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9/20/18 5:30 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

In his two weekly speaking engagements, Coach Ed Orgeron spoke of his team and its upcoming game against LA Tech, which is set to kick off Saturday at 6:00 p.m. CT on ESPNU. Below is a rough summary of his comments from the SEC Teleconference, as well as our weekly recap of his radio call-in show. Then, for a little extra on the football front, be sure to see the tidbits at the end of this update.

COACH O SEC TELECONFERENCE

• Tight end Thaddeus Moss is set to make his Tiger debut this Saturday. He’s been out with an undisclosed injury, but Orgeron said he looks like he’ll be able to play this week. Thaddeus is, of course, the son of legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss, and the hope is that he’ll become a valuable component of LSU’s passing game. 

• Outside linebacker Ray Thornton, who was injured on the opening kickoff in the Auburn game, is also expected to return to action this Saturday. 

• Orgeron is happy with the evolution of LSU’s offense under OC Steve Ensminger and said they’re still finding out what some guys can do. They’re working toward becoming more of a spread offense, but that takes a while since LSU has been such a pro-style offense for so long.

COACH O SHOW RECAP: LA TECH WEEK

• At the beginning of the show, host Chris Blair asked Orgeron his thoughts on the game Joe Burrow had against Auburn. Orgeron was obviously happy with Burrow’s performance and was quick to credit the offensive line for much of his success since it gave up only one sack and gave Burrow time to throw. He also credited the receivers for making some tremendous catches, notably Dee Anderson, Stephen Sullivan, and Derrick Dillon. He ended by saying Burrow had a great surrounding cast and is a winner who plays 60 minutes. He gives everybody confidence and doesn’t choke.

• Jeff in Ponchatoula asked how Austin Deculus did in his first start of the season at right tackle. Orgeron said he’s proud of Deculus and that he had one of his better games. Orgeron knew he could go on the road and handle the job because he did it last year at Florida.

• Brett in Bossier City called to say last week’s Auburn win should be known as “The Assumption Game” since everyone assumed LSU would lose and it was a kicker from Assumption College who kicked the game-winner. Orgeron said he and his team certainly didn’t have that assumption and he wouldn’t call it that. 

Since the crew was having trouble with the phone lines, most of the remainder of the questions came from host Chris Blair and the live audience. 

• When Blair asked O about the O-line’s big game, Orgeron immediately gave props to offensive line coach James Cregg. He said Cregg had been taking some heat for the O-line play at Southeastern but that he’s a tireless worker who made great adjustments and had a great game plan for Auburn. Orgeron also had high praise for center Lloyd Cushenbury, saying he’s been more impressed with him than anyone and calling him the team’s most consistent player.

• When discussing the defense, Orgeron spoke of the unit doing a great job of limiting the big plays and also pointed to the big stop after the failed fake punt attempt, and the interception by Greedy Williams, as being critical moments in the game. Overall, it was a tremendous defensive effort, he said.

• From the live audience, the Evil Twin gave a spiel about the Sistine Chapel and turning the lights on in the Vatican and then asked two questions: What is Cole Tracy’s maximum distance on field goals and what is the injury status of Kristian Fulton. Orgeron said the answer to the first question is easy since Tracy’s 54-yarder against Miami hit the crossbar and went in. He added that they feel comfortable with Tracy at 50-53 yards. As for Fulton, he is hurt right now, but they do believe he will play this Saturday.

• Toward the end of the show, Blair asked Orgeron about so many people stepping up when their name was called. Orgeron agreed and praised OG Chasen Hines and OLB André Anthony for doing just that. Hines filled in when Garrett Brumfield was out with injury and did great. Likewise, Anthony stepped up after Ray Thornton went down on the first play of the game during the kickoff return. That injury led Orgeron to declare that Thornton won’t be used on special teams anymore. 

In basketball news, Coach Will Wade’s highly anticipated second season as LSU’s head coach will begin in just 48 days. Yesterday, the complete 2018-19 LSU basketball schedule was unveiled, complete with television coverage and start times. Non-conference play begins Tuesday, Nov. 6 against Southeastern LA and league play tips off on Jan. 8 with a home contest against Alabama at 8 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. Fans will have plenty of opportunities to see the Tigers in action as all 18 SEC games (home and away) and six non-conference games (Memphis, Incarnate Word at home, St. Mary’s in Las Vegas and the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando) will be available on the ESPN family of networks (SEC Network, ESPN/2/U) and the ESPN App. The Tigers return six players from a season ago to go along with four JUCO transfers and the No. 4 recruiting class in the country, which includes five-star forwards Naz Reid and Emmitt Williams, three-time Louisiana Mr. Basketball Ja'Vonte Smart, and four-star forward Darius Days. 

