NCAA Baseball Championships:
DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.
10/23/14 5:40 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Before getting to our normal order of business, I’ve got a couple of good links to share with you today:
First, with the anticipation building for an epic battle between rivals LSU and Ole Miss, our friends at SaturdayDownSouth produced this hype video that’s sure to get your blood flowing.
Next, as mentioned in yesterday’s report, I have a new, two-part Q&A with football analyst Mike Detillier to begin sharing with you today. In this first installment, I ask Mike to explain a statement he made about LSU not winning another game this season. I also get his thoughts on quarterbacks Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris, as well as the entire LSU offense. In tomorrow’s installment, I’ll get Mike’s thoughts on the defense and special teams, and his prediction for the LSU-Ole Miss game. Please take a moment to read Mike’s comments, then drop us a line to let us know what you think. And be sure to return tomorrow for Part 2.
Last night I enjoyed listening to the weekly Les Miles radio show which aired live from TJ Ribs in front of their largest crowd of the year. Here’s my weekly rough summary of its key points:
• Sadie, an 11-year old from Denton, Texas, was the first caller and she said her Dad dislikes Ole Miss almost as much as Alabama. She also asked how LSU’s cornerbacks match up with the Rebels’ wide receivers. Miles said he thinks his secondary will match up very well, and added, “I’m with your Dad, and we’re looking forward to playing best.”
• Steve from Covington commented on Leonard Fournette, suggesting that he’s having trouble grasping the zone blocking concept and instead wants to run to a particular hole. Steve asked Coach Miles if there is some kind of drill that they can practice to help Fournette see the cuts. Miles answered by saying that they practice an “avoidance drill” and a “stop and cut” drill, and also simulate snaps in every practice. He then added that Fournette is improving and sees things pretty well most of the time.
• Michael from Morgan City called to say he’s got a corn-dog for Miss Katy Perry and then asked Coach Miles if the Saints could borrow LSU’s defense for this week’s Packers game. Miles said he thinks he’ll keep his guys and that they’re really coming together.
• Gary from Baton Rouge asked about what appeared to be helmet to helmet contact against Kendell Beckwith in the Kentucky game. Miles said they have been in communication with the SEC about the no-call and that he has reason to believe that it should have been called.
• Amesly called to ask Coach Miles if he plans on throwing to the running backs more often. Miles responded with “Absoluetly!” and then added that they will just kind of take what the defense gives them.
• In a similar vein, Bailey asked coach Miles if he could dial up more passing plays for the tight ends this week. Miles’ answer was, “We like to throw to the tight ends. Its something we work on off-and-on and prioritize at times. I would guess we might throw it a time or two to tight ends in this game.”
• A little later on, the Evil Twin asked Coach Miles how he decides on a starter at running back for a particular game. Miles’ answer suggested that they would probably start with Founette and then go from there depending on who has the hot hand.
• John from Gonzales asked how LSU would attack an Ole Miss defense which gave up zero rushing yards to Tennessee last week. Miles seemed a little peeved by the question and answered with something like, “First of all, we’re not Tennessee. Secondly, we’re gonna just do the things we do. We’ll apply our passing game and running game.”
• Ron from Kenner said LSU never seems to run the ball on first down, and asked if there’s any possibility we’ll see that this week. Miles said they recognize the need to throw on 1st down and that they’re pushing to be 50/50 (run/pass) on first downs, except when they have a big lead and just need to run the clock out.
• Joe from Lafayette challenged Coach Miles to walk over to the Mike the Tigers’ habitat and shake the cage a bit and encourage him to load up and make it into Tiger stadium for the game. He added that we’re gonna need him, and all the help we can get, Saturday night. So far this season, Mike has yet to be paraded around the field, as he traditionally is for several home games each year. Miles joked that if he can find the time he’ll do that, and said he “has a way“ with Mike and that they “have connected” several times.
