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LSU vs. Wisconsin at Lambeau Field - September 3rd, 2:30PM
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8/27/16 5:55 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans, 

JUST ONE MORE WEEK! That’s right, one week from today we’ll get to find out if this LSU football team is as good as we think it is when the Tigers step onto historic Lambeau Field to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. In case you’re wondering, I saw yesterday that LSU is currently a 10-point favorite in the game, according to OddShark.com. Next week, we’ll begin looking at how LSU compares to Wisconsin, what to watch for, and keys to victory, but until then let’s continue comparing the 2016 Tigers to last year’s team in order to get a better grip on the team’s strengths and weaknesses. I’ll just tell you now, there aren’t very many weaknesses on this years team and in almost every regard the Tigers are better positioned to make a championship run then they were last year when they jumped out to a 7-0 record and No. 2 ranking before faltering in November. You’ll notice I said “almost every regard,” and that’s because there is at least one position where I am not yet convinced the Tigers will be stronger than last year, as you’ll see below. As always, your comments and feedback are welcomed. 

2016 Tigers Position Analysis, Compared to 2015

OFFENSIVE LINE

LSU’s offensive line took the biggest hit of any position with the loss of starting tackles Jerald Hawkins and Vadal Alexander. Both of those guys are in the NFL this year, and their kind of talent and experience isn’t easy to replace. The Tigers will also be without tight end Dillon Gordon, who at 6-5, 308 was essentially another run-blocking O-lineman. The team took another hit upfront when last year’s starting left guard, Maea Teuhema, suffered an ankle injury and missed much of preseason camp before returning this week. Teuhema was projected to start again this season, but due to the practice time he missed he now finds himself No. 2 at right tackle on our unofficial depth chart behind Toby Weathersby. If Weathersby does, in fact, start there, only two of the Tigers’ five “big uglies” will be returning starters (not counting Weathersby, projected starting left tackle KJ Malone and projected starting right guard Josh Boutte, who each started one game last year). By comparison, the 2015 Tigers returned three starting O-linemen, plus tight end Gordon.

Conclusion: While the above seems to paint a somewhat grim picture of the Tigers’ O-line, it should be noted that LSU is very fortunate to return Ethan Pocic who is projected to play center but has the flexibility to fill in anywhere on the line, as well as their top run-blocker in left guard William Clapp. Both of these players were great last year and should be even better this season. And, even if three of LSU’s starting O-linemen this year are not returning “starters,” that doesn’t mean they don’t have considerable experience and talent. As mentioned above, Weathersby, Malone and Boutte each started one game last season and saw significant action. In fact, Malone has been a key reserve LT during each of the last two years. This one’s a hard call, but I’ll say: Slight advantage 2015 Tigers.

RUNNING BACK

It’s hard to imagine a team that finished first in the SEC in rushing and featured the nation’s leader in rushing yards per game could possibly be better this year at the running back position. But, the truth is it should be. Why? Well, because everyone returns. Leonard Fournette is back and seems to be in great shape despite suffering a minor ankle injury a couple of weeks ago. (As reported previously, Fournette returned to practice Thursday and was said to be fine.) Derrius Guice is also back for the Tigers this year and chomping at the bit to build on his average of 8.55 yards per carry, which was best in the SEC, third best in the nation, and considerably better than even Fournette’s average of 6.51 yards. Darrell Williams, whom I consider to be one of the most underrated and overshadowed players on the team, returns as well, as does sophomore Nick Brosette who came to LSU highly regarded but hasn’t yet had his time to shine, due in part to a season-ending knee injury he suffered against Ole Miss. While the return of all the aforementioned players would be plenty of reason to believe LSU will be stronger at the position, it gets even better. One of the key components to LSU’s running game is fullback JD Moore (this became plainly obvious when he went down to injury last year) and he’ll be back at full health this year to help pave the way for Fournette and company. His replacement last year, Bry'Kiethon Mouton, also returns to give LSU great depth at this critical position in LSU’s run-intensive offense. 

Conclusion: However you slice it, it’s clear to see that LSU is stronger at the running back position than last year, and that should be a scary thought for opposing defenses. Advantage 2016 Tigers.