It’s unusual to have LSU football, basketball, and baseball all in one update, but such is the case today since fall baseball practice begins this Sunday. According to Tiger Rag, Coach Mainieri revealed yesterday that senior right-handed pitcher Caleb Gilbert underwent shoulder surgery this summer and will miss the six-week fall practice session. You’ll probably recall that Gilbert’s performance took a big step backward last season with decreased velocity and control. Apparently, this was related to some fraying in his shoulder. The hope is that with this surgery he can recover quickly and return to being the highly effective pitcher he was in the 2017 season’s College World Series run. Also, veteran reliever Matt Beck will miss fall practice due to elbow discomfort. Shortstop Josh Smith, who missed almost all of last season with a back injury, is 100% and will be a full participant in fall ball.

A Few Football “Extras” in Closing:

• Here’s an excellent LSU-Auburn film study by former Mississippi State quarterback, Matt Wyatt. This guy knows his stuff and does a great job of breaking down key plays in an easy to understand manner. 

• Guess who made the front page of the LA Times sports section? Cole Tracy, the kid who wasn't supposed to play Division I football, just made a dream come true.

• LSU will unveil a statue of the late Dr. Billy Cannon, the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner, on Friday, Sept. 28, the night before the Tigers host Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium. Read all about it here.

• Lastly, I’ve posted an unsolicited “Letter to the Editor” that I received yesterday from a longtime reader of this site. In it, Brad Nolan draws some interesting comparisons between this year’s LSU football team and the 2011 team that played for all the marbles. In posting this, I’m not suggesting that we at DandyDon are predicting the same outcome this season, but it’s certainly not out of the question, and the parallels make for an interesting read. 

Have a great day, Tiger Fans!





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9/20/18 5:30 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

In his two weekly speaking engagements, Coach Ed Orgeron spoke of his team and its upcoming game against LA Tech, which is set to kick off Saturday at 6:00 p.m. CT on ESPNU. Below is a rough summary of his comments from the SEC Teleconference, as well as our weekly recap of his radio call-in show. Then, for a little extra on the football front, be sure to see the tidbits at the end of this update.

COACH O SEC TELECONFERENCE

• Tight end Thaddeus Moss is set to make his Tiger debut this Saturday. He’s been out with an undisclosed injury, but Orgeron said he looks like he’ll be able to play this week. Thaddeus is, of course, the son of legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss, and the hope is that he’ll become a valuable component of LSU’s passing game. 

• Outside linebacker Ray Thornton, who was injured on the opening kickoff in the Auburn game, is also expected to return to action this Saturday. 

• Orgeron is happy with the evolution of LSU’s offense under OC Steve Ensminger and said they’re still finding out what some guys can do. They’re working toward becoming more of a spread offense, but that takes a while since LSU has been such a pro-style offense for so long.

COACH O SHOW RECAP: LA TECH WEEK

• At the beginning of the show, host Chris Blair asked Orgeron his thoughts on the game Joe Burrow had against Auburn. Orgeron was obviously happy with Burrow’s performance and was quick to credit the offensive line for much of his success since it gave up only one sack and gave Burrow time to throw. He also credited the receivers for making some tremendous catches, notably Dee Anderson, Stephen Sullivan, and Derrick Dillon. He ended by saying Burrow had a great surrounding cast and is a winner who plays 60 minutes. He gives everybody confidence and doesn’t choke.

• Jeff in Ponchatoula asked how Austin Deculus did in his first start of the season at right tackle. Orgeron said he’s proud of Deculus and that he had one of his better games. Orgeron knew he could go on the road and handle the job because he did it last year at Florida.

• Brett in Bossier City called to say last week’s Auburn win should be known as “The Assumption Game” since everyone assumed LSU would lose and it was a kicker from Assumption College who kicked the game-winner. Orgeron said he and his team certainly didn’t have that assumption and he wouldn’t call it that. 

Since the crew was having trouble with the phone lines, most of the remainder of the questions came from host Chris Blair and the live audience. 

• When Blair asked O about the O-line’s big game, Orgeron immediately gave props to offensive line coach James Cregg. He said Cregg had been taking some heat for the O-line play at Southeastern but that he’s a tireless worker who made great adjustments and had a great game plan for Auburn. Orgeron also had high praise for center Lloyd Cushenbury, saying he’s been more impressed with him than anyone and calling him the team’s most consistent player.

