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2007 BCS Champions

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1/25/15 6:05 am CT

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

I’ll say it again, folks: How about that LSU basketball team? After suffering a home loss to Texas A&M last Saturday, LSU’s men bounced back in a big way with two huge road victories, including last night’s 79-75 overtime win at Vandy. With the win, the Tigers are now 15-4 overall and 4-2 in the SEC. The victory marked the first time LSU has won three straight SEC road contests since the 2008-2009 season, which is also the last time LSU won the SEC and made the NCAA tournament. 

After struggling on offense in the first half (36.4% FG shooting; 1-7 3-point shooting), the Tigers stepped up offensively by spreading the ball, attacking the rim and hitting their open 3-pointers and jumpers. In fact, after the break, LSU hit 18 of 31 field goals (58.1%) and five of eight 3-pointers (62.5%). Overall, LSU fought hard and showed tremendous resilience to overcome Vandy’s aggressiveness and raucous crowd.

Jordan Mickey led the Tigers with 25 points and 11 rebounds and Jarell Martin also had a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Martin also had three assists and three steals, but struggled with a team-high eight turnovers. Tim Quarterman and Keith Hornsby chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively, and Jalyn Patterson finished with 10 points, including two crucial three-pointers in the last 10 minutes that helped LSU stay in the contest. On the night, the Tigers finished 46.9% from the field (30-64) and 40.0% from the 3-point line (6-15), but were only 56.5% from the free-throw line (13-23). LSU held Vanderbilt to 42.9% shooting from the field (27-63) and out-rebounded the Commodores 42-36, but committed 19 turnovers while forcing 16.

Here are the game’s video highlights, and here’s a quick recap of how it played out: Vanderbilt led for most of the first half and took a 35-30 lead to the break. The Commodores took their largest lead at 44-36 before LSU chipped away with aggressive attacks that led to five layups and selective three-point shooting that netted five conversions. Mickey made one of two free throws to tie the game at 69, and both teams missed shots in the last 10 seconds of regulation that could have won the game. In overtime, the Tigers charged out in front, 73-69, and then after Vandy tied it at 73, Quarterman made a jumper and two free throws to increase the lead back to four at 77-73 with just over a minute remaining in overtime. The Commodores only scored two after that, and Martin made two free throws with three seconds remaining to seal the game.

It was great to see LSU fight back offensively after an offensive slump in the first half. Martin and Mickey combined for 23 of the Tigers’ 30 points in the first half, but LSU did a much better job of sharing the wealth in the second half as Hornsby, Quarterman and Patterson combined for 26 of LSU’s 49 points after scoring only seven combined points in the first half. Another positive is that LSU again didn’t get complacent with chucking it from the 3-point line; only eight of LSU’s 31 shot attempts after the first half were 3-point attempts.

After a great week on the road, the Tigers will return to play four of their next five games at home, starting with Wednesday’s contest against South Carolina at 6 pm. The game will be telecast on the SEC Network and the radio broadcast will be available on 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge.

In football recruiting news, LSU picked up its 18th commitment for the class of 2015 when Lanard Fournette, the brother of Leonard Fournette, committed during his official visit. Lanard Fournette (ATH, 5-10, 184, No. 48 on our list of Top LA Prospects) chose LSU over offers from Alabama, Miami and others. Now, I know that a lot of you will ask if I think LSU would have offered Lanard if Leonard was not his brother, and I don’t know the answer to that. I do know that Lanard is a good prospect in his own right (as you’ll see from the two highlight videos I embedded in our Media Gallery), and LSU knows what they’re getting in him as a player and as a young man who comes from a good family. Listed as an athlete, Lanard could play running back at LSU, although with LSU’s loaded backfield I would look for him to be used more as a slot-back and specialist. With the addition of Fournette, LSU’s 2015 recruiting class is currently ranked 10th in the nation by 247Sports with as many as seven spots left to be filled.

As usual, I’ll leave you today with a few quick reads to go along with your Sunday morning coffee. Have a great day, Tiger Fans.