Speaking of LSU’s elite running back unit, it should come as no surprise to you that the topic of today’s countdown to Game Day, which is at the 7-day mark, is No. 7 Leonard Fournette. Hailing from St. Augustine High School, Fournette was one of the most highly recruited players to come out of Louisiana and was regarded as the No. 1 player in the nation by the composite rankings of 247Sports. The New Orleans native started his collegiate career by rushing for 364 yards and four touchdowns in his first six games for an average of almost 61 yards per game. While that would be a great start for most freshmen, it was less than expected from the most-hyped recruit to ever sign with LSU. In the last seven games of his freshman campaign (six SEC and the bowl game), Leonard recorded four 100-yard rushing games, totaling 670 yards and six touchdowns. His total rushing yards of 1,034 broke the previous school record for most rushing yards by a freshman (1,001 by Justin Vincent in 2001).

Despite the great end to his first season, few could have expected his sophomore year to be so successful. Gaining over 100 rushing yards in each of his first seven games, including an LSU record three consecutive games of 200 or more yards, Fournette tied the school record for most consecutive 100-yard rushing games (nine including the last two of 2014) and became the fastest player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards, reaching 1,022 in his first five contests. Despite playing just 12 games because of the cancellation of the McNeese State contest, Fournette came within 47 yards of reaching 2,000. His 1,953 yards obliterated Charles Alexander’s single-season record of 1,686 set in 1977, a record that stood for almost 40 years. Fournette set several other single-season school records, including most rushing touchdowns (22), rushing yards per game (162.8), 200-yard rushing games (4), 100-yard rushing games (10), and consecutive 150-yard rushing games (7). In just two seasons, Fournette is already fourth all-time in rushing yards (2,987), trailing legendary running backs Charles Alexander (4,035), Dalton Hilliard (4,050) and Kevin Faulk (4,557).

Assuming he stays healthy, all signs point to Fournette becoming LSU’s all-time rushing leader (he needs 1,571 yards) and all-time rushing touchdowns leader (he needs 15 touchdowns). He’s also likely to set numerous other school and SEC records and is the leading candidate to become LSU’s first Heisman Award winner since Billy Cannon in 1959. Here’s wishing Fournette another year for the history books.

Check out Fournette’s Video Highlights to get your weekend started right!

Before closing out, I have some sad news to pass along on the high school football front: Last night, LSU quarterback commit Lowell Narcisse tore his left ACL in St. James’ jamboree. That’s really tough luck for the young man. Last year, he tore his right ACL in the spring and didn’t return to action until the playoffs when he helped lead the Wildcats to the Class 3A state championship game. 

A few interesting Reader Comments in closing:

Reader Comments: Scott, here’s something to share with your readers. Athlon Sports has ranked the Top 40 players in college football and LSU is very well represented with 7 picks. It should come as no surprise to Tiger fans that Fournette is No. 1! I’m feeling it Scott, the time is now!

Note: The following Reader Comment and cool interactive map is from DandyDon.com reader Jake Sharpless of Rukkus.com:

Reader Comments: Hey Scott, I just pulled some numbers specific to LSU and found that a whopping 67% of the players on the current roster come from in-state. The only other state besides for Louisiana that has more than five players at LSU is the state of Texas, which has 16 players on the current roster. Just goes to show how incredible the talent in the state Louisiana is. 

I put together a map of just the current LSU roster here

Even though I knew they had a very local roster, I was surprised to see that LSU didn't have a single player from the west coast on their current roster and only one player from west of Texas. They, along with Mississippi State and Auburn, are the only three teams in the SEC without a player from California on their current roster.

Reader Comments: Our Bayou Bengal Booster Club of Mississippi, Incorporated (a satellite chapter of the Tiger Athletic Foundation in Baton Rouge, LA), extends a special invitation to all LSU fans in the Central Mississippi area to share in our club’s 34th Birthday Celebration on Monday, August 29, 2016. Quite an accomplishment considering we live in Rebel and Dawg country!

Our new meeting place is the PIG SKIN GRILLE, located in THE TRACE PLAZA SHOPPING CENTER, 500 Hwy, 51, Ridgeland, Miss., at 6:00 p.m. (just north of the Natchez Trace Bridge). 

Birthday cake follows a “Dutch Treat” meal of choice. Sharing our own fond memories plus new ideas and thoughts from our many members and guests is followed by two (2) very SPECIAL GUESTS spending their time with us by phone:

(1) Michael Bonnette, LSU Sports Information Director
(2) Scott Long, Owner of DandyDon’s LSU Sporting News

These two special guests will provide us with the most “up-to-date” LSU football information prior to the Badger “Kick-off!”

We are also very proud to announce that our Club is the source by which over $250,000.00 in funds were generated by our Mississippi LSU fans buying Mississippi vehicle tags which is routed to the BLAIR BATSON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL to help with children’s needs.

