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LSU vs. Wisconsin - August 30, 2014 - 8:00 P.M. Kickoff (ESPN)
0 Day, 0 hour, 0 minute

8/20/14 5:50 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Coach Miles put his football team through its second full scrimmage of the preseason yesterday and was pleased with the outing. The scrimmage focused on all phases of the game, including special teams situations, which were held outside on the artificial turf. The rest of the scrimmage, which featured 80 live-tackle plays and another 40 “thud” snaps, took place indoors. The scrimmage featured the 1s against the 2s on both sides of the ball for the majority of the workout. I’ve posted LSU’s full press release on the scrimmage here, and below is my summary of some of the key points I gathered from it and from tweets sent out by the media.

• Miles said both quarterbacks played very well and that he doesn’t know if there's been much separation between one and the other. Later he said that he would probably let the QBs know who would start on Thursday (presumably Thursday of next week.) He also said there’s an opportunity to see both QBs against Wisconsin.

• Three touchdown passes were thrown, although Miles didn’t identify the passer(s) or receiver(s). 

• Trey Quinn and Malachi Dupre each caught a couple of passes. That’s great news considering Dupre missed the last scrimmage with a minor injury.

• Miles said the tight ends caught the ball well and praised Dillon Gordon and Logan Stokes for their pass catching abilities. 

• Kenny Hilliard was praised for having a solid camp and a big performance in yesterday’s scrimmage. Miles said Hilliard rushed for over 100 yards. 

• Miles also complimented the other three backs - Terrance Magee, Leonard Fournette and Darrell Williams, saying they all ran hard. 

• As for the offensive line, Miles said Hoko Fanaika and Evan Washington continue to battle for right guard position.

• Miles said the defensive line is very talented and is really getting up the field. 

• Quintin Thomas is recovering very well from his biceps injury, played a lot in the scrimmage and made a couple of tackles. 

• As for Travonte Valentine, Miles said there's another administrative hurdle that he has to go through, but nothing serious. He could be with the team in two or three days.

• On special teams, Miles singled out the performance of kickers Trent Domingue and Cameron Gamble saying, “both kicked the ball extremely well.”

The players will not practice today but will have a walk-through and position meetings. They’ll also take part in today’s annual “Move-In Day” at various dorms on campus by assisting incoming freshmen move onto campus before returning to practice tomorrow.

One sure sign that LSU’s football season is right around the corner is that Coach Les Miles’ weekly radio show will begin tonight at 7 p.m. The program will take place at TJ Ribs in Baton Rouge and can be heard in the Baton Rouge area on Eagle 98.1 FM as well as on the Internet in the Geaux Zone on www.LSUsports.net/live.

One twist this year is that Cox Sports Television will televise the Les Miles Show each week on a tape-delay basis. The show will first air each Wednesday at 8 p.m. CT (an hour after the live show starts) and will be replayed during the week. I look forward to checking out the show tonight and giving you a report on what is said.

With 10 days remaining until Game Day, today we'll continue our Countdown to Game Day by looking at a hard-running, versatile running back who wore No. 10 in his final years at LSU - Joseph Addai. Addai played his high school ball in Houston for the Sharpstown Apollos where he was an All-American left-handed option-style quarterback. During his senior year in high school, he rushed for 1,429 yards on 159 carries and completed 37 passes for 425 yards. Addai was recruited by then LSU coach Nick Saban as a running back and came to LSU in 2001, but an early season injury (torn ACL) sidelined him after only two games and resulted in a medical redshirt. As a redshirt freshman in 2002, Addai carried the ball 80 times for 438 yards and four touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2003, he gained 520 yards on 114 carries for the National Champion Tigers and was the team’s second leading rusher behind freshman Justin Vincent. As a junior in 2004, Addai rushed for 680 yards on 101 carries and caught 24 passes for 294 yards, scoring seven touchdowns in all. His best performance of the season came when LSU beat Alabama 26-10 and he scored three touchdowns. In that game, Addai led the team in rushing with 99 yards and added another 46 yards receiving. During his senior season, Addai led the team with 911 rushing yards on 187 carries and scored nine touchdowns. He capped off his career at LSU with an impressive performance in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against Miami, which the Tigers won 40-3. In that contest Addai gained a total of 135 yards and scored twice. After graduating from LSU, Addai was selected in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Colts where he played for six years. In May of last year, Addai agreed to a one-year contract with New England, but a few months later he was cut from the team. I've added a video of Addai's LSU highlights to our Media Gallery.