LSU OT La'El Collins Cements 1st-Round Status with Big Senior Bowl Performance

Fake Kevin Steele Twitter Account Caught Sliding Into DMs To Recruit

Riverdale's Donte Jackson on picking LSU: 'Prayed about it ... all signs pointed to' Tigers

Reminder: Only 10 days left until National Signing Day, and that means only 10 days left in our annual fundraiser. If you appreciate these daily reports and haven’t yet pledged your support, please consider doing so today. Thank you! 

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1/24/15 6:05 am CT

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Yesterday I rode out to Alex Box Stadium to listen to Coach Paul Mainieri speak about his 2015 LSU baseball team, and I left with a bad case of Spring Fever. Coach Mainieri is an enthusiastic, articulate, and straight-forward speaker, and it’s always a pleasure to hear him speak about his team. When he spoke yesterday, it was plainly obvious that he is really high on this year’s Tigers, and with good reason. LSU lost only two full-time starters from the 2014 lineup and brought in the number one recruiting class in the country, which includes several very talented pitchers. Add to that the fact that LSU has a new hitting coach and the game will be played with a new lower-seam ball, and there are plenty of reasons to be excited about this year’s season. 

The very first question asked of Coach Mainieri was about the new balls that will be used this year, and I think you’ll be happy with what he had to say. Mainieri estimated that the new balls carry up to 20-30 feet further and said they could add significant life to the offense. He stopped short of suggesting a return to “Gorilla Ball,” but guessed that LSU could increase its home run production from 40 last year about 60 or 70 this year. As an example of the new ball’s effect on hitting, Mainieri said that in a practice last week the team hit three home runs. The balls’ exit speeds on all three homers were tracked at 94 mph. By comparison, last year the Tigers hit several balls that exited at speeds in excess of 100 mph but died at the warning track. Coach Mainieri said the pitchers like the new balls too as they cause less blisters and feel smaller in the hand. While the lower seams might hurt the breaking ball a bit, they add movement and velocity to the fastball.  

Here are a few more tidbits I picked up at the press conference:

• LSU released this preseason depth chart, and the top four pitchers are sophomore Jared Poché, and freshmen Alex Lange, Jake Godfrey and Jake Latz. The team’s weekend rotation, closer and midweek starter will probably come from these four and senior Kyle Bouman.

• Jared Poché will likely get the start on opening day, but all five of the aforementioned pitchers will get starts in the non-conference portion of the schedule. Mainieri says he expects to have his weekend rotation and midweek starter finalized before the start of SEC play on March 13. Last year LSU struggled to find a “Sunday starter,” but that isn’t expected to be an issue this year.

• The biggest question mark on the team is who will fill in for departed Christian Ibarra at 3rd base. Battling for the spot are sophomore Danny Zardon, freshman Greg Deichmann and senior Connor Hale. 

• Once again, the team will possess blazing speed. Junior outfielder Andrew Stevenson is the fastest player on the team, but Mainieri says Greg Deichman is pushing junior outfielder Mark Laird and sophomore outfielder Jake Fraley for the title of second fastest. 

• One of the most interesting comments Mainieri made was about new hitting coach Andy Cannizaro and former hitting coach Javi Sanchez. Mainieri said that he probably spread Sanchez too thin last year and had him doing too many things. Unlike Sanchez, Cannizaro will not be involved in coaching defense and base-running (although he will work with a select group of base-stealers), and when batters are taking batting practice Cannizaro will be with them 100% of time. 

• If you’ve looked at the baseball schedule, you’ve probably noticed that half of the SEC games (5 series) will be played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday instead of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Mainieri explained that this is because three of the five series will include the Thursday night nationally televised game. As for the other two series, one is the last week before the SEC tournament and those games are always played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to give the team more time to prepare for the tournament. The other series that starts on Thursday is due to a mutual agreement between LSU and Alabama because of Easter weekend. I know my wife will be happy to know that there’s no game on Easter Sunday, and so am I.  

Here’s a transcript of Coach Mainieri’s comments, as well as quotes from Jared Poché, Alex Bregman, and Andrew Stevenson, as provided by LSU’s Sports Information Department.  

