NCAA Baseball Championships:
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3/9/14 5:55 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
The LSU football team kicked off spring practice yesterday and I’ve got some good notes and a brief video to share with you, thanks to my assistant, Jake, who was there on the scene. Reading his notes and watching the video really “gave me the envie” (as we say here in South Louisiana) to make it out there myself. I plan on attending Tuesday’s practice to shoot some video with my high-definition camera, and by that time I’m hoping the team will be in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) and ready to perform the very popular Big Cat drill.
Below are the notes from Day 1, and here’s the brief video for your enjoyment.
As you can tell from the video, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was really in his element out on the practice field. As far as hands on coaching goes, it’s almost impossible to find a more vocal offensive coordinator than Cameron. With LSU’s quarterback position battle being the most intriguing of the spring and summer, I spent most of my time watching Cameron interact with the quarterbacks.
At the beginning of the drills, Jennings ran the first team, Hayden Rettig followed him on the second team and Brandon Harris ran the third offense. Cameron preached the 9-route to his young quarterbacks. “If we can’t throw the 9-route, we’re going to be in trouble,” Cameron instructed. “Give him some air! A nine route is usually going to be 42-46 yards!” Cameron wanted more air under the ball for Jennings’ long passes and he praised Rettig’s drop and accuracy down the field. Cameron wanted Harris to get adjusted to the speed of the game, generating a quicker release when he dropped back. “Eyes up! As fast as you can go! Push yourself! I want you to go fast. If you go so fast you miss, that’s ok.” John Diarse and Travin Dural were the receiving targets for Jennings and Rettig, while Quantavius Leslie, Kevin Spears and Avery Peterson followed behind respectively.
After the quarterbacks aired it out for a session, the offenses gathered together on a separate field to practice “hurry up.” Cameron shouted instruction to his offense, and the goal was to snap the ball as fast as possible. The play was an option-read, and as soon as the first team ran it with Jennings, Rettig and the second team came up and Harris and the third team followed. Cameron pushed all three strings to snap the ball quickly and avoid any miscues. Repeatedly, Cameron called for his team to do everything quickly and efficiently. What few simulated plays we saw were option-reads and dives out of the pistol.
Here are few other small notes from practice:â€¨
• Lamar Louis and Andy Dodd wore green (no contact) jerseys.
• Evan Washington ran with the first team offensive line at right guard. Later, Coach Miles mentioned Washington, Ethan Pocic and Fehoko Fanaika as competitors for the position.
• Malachi Dupre was present watching the wide receivers.
â€¨• Tashawn Bower seems to have bulked up a bit. The roster shows him at 6-5, 243-pounds but he seems bigger than that.
â€¨• Ed Paris was practicing with the defensive backs as an early enrollee, and surely passes the eyeball test. â€¨
Before leaving the topic of Spring Football, here’s the official press release issued by LSU about the first day of practice, and it contains some good nuggets of information.
Turning to baseball news, it sure was good to make it out to the Box last night to watch the Tigers defeat Purdue 4-2. Actually, the best part of the night was not necessarily watching the team do their thing, but rather being able to enjoy it with my whole gang (wife, daughters, brothers, sisters and their families - see pic). That’s kind of what it’s all about, isn’t it? Anyway, back to the game…
Kyle Bouman got the start for the Tigers and was hit fairly hard. The junior left-hander from Missouri pitched 6.2 innings and allowed two runs on six hits while striking out five and walking none. When Bouman was replaced by Nate Fury in the 7th inning, Purdue was leading 2-0 and had two runners on with two outs. Fury struck out the one batter he faced to end the Boilermakers’ threat and was credited with the win. Kurt McCune and Joe Broussard pitched the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, and held Purdue scoreless.
LSU collected nine hits in the game and were led offensively by Sean McMullen who went 2-for-4 with an RBI double. Andrew Stevenson continued his outstanding play and not only extended his hitting streak to 13 games but also made yet another spectacular catch in centerfield.
Here’s a very brief LSU scoring summary: Trailing 2-0, LSU rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh. With runners on second and third, Stevenson hit a sacrifice fly to get the Tigers on the board. Conner Hale entered as a pinch hitter and added an RBI single to plate Kade Scivicque. Chris Sciambra followed with another RBI single through the right side to score Hale. Sean McMullen added a run in the bottom of the eighth with a double to left field that scored Bregman.
The Tigers will go for the sweep today at 1 p.m. with Cody Glenn on the mound. Purdue will counter with right-hander Connor Podkul. The game will not be televised, but can be heard on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network, and live video, audio and stats will be available in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live. Also, I’ll be tweeting occasional comments and score update to those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter.