We need a head count. Email us at: wbhulsey36@gmail.com


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8/27/16 5:55 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans, 

JUST ONE MORE WEEK! That’s right, one week from today we’ll get to find out if this LSU football team is as good as we think it is when the Tigers step onto historic Lambeau Field to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. In case you’re wondering, I saw yesterday that LSU is currently a 10-point favorite in the game, according to OddShark.com. Next week, we’ll begin looking at how LSU compares to Wisconsin, what to watch for, and keys to victory, but until then let’s continue comparing the 2016 Tigers to last year’s team in order to get a better grip on the team’s strengths and weaknesses. I’ll just tell you now, there aren’t very many weaknesses on this years team and in almost every regard the Tigers are better positioned to make a championship run then they were last year when they jumped out to a 7-0 record and No. 2 ranking before faltering in November. You’ll notice I said “almost every regard,” and that’s because there is at least one position where I am not yet convinced the Tigers will be stronger than last year, as you’ll see below. As always, your comments and feedback are welcomed. 

2016 Tigers Position Analysis, Compared to 2015

OFFENSIVE LINE

LSU’s offensive line took the biggest hit of any position with the loss of starting tackles Jerald Hawkins and Vadal Alexander. Both of those guys are in the NFL this year, and their kind of talent and experience isn’t easy to replace. The Tigers will also be without tight end Dillon Gordon, who at 6-5, 308 was essentially another run-blocking O-lineman. The team took another hit upfront when last year’s starting left guard, Maea Teuhema, suffered an ankle injury and missed much of preseason camp before returning this week. Teuhema was projected to start again this season, but due to the practice time he missed he now finds himself No. 2 at right tackle on our unofficial depth chart behind Toby Weathersby. If Weathersby does, in fact, start there, only two of the Tigers’ five “big uglies” will be returning starters (not counting Weathersby, projected starting left tackle KJ Malone and projected starting right guard Josh Boutte, who each started one game last year). By comparison, the 2015 Tigers returned three starting O-linemen, plus tight end Gordon.

Conclusion: While the above seems to paint a somewhat grim picture of the Tigers’ O-line, it should be noted that LSU is very fortunate to return Ethan Pocic who is projected to play center but has the flexibility to fill in anywhere on the line, as well as their top run-blocker in left guard William Clapp. Both of these players were great last year and should be even better this season. And, even if three of LSU’s starting O-linemen this year are not returning “starters,” that doesn’t mean they don’t have considerable experience and talent. As mentioned above, Weathersby, Malone and Boutte each started one game last season and saw significant action. In fact, Malone has been a key reserve LT during each of the last two years. This one’s a hard call, but I’ll say: Slight advantage 2015 Tigers.

RUNNING BACK

It’s hard to imagine a team that finished first in the SEC in rushing and featured the nation’s leader in rushing yards per game could possibly be better this year at the running back position. But, the truth is it should be. Why? Well, because everyone returns. Leonard Fournette is back and seems to be in great shape despite suffering a minor ankle injury a couple of weeks ago. (As reported previously, Fournette returned to practice Thursday and was said to be fine.) Derrius Guice is also back for the Tigers this year and chomping at the bit to build on his average of 8.55 yards per carry, which was best in the SEC, third best in the nation, and considerably better than even Fournette’s average of 6.51 yards. Darrell Williams, whom I consider to be one of the most underrated and overshadowed players on the team, returns as well, as does sophomore Nick Brosette who came to LSU highly regarded but hasn’t yet had his time to shine, due in part to a season-ending knee injury he suffered against Ole Miss. While the return of all the aforementioned players would be plenty of reason to believe LSU will be stronger at the position, it gets even better. One of the key components to LSU’s running game is fullback JD Moore (this became plainly obvious when he went down to injury last year) and he’ll be back at full health this year to help pave the way for Fournette and company. His replacement last year, Bry'Kiethon Mouton, also returns to give LSU great depth at this critical position in LSU’s run-intensive offense. 

Conclusion: However you slice it, it’s clear to see that LSU is stronger at the running back position than last year, and that should be a scary thought for opposing defenses. Advantage 2016 Tigers.