• When discussing the defense, Orgeron spoke of the unit doing a great job of limiting the big plays and also pointed to the big stop after the failed fake punt attempt, and the interception by Greedy Williams, as being critical moments in the game. Overall, it was a tremendous defensive effort, he said.

• From the live audience, the Evil Twin gave a spiel about the Sistine Chapel and turning the lights on in the Vatican and then asked two questions: What is Cole Tracy’s maximum distance on field goals and what is the injury status of Kristian Fulton. Orgeron said the answer to the first question is easy since Tracy’s 54-yarder against Miami hit the crossbar and went in. He added that they feel comfortable with Tracy at 50-53 yards. As for Fulton, he is hurt right now, but they do believe he will play this Saturday.

• Toward the end of the show, Blair asked Orgeron about so many people stepping up when their name was called. Orgeron agreed and praised OG Chasen Hines and OLB André Anthony for doing just that. Hines filled in when Garrett Brumfield was out with injury and did great. Likewise, Anthony stepped up after Ray Thornton went down on the first play of the game during the kickoff return. That injury led Orgeron to declare that Thornton won’t be used on special teams anymore. 

In basketball news, Coach Will Wade’s highly anticipated second season as LSU’s head coach will begin in just 48 days. Yesterday, the complete 2018-19 LSU basketball schedule was unveiled, complete with television coverage and start times. Non-conference play begins Tuesday, Nov. 6 against Southeastern LA and league play tips off on Jan. 8 with a home contest against Alabama at 8 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. Fans will have plenty of opportunities to see the Tigers in action as all 18 SEC games (home and away) and six non-conference games (Memphis, Incarnate Word at home, St. Mary’s in Las Vegas and the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando) will be available on the ESPN family of networks (SEC Network, ESPN/2/U) and the ESPN App. The Tigers return six players from a season ago to go along with four JUCO transfers and the No. 4 recruiting class in the country, which includes five-star forwards Naz Reid and Emmitt Williams, three-time Louisiana Mr. Basketball Ja'Vonte Smart, and four-star forward Darius Days. 

It’s unusual to have LSU football, basketball, and baseball all in one update, but such is the case today since fall baseball practice begins this Sunday. According to Tiger Rag, Coach Mainieri revealed yesterday that senior right-handed pitcher Caleb Gilbert underwent shoulder surgery this summer and will miss the six-week fall practice session. You’ll probably recall that Gilbert’s performance took a big step backward last season with decreased velocity and control. Apparently, this was related to some fraying in his shoulder. The hope is that with this surgery he can recover quickly and return to being the highly effective pitcher he was in the 2017 season’s College World Series run. Also, veteran reliever Matt Beck will miss fall practice due to elbow discomfort. Shortstop Josh Smith, who missed almost all of last season with a back injury, is 100% and will be a full participant in fall ball.

A Few Football “Extras” in Closing:

• Here’s an excellent LSU-Auburn film study by former Mississippi State quarterback, Matt Wyatt. This guy knows his stuff and does a great job of breaking down key plays in an easy to understand manner. 

• Guess who made the front page of the LA Times sports section? Cole Tracy, the kid who wasn't supposed to play Division I football, just made a dream come true.

• LSU will unveil a statue of the late Dr. Billy Cannon, the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner, on Friday, Sept. 28, the night before the Tigers host Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium. Read all about it here.

• Lastly, I’ve posted an unsolicited “Letter to the Editor” that I received yesterday from a longtime reader of this site. In it, Brad Nolan draws some interesting comparisons between this year’s LSU football team and the 2011 team that played for all the marbles. In posting this, I’m not suggesting that we at DandyDon are predicting the same outcome this season, but it’s certainly not out of the question, and the parallels make for an interesting read. 

Have a great day, Tiger Fans!

9/19/18 5:35 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Fresh off a monumental SEC West road win and a No. 6 national ranking, LSU will look to block out the noise and maintain mental focus when it hosts a good Louisiana Tech team this Saturday. The game is set to kickoff in Tiger Stadium at 6 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPNU. 

