2007 BCS Champions

2007 BCS
National Champions

2003 BCS National Champions

2003 BCS
National Champions

1958 National Champions

1958
National Champions

NCAA Baseball Championships:

1991
1993
1996
1997
2000
2009

 

DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.

9/1/14 6:15 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

It was great hearing from so many of you yesterday about LSU’s 28-24 come-from-behind win over a very good Wisconsin team. After having a little time to let the initial emotions of that roller-coaster of a game sink in, I went back and re-watched much of the game, and asked my friend (and part-time assistant), Jake Martin, to do the same so that we could give you a little something we’ll call our Monday Morning Rewind. In it are a few tidbits that you may have missed, or things that I just didn’t include in my initial Sunday morning report. Here we go…

Monday Morning Rewind:

• LSU’s running game was virtually nonexistent in the half, and at first I thought this was all about the offensive line getting pushed around in the trenches. Upon closer review, we realized that the tight end blocking was a big part of it. Dillon Gordon was beat several times and was also responsible for the sack given up in the second quarter. The tight ends also had problems in the receiving game. DeSean Smith had a drop on what would have been a nice gain, and Travis Dickson recorded a fumble that was recovered by the Badgers and quickly converted to seven points.

• Another factor that contributed to LSU’s struggles in the first three quarters was the slow start by Anthony Jennings, although he really improved as the game progressed. In the first half, Jennings failed to complete multiple running back screens, which were set up beautifully to Leonard Fournette. Jennings also made a few bad reads in the option-based offense. To Jennings’ credit, his deep ball looked much improved from the bowl game against Iowa. Whether the ball was knocked away or Travin Dural came up with the catch, Jennings’ long ball was on the money for most of the game. Jennings put forth a much better second half than he did in the first, and let’s hope he builds off of that moving forward.

• Brandon Harris received playing time for one series, and it's a series he would like to soon forget. Harris, like Jennings before him, misread an option play, which forced a third-and-long situation. The team had to call timeout before the down because Harris seemed confused, and once the Tigers played the down, Harris' only series ended in a sack. Don't buy too much into this series. Harris entered the game cold, and he's still learning as a young quarterback. I have a lot of confidence in the true freshman from Parkway and I'm expecting a rebound performance against Sam Houston State. 


• The defensive MVP has to go to Jalen Mills. Mills had an athletic interception, a few beautiful pass breakups and several solid hits on backs and receivers. Mills also provided the pressure on Wisconsin quarterback Tanner McEvoy on McEvoy’s second interception, which was caught by Ronald Martin. More importantly, Mills provided the type of swagger Tyrann Mathieu and others used to showcase when they made a big play. Sounds simple, but that swagger goes a long way in terms of firing up the team and swinging momentum.


• The most improved performer was easily Jalen Collins. Last season, Collins lost his starting corner job, but against Wisconsin he provided great run support and ran stride for stride with Wisconsin receivers in coverage, batting away balls.


• It was good to see defensive tackle Quintin Thomas play as much as he did considering his recent injury, but he had some rough moments. On Melvin Gordon’s long run to start the third quarter, Thomas shot through the inside gap, while Kwon Alexander peeled off of his tail and went outside. Thomas was picked up easily and Gordon bursted through the second level with Alexander blitzing to the outside. That long run set up a score and put LSU down 24-7. 


• Speaking of the defensive tackle position, I found it interesting that Greg Gilmore and Frank Herron, who were presumably the number 2s on the depth chart behind Thomas and Christian LaCouture, did not play, although they did make the trip. The young DTs who played as reserves instead were redshirt freshman Lewis Neal and true freshman Davon Godchaux. I was particularly impressed with Godchaux.

• The momentum changer in the game was obviously the fake punt executed by Kendell Beckwith. Credit Coach Les Miles for going for it and getting another score on the board, refusing to cede momentum to Wisconsin. After they successfully converted that down, the Tigers capped the drive with three points on a 30-yard field goal, and those turned out to be the first of 21 unanswered points.

• Something to take note of is LSU’s exceptional depth and talent in the secondary. The Tigers played a run-first team in Wisconsin, but Jalen Mills, Tre’Davious White, Rickey Jefferson, Jalen Collins, Dwayne Thomas and Jamal Adams proved they can provide great coverage as well as strong run defense. Imagine what this defensive backfield will look like when Rashard Robinson returns and Adams gets more experience.