Speaking of LSU’s elite running back unit, it should come as no surprise to you that the topic of today’s countdown to Game Day, which is at the 7-day mark, is No. 7 Leonard Fournette. Hailing from St. Augustine High School, Fournette was one of the most highly recruited players to come out of Louisiana and was regarded as the No. 1 player in the nation by the composite rankings of 247Sports. The New Orleans native started his collegiate career by rushing for 364 yards and four touchdowns in his first six games for an average of almost 61 yards per game. While that would be a great start for most freshmen, it was less than expected from the most-hyped recruit to ever sign with LSU. In the last seven games of his freshman campaign (six SEC and the bowl game), Leonard recorded four 100-yard rushing games, totaling 670 yards and six touchdowns. His total rushing yards of 1,034 broke the previous school record for most rushing yards by a freshman (1,001 by Justin Vincent in 2001).

Despite the great end to his first season, few could have expected his sophomore year to be so successful. Gaining over 100 rushing yards in each of his first seven games, including an LSU record three consecutive games of 200 or more yards, Fournette tied the school record for most consecutive 100-yard rushing games (nine including the last two of 2014) and became the fastest player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards, reaching 1,022 in his first five contests. Despite playing just 12 games because of the cancellation of the McNeese State contest, Fournette came within 47 yards of reaching 2,000. His 1,953 yards obliterated Charles Alexander’s single-season record of 1,686 set in 1977, a record that stood for almost 40 years. Fournette set several other single-season school records, including most rushing touchdowns (22), rushing yards per game (162.8), 200-yard rushing games (4), 100-yard rushing games (10), and consecutive 150-yard rushing games (7). In just two seasons, Fournette is already fourth all-time in rushing yards (2,987), trailing legendary running backs Charles Alexander (4,035), Dalton Hilliard (4,050) and Kevin Faulk (4,557).

Assuming he stays healthy, all signs point to Fournette becoming LSU’s all-time rushing leader (he needs 1,571 yards) and all-time rushing touchdowns leader (he needs 15 touchdowns). He’s also likely to set numerous other school and SEC records and is the leading candidate to become LSU’s first Heisman Award winner since Billy Cannon in 1959. Here’s wishing Fournette another year for the history books.

Check out Fournette’s Video Highlights to get your weekend started right!

Before closing out, I have some sad news to pass along on the high school football front: Last night, LSU quarterback commit Lowell Narcisse tore his left ACL in St. James’ jamboree. That’s really tough luck for the young man. Last year, he tore his right ACL in the spring and didn’t return to action until the playoffs when he helped lead the Wildcats to the Class 3A state championship game. 

A few interesting Reader Comments in closing:

Reader Comments: Scott, here’s something to share with your readers. Athlon Sports has ranked the Top 40 players in college football and LSU is very well represented with 7 picks. It should come as no surprise to Tiger fans that Fournette is No. 1! I’m feeling it Scott, the time is now!

Note: The following Reader Comment and cool interactive map is from DandyDon.com reader Jake Sharpless of Rukkus.com:

Reader Comments: Hey Scott, I just pulled some numbers specific to LSU and found that a whopping 67% of the players on the current roster come from in-state. The only other state besides for Louisiana that has more than five players at LSU is the state of Texas, which has 16 players on the current roster. Just goes to show how incredible the talent in the state Louisiana is. 

I put together a map of just the current LSU roster here

Even though I knew they had a very local roster, I was surprised to see that LSU didn't have a single player from the west coast on their current roster and only one player from west of Texas. They, along with Mississippi State and Auburn, are the only three teams in the SEC without a player from California on their current roster.

Reader Comments: Our Bayou Bengal Booster Club of Mississippi, Incorporated (a satellite chapter of the Tiger Athletic Foundation in Baton Rouge, LA), extends a special invitation to all LSU fans in the Central Mississippi area to share in our club’s 34th Birthday Celebration on Monday, August 29, 2016. Quite an accomplishment considering we live in Rebel and Dawg country!

Our new meeting place is the PIG SKIN GRILLE, located in THE TRACE PLAZA SHOPPING CENTER, 500 Hwy, 51, Ridgeland, Miss., at 6:00 p.m. (just north of the Natchez Trace Bridge). 

Birthday cake follows a “Dutch Treat” meal of choice. Sharing our own fond memories plus new ideas and thoughts from our many members and guests is followed by two (2) very SPECIAL GUESTS spending their time with us by phone:

(1) Michael Bonnette, LSU Sports Information Director
(2) Scott Long, Owner of DandyDon’s LSU Sporting News

These two special guests will provide us with the most “up-to-date” LSU football information prior to the Badger “Kick-off!”