Now turning to football, I have heard from a lot of you who are concerned that LSU running back commit Derrius Guice (RB, 5'11", 219, Catholic of Baton Rouge, No. 2 on our list of Top LA Prospects) will be visiting Alabama next weekend. I understand your concern, especially since LSU commit Nicholas Brossette had a great visit to Texas last weekend. Personally, I don’t think LSU has anything to worry about with Guice, at least that’s what he says in this video where he states that he’s just taking the visit to enjoy the process. As for Brossette, he’s visiting LSU this weekend and we should know much more on how firm his commitment is in a few days. When you are dealing with teenagers who have coaches pulling them in every direction while they’re trying to make one of the most important decisions of their lives, it’s hard to predict what will happen, but I remain cautiously optimistic that LSU holds on to both of these elite backs. 

In other football news, there are a couple of interesting articles to pass along related to LSU coaches’ contracts. According to this report by the Advocate, LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva says John Chavis owes LSU a $400,000 buyout which has yet to be paid, and that is why Texas A&M has not officially announced Chavis as its defensive coordinator. Also, this article indicates that new LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron is set to receive $450,000 a year as part of a two-year contract which is expected to be approved by LSU’s Board of Directors next week. The annual salary is $5,000 more than what Brick Haley made before he was moved to an administrative role. Orgeron’s contract has the same buyout clause that reportedly was unsettling to John Chavis - that is, that he would be paid for just six more months if Les Miles were no longer the coach at LSU. According to the report, that clause is expected to be in each of the assistant coaches’ new deals.

In basketball news, the LSU men’s team, coming off a huge 79-61 win at Florida, will look to continue its road success tonight when it takes on Vanderbilt. The game is set to tipoff just after 5 p.m. on ESPNU.  While LSU is coming off its most complete win of the season, Vanderbilt is coming off a tough 65-57 loss to Kentucky at Rupp Arena and is 11-7 overall and 1-4 in the SEC. A win tonight would give the Tigers (14-4, 3-2) a very impressive three-game road sweep. To put that in perspective, remember that LSU won only two SEC road wins all last season (and one of them was against Vanderbilt). 

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1/23/15 5:50 am CT

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

A little later this morning I’ll be departing for Baton Rouge to attend LSU Baseball Media Day, and I look forward to giving you an account of what was said in tomorrow’s report. With this cold, wet winter weather that has blown through South Louisiana, it sure doesn’t feel much like baseball season, but the good news is that spring is right around the corner and LSU’s baseball season will begin in exactly three weeks. That reminds me that it’s time for me to plant potatoes and order my tomato seeds, but I digress. Back to our normal order of business. 

LSU will be entertaining 11 prospects on official visits this weekend, including two quarterbacks. The two quarterbacks are current Ohio State commitment Torrance Gibson, and Manny Miles, the son of LSU head coach Les Miles. Manny Miles is a fine dual-threat quarterback who led University Lab to the Division II state title, but he’s more of a D1 baseball prospect and he has reportedly said before that he isn’t going to play football for LSU. As for Gibson, he’s a four-star dual-threat quarterback out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, who is currently committed to Ohio State but is having second thoughts due to the Buckeyes being loaded at quarterback. If Gibson flips away from Ohio State, he is likely to go to either Auburn or LSU. Last week he visited Auburn and had a great time. 

The other prospects visiting LSU this weekend include two brothers of current Tigers (WR Lanard Fournette and LSU LS commit Blake Ferguson), two big targets (OT Toby Weathersby and CB Iman Marshall) and several players already committed to being Tigers. Perhaps the biggest recruit from the entire group, both figuratively and literally, is offensive tackle Weathersby (6'4", 300, Houston). LSU currently has commitments from three offensive linemen but would very much like to land another one or two. Of course, landing Marshall, a five-star cornerback, would be a huge get for the Tigers, but LSU is already absolutely loaded at the cornerback position especially after landing Donte Jackson Wednesday. 