One note in closing: If you haven’t yet voted in our poll asking “What will LSU’s Record Be at the End of the 2014 Regular Football Season?” please consider doing so today. I’ll close the poll tonight and give you the results tomorrow.

Reader Comments: Scott, you might want to share the news on former Tiger great Glenn Dorsey. According to the following article, he signed a two-year extension with the San Francisco 49ers. Former LSU star Glenn Dorsey signs two-year extension with San Francisco, 49ers website reports


8/19/14 5:50 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

First of all, I’d like to thank all of you who voted in our poll asking “What will LSU’s record will be at the end of the 2014 regular football season? I’ll keep the poll open for another day or two, so if you haven’t yet voted please click here and cast your vote.

Yesterday Tiger fans received some good news when defensive tackle signee Travonte Valentine tweeted that he has been cleared to play at LSU. Soon after he tweeted the news, media outlets started reporting that he has been cleared, and LSU quickly issued the following statement: “Travonte Valentine is going through the final phases of the admission process. He has not been cleared to join the football team. We will let you know once the process is complete.” I hope all this means is that there are some formalities that need to be taken care of before it’s official, and I suspect that’s the case. From what I hear, Valentine is hoping to arrive at LSU sometime today, and if he does he could begin practicing fully with the team as early as Saturday. The NCAA has an acclimation rule stating that players must go through four days of non-contact practice before they can suit up in full pads and start hitting.

Whether or not Valentine is able to contribute this year will probably depend largely on what kind of shape he’s in when he reports to the team. Considering Valentine was the No. 2 defensive tackle in the nation in the 2014 class, there’s no doubt that he has the talent needed to compete for a spot in the rotation behind projected starters Christian LaCouture and Frank Herron, but he’ll have some stiff competition. Also in the mix for playing time are redshirt freshmen Maquedius Bain and Greg Gilmore, junior Mickey Johnson, and freshman Davon Godchaux, not to mention sophomore Quintin Thomas who was projected as a starter before his biceps injury. Thomas could return to action as early as today.

The LSU football team will hold a closed scrimmage today at 3:30, but unlike Saturday’s scrimmage this one will be held at the indoor practice facility. The fact that its being played indoors on the artificial turf is significant because the season-opener against Wisconsin in NRG Stadium will be on artificial turf as well. (NRG Stadium employs two playing surfaces - grass for their NFL games and artificial turf for many college and high school games. I've confirmed with two sources on the LSU side that the game will be on artificial turf.) Generally speaking, playing on artificial turf benefits the faster team (LSU in this case), but Wisconsin is very accustomed to playing on turf since that’s what they have in Camp Randall Stadium.

Speaking of the Badgers, Wisconsin coach Gary Anderson has said that he will not announce a starting quarterback before the opener against LSU. Vying for the role are junior Joel Stave who started all 13 games for the Badgers last year and then missed most of spring practice with a shoulder injury, and junior Tanner McEvoy who was a standout JUCO dual-threat quarterback before joining the Badgers last year. McEvoy competed at quarterback last preseason before moving to to wide receiver for the season opener against UMass. A wrist injury forced him to switch positions to safety where he played in 10 games last year. All indications are that Stave has the edge at this time, although Coach Anderson is not giving anything away. Likewise, LSU coach Les Miles is not giving any hints as to whether he is leaning towards starting sophomore Anthony Jennings or true freshman Brandon Harris, and I doubt we’ll know who gets the nod until game day. As of now, I still predict that it will be Jennings because of his experience, but you never know.

