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DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.

10/20/14 5:40 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

After blowing out Kentucky, the 6-2 LSU Tigers football team jumped back into the weekly polls, coming in at No. 24 in the AP and No. 23 in the Coaches Poll. And if there was ever any doubt that the SEC West is the strongest division in the country (there never really was any doubt, was there?), consider this: four of the top-5 teams this week are from the SEC West. The four include Mississippi State (1/1), Ole Miss (3/3), Alabama (4/4) and Auburn (5/6). When you consider that LSU is coming off of back-to-back SEC wins and the only two losses the Tigers have are to top-5 teams, the season sure looks a whole lot different than it did three weeks ago. And with a huge contest against Ole Miss coming up this weekend in Death Valley, the Tigers have a chance to make a strong statement about the progression of this young team, which seems to be improving by leaps and bounds each week. 

Speaking of this weekend’s big game, yesterday it was announced that ESPN’s College Game Day crew will setup shop at LSU and will air live from the Parade Grounds prior to the contest. For a game of this magnitude, against a longtime rival like Ole Miss, there’s no doubt that Tiger Stadium would be rocking regardless, but considering the excitement the Tigers have generated by their last two outings, and the fact that Game Day will be in town, I expect Tiger Stadium to be as electric as it’s been in several years. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:15 and the game will be televised by ESPN. Folks, these kinds of games, playing at home, at night, as an underdog against your longtime rival, is about as good as it gets. I hope Tiger Fans will fill every seat in the newly expanded Tiger Stadium, make as much noise as they can, and STAY in those seats until the very end. By the way, Ole Miss has opened as a 3-point favorite in the game, which I think says a lot about the odds-makers’ respect for the Tiger Stadium and the improvements made by this Tiger team in the last two weeks.

As we’ve done every Monday this season, today we’ll give you our weekly Monday Morning Rewind and point out a few things about Saturday’s game that we didn’t cover in yesterday’s post-game report. Here we go…

Monday Morning Rewind 

Two things jumped out at me from LSU’s performance against Kentucky. The first was the offensive line play and the second was the overall improvement on defense, which can be attributed in part to better communication and some personnel changes.  I’ll hit on the defense a little later, but let’s address LSU’s offensive line first.

Against Mississippi State and Auburn, LSU’s offensive linemen weren’t on the same page in terms of blocking, and nearly each member had his worst performance during the course of those two games. However, when LSU’s offensive line is clicking, as it was Saturday night, the Tigers can compete with any team in the conference. Against Kentucky, Les Miles and Cam Cameron dialed up the left side of the offensive line early, and Vadal Alexander and La’el Collins were driving Kentucky off of the ball and giving creases for Leonard Fournette to run through and eventually score the game’s first touchdown. That set the tone early, and the rest of the offensive line equaled that production on later drives. 

Despite Kentucky loading the box, LSU was able to still churn out yards with its powerful running game. LSU’s linemen were giving good running lanes for Fournette, Darrell Williams, Kenny Hilliard, and certainly Terrence Magee, who looked to be the most explosive back for LSU against Kentucky. What made Magee so effective against the Wildcats was his vision at the second level, making cuts and creating angles to gain extra yardage. But while the offensive line had an outstanding game, it wasn’t perfect. There were a few times when the Tigers had to punt due to the offensive line failing on pass protection and Anthony Jennings not being able to spot blitzes. And while Fournette clearly has the most upside of all the LSU backs, there was a play on the Tigers’ fourth offensive series where he should have cut back and run to the right on a zone read play, but because he didn’t, he was swallowed in the backfield for a big loss by Kentucky’s linebacker who Elliott Porter was unable to block. Had Fournette cut the play back, it would have allowed Porter the angle to block the linebacker, and the play would have gone for a major gain. I’m only pointing this out to remind everyone that Fournette is still a freshman and still has a lot of experience to gain, but once he starts getting that vision (it’s getting better every game), he’s going to be nearly impossible to stop. 