• Chris from Alexandria asked Coach Miles if Jamal Adams is the next Honey Badger. Miles answered by saying Jamal Adams is the next Jamal Adams. He’s a very special guy who could have the popularity of any former Tiger Great, including the Honey Badger.
In basketball news, the LSU Board of Supervisors is expected to approve a $400,000 pay raise and a two-year extension to Coach Johnny Jones’ contract when they meet tomorrow. The extension will cover Jones through July of 2019, and the pay raise will increase his salary to $1.5 million a year. Jones could also receive up to $650,000 in bonuses for reaching academic and post-season goals. Currently, Jones’ salary is $1.1 million, which ranks 12th among SEC coaches.
Heading into his third season, Jones has won 39 games, which is the most ever by an LSU coach in his first two seasons. In 2012-13, Jones went 19-12, and last season he reached the 20-win mark (20-14) and made the NIT Tournament. After putting together two solid recruiting classes, expectations for this year’s Tiger team are higher than they’ve been in a while. Just yesterday, the SEC Media predicted LSU to finish 4th in the league and named Jordan Mickey to the five-man All-SEC first team.
LSU will open its season with a free exhibition game on November 7th against Morehouse before officially opening the season on November 15th against Gardner-Webb. Here’s the 2014-15 schedule. In a few weeks, our coverage of LSU basketball will start to pick up as we take a closer look at what to expect from this Tiger team.
In baseball news, despite losing pitcher Mac Marshall, LSU’s 2014 recruiting class was once again named the No. 1 recruiting class in America, this time by Baseball America. This marks the third time this class has received this top honor. Here’s part of what Baseball America had to say about the class: “So when Marshall had a change of heart in late September and withdrew from school to transfer to Chipola (Fla.) JC, the Tigers took it in stride. Not many recruiting classes could withstand a blow like that, but LSU’s incredibly deep class still ranks as college baseball’s best.” The Tigers are currently engaged in fall practice sessions, which will run through early November, and reports are that this team is really swinging the bat well and that the new balls are really popping off the bats. The 2015 season starts on February 13 when the Tigers play host to Kansas in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field, and I can hardly wait.
A few tidbits in closing:
• Our Ticket Exchange has been updated and contains lots of new listings.
• USAToday has published their bowl projections and has LSU playing on New Year’s Day against Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.
• To the those of you participating in our Louisiana High School Football Pickem, please note that the deadline for picking this week’s games is today at 5 p.m. And if you haven’t yet signed up to play, it’s never too late as we’ll be naming a winner each week.
Reader Comments: Scott, Just a quick note. On Thursday night October 23rd, Cedar Hill High will be playing Desoto High of Texas on ESPN 2 at 7:00 pm Central Time. Cedar Hill's QB is an LSU commitment and he's a really good one. The coaches really like him. Please tell your followers to try to catch the game.
10/22/14 6:00 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
LSU is expecting its largest crowd in school history for this Saturday’s game in the newly expanded Tiger Stadium when the 23rd ranked Tigers take on the undefeated and third-ranked Ole Miss Rebels. ESPN’s College GameDay will make its 10th trip to Baton Rouge and the show will air live from the LSU Parade Grounds on Saturday morning. ESPN will televise the game, which kicks off at 6:21 p.m., with Chris Fowler (pxp), Kirk Herbstreit (analyst) and Heather Cox (sideline reporter) calling the action.
I’ve heard from a few of you who’ve asked whether I think LSU has a realistic chance of winning the game, and my answer is a resounding yes. Despite the disparity in the two teams’ rankings, LSU is only a three-point underdog and has shown steady improvement the last two games, plus they’ll be as fired up as ever for this homecoming battle against their longtime rival. And keep in mind, LSU has beaten a top-10 team opponent in Tiger Stadium at least one time in each of the last four years. Now, while I am sincere in saying LSU has a good chance of pulling off the upset, I realize that the Tigers will have to play their best game of the season, and that they won’t be able to simply run the ball down Ole Miss’ throats. The Tigers will have to be successful enough in the passing game and diverse enough in play calling to keep Ole Miss from stacking the box.
