC selection. The 2018-19 basketball season for LSU begins on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. as the Tigers host Southeastern in the second half of a doubleheader that features the LSU women’s team at 5:30 p.m.

As for Coach Ed Orgeron’s comments, the most significant thing to come from his SEC teleconference is that OG Garrett Brumfield is not ready to return to action this Saturday. “He’s bounced back a little bit, but he’s still not ready,” Orgeron said. Brumfield hasn’t played in a game since injuring his knee Sept. 22 against Louisiana Tech.

COACH O SHOW RECAP:

Rickey from Birmingham asked about Orgeron’s philosophy on rotating defensive linemen and whether a substitution schedule is determined in advance. Orgeron said that they do go in with a planned rotation and try to stick with it, but if a certain player isn’t getting his job done, they adjust accordingly. Orgeron said he tells his defensive coaches to rotate guys early in the game so they can have everybody ready to win at the end. 

The next caller asked how much freedom quarterback Joe Burrow has to make audibles at the line of scrimmage. Orgeron said they “double call” every play so that he has a choice, depending on the defense.

Between calls, Orgeron spoke of Grant Delpit’s stop on Georgia's fake field goal, calling it one of the most phenomenal plays he’s seen as a football coach. He also commented on the offense’s aggressive up-tempo offensive attack. "That was all Steve (Ensminger),” he said. “He created that game plan.”

Jeff asked about the recruiting class and the fact that we only have one defensive lineman and one running back committed. Orgeron said they had a lot of recruits at the game including a big-time defensive lineman on an official visit (that would be Siaki Ika of Utah) and that there are a lot of running backs they’re looking at. What was particularly interesting is that Orgeron said they currently have 18 commitments with seven open spots remaining. That’s at odds with our list and others which show LSU at 19 current commitments.

Host Chris Blair commented on kicker Cole Tracy tying an LSU record with five made field goals against Georgia, to which Orgeron commented: "We know we can score points beyond the 35-yard line, and we feel good about it.” I was happy to hear Orgeron give credit to snapper Blake Ferguson and holder Josh Growden, in addition to Tracy, for the team’s success in field goal kicking, and to state that one of their goals this week is to score touchdowns in the red zone instead of field goals.

The next caller, a preacher from Indiana, talked about what a masterful job Orgeron has done in keeping his players’ emotions in check. Orgeron thanked him and said they feel they have great character kids.

Between calls, Blair pointed out that LSU has 1,415 yards rushing and 1,415 passing for a precise 50/50 split. Orgeron attributed the perfect balance and the team’s offensive success to the trust he has with Steve Ensminger and the entire coaching staff. “Steve knows exactly what I run. He wants to run the same thing. I've brought in guys that are familiar with what they're doing. We all chip in the game plan. And it's working very well right now. We're very pleased,” he said.

Tim asked about quarterback Burrow running the ball more. "We would probably run the ball more with Joe, but we are so thin at quarterback,” Orgeron said. “We don’t have four or five guys on scholarship. If we lost Burrow we would be down to only one quarterback, so we have to be very selective.”

From the live audience, the Big Ragoo asked if we could get Braiden Fehoko’s dad to do the Haka warrior dance before the game. He also asked if TE Jamal Pettigrew being injured all year has hurt the team in the red zone. Orgeron said LSU’s lack of healthy tight ends has hurt in the red zone because they are not able to employ a two-tight end set, which is something Ensminger likes to do down there. As for the question about the Haka dance, Orgeron called it a great idea. 

Also from the live audience, the Evil Twin asked about the timetable on OG Garrett Brumfield and TE Thaddeus Moss returning to action. Orgeron said Moss is dealing with a lingering injury and they don’t think he’ll play this year. They are going to see if they can get him a redshirt but are not sure if they can since he’s a transfer. As for Brumfield, Orgeron repeated what he said earlier in the day - that is, that he’s not ready to play this week – and said that he’s currently at “about 60%.”

