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

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3/27/15 5:47 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The top-ranked LSU baseball team (22-3, 4-2) plays host to Kentucky (16-9, 2-4) this weekend in a three-game SEC home series starting tonight at 7 p.m. All three of this weekend’s games can be viewed online on SEC Network + (accessible at WatchESPN.com and via the WatchESPN app), and can be heard on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network, including WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Normally I send out occasional tweets and score updates to those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter, but tonight I won’t be doing so since I will be out celebrating my birthday with my family.  I’ll still have a full recap of the game for you in tomorrow’s update, although it may be posted just a bit later than normal.  

Coach Mainieri has announced that he will go with his customary pitching rotation again this weekend, as noted in the pitching matchup listed below. Speaking of pitchers, a lot of you have asked me about the status of  highly-touted freshman left-handed pitcher Jake Latz who is dealing with an elbow injury. The latest I’ve heard is that Latz is about halfway through his throwing rehabilitation program, and there’s a chance he could be ready to begin pitching again in about a month. Coach Mainieri is hopeful that Latz will be able to contribute on the mound late in the season or in post-season play. (Writing that makes me realize how fast the season is going by. After this weekend’s games, the Tigers will be past the midway mark of the regular season. Actually, writing this on my 45th birthday makes me realize how fast life goes by, but that’s another story.) It is also being reported that freshman outfielder Beau Jordan, who suffered a knee injury that required surgery a month ago, has been cleared to return to action.

Here are the pitching matchups and times for this weekend’s games:

Friday, 7 p.m. CT (SEC Network Plus)
LSU – So. LHP Jared Poche’ (5-1, 3.37 ERA, 34.2 IP, 13 BB, 23 SO)
UK – So. RHP Zack Brown (2-2, 2.43 ERA, 33.1 IP, 15 BB, 31 SO) 

Saturday, 6:30 p.m. CT (SEC Network Plus)
LSU – Fr. RHP Alex Lange (5-0, 1.42 ERA, 38 IP, 10 BB, 45 SO)
UK – Jr. RHP Dustin Beggs (3-2, 3.44 ERA, 36.2 IP, 10 BB, 28 SO)
 
Sunday, 11 a.m. CT (SEC Network Plus)
LSU – Fr. RHP Jake Godfrey (5-0, 2.25 ERA, 32 IP, 18 BB, 18 SO)
UK – Jr. RHP Kyle Cody (2-2, 4.88 ERA, 31.1 IP, 7 BB, 30 SO) 

The LSU football team returned to action yesterday for their ninth practice of the spring, and I was able to gather the following tidbits from media reports:

• Jim Kleinpeter of Nola.com reports that tight end DeSean Smith and defensive tackle Frank Herron were not present during the portion of the practice the media is allowed to view.  In his report is a 5:01 video of the Big Cat drill which featured a big win by WR Travin Dural over CB Kevin Toliver. 

• Ross Dellenger of The Advocate reports that cornerback Dwayne Thomas (knee surgery) remained in a green no-contact jersey, and offensive lineman K.J. Malone was also in a green no-contact jersey for unknown reasons. Dellenger also noted that Lewis Neal was working with the first string at defensive end. 

Yesterday evening after practice, the media conducted a few interviews with LSU players and some interesting tidbits emerged. In this report by The Advocate, Dellenger writes about the many changes defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is implementing. He also writes that quarterback Brandon Harris said he had five or six touchdowns in the Tigers’ first scrimmage of the spring. In this report by Nola.com, Kleinpeter quotes Harris as saying that the his improvement is “like night and day compared to last spring.”

Today LSU will hold its Pro Day event (scroll down for the schedule in yesterday’s report), and tomorrow the team will hold its third closed scrimmage. Next week the team will practice twice (Tuesday and Thursday) before taking off eight days for Spring Break. The following week the team will practice two times before concluding the 15-practice spring session with the National L-Club Spring Game on Saturday, April 18 at 2 p.m. in Tiger Stadium. 

Yesterday it was officially announced that LSU’s Spring Game will be available for live viewing via SEC Network Plus (online only), and that the SEC Network will also air the game on regular television on Monday, April 20. 

I’ll close out today’s report with another brief personal note: By the time most of you are reading this, I will have started my annual birthday ritual of planting my spring garden. Each year I promise myself that I won’t plant until this day, but I usually get impatient and start my planting a few weeks early, as I did this year. I already have a dozen tomato plants in the ground and I sowed my sweet corn earlier this week. So today, it’s more tomatoes, beans, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, squash and a few herbs. Simple pleasures, here I come.

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3/26/15 5:55 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Well, it’s official: LSU forward Jarrell Martin has announced that he will forego his final two seasons at LSU and enter the NBA Draft. Like most Tiger Fans, I would have loved to have seen Martin come back for his junior season, and I think he could have improved his draft stock by doing so, but I recognize that there are many factors that go into making such a big decision and that the financial lure of playing in the NBA is hard to resist. In his press conference, Martin said that his family’s financial situation played a big part in his decision. When asked if he had spoken to fellow Tiger Jordan Mickey about his decision, Martin said he had not. Mickey was not present at Martin’s press conference. 

