12/1/15 5:55 am CST
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Good morning, Tiger Fans,
First of all, I want to thank all of you who chimed in on yesterday’s Mail Call. The topic I received the most email about was the way Athletic Director Joe Alleva handled the drama of the last two weeks. I said after the Ole Miss game that Les Miles’ approval rating had hit an all-time low among fans, but I can tell you without a doubt that it never dipped nearly as low as Alleva’s is now.
The other hot topic of discussion was the offensive coordinator job and potential candidates for the position should Cam Cameron’s contract not be renewed. Before going any further, it’s important to note that as of now there’s been no word on whether Cameron will be back next year, although that hasn’t slowed down the chatter about possible new offensive leadership. That chatter was intensified yesterday when former Georgia head coach Mark Richt reportedly said “If and when I do coach again, I’m looking forward to coaching again in terms of being more hands on. I miss coaching quarterbacks, I miss calling plays, I miss that part of it. Whether it’s in the role of head coach, coordinator, quarterbacks coach, whatever it is, if in fact I choose to do that, I’d be really excited about coaching QBs again and getting in the middle of the offensive strategy.”
Richt, a former quarterback himself, is an outstanding candidate with about as impressive a résumé as one can have. (See his wikipedia page). If LSU were to pursue Richt as OC, the Tigers’ chances of picking up an elite quarterback would rise exponentially. I say this not only because Richt is a former QB himself and known for developing quarterbacks, but because the nation’s No. 1 quarterback, Jason Eason, had committed to play for Richt at UGA and then de-committed after Richt’s firing. If LSU is to pursue Richt for the OC position, they had better act fast. Reports are that he will be meeting with Maryland today about their head coaching position.
In recruiting news, the LSU staff has been busy on the recruiting trail since the “contact period” began on Sunday. One of the first targets visited by the LSU staff was Louisiana’s own elite defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence (DT, 6'4", 300, Neville of Monroe, No. 3 on our list of Top LA Prospects for 2016). Jake Martin of the Ouachita Citizen, who occasionally writes for this site, spoke with Lawrence yesterday and asked him about his in-home visit with LSU coaches Frank Wilson, Ed Orgeron and Bradley Dale Peveto. Lawrence said he enjoyed the visit and that LSU, Alabama and Ohio state are his Top 3 with Washington also in the mix. Lawrence hopes to make his decision soon but currently is focused on trying to repeat as state champions with Neville, as the Tigers welcome Easton in the 4A semi finals Friday. Besides defensive tackle and quarterback, LSU’s other big position of need is linebacker, and the staff’s biggest LB target is 5-star Ben Wilson of Gordo, Alabama. Word is that LSU’s Kevin Steele began the contact period by visiting with him yesterday. As for Les Miles, he was in the home of LSU’s five-star safety commit Saivion Smith last night.
In other football news, congratulations are in order for LSU’s Deion Jones and Arden Key. Jones was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week after leading the Tigers with 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and half a sack in the 19-7 victory over A&M. Key was named SEC Freshman of the Week after collecting a career-high eight tackles, including 1.5 sacks, and three quarterback hurries. The LSU defense allowed season lows of seven points and 250 yards in the game.
Now turning to basketball, the LSU men’s basketball suffered it’s third straight defeat last night with an awful 70-58 loss at Charleston. The Tigers fell behind 39-17 at halftime behind poor shooting, costly turnovers and bad defense, and their frantic full-court defense couldn't make up for that deficit in the second half. LSU trailed just 11-10 before the Cougars went on a 28-7 run to go up 39-17 at the half. LSU was able to go on a 23-11 run to cut the lead to 50-40, but Charleston responded with a 7-0 run, and LSU couldn't get closer than seven (63-56) the rest of the way. While it was encouraging to see LSU respond in the second half by outscoring Charleston 41-31, it should have never come to that in the first place. The Tigers shot just 6-25 (24%) from the field, 2-10 from the 3-pt line and 3-10 from the free throw line in the first half. That, along with 9 turnovers, a 9-2 disparity on second chance points and a 9-1 disparity on points off turnovers, were the key areas that spelled LSU's doom in this contest.
I’m not going to sugar coat this folks, LSU has some big deficiencies from several areas that need to be rectified in December if the Tigers want to contend in the SEC this year. At the same time, we can't write off a team that is playing three freshmen extensively and is still without Keith Hornsby and Craig Victor who will be available later this month. I think we'll know much more about this team over the next 4-5 weeks, but at this point things do not look encouraging.
Ben Simmons led LSU with 15 points and 18 rebounds but struggled from the field (4-for-15) as did Tim Quarterman, who had 14 points on 4-for-15 shooting. Aaron Epps was an efficient 4-for-5 for nine points and five rebounds as he started in place of Elbert Robinson. Brian Bridgewater was another surprise as he contributed seven points and nine rebounds and played really hard in the second half to help LSU make a brief second half run. Antonio Blakeney was an abysmal 0-for-9 from the field with one point and Brandon Sampson was held scoreless on 0-for-3 shooting.
LSU returns to action this Wednesday night at home to play against North Florida at 7 pm in the PMAC. The game can be seen online on SECN+ and can be heard on 98.1 FM in the Baton Rouge area.
Before closing out, I’d like to thank those of you who have pledged your support for the time and effort that goes into this site by donating to our annual fundraiser. Your help is greatly appreciated. For those of you who haven’t yet done so, I ask that you please read this important message and give it some thought. Thanks in advance for your consideration.
Last but not least, we have crunched the numbers from last week’s LA High School Football Pickem contest and found that this week’s winner is Bob Register (user MMR). Mr. Register correctly picked 24 of 28 games and moved into 2nd place in the overall standings. Congratulations, Bob! Voting for this week’s games is now open.