Closing Tidbits: 

• Congratulations to LB Devin White for being named the Lott IMPACT Trophy National Player of the Week. The award comes on the heels of him being named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in LSU’s domination of Georgia. In that contest, White tallied a season-high 13 tackles to go along with a fumble recovery, a half-tackle for loss, and a quarterback hurry.

• Lastly, here’s a look at our updated unofficial LSU football depth chart ahead of this week’s game against Mississippi State.

Have a great day, Tiger Fans, and look for more on this week’s big matchup in tomorrow’s report.





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10/18/18 5:30 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Today’s update is full of  literal “coach speak.” That’s because head football coach Coach Ed Orgeron had his two weekly speaking engagements yesterday and head basketball coach Will Wade spoke at SEC Media Days. We’ll touch on those three events today and then close out with a few miscellaneous tidbits. Here we go…

Starting with hoops, Coach Will Wade said he’s excited about the team and thinks they have a very good mix of veteran guys, especially a veteran backcourt, and talented youthful guys. He also spoke of being without Wade Sims, who passed away on September 28th and doing their best to honor him. He called Sims the ultimate “glue guy,” someone who was dependable and consistent and was a big help with the newcomers. Wade’s most telling quote was “I like where we are right now, but I love who we're going to become. We're going to be able to grow into a very very good team." For more on what was said, here’s an in-depth article by 247Sports, and here’s the full 17-minute video of his comments

I’m sure you’re wondering if Wade was asked about his name coming up on Tuesday during an ongoing hoops corruption trial. He was. Wade gave a brief statement insisting that he has never done any business with one of the men at the center of an ongoing basketball corruption trial. “I’m not really gonna react to what the defense attorney said, I certainly get it. I know the judge didn’t let it in. But I will say I’m very proud of everything I’ve done as LSU’s head coach, and very proud of what we’ve done at LSU. And I, or we, have never, ever, done any business of any kind with Christian Dawkins,” Wade said. If you read the article I linked to yesterday, you know that defense attorneys for Dawkins, an agent/players’ liaison, tried to enter into evidence a taped conversation between Wade and Dawkins concerning 2019 recruit Balsa Koprivica.

By the way, the SEC Media picked LSU to finish 6th in the league behind Kentucky, Tennessee, Auburn, Mississippi State, and Florida. Also, Tremont Waters was a first-team preseason All-SEC selection. The 2018-19 basketball season for LSU begins on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. as the Tigers host Southeastern in the second half of a doubleheader that features the LSU women’s team at 5:30 p.m.

As for Coach Ed Orgeron’s comments, the most significant thing to come from his SEC teleconference is that OG Garrett Brumfield is not ready to return to action this Saturday. “He’s bounced back a little bit, but he’s still not ready,” Orgeron said. Brumfield hasn’t played in a game since injuring his knee Sept. 22 against Louisiana Tech.

COACH O SHOW RECAP:

Rickey from Birmingham asked about Orgeron’s philosophy on rotating defensive linemen and whether a substitution schedule is determined in advance. Orgeron said that they do go in with a planned rotation and try to stick with it, but if a certain player isn’t getting his job done, they adjust accordingly. Orgeron said he tells his defensive coaches to rotate guys early in the game so they can have everybody ready to win at the end. 

The next caller asked how much freedom quarterback Joe Burrow has to make audibles at the line of scrimmage. Orgeron said they “double call” every play so that he has a choice, depending on the defense.

Between calls, Orgeron spoke of Grant Delpit’s stop on Georgia's fake field goal, calling it one of the most phenomenal plays he’s seen as a football coach. He also commented on the offense’s aggressive up-tempo offensive attack. "That was all Steve (Ensminger),” he said. “He created that game plan.”

Jeff asked about the recruiting class and the fact that we only have one defensive lineman and one running back committed. Orgeron said they had a lot of recruits at the game including a big-time defensive lineman on an official visit (that would be Siaki Ika of Utah) and that there are a lot of running backs they’re looking at. What was particularly interesting is that Orgeron said they currently have 18 commitments with seven open spots remaining. That’s at odds with our list and others which show LSU at 19 current commitments.