Losing Martin wasn’t the only blow LSU basketball sustained yesterday. LSU also lost associate head coach Eric Musselman who has taken the head coaching job at the University of Nevada. In Coach Johnny Jones’ season-in-review press conference yesterday, he spoke of what a great job Musselman did in his one season as Jones’ top aide and said that Musselman’s mission from the get-go was to get a head coaching job, and that he’s very happy for him. As of now there’s been no word on who might fill Musselman’s vacated position, but Jones described the job as “championship caliber” and said a lot of interest in it has been expressed. 

For a transcript and video yesterday’s basketball press conference, see this article on LSUSports.net. Below are a few key comments I gathered by following the tweets of reporters covering Coach Johnny Jones’ presser. 

• Coach Jones said he’s very happy with the track the program is on, and when asked if he thinks he did a good job this year, he answered with a definitive yes.

• When asked whether he thinks Jordan Mickey should return to LSU, Jones said players can always get better and stronger, but that the decision lies with Jordan and his family. He added that Johnny O’Bryant and Jarell Martin benefited by returning to LSU to play another season.

• When asked about next season, Jones quickly pointed out Craig Victor as a potential difference maker. He said he also wants to see improvements from Elbert Robinson and Aaron Epps.

One player who has the potential to make a huge impact on LSU’s basketball program is signee Ben Simmons, and yesterday he was honored as the Gatorade National Player of the Year.  Here is the official Ben Simmons Gatorade Player of the Year Video that I encourage you to take a moment to view. And if you want to see more of Simmons, his season highlights video is also in our Media Gallery.

In football news, LSU’s Pro Day takes place tomorrow and several former Tigers will be taking place in an attempt to impress the 100+ NFL coaches, managers and scouts in attendance. The list of former Tigers expected to take part in the event includes projected first round offensive lineman La’el Collins, linebackers Kwon Alexander and D.J. Welter, running backs Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard, fullback Connor Neighbors, defensive end Jermauria Rasco and safety Ronald Martin. The SEC Network will be on site to televise the event which begins at noon with the running events (40-yard dash, various shuttle runs). Below is a complete schedule of Pro Day events  and times. Fans can also watch LSU’s Pro Day on the WatchESPN app or on SEC Network+. 

2015 LSU Football Pro Day – Schedule of Events

10:30 a.m. - Vertical jump, broad jump (weight room); bench press
12 p.m. - 40-yard dash, 3-cone drills, etc.
1:15 p.m. - Passing tree
1:40 p.m.- Running backs
2:00 p.m.- Tight ends
2:15 p.m. - Offensive line
2:35 p.m. - Defensive backs
2:55 p.m. - Linebackers
3:10 p.m. - Defensive line 

A complete recap and real-time results can also be found on LSUsports.net.

In baseball news, the No. 1 LSU baseball team (22-3, 4-2) will return to action with a three-game series against Kentucky (16-9, 2-4) starting tomorrow. Coach Mainieri has said that he will go with the same starting pitching rotation of Poché, Lange and Godfrey in this series. Later today I should receive more information on the series and can let you know who Kentucky will counter with. A lot of you have asked me about the status of Kade Scivicque who was hit by a pitch in the forearm during Tuesday’s game against Tulane. The good news is that Scivicque’s X-ray came back negative and he should be good to go tomorrow night. Scivicque, also known as the Maurepas Masher, is LSU’s leading hitter with an incredible .423 average and has been exceptional behind the plate. If I were asked to name LSU’s MVP at this point in the season, I wouldn’t hesitate in naming Scivicque. 

A few brief football-related tidbits in closing:

• LSU entertained an out-of-state recruit at a major position of need yesterday - linebacker Jonathan Jones (6-1, 220) of Orlando, Florida. I’m hearing that things are looking good with Jones, as well as with in-state sensations Devin White (RB/LB, 6'3", 224, North Webster) and Michael Divinity (LB, 6'2", 200, John Ehret) who are ranked No. 3 and No. 8, respectively, in our list of Top LA Prospects for 2016.

• A few days ago I named three LSU football players who appear to be making a splash this spring - FB David Ducre, LB Donnie Alexander and WR D.J. Chark. Here’s a great article on the impact Chark is making with video interviews of Chark and QB Anthony Jennings. 

• And on a lighter note, you know that Helmet Madness challenge I included a link to yesterday? Well, LSU won! LSU beat Mississippi State, Auburn, Notre Dame and Michigan and Navy en route to being honored by CBSSports as having the top football helmet in all of college football.

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3/25/14 5:45 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The LSU football team practiced outdoors under sunny skies yesterday and I rode out there to see what I could see. Unfortunately, after driving 60 miles from Lafayette, the media were only allowed access to a few minutes of practice. When we were first let in, the team was holding the popular Big Cat Drill, which was quickly followed by two goal line battles. The good news is that I got five minutes of high-definition video from those two drills to share with you. The bad news is that’s all I was able to get from the practice. After those drills, we were only allowed to see about two or three minutes of individual drills, which went by very quickly. I rushed over to where the quarterbacks were gathered, hoping to see some passing drills, but all they were doing was discussing/practicing ball security under the guidance of Coach Cam Cameron. Before I knew it, the horn blew and it was time to make the trek back to Lafayette in time to catch LSU baseball on TV. 