Those of you who’ve been having LSU football withdrawals will have a few opportunities to see the Tigers this week, assuming you have access to the SEC Network. Yesterday LSU sent out a listing of every time any LSU sport appears on the SEC Network this week, and they’ll send out an updated schedule each Monday morning throughout the fall which I will post. Click here to see this week’s listing of LSU appearances on the SEC Network.

In other news, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri and former coach and athletics director Skip Bertman took the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” Monday at Alex Box Stadium in support of finding a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the debilitating condition also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Mainieri was drenched by Kelly Viator, executive director of the Louisiana-Mississippi chapter of the ALS Association, and Bertman was soaked by longtime LSU baseball fan Ivan Cabrera, who presented a monetary contribution to Viator before the ice-water dunking. You can check out a video of the dousing here.

Now, with only 11 days remaining until LSU’s season-opener against Wisconsin, let’s take a quick look at two former All-Americans who wore No. 11 for LSU – Bradie James and James Britt. Not only were both of these players All-Americans, they were also outstanding student-athletes in the classroom.

James Britt was a 4.0 student at Minden High who didn’t think much about playing football at the next level until he had an incredible senior season and garnered All-District MVP honors on offense and defense. This accomplishment caught the attention of then LSU coach Charlie McClendon who offered him a scholarship and secured his commitment. In his first year as a starting cornerback at LSU in 1978, Britt notched 49 tackles and picked off two passes. He suffered an injury in his sophomore year and missed four games, but still managed 36 tackles on the season and was awarded Academic All-SEC honors. As a junior in 1980, Britt snagged a pair of interceptions and made 66 tackles, and for the second-consecutive season, he was named to the Academic All-SEC team. In that season, Britt emerged as a leader on defense and was named co-captain prior to his senior season in 1981. Britt was also a 1981 preseason All-American selection, but in the second game of his senior season he suffered another injury, a broken arm, that sidelined him for the rest of the season. Britt was awarded a medical redshirt, and as a fifth year senior in 1982 he made 53 tackles and hauled in four interceptions en route to being named 1st team All-SEC and National Editorial Alliance first-team All-American. After graduating from LSU, Britt was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 1983 NFL Draft and enjoyed a five-year career there before retiring in 1987.

Bradie James played his high school ball at Wossman High in Monroe from 1995-97 before transferring to West Monroe in 1998 for his senior season. As a senior, he led his team to a 1998 Class 5-A state title with 136 tackles and five sacks and earned Parade All-America honors. At LSU, James’ success continued as he became the second player in LSU history to register more than 400 career tackles. As a freshman in 1999, James had 41 tackles, three sacks, and one interception. As a sophomore, he recorded 110 tackles and five sacks, made second team All-SEC, and was named the Defensive MVP of the 2000 Peach Bowl. During his junior year, LSU’s defense was dubbed "the James Gang defense" because of his leadership. That year he had 113 tackles and three sacks and was named to the first team All-SEC team. In his final season at LSU, James was the team captain on defense and had 154 tackles, three sacks, and one interception, and became the first Tiger to surpass 150 tackles in a season. He also became the first All-American linebacker for LSU since Michael Brooks (1985). That same year, he was named a National Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation. James was drafted in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys where he played for eight seasons. In April of 2012, James signed a one-year contract with the Houston Texans. James wasn’t resigned after his contract expired, but on May 6th of this year he signed a one-day contract to retire with the Dallas Cowboys.

While doing research on James for a previous countdown, I came across this 2010 video of Tigers making big hits, and James is featured in several of them. It’s called, “Here Comes the BOOM!” and it’s sure to get you fired up.

In closing, I’d like to point out that I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange with several new listings.

8/18/14 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

With the start of the 2014 season quickly approaching, it’s time for our annual poll asking you to predict what LSU’s football record will be at the end of the regular season. We’ve been conducting this poll at this time of the year for the last five seasons, and last night I went back and looked at past years’ voting results to get a feel for how accurate we usually are. What I found was that only once did the voters get it right, and that was in 2010 when 31% correctly voted 10-2. In 2011, the voters once again predicted 10-2, but the Tigers surprised us all and went 12-0 in what was probably the best regular season in LSU football history. (Let’s not even talk about the way that season ended in the postseason.) In 2012, expectations were unbelievably high with most voters predicting 12-0 and 85% predicting at least 11 regular season wins. The Tigers ended the regular season 10-2. Last year the top vote-getter was 10-2, but the Tigers fell short of that by ending 9-3 before picking up their 10th win on New Year’s Day against Iowa in the Outback Bowl.