On a similar note, I heard from many of you who’ve asked me to confirm whether or not Mike Detillier has really predicted that LSU will not win another game this season, as some have suggested. I plan on getting Mike’s response to this, as well as his thoughts on how the Tigers have improved over the last two weeks, in a Q&A that I hope to publish tomorrow or Friday. As they say, stay tuned.
As we do on most Wednesdays, today let’s take a look at how LSU and Ole Miss compare statistically. Here we go…
The Rebels are much more balanced offensively in terms of run and pass attempts, while LSU is more balanced in terms of run and pass yardage. Ole Miss is getting 65% of its yards through the passing game, and I suspect those yards will be hard to come by against LSU’s pass defense which is tops in the SEC and fourth in the country. On the flip side, LSU is getting 54% of its yards on the ground, and those yards will be hard to come by against a Rebel rushing defense which is second in the SEC and sixth nationally. Last week against Tennessee, the Rebels held the Vols to 0 (zero) net yards rushing.
One number that jumps out at me in the stats is Ole Miss’ turnover margin of 1.43, which is fifth best in the country. The Rebels lead the league in interceptions with 15, which doesn’t bode well for an LSU passing game trying to find its wings. In my opinion, that’s all the more reason why LSU should build on what they started last week by dialing up more of the short passing game.
LSU’s biggest advantage is in special teams, and that could be the difference in the game. A lot of people don’t put as much stock in special teams as they do in the other two phases of the game, but in contests like this one, which will likely include a good many punts, special teams play could be very significant.
Friday we’ll take a look at who has the edge on offense, defense, special teams and intangibles, and I’ll give you my weekly predictions.
In other football news, two former Tigers signed NFL contacts yesterday - Trindon Holliday (Tampa Bay) and Kadron Boone (St. Louis). Now that Boone has signed, every player who started at wide receiver for LSU from 2011-2013 is in the NFL. For a full list of Tigers currently in the league and a few statistics on how they’ve done through week 7 of the season, check out this weekly update by LSUSports.net: LSU Tigers in the NFL - Week 7
A couple of quick basketball tidbits in closing:
• CBS Sports released its preseason SEC preview and picked LSU’s men to finish 4th in the conference behind Kentucky, Florida and Arkansas. You can read their brief write up about each team in the conference here.
• As for LSU’s women, they were picked to finish 7th in the conference by the SEC Media. For more on the Lady Tigers, please see this article by LSUSports.net.
Reader Comments: Scott, here’s an article to share with your readers on LSU’s Jamal Adams. As you tweeted Saturday, he’s a BEAST! Jamal Adams, Loud and Proud
10/21/14 5:45 am CT
Good morning, Tigers,
It was great hearing from many of you yesterday about LSU’s big win over Kentucky and the improvement the Tigers have shown the last two weeks. While just about everyone I heard from recognizes the improvement on defense and in the Tigers’ rushing attack, it’s safe to assume that LSU’s offense will have to be more balanced moving forward to have success against their next two opponents. Ole Miss is currently 6th in the nation in rush defense, allowing an average of only 97 yards per game on the ground. Alabama is even more effective in run defense, allowing only 63 yards per game, which is second nationally only to Penn State.
So just how one-dimensional has LSU’s offense been? Well, according to CFBStats.com, only two of the 108 Division 1 FBS schools - Air Force and Army – have rushed the ball more times than LSU this year. And on the flip-side, LSU is 107th in terms of its number of pass attempts. But, as I pointed out in yesterday’s report, there were a few positive takeaways from LSU’s passing game against Kentucky, namely that the staff dialed up a few more short passes for Jennings and utilized the tight end, fullback and tailback in the passing attack. If LSU continues to improve in that regard, as I think they will, and if they continue to play the way they did last Saturday on defense and special teams, this LSU team could really make some noise the remainder of the season, starting with this week’s epic contest against 3rd ranked Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium.
