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LSU vs. McNeese State - Saturday, September 5th, 2015 6:30 PM (SEC-Alt)
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7/5/15 6:10 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

First of all, I hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day celebration. I enjoyed a restful day after spending the morning checking off items on my vacation-preparation check list (preserve figs: check | blanch and freeze eggplant: check | clean chicken coup: check…), then I enjoyed preparing a meal of barbecued chicken and ribs with Dirty Rice, Corn Maque Choux and homegrown tomatoes. And of course it wouldn’t have been complete without apple pie and home-churned ice cream. Life is good here in the greatest country on Earth, even on a weekend without LSU sports. 

As nice as this weekend has been, I’m ready for some LSU football and looking forward to nine weeks from today when we’ll be discussing the outcome of LSU’s season opener against McNeese State. I’m also looking forward to the start of LSU “fall practice” which gets underway exactly one month from today. Between now and then, LSU will hold its final three summer camps of the year and that should provide some excitement to those of us who follow recruiting. Below is a list of Dates of Interest related to LSU football:

Thursday, July 16: LSU Takes Podium at SEC Media Days
Saturday, July 18: 7-on-7 Passing Camp & Lineman Camp
Sunday, July 19: Kicking Camp
Thursday, July 23:  High School “Elite” Camp (Session II)
Sunday, August 4:  LSU Football Team Reports to Camp
Monday, August 5 - First Day of Preseason Practice
Saturday, September 5 - LSU Season Opener against McNeese State  

Speaking of recruiting, linebacker sensation Keyon Joyner (6-3, 200 Havelock, NC) tweeted yesterday that his top-3 schools are LSU Florida State and UNC, in no particular order. Joyner, a native of Abbeville, LA, is widely considered one of the top outside linebackers in the country and I continue to hear great things about LSU’s chances with him. Also, defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson (6-2.5, 285) of Ellenwood, Georgia, named LSU as one of his top-10 schools.

With 62 days remaining until the start of the LSU football season, today’s topic for our countdown is the greatness of beating Tulane 62-0 on three different occasions. The first of those 62-0 victories took place in 1958, the year LSU won its first national championship. Interestingly, the Tigers only led 6-0 at halftime and would score 58 points in the second half to send Tulane home with a disheartening defeat. As fate would have it, Tulane would get to experience that same exact loss two more times within the next decade, in 1961 and 1965. The Tigers currently lead the series against the Green Wave 69-22-7, and for you younger fans out there the Greenies might not seem like a significant Tiger opponent. However, I’m sure that those of you who are my age or older remember well what a big rivalry this used to be. One of my earliest memories of being in Tiger Stadium was in the late 70s or early 80s. I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I remember sitting with my Dad and watching the Tigers add to a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter. That’s when the gentleman sitting in front of us stood up and yelled with all his might, “Go for two!” I didn’t know it then, but that comment stemmed from the aforementioned 1965 win. After adding a touchdown late in that ’65 contest, the Tigers were leading 60-0. Coach Mac held one finger up in the air, signaling for the team to kick the extra point despite the boisterous crowd and pleadings of the team to “go for two.” However, when quarterback Pat Screen and the Tigers broke the huddle, the Tigers weren’t in kicking formation, and the crowd went wild as they watched LSU drive the ball into the end zone for two points, giving the Tigers their third 62-0 win over the Greenies in a span of eight years. 

In other news, yesterday it was announced that six former student-athletes and two former athletic trainers will be inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame next Friday. The new inductees are: 14-time All-American gymnast April Burkholder; seven-time All-American hurdler Kim Carson; two-time All-American javelin thrower and five-time Olympic Games competitor Laverne Eve; two-time women’s basketball All-American and two-time Olympic gold medalist Sylvia Fowles; 14-time All-American swimmer Todd Torres; LSU football team captain and NFL All-Pro Ebert Van Buren; athletic trainer Mike Chambers, for whom LSU’s live mascot “Mike” The Tiger is named; and Herman Lang, a member of the Louisiana Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame who worked with three generations of LSU athletes. Chambers and Lang will be inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously. The event will be held at the L’Auberge Baton Rouge Event Center. 