In terms of talent, depth, and size, LSU should dominate this game, but the Tigers can’t afford to think that way. It’s one thing to play as the hunter, as we saw in the Tigers’ wins over Miami and Auburn, and quite another to play as the hunted, as we saw in the Southeastern LA Game. And like the Lions of Southeastern, this LA Tech team (2-0) has plenty of playmakers and will enter the game with a Bulldog mentality that has led them to five consecutive wins including a 51-10 routing of SMU in last year’s Frisco Bowl. This season, the Bulldogs opened with wins over South Alabama and Southern and then had a bye week to rest up and prepare for this week’s game.

As we do each game week, today we’ll take a look at how the two teams stack up statistically and then share a few thoughts.

LSU-LA_Tech_Stats• It probably goes without saying that when the level of competition is so vastly different, one shouldn’t read too much into who has an edge based on statistical comparisons. Still, the numbers do reveal a bit about each team.

• Few teams have done a better job of staying balanced offensively than Louisiana Tech through the first two games of the season. The Bulldogs have run the football 53 percent of the time, while LSU is inching closer to a 50/50 balance with 60 percent of its plays going for runs. In the Auburn game, LSU ran the ball 42 times and threw it 35 times (55/45).

• In just two games, Louisiana Tech has allowed only 307 yards through the air. Some may point to Tech’s opponents being South Alabama and Southern University, and that’s a valid point, but those who watched the Bulldogs last season and this season know that Amik Robertson is one of the best cornerbacks in Conference USA. He can lock down one side of the field and will likely frustrate a couple of LSU receivers Saturday night. 

• If LSU had a couple of losses, fans would be irate about the Tigers having the least amount of yards per game in the SEC. They might also be concerned about Louisiana Tech’s whopping 526 yards per game average. But because LSU’s offense has made the plays when it mattered most and most importantly protected the football (+7 turnover margin), LSU’s 333.7 yards per game statistic hasn’t hurt the Tigers one bit.

• No doubt about it — LSU has to limit its penalties moving forward. After nine penalties against Auburn, including eight in the first half alone, the Tigers’ season total is up to 22 and LSU averages 79 penalty yards per game. That puts LSU second last in the conference in that department. Louisiana Tech has had better luck with drawing laundry. The Bulldogs are third in Conference USA with just 44.5 penalty yards per contest.     

• Two statistics that could ultimately define this game are the turnover margin and the sacks allowed. Louisiana Tech has allowed five sacks through two games this season, while LSU has averaged the most sacks per game in the SEC. Meanwhile, the Tigers have not committed a turnover all season long, while the Bulldogs have turned the football over five times. 

• The most surprising special teams statistic for the year might be LSU’s quiet 15 yards per punt return. After watching the games, you expect the Tigers to be near the top of the conference in field goal makes, etc. But Jonathan Giles has quietly been the fifth best punt returner in the conference. Louisiana Tech, on the other hand, is averaging a loss per punt return.     

In other football news, reports from multiple media sources including NOLA.com indicate that cornerback Kristian Fulton was the only projected starter who didn’t practice yesterday. You might recall that he exited Saturday’s game in the fourth quarter. Other players who exited the game or missed practices earlier this week, such as LT Saahdiq Charles, WR Derrick Dillon, DE Glen Logan, and OLB Ray Thornton all practiced, although Logan and Thornton were in gold no-contact jerseys. TE Thaddeus Moss practiced in pads for the first time in several weeks, which leaves us hopeful that he’ll see his first action of the season this Saturday.

While on the topic of football, LSU announced its 2019 football schedule yesterday. Highlights include a road trip to Texas, home games against Florida, Auburn, Arkansas and Texas A&M, and a cross-divisional matchup at Vanderbilt. Oh, and two open weeks which happen to fall right when the sac-a-lait should be biting in my favorite fishing hole ;) Here’s the school’s press release on the topic and the full schedule

Now for some news on the hoops front… Coach Will Wade secured a commitment yesterday from James Bishop of Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore, Md. Bishop (6-2, 170) is a three-star combo guard known mostly as a shooter and is ranked as the No. 2 player in the state of Maryland. He chose LSU over offers from St. John's, Colorado, Seton Hall, VCU, Marquette, and many others. I’m sure some out there may balk at his three-star ranking, but I fully trust Will Wade’s evaluation and look forward to seeing this young man in the purple and gold. Bishop is Wade’s first commitment for LSU’s 2019 class, which follows a 2018 class that ranks fourth in the nation.

I’ll leave you today with a look at USA Today’s first-quarter grades for college football, headlined by Alabama, LSU, and Southern California. They give our Tigers an A+ score and declare LSU as the biggest surprise in college football. 

Have a great day, Tiger Fans.



 

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