In basketball news, LSU lost their season finale to Georgia last night, 69-61. The loss was the Tigers second of the year to Georgia, and was a tough way for seniors Shavon Coleman and Andre Stringer to experience their final game in the PMAC. With the loss, LSU dropped one spot in the final seedings for next week’s SEC Tournament in Atlanta, finishing in a three-way tie with Ole Miss and Missouri at 9-9 for sixth place. The Tigers will play 10th seed Alabama in the third game of the second round on Thursday at 6 p.m. CDT. The game will be televised by SEC TV. For more on the game as well as links to rye SEC Tournament Bracket, please see this article on LSUSports.net.
3/8/14 6:05 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
The day many of us have been anxiously awaiting is finally upon as LSU Spring football gets underway today. As mentioned earlier, I won’t be able to make it out to today’s practice because of a family outing which will culminate in 27 of us at Alex Box Stadium for tonight’s baseball game, but I’ve got you covered and should have a full report on the practice, as well as some video, to share with you in tomorrow’s udpate.
There will be a few new faces at today’s spring practice, including two new coaches and two early enrollee players. The two new coaches are, of course, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes and special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto. The two early enrollee players are quarterback Brandon Harris and safety Ed Paris. There’s no understating the advantage that comes with enrolling early and taking part in 15 practices in the spring, especially for players like Harris and Paris who are true contenders for significant early playing time.
There will also be one notable absence today that I didn’t see coming until LSU released the news yesterday. I’m referring to kickoff specialist James Hairston who has announced that he plans to transfer. Hairston has been doing all of LSU’s kickoffs for the last couple of years, but was dissatisfied with not being able to kick field goals as well. Last year, freshman Colby Delahoussaye earned the field goal kicking duties and did a spectacular job, connecting on 13-of-14 attempts. Hairston, who has one year of eligibility left, will stay at LSU and then transfer after graduating in May.
Before leaving the topic of football, here’s a press release issued by LSU’s Sports Information Department on the start of Spring Practice:
BATON ROUGE – Football will be back in full swing for LSU [today] as the Tigers open spring drills with the first of what will be 15 workouts over the next four weeks at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.
The Tigers will practice in shorts and helmets for its first two practices [today] and Monday. Rules for spring practice allow for eight of the 15 practices to involve tackling and for three scrimmages.
LSU’s scrimmages are scheduled for March 22, 29 and April 5, when the Tigers conclude spring drills with the National L Club Spring Game at 1 p.m. in Tiger Stadium. Admission to the spring game will be free of charge.
[Today] also marks the start of the 10th spring training under head coach Les Miles, who has led the Tigers to a 95-24 mark in nine years at LSU. Miles is the second-winningest coach in LSU football history, trailing only College Football Hall of Famer Charles McClendon, who won 137 games in 18 years.
LSU’s spring roster will feature 43 returning letterwinners from a year ago, which includes 16 returning starters. LSU returns seven starters on defense, six on offense and three specialists.
LSU returns four starters on the offensive line, including left tackle La’el Collins, who goes into 2014 as a national award candidate. Collins has started 25 games in his career and will anchor an offensive line that returns senior Elliott Porter at center, junior Vadal Alexander at left guard and sophomore Jerald Hawkins at right tackle.
Other returning starters on offense include senior fullback Connor Neighbors and junior tight end Dillon Gordon.
Defensively, senior Jermauria Rasco and junior Danielle Hunter along with sophomore cornerback Tre’Davious White and senior linebacker D.J. Welter headline the list of starters back in 2014. Welter ranked second on the team with 80 tackles a year ago from the middle linebacker spot, while Hunter had 57 tackles and 8.0 tackles for loss for the Tigers.
White made an immediate impact in his first year with the Tigers, starting 11 times and finishing with 55 tackles, seven pass breakups and two interceptions. Rasco had 56 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks at defensive end in 2013.
Other returning starters on defense for LSU include junior cornerback/safety Jalen Mills (67 tackles, 3 interceptions in 2013), junior linebacker Kwon Alexander (65 tackles, 6.5 TFL), and safety Corey Thompson (40 tackles).
Junior Jamie Keehn returns as LSU’s starting punter, while sophomore Colby Delahoussaye is back for his second year as a starter at placekicker after connecting on 13-of-14 field goals a year ago. Junior Reid Ferguson will handle all deep snapping for the Tigers for the third straight year.
In baseball news, LSU shutout Purdue last night, 10-0, thanks to the phenomenal pitching of Aaron Nola, and a great night at the plate by Alex Bregman and Kade Scivicque. Nola brought his “A-game,” as he has all season, and was simply too much for the Boilermakers. The junior right-hander ended the game with a career-high 12 strikeouts in eight innings and allowed only two hits. Get this: Nola has not allowed a run in 27 innings this season and has not allowed an earned run in 53 innings, dating back to last season. That’s pretty incredible.