Host Chris Blair commented on kicker Cole Tracy tying an LSU record with five made field goals against Georgia, to which Orgeron commented: "We know we can score points beyond the 35-yard line, and we feel good about it.” I was happy to hear Orgeron give credit to snapper Blake Ferguson and holder Josh Growden, in addition to Tracy, for the team’s success in field goal kicking, and to state that one of their goals this week is to score touchdowns in the red zone instead of field goals.

The next caller, a preacher from Indiana, talked about what a masterful job Orgeron has done in keeping his players’ emotions in check. Orgeron thanked him and said they feel they have great character kids.

Between calls, Blair pointed out that LSU has 1,415 yards rushing and 1,415 passing for a precise 50/50 split. Orgeron attributed the perfect balance and the team’s offensive success to the trust he has with Steve Ensminger and the entire coaching staff. “Steve knows exactly what I run. He wants to run the same thing. I've brought in guys that are familiar with what they're doing. We all chip in the game plan. And it's working very well right now. We're very pleased,” he said.

Tim asked about quarterback Burrow running the ball more. "We would probably run the ball more with Joe, but we are so thin at quarterback,” Orgeron said. “We don’t have four or five guys on scholarship. If we lost Burrow we would be down to only one quarterback, so we have to be very selective.”

From the live audience, the Big Ragoo asked if we could get Braiden Fehoko’s dad to do the Haka warrior dance before the game. He also asked if TE Jamal Pettigrew being injured all year has hurt the team in the red zone. Orgeron said LSU’s lack of healthy tight ends has hurt in the red zone because they are not able to employ a two-tight end set, which is something Ensminger likes to do down there. As for the question about the Haka dance, Orgeron called it a great idea. 

Also from the live audience, the Evil Twin asked about the timetable on OG Garrett Brumfield and TE Thaddeus Moss returning to action. Orgeron said Moss is dealing with a lingering injury and they don’t think he’ll play this year. They are going to see if they can get him a redshirt but are not sure if they can since he’s a transfer. As for Brumfield, Orgeron repeated what he said earlier in the day - that is, that he’s not ready to play this week – and said that he’s currently at “about 60%.”

Closing Tidbits: 

• Congratulations to LB Devin White for being named the Lott IMPACT Trophy National Player of the Week. The award comes on the heels of him being named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in LSU’s domination of Georgia. In that contest, White tallied a season-high 13 tackles to go along with a fumble recovery, a half-tackle for loss, and a quarterback hurry.

• Lastly, here’s a look at our updated unofficial LSU football depth chart ahead of this week’s game against Mississippi State.

Have a great day, Tiger Fans, and look for more on this week’s big matchup in tomorrow’s report.

10/17/18 5:35 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Coming off the most impressive win of Coach Ed Orgeron’s career as LSU’s coach, the No. 5 Tigers will look to avoid a let down and keep its season goals in sight when LSU hosts No. 22 Mississippi State this Saturday. The game is set to kickoff at 6 pm CT and will be televised by ESPN. A win this week would set the stage for an epic matchup with Alabama in what would likely be LSU’s biggest game since the 2011 National Championship, but LSU can’t afford to think ahead in the least bit. One look back at last year’s game in which Mississippi State dismantled LSU with a 30-point win in Starkville, and a glance at the stats below, make it easy to see that LSU must give this game it’s full attention. 

As we do each game week, today we’ll take a look at how the two teams stack up statistically, but first a word on where each is coming from. LSU enters at 6-1 with wins over three top-10 opponents and its only loss coming in Gainesville over a very good Florida team. Mississippi State (4-2) enters the game well-rested after an open week, and before that  they earned a very impressive 23-9 victory against then-No. 8 Auburn. Prior to that, they lost back-to-back games at Kentucky and against Florida.