We are also very proud to announce that our Club is the source by which over $250,000.00 in funds were generated by our Mississippi LSU fans buying Mississippi vehicle tags which is routed to the BLAIR BATSON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL to help with children’s needs.

We need a head count. Email us at: wbhulsey36@gmail.com

8/26/16 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

We’ll start today’s update by congratulating the 13 Tigers who made the 2016 Preseason Coaches All-SEC Football Teams. LSU’s 13 selectees speak volumes about the amount of talent on this year’s team and were matched only by Alabama who also had 13. Interestingly, LSU and Alabama tied for the most players selected last season as well, with ten apiece. Making the first team for the 2016 Tigers were Leonard Fournette and Ethan Pocic on offense, and Kendell Beckwith and TréDavious White on defense. William Clapp, Malachi Dupre, Davon Godchaux, Arden Key and Jamal Adams made the second team, while Brandon Harris, Derrius Guice, Travin Dural and Lewis Neal made the third team. I have no problem with the selections other than the fact that Jamal Adams didn’t make the first team. I predict that will provide extra motivation for him this year and that he’ll end up having an All-American season. 

Seeing that LSU has three more preseason All-SEC selections than last year gave me the idea to start a new series today in which we compare each position on the 2016 team to the 2015 Tigers. We’ll start with the quarterback and offensive line, and then we’ll continue with two or three more positions each day. As always, your comments and feedback are welcomed.

2016 Tigers Position Analysis, Compared to 2015

QUARTERBACK

Last year, Harris started strong and then hit a big snag in November when LSU suffered three straight losses. It’s debatable as to how much of the blame for the losses can be placed on Harris’ play, but it became plainly obvious when the Tigers’ running game was stopped that the team’s short to intermediate passing game was not where it needed to be. This year, Harris has a year of experience as a full-time starter and also has his top two receivers returning. He should also benefit from the hiring of Dameyune Craig (a former record-setting quarterback) as the team’s wide receiver coach, and from having offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on the sideline. Lastly, LSU has a capable backup quarterback in Purdue-transfer Danny Etling, although I wouldn’t expect him to see any action unless Harris sustains an injury (God forbid) or really falters big-time. 

Conclusion: There are plenty of reasons to believe the quarterback position should be significantly improved. If it is, this Tiger team could have all the pieces to make a championship run. Advantage 2016 Tigers.

WIDE RECEIVER

This is a position group that has lost four players since last season – not to graduation or the NFL, but to transfer. First Trey Quinn and John Diarse left, and then Kevin Spears and Tyron Johnson followed suit. There are a couple of ways to look at this. On one hand, this could be seen as a sign that LSU is loaded with talent at the position. Most of the guys who left recognized that playing time could be hard to come by with Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre returning, as well as veterans DJ Chark, Jazz Ferguson, Derrick Dillon and highly-touted freshmen Drake Davis, Stephen Sullivan and Dee Anderson waiting in the wings. But on the other hand, one could see this as a situation where LSU only returns two receivers who registered a reception last season. Both points of view are valid and telling. So, is this group of receivers stronger than last year’s? That’s a hard call to make.

Conclusion: With Dural and Dupré back with an added year of experience, and with much more height as a unit than in recent years, and with a new wide receiver coach in Dameyune Craig, I’m going to give the edge to this year’s Tigers. But with experienced depth being a concern, it will be important for A) this unit to remain healthy, and for B) someone to step up and become that go-to third receiver. With regard to the latter, I look for DJ Chark to answer the call. Advantage 2016 Tigers.

Stay tuned as tomorrow we’ll look at the offensive line and running backs…

Sticking to the topic of football, the Tigers returned to the practice field yesterday and players spoke to the media afterward. I wasn’t there and didn’t pick up much info online, but I did see this one article by my friend Jim Kleinpeter of NOLA.com which made me feel good. In it, Jim cites guard Josh Boutte as saying Leonard Fournette returned to practice yesterday and looked amazing. Fournette missed several practices after suffering a minor ankle injury a couple of weeks ago but was said to be faster than ever yesterday after resting up.

Before closing out with our Countdown to Game Day, there’s a little news to pass along on the baseball front as LSU picked up a commitment this week from  2017 shortstop Hal Hughes. Hughes is from Norman, Oklahoma, and what makes his commitment particularly interesting is that he's the son of Oklahoma’s head baseball coach, Pete Hughes. According to PerfectGame, LSU now has 17 baseball commitments for 2017.