Besides Gibson, Miles, Weathersby and Marshall, another visitor of particular interest this weekend is LSU RB commit Nicholas Brossette (6'0", 210, University High). As I wrote yesterday, Brossette recently took a visit to Texas and the Longhorns gave him a lot to think about. This weekend will be LSU’s chance to firm up his commitment and assure him that LSU is where he belongs. I have a feeling that bringing in his teammate and good friend, Manny Miles, on the same weekend is not coincidental. 

While on the topic of football, yesterday LSU released this new 2014 Defensive Highlights Video, and that reminded me that I never did finish posting our series on the top-5 plays of 2014. Last week we posted numbers 5 (Leonard Fournette’s Kickoff Return vs. Notre Dame) and No. 4 (Jamal Adams’ block/Tre’Davious White’s Punt Return vs. Kentucky) and today we’ll reveal our top-3. Here we go:

LSU Football Top Plays of 2014, continued…

3. Jalen Mills’ interception vs. Wisconsin
In one of the most exhilarating LSU contests of the year, the Tigers needed a big play to open the door for a 28-24 comeback. With LSU down 24-13, Wisconsin decided to take to the air, and safety Jalen Mills made the Badgers pay for it. Tanner McEvoy threw toward 6-foot-5 tight end Troy Fumagalli, and despite having leverage over a smaller Mills, Fumagalli failed to come up with the jump ball. The way Mills was able to stretch and snatch the ball away showed why Mills has been such a constant in the Tigers’ secondary for so many years now, and why it will be so advantageous to have him back next year for his senior season. It doesn’t hurt to show a little swagger after you make a big play like that, further igniting your team in its attempt to come back from a 21-point deficit, and that’s exactly what Mills did. The Tigers scored on its ensuing drive, and LSU won the ballgame. Here’s a video of that play.

2. Travin Dural’s one-handed touchdown catch vs. Florida
Down by four with less than three minutes remaining in the game against Florida, LSU faced a 2nd-and-8 from Florida’s 11-yard line. Lined up in the I-formation, Anthony Jennings took a three-step drop and fired toward Travin Dural in the end zone. The ball was perfectly placed in the corner where only Dural could make the catch, but because Florida defensive back Brian Poole had a hold of Dural’s left arm, Dural had to extend his right arm, high point the ball and reel it into his body before going out of bounds. The catch gave LSU a 27-24 lead over Florida that the Tigers would hold onto. It was one of the best catches of the year in all of college football

1. Leonard Fournette’s Herschel Walker impersonation vs. Texas A&M 
Most football fans agree – there will never be another Herschel Walker. From his size and speed combination, to the way he could leap over piles of linemen with ease, Walker is heavily regarded by many as the best college running back of all time. Only a man with freakish abilities could draw comparisons to Walker. Well, that’s exactly what Leonard Fournette did against Texas A&M, when he barreled over an Aggie defender en route to a touchdown. The play is remarkably similar to Walker’s touchdown run against Tennesee, where he trucked a Volunteer defender in the same fashion. Watch this video embedded in our media gallery, as it shows both runs side by side. Frame by frame, both freshman runs are almost exactly the same. Is this a premonition of what’s to come from Fournette? 

In Women’s basketball news, LSU’s Lady Tigers saw their two-game winning streak come to an end last night with a 75-58 loss to No. 5 Tennessee. With the loss, LSU fell to 10-9 overall and 4-3 in SEC play. The Lady Tigers will return to action next Thursday (after one of its two SEC byes) against Ole Miss at the PMAC. The game will be televised by the SEC Network. 

A few tidbits in closing: 

• Good article on Former LSU Fullback Connor Neighbors trying to seize his Senior Bowl moment

• Thanks to the folks over at A Good Sports Hang for giving our site a plug with this article! WILD START TO 2015 FOR LSU FOOTBALL, AS TOLD BY DANDY DON

• Please note that I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange and will do so again this weekend, so if you have any LSU tickets to sell (football, baseball, basketball, whatever) please let me know.

If you enjoy staying up-to-date on LSU sporting news with these easy to read and concise daily reports, please consider pledging your support with a donation to our fundraiser. In just 12 days our fundraiser will end and I won’t bother you with these appeals until next time around. Thanks in advance for your consideration. 

 

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