As usual, I’ll leave you today with a couple of good reads to go along with your Sunday morning coffee:

• From nola.com: You read it here first, I'm the idiot picking LSU to win the SEC: Ron Higgins

• From the Advocate: A Q&A with LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones: LSU has a Jones to be successful.

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7/4/15 5:50 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The first thing I’d like to do today is wish all of you a Happy Independence Day, and to thank the military men and women who work hard each day to safeguard the freedoms we enjoy here in the greatest country on Earth, the United States of America.

In football news, Phil Steele is counting down his top football teams in the country and has pegged LSU at No. 10. In his comments, he notes that LSU returns 15 starters, which is its most since 2005, and that the Tigers are fortunate to not have to play any of the top three teams in the SEC East. He concludes his writeup on the Tigers by saying, “LSU is a legitimate national title contender.” I like Steele’s optimism and agree with what he writes, although I’m hesitant to get too hyped about this year’s team until we see how the quarterback situation plays out and how the defense transitions to the new direction of Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele. We’ll have a much better idea of just how good this team can be after the second game of the season at Mississippi State. In light of Anthony Jennings’ arrest and indefinite suspension, I think it’s almost certain that Brandon Harris will get the start in the opener against McNeese State, and I suspect he’ll put up big numbers against the Cowboys. If he does, and if he avoids significant turnovers, I think he’ll also start in Game 2 at Mississippi State regardless of Jennings’ status, and that’s where we’ll really find out whether Harris is ready for the big time. That’s when we’ll also find out if LSU’s defense is capable of stopping the likes of senior quarterback Dak Preskott, someone who really tortured LSU’s defensive middle last year. If LSU exits Starkville 2-0, the following week against Auburn should be a lot of fun. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, the season opener is still 63 days away and there’s no telling what will happen between now and then.

Speaking of 63 days… let’s continue our countdown by taking a look at LSU’s current player who wears No. 63 – KJ Malone. Like another lineman, William Clapp, KJ is the son of a famous athlete, although unlike William’s dad, Tommy, KJ’s father, the famous Karl Malone, played basketball and has no ties to LSU although he did play at Louisiana Tech in college and was born in Summerfield, LA.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, where his dad starred for the Utah Jazz for the majority of his 18-year NBA career, KJ moved with his family to Ruston, LA and excelled at Cedar Creek High School, where his team posted a 9-3 record his senior year. Malone was a 3-star lineman by most recruiting services, a 4-star recruit according to ESPN.com, and No. 33 on our list of Top Football Prospects in Louisiana - Class of 2013. After redshirting in 2013, he accumulated 65 snaps in 2014, albeit 57 of those came in non-conference contests against Sam Houston, ULM and New Mexico State; however, he did record five knockdown blocks. Malone is expected to push Josh Boutte for the starting role at right guard this season, although Boutte appears to have a leg up. For what it’s worth, Malone is one of the few recipients to receive the Alvin Roy Fourth Quarter Award for outstanding performance in the LSU off-season program for the second straight year. Even if Malone doesn’t win a starting job, he should add depth across the entire line and help support what should be a very solid running game in 2015.

I hope you’ve been enjoying this flexible format for our countdown to game day, and I hope you’ll continue to send me topic ideas. We’ve got ideas through the 50s pretty much covered, but I welcome your suggestions for 1-49. 

Since it’s a holiday we’ll keep today’s update short. Go out and fly the Old Glory, fire up the grill, ice down some cold drinks, enjoy your day with friends and family and be proud when you hear the Star-Spangled Banner being played!