• Turning back to the offense, although Kenny Hilliard and Travin Dural lit up the box score with great stats and provided thrilling touchdown scores, another offensive player who deserves major props is center Ethan Pocic. In the first start of his LSU career, Pocic played phenomenally, dominating the line of scrimmage. He, along with Fehoko Fanaika, opened gaping holes for Hilliard to make his long second half runs. 


Speaking of Pocic, he was starting in place of Elliot Porter who was one of at least four Tigers who did not make the trip to Houston. Others included Malachi Dupre, Maquedious Bain, and Ronnie Feist. Last night, I was told that Jonah Austin did not make the trip either, though I have not been able to confirm that yet. Of the five players mentioned above, the only one who we know was injured is Malchi Dupre. I’m hoping we will learn more about the others’ suspensions/absences in Coach Miles’ next press conference. Normally Coach Miles meets with the media every monday for a press luncheon, but since today is Labor Day this week’s luncheon has been pushed back until tomorrow.

Reader Comments: Hey Scott, it is a great time in LSU football. But here is a great article on how some former LSU Tigers are doing great things in other sports.

8/31/14 6:00 am CT

Good morning Tiger Fans,

Whoa, what a game! In what was a classic tale of two halves, the Tigers struggled mightily in the first half but rallied with 21 unanswered points in the second to come away with a huge 28-24 win. With the victory, LSU improved to 88‐28‐5 in season‐openers, won its school record 12th straight season‐opener and moved to 10‐0 under Les Miles in season openers.

The first two quarters were hard to watch as nothing was going LSU’s way and the Tigers’ highly-touted offensive line was getting pushed around by the Badgers’ relatively young defensive line, but hats off to the Tigers’ coaching staff and players for settling down, making the needed adjustments, never giving up, and turning things around in the second half. If there’s any of you who still question the LSU coaching staff’s ability to make adjustments after that turnaround, I ask that you consider this stat: LSU now has a winning record (22-21) under Les Miles when trailing in the 4th quarter, and they’re the only FBS team in all of football that can stake that claim.

We’ll have lots of time to talk about the problems we saw in the first half, but for today I’d rather focus on the positives, starting with the offense.

I still have some concerns about LSU’s quarterback play, but Anthony Jennings really made big strides in the second half and showed a lot of resiliency, ending with 239 passing yards and two TDs. And while LSU’s wide receivers were a big question mark heading into the contest, I was very encouraged by what I saw of Travin Dural, Trey Quinn and John Diarse. And how ’bout the running of Kenny Hilliard! All summer Miles praised Hilliard and spoke of his great improvement, and that was certainly on display last night as he ended with 110 rushing yards on 18 carries, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter for 92 yards. As for the offensive line, they played like a completely different group in the second half, opening gaping holes for Hilliard to run through, but it’s hard to know at this point how much of that was due to adjustments and how much was due to Wisconsin injuries and lack of depth in their D-line.

As for LSU’s defense, I thought the secondary looked great and lived up to their billing, and I was very impressed with the play of linebacker Kwon Alexander. I was also proud of the way the young defensive line stepped up in the second half and shut down the Badger’s running game. With that said, I’m puzzled as to why Wisconsin didn’t continue to feed Melvin Gordon the ball in the second half after he had such success in the first.

On special teams, I thought Jamie Keehn settled in after badly shanking one punt, and how ’bout the leg of Cameron Gamble! In the return game, I was glad to see Leonard Fournette out there, and although he didn’t live up to the impossible expectations placed upon him, I still think his time will come and he’ll be a very, very special player. 

You know there’s an old adage that says a team improves the most between game one and game two, and considering all of the youth on this year’s team I think that will probably hold true. Eight true freshmen made their debuts last night – Jamal Adams, Donnie Alexander, Deondre Clark, Leonard Fournette, Davon Godchaux, Brandon Harris, Ed Paris and Trey Quinn - and four players made their first career start: Travin Dural, Hoko Fanaika, Christian LaCouture and Quinn.

We’ll have much more on the game in tomorrow’s report, but today I’ll leave you with the following stats and these video highlights provided by LSUSports.net. (Note: The video is in Flash format and therefore it is not viewable on iPhones and iPads without special software.)

LSU-Wisc-Stats

8/30/14 6:10 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans, it’s Game Day!


The day we’ve all been waiting for is finally here, and we’ll know a lot more about this Tiger team in a matter of hours as the No. 13 LSU Fighting Tigers are set to kickoff their 2014 season tonight at 8:00 CT against the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers. As most of you know, the game will be broadcast to a national audience on ESPN. I'll be watching anxiously to see what this Tiger team is all about, and I’ll be tweeting occasional comments and stats for those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter. In case you missed it yesterday, here are Times of Interest for Today’s Game.