The Tigers collected 13 hits in the game and were led offensively by Alex Bregman who went 3-for-4 and tied a career high with four RBI. DH Kade Scivicque also had an outstanding night and went 3-for-4 with one RBI. It’s also worth noting that Andrew Stevenson extended his hit streak to 12 games with a n RBI single in the second inning. In the bottom of the sixth. Foster utilized a squeeze bunt to score Scivicque who led off the inning with a double off the left-field wall.
Here’s a quick scoring summary: In the bottom of the second, Scivicque singled, advanced to second on a balk and scored on Stevenson’s RBI single. Bregman provided additional run support in the bottom of the third when he crushed a three-run homer over the left field fence after Jared Foster and Kramer Robertson walked. The Tigers added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh when Bregman picked up his fourth RBI of the game, following a Sean McMullen double and Robertson bunt single. Scivicque’s RBI single plated Robertson. LSU capped off the night with a three-run eighth. After Foster reached on an error and Chinea singled, freshman Jake Fraley knocked a pinch-hit RBI double to the left-center field gap. Freshman Danny Zardon followed with a two-RBI double to the wall in right field.
Game 2 of the three-game series starts tonight at 6:30 with Kyle Bouman (3-0, 1.00 ERA) on the mound for the Tigers. The game won’t be televised but can be heard in Baton Rouge on WTGE 100.7 FM, and live video, audio and stats will be available in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live. Since I’ll be with my family at the Box, I won’t be sending out score updates via Twitter as I usually do.
In basketball news, LSU’s Lady Tigers were eliminated in the SEC tournament quarterfinals by Tennessee, 77-65. LSU got off to a hot start, led by 17 at the half, and maintained the lead until 7:47 left in the game when the Vols tied it at 55-55. Tennessee controlled the remainder of the game, and at one point held the Tigers scoreless for 5:23. The Lady Tigers now await word on whether they will receive an NCAA bid despite losing seven of it’s last eight games. Most analysts project that they will and that they will be a No. 10 seed when they host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament March 23-25 at the PMAC.
The LSU men’s basketball team (19-11, 9-8) will conclude its regular season today with a 4:05 p.m. contest against Georgia (17-12, 11-6) in the PMAC. Prior to the game, there will be a ceremony to honor seniors Shavon Coleman and Andre Stringer who will be playing their last home game as Tigers. I hope a lot of Tiger fans will make it out there to show their support for these two young men and the Tigers team. A win today could give LSU as high as a tie for fourth in the conference, but with tiebreakers the highest the Tigers would be seeded in the upcoming SEC tournament is sixth. LSU could be a seven, eight or nine seed depending on various combinations if the Georgia wins the game.
Reader Comments: Here’s a great article about Coach Shows memorial last night in West Monroe: Shows celebration draws tears and cheers
3/7/14 5:40 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Yesterday was a great day for LSU sports as the baseball team and men’s and women’s basketball teams all came away with big wins. We’ll get to all that in a bit, but I need to start with a couple of clarifications/corrections to what I reported yesterday. First, LSU will not start spring football practice today. Instead, they have decided to push it back until tomorrow at 1 p.m. since Coach Miles and several staff members will be heading to West Monroe for Coach Shows’ memorial service. Secondly, when I stated yesterday that we were concluding our series on players who’ve flown under the radar with Kevin Spears, I forgot that I hadn’t yet covered Desean Smith who we will get to today in just a bit. So, with lots to touch on today, let’s jump right in starting with the Spring Football Practice schedule.
The LSU football team will practice tomorrow at 1 p.m. and then Coach Miles will meet with members of the media at about 3:15. Because I will be taking my wife and three daughters to the baseball game tomorrow night (there will be 27 of us at the game together including my siblings and most of their kids!), I won’t be able to attend the first practice, but I’ll have Jake Martin covering for me and I hope to have some video to share with you Sunday morning. The team will practice a total of 15 times this spring, including closed scrimmages on the 22nd and 29th of March and the Spring Game in Tiger Stadium on Saturday April 5 at 1 p.m. I hope a lot of you will make plans to attend the Spring Game and get an early look at what figures to be a very exciting Tiger Team.
Here are a few dates of interest for those of you who want to mark your calendars:
First Closed Scrimmage: March 22â€¨
LSU Football Coaches Clinic: March 27 & 28
Second Closed Scrimmage: March 29 â€¨
National L-Club Spring Game in Tiger Stadium: April 5, 1 p.m.