As for Anthony Jennings’ performance, I thought he did exactly what LSU expected him to do, and nothing more. Jennings did not turn the ball over, and the most encouraging thing I saw from him was his improvement in utilizing his “checkdowns.” One play in particular that I was happy to see was a third down conversion on LSU’s eighth offensive drive. Facing a third-and-long, Kentucky played a “Cover 2 Deep,” to eliminate the deep routes. Jennings chose to hit his checkdown in Magee, who made a linebacker miss and picked up the first down. Kudos to Cameron and Miles for giving Jennings more options in the short passing game. Some of you may have noticed that LSU’s first three passes were to a tight-end, a fullback and a running back. If you give Jennings those short routes, it will force defenses to play more zone, allowing Jennings to take his shots down the field later on. That’s just the sort of thing that will make this LSU offense led by Jennings less predictable in the long run. 

Of course, at this point it seems Brandon Harris is not going to be the starter in 2014. LSU really sent a message by keeping Jennings in as long as they did, and once Harris got in, he threw an interception. As mentioned in yesterday’s report, Harris looked like he was too eager to make something big happen and may have been trying too hard. Perhaps that’s the type of thing that Coach Miles is referring to when he often says that as long as the quarterbacks do what is asked of them, and nothing more, they will be fine. On Harris’s pass attempt, he didn’t look the safety off and threw to John Diarse way too late and way too far on the inside. I still believe Harris is the most talented quarterback on LSU’s roster and that he will be a great quarterback one day, but it’s becoming clear that Jennings is the staff’s guy for 2014, barring a major breakdown or injury.

As far as the defense goes, the Tigers were talking a lot more with each other, which helped them get into position to make plays. The secondary played outstandingly (even getting a coverage sack), Kendell Beckwith played well while asserting himself as the starting linebacker (though he whiffed badly on a Kentucky running back on one play), and the defensive line played really well. Christian LaCouture made some plays, Sione Teuhema played at defensive tackle in LSU’s mustang set and Davon Godchaux continues to show improvement. 

One of the defensive highlights of the game, though, was the play of Danielle Hunter, and I regret that I didn’t give him props in yesterday’s report.  After re-watching much of the game and taking into consideration everything that Hunter has done all season long, I’m not sure why he’s not mentioned as one of the best linemen in the SEC. Hunter made tackles for losses, sniffed out screens, batted down balls and even made a tackle on a wide receiver on a stay route. In other words, the guy plays like he’s everywhere at once and has a huge impact on the game time and time again.

The Tigers’ special teams had its best performance of the year with Jamal Adams and Tre’Davious White emerging as the stars. Adams made some big hits on kick coverage and had that picture-perfect block on White’s punt return touchdown. White demonstrated great vision on that return, and showed that if he gets any space, his speed is deadly. 

Two tid-bits in closing:

• I want to announce that we’ve processed last week’s picks in our LA Prep Football Pickem Contest, and for the second week in a row our winner is CoachMJ. This week CoachMJ (Mr. Michael Janis, assistant coach at Springfield High School) correctly picked 122 of 141 games and pulled to within two points of MMR in the overall standings (All Weeks).  Congratulations Coach Janis! Voting for this week’s games is now open and I hope many of you will decide to join in the action as we’ll be naming a weekly winner each Monday. 

• Also, I’ll be updating our Ticket Exchange later today, so if you have LSU tickets for sale please send me your ad including ticket information and your preferred means of contact.


10/19/14 6:00 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Whoa, how ’bout those Fighting Tigers! Using a formula very familiar to Tiger Fans, LSU defeated Kentucky 41-3 with exceptional special teams play, dominating defense, and adequate, though not spectacular, offense. The game was clearly LSU’s best of the season, and with the win LSU improved to 6-2 and secured bowl eligibility for the 15th consecutive season, which is nothing to sneeze at. More importantly, the Tigers showed a lot of improvement while dominating a good SEC opponent. Kentucky is a well-coached team that entered the contest just one overtime loss away from being undefeated, and while they didn’t play exceptionally well last night, it was still very satisfying to see LSU make them look like a cupcake. By the way, the 38-point margin of victory was LSU’s biggest over an SEC opponent since thrashing Ole Miss 52-3 in 2011.