VIDEO: LSU Big Cat & Goal Line Drills - March 24, 2015 (HD, 05:00)

Here are the battles you’ll see in the video. 

BIG CAT DRILL:
65 Jerald Hawkins vs. 98 Deondre Clark
55 Trey Lealaimatafao vs. 78 Garrett Brumfield
97 Frank Herron vs. 63 K.J. Malone
57 Davon Godchaux vs. 76 Josh Boutte
99 Greg Gilmore vs. 72 Andy Dodd
91 Christian LaCouture vs. 67 Jevonte Domond
92 Lewis Neal vs. 84 Hanner Shipley
58 Sione Teuhema vs. 85 Dillon Gordon
30 Clifton Garrett vs. 88 JaCory Washington
48 Donnie Alexander vs. 45 Josh Tharp
22 Ronnie Feist vs. 44 Colin Jeter
26 John Battle vs. 15 Malachi Dupre
29 Rickey Jefferson vs. 09 John Diarse
16 TreDavious White vs. 08 Trey Quinn
24 Ed Paris vs. 82 D.J. Chark 

GOAL LINE DRILL:

Trey Quinn vs. Russell Gage
Colin Jeter vs. Ronnie Feist

A couple more football tidbits before moving on to baseball: 

• According to this report by Jimmy Smith, former LSU cornerback Rashard Robinson expects to re-enroll at LSU in May, which is earlier than originally expected. Robinson is currently living in Pompano Beach, Flordia and attending a community college. It doesn’t sound like Robinson will be a part of the Tigers’ 2015 team, but this news is encouraging for 2016. 

• Here’s a good read by Jim Kleinpeter about quarterback Anthony Jennings. In it, Jennings says he is working hard and feels his confidence and ability growing. 

In baseball news, the top-ranked Tigers continued their hot hitting last night and racked up 13 runs on 19 hits in a 13-7 win over Tulane. (Before you say “yeah, but that was against Tulane,” consider this: Tulane’s pitching staff entered the game with the third best pitching team ERA in the nation, behind TCU and A&M.) With the win, LSU improved to 23-3 on the season. 

Sophomore Russell Reynolds got the start for the Tigers and didn’t have a great outing. Coach Mainieri was hoping to get at least four innings out of Reynolds, but had to pull him after 2.2 innings  after he gave up his third run of the night and had runners at the corners. Hunter Newman came in to get the Tigers out of the jam and went on to pitch a total of three strong scoreless innings before yielding to five more LSU relievers. Doug Norman held Tulane scoreless in 1.1 innings, and then Austin Bain, Collin Strall, Kyle Bouman combined to allow four runs in 2.2 innings. Zac Person came in to get the final out in the ninth. 

Once again, LSU was very impressive at the plate. Jake Fraley went 2-for-5 with four RBI, Jared Foster, Danny Zardon and Conner Hale each drove in two runs, Andrew Stevenson collected a career-high four hits, and Mark Laird scored three times and had an incrdible inside-the-park home run – the first homer of his career. You can check out that play and more in these video highlights. And for those of you who like a complete look at the stats, here’s the boxscore.

The No. 1 LSU softball team also continued its winning ways with an 8-0 win over South Alabama. The game was the Tigers’ 14th win by “mercy rule” this season. Mercy!  For more on last night’s game including video highlights, please see this article by LSUSports.net.

Last but not least, here’s the latest on LSU basketball sophomores Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin. Yesterday reports surfaced that Mickey was leaning toward going pro, but later in the day Mickey issued the following statement to set the record straight: “With speculation that I may leave LSU for the NBA, or that I have already decided, that is not true. I have not made a decision one way or the other at this time. But with the help of my family and Coach (Johnny) Jones I do plan to explore my options regarding my future plans. The deadline to make a final decision is still a month away – I am still enrolled in school -- and I will use that time to decide.” As for Martin, this article by Randy Rosetta suggests that he will be entering the NBA draft: LSU sophomore Jarell Martin will enter the 2015 NBA Draft, two sources say

Reader Comments: Tiger Fans, LSU needs your vote! It’s LSU vs Navy for the No. 1 football helmet. The bracket started with 64 teams and this is the finals. The winner will be announced Wednesday on CBSSports. Vote here!

Reader Comments: Athlon Sports’ College Football's Top 20 Receivers on the Rise features LSU's Malachi Dupre.

Reader Comments: Scott, I did not know if you were of aware of the passing this week of LSU's only two-sport, first-team All American, Robert "Bobby" Lowther at age 91. Mr. Lowther was a lifelong LSU supporter and a member of the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. In addition to his numerous athletic feats and accomplishments, he was a heroic bomber pilot in World War II. Bobby will be missed by all of us who had the pleasure of knowing him.

 

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