When the team departed for Houston yesterday, four noteworthy members of the team - Malachi Dupre, Rashard Robinson, Elliot Porter and Maquedious Bain – did not make the trip. Dupre missed a lot of fall camp due to multiple injuries and the word is that he sprained an ankle this week in practice. He is expected to return to action soon, once he recovers, assuming he can remain healthy. As for the other three, it appears that Robinson and Bain are suspended, and it’s unclear whether Porter’s issue is suspension or injury.

Because Dupre missed considerable practice time and was down on the depth chart, I don’t think his absence will impact today’s game as much as the others. Robinson and Porter entered the preseason as projected starters at cornerback and center, respectively. Look for Jalen Collins and Ethan Pocic to fill in for them. Bain was expected to be one of the first reserves off the bench at defensive tackle, and without him I look for true freshman Davon Godchaux to play a bigger role in the rotation.

Coach Miles is expected to address the situation and give a reason for these players’ absence sometime today, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he waited until after the game to keep it from being a bigger distraction than it already is.

Moving on… As promised, today I’ll give you my five keys to an LSU victory. Here we geaux…

Slow Down Melvin Gordon
This one’s obvious. Gordon averaged 7.8 yards per carry last season and is one of the best backs in the country. The combination of a back like Gordon and a massive, experienced offensive line will be a huge test for LSU’s defensive middle. The Tigers front four will need to keep Gordon in check, and the linebackers will need to meet him in the hole and not 5-10 yards down field.

Pound the Rock
Fact 1: LSU has a stable of talented running backs and one of the largest, most experienced offensive lines in the country. Fact 2: Wisconsin’s projected weakness is their front-seven. Fact 3: LSU’s quarterbacks and receivers don’t have a whole heck of a lot of experience. The Tigers will need to make the most of these three facts by pounding the rock and playing smash-mouth football, which should take a lot of pressure off the young quarterbacks. (By the way, reports surfaced last night that Anthony Jennings will get the start for LSU, but that comes as no surprise.)

But Don’t Be One-Dimensional
Following up on the key above, the Tigers will have to pound the rock, but they can’t afford to become too one-dimensional. If they do, the Badgers will stack the box and make them pay. LSU needs to establish the play-action pass early on and air the ball out just enough to keep the defense honest.

Stay Calm; Limit Turnovers & Mistakes
There will be a lot of youth and inexperience on the field for both teams, including at the ever-important quarterback position. Nerves will be rattled, as several players on both sides will be playing their first game of college football. This, combined with the fact that both teams will be playing away from home, creates an atmosphere conducive to turnovers, penalties and mistakes. How the two teams handle this pressure will go a long way in determining the outcome.

Adjust Accordingly
One of the challenges of playing a season-opener against a team with a new quarterback is that you don’t know what you’ll face. There’s no film on Tanner McEvoy as a Badger quarterback, and the Tigers can’t be entirely sure of what challenges he’ll present. Likewise, LSU will be counting on a lot of newcomers who may or may not play as expected on the big stage. The Tigers need to be prepared to turn to Plan B, or Plan C if things aren’t going as anticipated.

In recruiting news, yesterday I mentioned a few LSU targets who would be at NRG Stadium for today’s game. Yesterday I learned of one more - five-star 2015 cornerback Kendall Sheffield (6-0, 181, Missouri City, TX). Sheffield is considered a strong lean to Teas A&M, but LSU and Alabama are very much in the picture.

A couple of reminders before closing out today’s report:

• If you’re heading to NRG Stadium for the game, please note that the standard NFL Bag Policy will be in effect. For more information on what is and is not permissible, please click here.


If you’re looking for a place to watch the game with like-minded Tiger Fans, please check out our page of LSU Alumni Center View-in Parties. 


In closing, I need to extend an apology: Yesterday morning I posted a video of Eric Reid’s highlights as part of my Countdown to Game Day, but I failed to listen to its audio before posting it. (It was very early in the morning and I had my volume turned down so as to not disturb anyone.) Once a couple of my readers called to my attention that it contained a lot of profanity, I gave it a listen and agreed that it was offensive. I removed the video immediately, and I can assure you that I will be be more attentive moving forward.

 

Continue Browsing Reports

 

 

 

 

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.