On offense, the MVP was clearly Terrance Magee. Wearing the prestigious No. 18, the senior running back from Franklinton, LA tallied a career-best 220 all-purpose yards, including 127 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries, 44 yards on three catches, and 49 yards on kickoff returns. As I tweeted during the game, I was really happy to see Magee have such a big night, and I know my late father, “Dandy Don” Long, would have loved to have seen it. Dad was always very high on Magee, and I am too. The Tigers’ second leading rusher was Darrell Williams, who accounted for 61 yards on 10 carries. Leonard Fournette looked impressive early on and did his part in wearing down the Wildcat defense early, but only accounted for 40 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries. 

As for quarterback play, Anthony Jennings left a lot to be desired, but did a decent job of managing the game and avoiding turnovers, and made a few big throws along the way. A few that come to mind are the screen passes to Magee and the beautiful 35-yard touchdown completion to Travin Dural just before the second half, which many of us watching from home were unable to see until later because of technical difficulties with the SEC Network. Jennings ended the night 7-of-14 for 120 yards and one touchdown. Freshman Brandon Harris didn’t see the field until about 10 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, and when he entered he seemed a little too eager to make something happen and ended up throwing an interception in the end zone on his only passing attempt. I would have liked to have seen Harris receive more playing time, but at this point it appears that LSU is all-in with Jennings. 

On defense, several Tigers deserve special recognition for their play, but if I had one defensive MVP award to give it would go to freshmen Jamal Adams. It seems that Adams has that contagious “it factor” and is always around the ball. Adams accounted for eight tackles, including five solo stops and one sack, and he also excelled on special teams. Kendell Beckwith got the start at middle linebacker and played every defensive snap until sustaining a big hit in the 3rd quarter and being replaced by DJ Welter. Beckwith ended the night with a team-best nine tackles including three solo stops. By the way, Coach Miles said after the game that Beckwith just had the wind knocked out of him on that big hit and that he is fine. 

On special teams, in addition to Terrance Magee and Jamal Adams who I’ve already mentioned, TreDavious White deserves special props. White racked up 114 yards on four punt returns, including a 67‐yard touchdown return in the first quarter. Punter Jamie Keehn punted four times for an average of 44.5 yards per punt, and landed three of them within the 10-yard line. Special Teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto had to sleep good last night after the way his units played. 

We’ll have much more on the game in our Monday Morning Rewind and in subsequent reports, but for now I’ll leave you with the stats below and these video highlights.

Enjoy the win, Tiger Fans, and prepare yourself for an epic showdown next week in Tiger Stadium when the Tigers take on an exceptionally talented rival, the Ole Miss Rebels. 

LSU UK Post Game Stats 




10/18/14 5:30 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans, it’s Game Day!

The LSU football team will be looking to build on last week’s success and come away with another very important SEC win tonight when they take on Kentucky at 6:30 in Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and I’ll be tweeting occasional comments and stats for those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter. 

Yesterday I gave you my prediction for tonight’s game, and later in the day I decided to contact College Football and NFL Analyst Mike Detillier to get his thoughts on the game. Here’s the brief exchange I had with him via email:

Scott: Hey Mike, a few of my readers have pointed out that you’ve been spot on with your LSU predictions this season and have asked me to get your thoughts on the LSU-UK game. What are you predicting for this one, and what do you think is LSU’s biggest key to victory?  

Mike: I have LSU winning 30-23. And congrats, by the way, for nailing the Florida score. I had LSU 17-13 and didn't think either could score that much. 

Kentucky doesn't stop the run well and they aren’t a real good rushing team. I’d play "small ball" with Kentucky and kinda rip a page out of what LSU did against a much better Florida defensive front and control the ball with the run. 

LSU's offensive line really played well last week against a stout defensive line when running the ball. Same plays as earlier in season, but they executed much better and again I have been saying this, you have to give the ball more to Leonard Fournette and let him wear down opponents and then you start to rotate your backs.