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7/3/15 6:00 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

With things relatively slow in LSU sports right now, let’s start today’s report with a brief word on recruiting. LSU’s 2016 class, which contains 17 commitments, is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in all the major polls. I attribute this success to three major factors - 1) The addition of Coaches Kevin Steele, Ed Orgeron and Tony Ball, 2) the hard work of each LSU staff member, especially Bradley Dale Peveto who is currently ranked No. 3 nationally in 247Sports’ recruiter rankings, and 3) the fact that the state of Louisiana is absolutely loaded with big-time 2016 prospects. And with several of the state’s top prospects still uncommitted and leaning towards LSU, this class is likely to only get stronger.  Even more encouraging for the future of LSU football is the fact that Louisiana’s 2017 class looks to be just about as strong. Yesterday, Scout.com released its initial national top-300 for 2017 and 11 of the players are from Louisiana, including LSU linebacker commit Dylan Moses (6-2, 220, University High) who is ranked No. 1 not only in the state but in the nation. LSU’s other current commitment for 2017, Tyler Shelvin (DT, 6-2, 310, Northside High) from my hometown of Lafayette, is also in the Top-300 at No. 135. Recruiting is the where success begins, and if LSU continues along its current trek the future will remain very bright for LSU football. 

Sticking to the topic of recruiting, Nike's 'The Opening' Football Camp kicks off next week on July 7th in Beaverton, Oregon and ESPN’s Jeremy Crabtree says LSU will be the most talked about team at the event. He also goes on to say that LSU commit Dylan Moses will be the best player on the field, even though he is a class of 2017 prospect and most of the players there will be a year older. Here’s a video of Crabtree making his bold, LSU-proud predictions

Now, with 64 days before the start of Tiger football, let’s jump right to our countdown by looking at a special former Tiger offensive lineman who wore the number 64. Linemen are the guys who make the blocks, protect the QB, get dirty, and yet often go with little notice. Rudy Niswanger fits that mold. Niswanger, a product of northeast Louisiana, arrived at LSU at 6'5", 275 in the 2001 recruiting class with fellow linemen Andrew Whitworth and Ben Wilkerson. Niswanger redshirted his freshman year after being very highly recruited, but once he took the field he made a quick and significant impact at LSU. Niswanger played every OL position during his time as a Tiger, but primarily played guard and center. Not only did he serve as a solid lineman, he represented the LSU community well as he maintained a 4.0 GPA in kinesiology/pre-med and served as a volunteer in the community. Niswanger was rewarded with the inaugural Danny Wuerffel trophy for being a great football humanitarian, and with the prestigious Draddy trophy which is known as the “Academic Heisman.” He was also a winner of the SEC Football Scholar award and a 2nd team All-SEC player. Rudy was rewarded for his on-field play by being drafted by the KC Chiefs where he played 2006-2010.

One non-sports tidbit in closing: If you’re scratching your head wondering what you’ll cook as a side dish for tomorrow’s 4th of July barbecue, here are a couple of family recipes that could serve you well – Cajun Dirty Rice and Corn Maque Choux. You might find them especially useful if you’re a fellow gardener with more eggplant, corn, tomatoes and peppers than you know what to do with. (In case you’re interested, here’s a listing of all of the recipes I’ve posted over the last couple of years.)

And once you’re done with your Independence Day celebration, you can veg out in front of the TV for the start of a 24-hour “LSU Takeover” on the SEC Network. The “Takeover” is a two-week programming initiative by the SEC Network dedicated to airing 24-hours of non-stop programming for each SEC school. LSU’s takeover will begin Saturday at 11 p.m. with LSU gymnastic’s win over Florida last February, and it will end Sunday night with LSU baseball’s win over Texas A&M in April. A total of 13 LSU contests (football, baseball, softball, basketball, gymnastics, golf and volleyball) will air in the 24-hour period. For more information including the full schedule, click here.

 

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This web site is not officially affiliated with Louisiana State University. Opinions expressed herein are the property of Donald Long, Scott Long and friends, not Louisiana State University.