LSU Pro Day: April 9
LSU Football Alumni Golf Tournament: April 4
NFL Draft: May 8-10 (New York City)
While on the topic of football, let’s go and ahead and conclude (for real this time) our series on players who have flown under the radar but could make a big impact this year by looking at DeSean Smith. Here we go…
6’4”, 241-pound tight end
As mentioned earlier this week, fans are quick to forget four and five-star prospects when newer highly-touted recruits sign the dotted line. Smith could be a victim of this phenomenon. Although fans might not have the former Under Armour All-American on their radar heading into 2014, media members surely do. That’s because Smith, along with then redshirt freshman wide receiver Travin Dural, were among the standouts in last year’s summer practices.
Take a look at Smith’s high school highlights here in our media gallery and you’ll see exactly what the media witnessed in person last August. During drills, Smith’s size and catching ability earned him a lot of attention, and though LSU didn’t use him often last season (Smith played in a few games in minor roles), his purple and gold future is a bright one.
I believe a big reason Smith didn’t play as much as we thought he would is because Cam Cameron was trying to settle into his offensive coordinator role without changing too much for senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger. After working with Anthony Jennings for a year and inheriting a new quarterback to work with in Brandon Harris, Cameron might be more willing to insert the dual tight-end offense that he ran on a consistent basis with the Baltimore Ravens. If he does, he has the pieces to be successful.
With Smith and newcomer four-star tight end Jacory Washington both as potential receiving targets, the Tigers could take a page out of the Saints playbook by isolating match-ups on the outside with its big, athletic tight ends. Of course, Travis Dickson, Dillon Gordon and Logan Stokes have the experience advantage over Smith, but his athleticism, size and catching ability could transform him into one of LSU’s most lethal threats in the passing game.
In baseball news, LSU improved to 11-2 with a 8-1 win over Northwestern State. Freshman left-hander Jared Poché got the start in what some might call his audition for a weekend starter role. Coach Mainieri wanted to see how Poché would handle a road start, and for the most part he passed the test. Although he didn’t have his best stuff, the former Bulldog from Lutcher High demonstrated his bulldog mentality and battled out of a few tough situations, including a bases-loaded one-out jam in the second inning. Poché threw for five innings while allowing one run on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. The Tigers only needed two relief pitchers to complete the game as Allen Cartwright and Hunter Devall combined for four shutouts innings and were very effective.
The Tigers collected 10 hits and were led at the plate by Andrew Stevenson who continued his streak of getting a hit in every game of the season by going 2-for-2. Tyler Moore went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his first home run of the season. Alex Bregman was 1-for-4 with two RBI. Freshman Kramer Robertson continued to show why Coach Mainieri is so high on him as he went 1-for-2 with one RBI on a well-executed squeeze bunt.
The Tigers will return to action tonight with a three game series against Purdue at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. LSU ace right-hander Aaron Nola will get the start tonight, while Purdue will counter with sophomore left-hander Jordan Minch. The game will not be televised, but can be heard on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live video, audio and stats will be available in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.
In basketball news, the LSU men’s team fought hard and rallied late in the game for a much-needed win at Vanderbilt, 57-51. The win snapped a seven-game road skid and gave the Tigers their first victory away from the PMAC since January 11.
It’s been frustrating at times to watch these Tigers, but they deserve a lot of credit for fighting hard to the end and never giving up. In yesterday’s game they played poorly in the first half and shot only 26.7% from the field. At one point they went over six minutes without scoring, and at the break they trailed 32-24 despite ending on a 12-4 run. In the second half, the Tigers lived up to their Fighting Tigers moniker and opened with an 11-5 run to pull within two, 37-35, with 14:55 remaining. From that point on, the game was very tight, although the Tigers didn’t take the lead until about three minutes remaining in the game. Down the stretch Andre Stringer hit 8-of-8 free throws to secure the win.
LSU was led in scoring by Johnny O’Bryant who had an outstanding second half and ended the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Stringer was the only other Tiger in double figures with 11 points. You can check out LSU’s video highlights from the game here.
LSU’s Lady Tigers also came away with a big win as they defeated Alabama, 78-65, to advance in the SEC tournament. The win snapped a six-game losing streak and could be just the confidence booster needed for the Tigers as they now turn their attention to the No. 2-seeded Tennessee Volunteers who they’ll take on today at 5 p.m. The game can be seen on SportSouth, Fox Sports Net and ESPN3.com, and can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network (107.3 FM in Baton Rouge). Live audio and video will also be available in the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live.
I’ll leave you today with a couple of good reads: Heres an article by Rome Chandler of LSU’s Daily Reveille about the Tradition Matters campaign and vulgarities chanted in the student section. And on a somewhat related note, here’s an article by NOLA.com on the SEC reviewing alcohol policy for fans at off-campus games.
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