I like that they finally started to throw the ball, at least a little, to the fullback and they need to do that more with their halfbacks, Fournette, Magee, Williams and Hilliard. Not sure how much improvement you will see with the downfield passing game because Anthony Jennings is so erratic right now with his short to medium throws and he bird-dogs his initial target downfield.

Defensively LSU's strength is in pass defense, and throwing the ball is Kentucky's strength offensively. Patrick Towles is a very talented downfield passer, but he is not aided that much from their rushing attack. LSU has to put him in 3rd and long and turn D. Hunter and J. Rasco loose on him. Next year, Towles and Kenny Hill at Texas A&M will be the signature QBs in the SEC.

Playing at home, with an improved running game, and I like that finally LSU is getting some turnovers on D… I like the Tigers here against a very improved Kentucky team and one with a really good passer in Patrick Towles.

Oh, and watch for Kwon Alexander. Over the past few weeks he has really played well. He has a chance to really develop into a top SEC linebacker and freshman Jamal Adams is playing well also.

Mike and I are on the same page as far as keys to an LSU victory, and I agree 100% with his response. I’ll just interject one more key of my own - LSU must be able to defend the Wildcat’s “wildcat.” Kentucky has had some success running the “Wildcat” with RB Jojo Kemp taking direct snaps, and I expect them to turn to that early as a way to test LSU’s defensive middle.

With this being the first of three consecutive home games for the Tigers, recruiting news should really start to heat up soon. LSU is currently sitting on 15 commitments and will be entertaining several prospects tonight including many of LSU’s current commitments, several players committed to other schools, and a few relatively new targets. 

Here is a list of a few of the in-state class of 2015 prospects I’ve heard will be visiting tonight. The number shown in parenthesis indicates where the prospect is ranked on our list of Top LA Football Prospects for 2015.

Derrius Guice (LSU-commitment)
RB, 5-10, 220, Catholic (No. 1) 

Nicholas Brossette (LSU commitment)
RB, 6-1, 220, University High (No. 3)

Donte Jackson (uncommitted, an LSU-Georgia battle)
CB, 5-11, 175, Riverdale (No.  7)

David Ducre (LSU commitment)
RB, 6-0, 228, Lakeshore (No. 5)

Jason Pellerin (Ole Miss commitment)
QB, 6-5, 220, Catholic-New Iberia (No. 19)

Jalen Bates (Arizona commitment)
DE, 6-5, 235, Kaplan (No. 20)

Kendall Bussey (Nebraska commitment)
RB, 5-9, 210, Newman (No. 29)

Reggie Walker (uncommitted)
DE/LB, 6-2, 235, Ponchatoula, 2015 (No. 30)

There will also be a few big-time 2015 out-of-state prospects visiting LSU tonight, including defensive end Dylan Jackson who will be in on an official visit. Jackson (6-6, 250, Maryville, TN) is currently committed to Tennessee, but I understand Coach John Chavis has been recruiting him hard and that LSU is very much in the picture. Another 2015 out-of-state prospect expected to be in on an unofficial visit tonight is Johnathan Abram, (6-1, 210) of Columbia, Mississippi. Abram is listed as an ATH but is being recruited as a linebacker by LSU. 

A few tidbits in closing: 

• Yesterday LSU defensive back Dwaye Thomas took to Twitter to announce that his knee surgery was successful. As you probably recall, Thomas tore his ACL in the New Mexico State game in late September. Thomas is expected to make a full recovery and return to action next season, and that is certainly great news. In his absence, Jamal Admas and Rickey Jefferson have manned the nickleback position and have done very well.

• 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.

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

Reader Comments: LSU fans looking to take the next step in their game-watching experience will be able to do so this Saturday for the Kentucky-LSU game on Talk Back. Former LSU quarterback Josh Booty and former Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen will take your questions, comments and smack talk live during the game at www.att.com/talkback.  Here’s how Talk Back works: Just go to www.att.com/talkback during the Kentucky-LSU game Saturday night, post your questions and comments about the game or anything else, and watch as Booty and Lorenzen answer your questions live.
You can also grab the link to the clip of your question and share with your friends.


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