LSU-Miss-State_Stats• Overall, Mississippi State’s numbers on offense are “middle of the road” in the SEC. The Bulldogs only scored six and seven points in consecutive SEC losses to Kentucky and Florida, which significantly lowers their scoring average. Interestingly, Mississippi State is one of only two SEC teams that is averaging fewer passing yards per game than LSU. (The other is Kentucky.)

• Part of the reason Mississippi State has so few passing yards is that its running game has been very strong. The Bulldogs boast the SEC's top rushing offense (240.7) and their leading rusher is quarterback Nick Fitzgerald who is averaging 102.60 yards per game and 5.23 yards per carry. 

• This is a matchup between two of the best red zone offenses in the conference. The Tigers are first in the SEC, while the Bulldogs aren’t far behind at third. Both teams score on more than 90 percent of their red zone trips. The big difference, however, is in red-zone touchdowns. The Bulldogs have reached the end zone in two-thirds (66.67%) of their redone trips, whereas LSU has scored touchdowns barely over half the time (51.5%).  

• Where Mississippi State excels is on the defensive side of the football. The Bulldogs rank inside the top five in the conference in all major defensive statistical categories including scoring defense (1st at 12.7), total defense (1st at 289.7), rushing defense (2nd at 115.3) and passing defense (3rd at 174.3).

• A big reason for Mississippi State’s defensive success is its D-line, which is revered as one of the best units in college football. With pass protection being a problem at times for this LSU team, a Bulldog to watch is DE Montez Sweat. He’s coming off a career-best game against Auburn in which he accounted for three sacks, forced a fumble, and added two quarterback hurries that forced incomplete passes. Sweat leads the nation in sacks per game (1.25) and leads the SEC in total sacks (7.5). 

• Sweat and DT Jeffrey Simmons have combined for a whopping 18.5 tackles for loss. In fact, here’s a crazy statistic — Mississippi State’s top four tackles for loss producers are defensive linemen. LSU’s offensive line will have its hands full, no doubt. 

• Mississippi State has surprisingly caused only seven turnovers in six games so far this season. (By comparison, LSU has forced 15 turnovers in seven games.) But because the Bulldogs have only turned the football over four times, Mississippi State still has a positive turnover margin. All four of those turnovers have been interceptions, making the Bulldogs the only team in the FBS without a lost fumble. 

• On special teams, LSU holds a distinct advantage in just about every category. The only category we charted where Mississippi State has an advantage is in kickoff returns, but they aren’t likely to get many chances there with the way LSU kicker Avery Atkins has been consistently kicking the ball into the end zone.

Now for some news on the recruiting front: LSU’s 2019 recruiting class took a hit yesterday when four-star cornerback Marcus Banks reopened his recruitment. Banks (6-0, 170, Houston) announced the news on social media with a tweet that read: 

“After much thought and consideration, I have decided to re-open my recruitment. This was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Understand that there is no love lost with LSU but I have to do what's best for myself and my future. Please respect my decision.” 

Banks had committed to LSU back in June over offers from several schools including Auburn, Texas A&M, and Alabama. And really, the latter probably has a lot to do with his decommitment. You might recall that in Saturday’s report I mentioned the significance of Banks being expected in to visit LSU since his recent visit to Alabama had a lot of folks concerned. Evidently, the concern was justified. I always hate to see a player of Banks’ caliber decommit, but if there’s a silver-lining here, it’s that it opens another spot in LSU’s class which was getting pretty tight with several positions of need still needing to be addressed. With Banks no longer on board, LSU’s 2019 class now contains 19 commitments with up to six more spots to fill. In a subsequent report, we’ll look at the biggest remaining needs and potential targets to fill them. 

Now for some more news on the recruiting front – this one potentially more serious. According to Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com, “Attorneys for the defendants in a federal criminal case involving pay-for-play schemes and other corruption in college basketball attempted on Tuesday to introduce into evidence wiretap recordings that, according to the attorneys, suggested LSU coach Will Wade and Kansas assistant Kurtis Townsend were prepared to offer improper benefits to high-profile recruits and their families.” All I know about this is what I read in this article, but it is something I suspect we’ll hear more about in the coming days. Coach Will Wade is scheduled to speak this afternoon at 2:40 during the annual SEC Media Day event.