So without further ado, please click here and cast your vote in our poll asking, “What will LSU's record will be at the end of the 2014 regular football season?

Speaking of polls, yesterday the Associated Press (AP) released its preseason Top-25 and pegged LSU at No. 13. Four SEC teams were ranked higher than LSU, including Alabama (2), Auburn (6), South Carolina (9) and Georgia (12). As has been the case in just about every preseason poll I’ve seen, LSU’s first opponent, Wisconsin, came in right behind LSU. Considering how many unknowns there are about this LSU team, I’m fine with the Tigers being ranked 13th, and I’m glad to see Wisconsin close behind at No. 14. The Tigers will have a chance to answer a lot of questions against a quality opponent in Week 1, and if they are successful against the Badgers I look for the Tigers to cruise through the September schedule and enter SEC play full of confidence for what should be one of the premier matches of the season at Auburn on October 4th.

After scrimmaging on Saturday, the LSU football team took yesterday off and will practice this morning before holding another closed scrimmage tomorrow. On Wednesday the team will assist with “Move-In Day” on campus, and then they'll return to one-a-day practices Thursday and Friday. Also, Coach Miles will hold his first Les Miles Radio Show Wednesday evening at 7 p.m.

As for last Saturday's scrimmage, I received a lot of emails from folks who were concerned that LSU completed less than half the passes they attempted (Miles threw out a rough stat of about 20 completions in 40-45 attempts) and that Kenny Hilliard was the leading rusher with 60 yards. All I can tell you is not to read too much into what few stats were given. Three things to remember: 1) We don’t know what situation the players were in and what was asked of them; 2) We don’t know how accurate these seemingly very rough stats are; and 3) These scrimmages are closed for a reason, namely that it would not benefit LSU at all for their opponents to get an early take on what they’ll be up against.

Lately, I’ve also heard from a lot of you asking if we will once again be conducting our Louisiana High School Football Pickem Contest, and the answer is yes. My wife, Heather, is in the process of entering all the games on the 10-week schedule (a very time-consuming task), and as soon as they’re all in and the system is tested we’ll let you know so the competition can begin. If all goes well, we should be ready to open the contest by the end of the week.

Now, with only 12 days remaining until LSU’s season opener, let’s look back at a game that LSU was extremely fortunate to win (to say the least) after Tennessee was penalized for having 12 men on the field on what would have been the last play of the game. Of course, I’m referring to the 16-14 win in Tiger Stadium on October 2, 2010. Those of you who’ve followed this site know that I’m a big fan of Les Miles, but, like all of us, he’s made his share of mistakes. On that night in Death Valley, Miles made one of his biggest blunders as an LSU coach with poor time and player management. Behind by four and facing a third down from the one yard line with no time outs and about 22 seconds remaining, LSU should have spiked the ball to setup for one last play, but instead there was widespread panic and disorganization as the Tigers watched the clock tick down all the way to three seconds before T-Bob Hebert snapped the ball to Jordan Jefferson who wasn’t ready for it and watched it sail right past his hands. At that moment, everyone thought that former Tiger Assistant Coach Derek Dooley had pulled out a huge upset in his first season at Tennessee, but Dooley had also blundered and the Vols were flagged for having 12-men on the field. (Upon recount, they actually had 13!) The Tigers were allowed one un-timed play from the one-yard line and they made the most of it. Jefferson took the snap and pitched it to Steven Ridley, who cut inside and was hit at the goal line, but powered past the defender for the game-winning touchdown to make the Tigers 5-0 overall and 3-0 in SEC play. Take a moment to relive that emotional roller-coaster, if you dare, by watching this video.


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