In yesterday’s weekly press luncheon, Coach Miles acknowledged the need for more balance, spoke of the improvements seen in last week’s game, and answered a variety of questions on a wide range of topics. I’ve included the full transcript of the presser here, and below are a few of its key points:
• LSU’s offense rushed for 300 yards, was 7-of-13 on third downs and never turned the ball over until the last play. Miles said it’s improving, and that “improving is what we have kinda hung our hat on.”
• Terrance Magee, Danielle Hunter, Jamal Adams and Kendell Beckwith all received praise from Coach Miles for their play Saturday.
• Miles said Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace is one of the best QBs to have gone through the conference and that the Rebels can score touchdowns in a number of ways. As for Ole Miss’ defense, Miles called then as good a group as LSU will face all season.
• Speaking on the history of the LSU-Ole Miss rivalry, Miles recalled the Billy Cannon punt return on Halloween Night, 1959, and Odell Beckham’s similar return on November 17, 2012. (There’s no better way to get in the mood for this week’s game than to watch those two videos which are in our Media Gallery!)
• When asked about quarterback play and preparing for the future, Miles said they have to prepare to win this game and develop for the future as well. He added that both quarterbacks are improving. Later he added, “I think they're throwing balls that you're not seeing in a game sometimes in practice much better than they have, so, yeah, we're working that to develop the total position and the total passer and the total quarterback.”
• When asked about fans leaving games early, Miles gave a very wise and diplomatic answer, saying “It's really difficult for me to tell a family, a dad that's just got off work or somebody who has had a rough weekend where they should be spending their time as a family. Only thing I can tell you is that if you have tickets the back end of these games is worthwhile staying for. It's, in my opinion, an event. It's a wonderful place to spend an evening.”
• Miles said the offensive line is improving and called them one of the best “five-somes” in the SEC if not in all of college football.
• Speaking on being balanced on offense, Miles said “… as we go forward it will be about balance. We will be throwing the football, especially in this game and as we go forward, we have to have balance to make sure that the run and the pass both go down the field.”
• When asked about Anthony Jennings’ issues with passing accuracy, Miles said he thinks it has to do with Jennings’ decision-making process. When a quarterback makes a late decision and gets off-rhythm, it affects the accuracy of the throw.
• As to the rumor/report of Travonte Valentine warming up prior to the Kentucky game, Miles said Valentine was not involved in warmups and that he is still not eligible to play.
• There was actually a lot more said in the conference than what I’ve included above, including Miles’ comments on going for a field goal on third down at the end of the 1st half with 12 seconds on the clock, but I encourage you to see the full transcript for that explanation.
In recruiting news, I learned last night that current Notre Dame commit Jerry Tillery had a great visit to LSU for the Kentucky game and is looking forward to returning. Tillery is considering taking an official visit to LSU this weekend and is planning on coming back for the Alabama game. The more I hear about the Tillery situation, the better I feel about LSU’s chances of flipping him, and that would be huge for this recruiting class. Tillery is the highest ranked offensive linemen in the state (No. 3 on our list of Top LA Football Prospects for 2015), and is a 4.0 student.
Two tid-bits in closing:
• Hats off to LSU cornerback/return man Tre'Davious White for being named LSWA state Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a punt 67-yards for his first career touchdown in Saturday’s win.
• I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange with several new listing.
Reader Comments: Scott, my name is Sam Silvas. I lived in Baton Rouge in 1999-2000 where I was the editor for Louisiana Football Magazine. I had the pleasure of speaking with your dad once or twice. I am now living in Warsaw, Poland for the year and have posted a piece on my blog recounting the trials and tribulations of a LSU fan living abroad trying to follow his favorite team. Take a look at it and if you enjoy it, feel free to pass the link onto your readers. The piece is titled What's a Poor College Football Fan to Do...
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