Moving on with other news… The one topic I heard from more than you about than any other yesterday was LSU being fined $100,000 by the SEC for fans storming the field Saturday. Several of you suggested that someone create a GoFundMe page to help cover the expense and you’ll be happy to know that someone already has. Congressman Garret Graves started one which you can contribute to using the link below. The post on Graves’ GoFundMe account says:

“LSU is an inclusive community. And we love our D1 sports! When 102,000 of us get together, we celebrate - and when we do, we leave nothing on the field. But sometimes, the field calls us back. On October 13th, LSU fans shared our gregarious exuberance with the Univ. of Georgia by returning to our field of dreams after 60 minutes of elite football to share joy with Tigers, Bulldogs and each other. This kind of joy is priceless, but to the SEC it is worth $100,000. To show our appreciation of this recognition, we’re calling on all Tiger fans to spread the love by contributing $36.16 to the Tiger Athletic Foundation so all of the SEC can share in our bliss. If every Tiger fan at the game or watching on TV gives this amount, we’ll be able to share similar delight with Alabama on November 3.”

Click here to access Congressman Garret Graves’ GoFundMe page. As of 5:30 this morning, the campaign has raised more than $13,000. What a gesture by Congressman Graves.

Hats off to LSU coach Ed Orgeron for being named the Dodd Trophy coach of the week. The award honors the football coach whose program embodies the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, while also having success on the playing field during the previous week. “Coach Orgeron and the Tigers have compiled one of the most impressive resumes to date of any team in the country,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “This was a statement win and LSU looks poised to be a true College Football Playoff contender this season.” 

Before leaving the topic of football, here’s a quick word on yesterday’s practice. Multiple reports indicate that OG Garrett Brumfield was fully dressed out in pads on Tuesday and was working on individual drills by himself. Orgeron called him “very questionable” on Monday. NT Ed Alexander returned to practice after sitting out Monday. LT Saahdiq Charles and FB Tory Carter were in gold "no-contact" jerseys. 

In baseball news, LSU has released its second weekly blog on Fall ball. You can read the whole thing here, but below are the highlights:

• Landon Marceau has distinguished himself as one of LSU’s top arms. He’s going to be shutdown for the rest of the fall, and after Eric Walker throws this week, he will be shut down too. The duo joins Zack Hess, Devin Fontenot and Todd Peterson on the bench to preserve their health for the 2019 season ahead. Those five have distinguished themselves as the top five pitchers at this point. 

• With catcher Saul Garza out until the spring due to injury, junior college transfer Brock Mathis has been thriving behind the plate. Defensively, he’s been very sound and very vocal. Offensively, he was the Tigers’ second-leading hitter in Week 3, going 4-for-9 (.444) with two doubles and a RBI.

• LSU’s leading hitter last week was senior Antoine Duplantis with nine hits and five RBI. “What a difference it makes to have him back on our team,” Mainieri said of Duplantis. “He had four hits Sunday. Just having him again is going to be a huge thing for our team.”

• Another big difference maker LSU will have back this year is pitcher Eric Walker. “If you didn’t know he was hurt last year, you wouldn’t be able to tell it by watching the way he throws. He looks just like he did two years ago when he pitched so well for us,” Mainieri said. “He’s a great leader and a great competitor. It’s going to be great having Eric back.”

• The fall practice session will continue through November 4. All workouts at “The Box” are free and open to the public. The fall practice period will conclude with the Purple-Gold World Series on November 1, 2 and 4.

Closing Tidbits: 

• Congratulations to four LSU Tigers who have been named to midseason All-American teams. The four are Devin White, Greedy Williams, Grant Delpit, and Cole Tracy. Here are the details on the well-deserved honors, including a brief look at each player’s impressive stats.

• Lastly, I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange with several new listings. 



 

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