Now let’s close out today’s report with our countdown to LSU football’s season opener, which is only eight days away, by looking at a recent Tiger who wore No. 8 - quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Mettenberger came to LSU with huge expectations after throwing for 2,678 yards, 32 touchdowns and just four interceptions in 12 games for Butler Community College. The Watkinsville, Georgia native played sparingly in 2011 as a third stringer, completing 8-of-11 passes for 92 yards, which included a touchdown pass against Northwestern State. As a junior in 2012, Mettenberger took over the starting role for the Tigers but struggled in many games. In fact, he only passed for over 200 yards in two of his first eight contests, and both were non-conference games. He did, however, save his best game of the season for week nine against Alabama, passing for 298 yards and a TD. Mettenberger carried that momentum into the final three regular season games and passed for over 200 yards in each contest. On the season, he finished with 2,609 passing yards, 12 TDs and seven interceptions. The passing yards were good for sixth all-time for a single season. Mettenberger had an even better senior year, becoming just the third quarterback to pass for over 3,000 yards (3,082 - 3rd all-time) with 22 passing TDs and eight interceptions. Unfortunately, his college career ended early with a season-ending knee injury in the season finale vs Arkansas.  Mettenberger finished his LSU career with 5,783 passing yards (6th all-time) and 35 passing TDs (5th all-time) and posted a 19-6 mark as a starter. Check out this great highlight video that shows many of the outstanding plays Mettenberger made during his career as a Tiger.

Despite his knee injury, Mettenberger was drafted in the 6th round by the Tennessee Titans and ended up seeing much more playing time than expected as a rookie, starting six games and passing for 1,412 yards, eight TDs and seven interceptions before missing the final three games with a shoulder injury. Serving as a backup last season, Mett was able to start several games due to Marcus Mariota’s injuries and passed for 935 yards, completing 60.8% of his passes. After being waived by the Titans on May 16th of this year, the Chargers claimed him off waivers the following day and he is now competing for a roster spot with San Diego. Here’s wishing Mett all the best in earning a third year in the NFL.

Last but not least, I want to point out that I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange with several new listings.

8/25/16 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Last night, I had the pleasure of listening to the first Les Miles Radio Show of the season and really enjoyed the familiarity of it all. As I’ve done for the last several years, I’ll give you a brief recap of each week’s show this season, starting today. Here we go…

The first caller of the night was Sadie from Denton, Texas, and she asked Coach Miles to name a player on offense, defense and special teams to keep an eye on. Miles’ selections were running back Derrius Guice, linebacker Kendell Beckwith and kicker Connor Culp. What I found particularly interesting and encouraging were Miles’s comments on Culp when he said that during a recent scrimmage, in pouring down “sideways rain,” the freshmen kicker booted a kickoff way out of the end zone. After seeing how LSU struggled on kickoffs and kickoff coverage last season, that was great to hear.   

The second caller of the night was none other than previous Voice of the Tigers, Jim Hawthorne. After fielding questions about his experience in the recent flood, Hawthorne commended Chris Blair on the job he is doing and wished him the best of luck. He then said he’s looking forward to taking in the Wisconsin game from the comfort of his home and making it out to the Missouri game where there will be a little presentation he’s excited about.

Before taking the next caller, Miles and Blair talked a bit about the quarterback position. Miles said Harris has enough experience to know exactly what to do and what is expected of him, and that Danny Etling has achieved a certain comfort level. In summary, Miles said the team is much better at the position.

Next up on the phone lines was Richard from Colfax who asked whether Coach Miles’ team can “sustain” and make Tiger fans happy this year. Miles answered affirmatively and said he’s really excited about this team.

Rickey from Birmingham reminded everyone that during last year’s show before the A&M game he stated that rumors of Miles' demise were greatly exaggerated. He then asked Coach Miles about the intensity and attention to detail needed for a big road game like the one coming up in Wisconsin. Miles said the team’s intensity has been very good, adding that they’ve practiced hard and have prepared what seems to be a very capable game plan.

Next was a guy named Tate who asked about defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s off-the-field personality and how he connects with the players. Miles described Aranda as a quality teacher who gives the “why” and explains things more fully than some other coaches, and said the players really like that.

In a bit of a change indicative of the times we live in, the next question was taken from a fan on Twitter who asked Miles to compare Travonté Valentine to a previous player. Miles said it’s hard to make a comparison since Valentine hasn’t yet taken a snap in a game, then added that Valentine has the ability to move very quickly for a man his size.

From the live audience, Margie asked about the linebackers and how they’re progressing. Miles described the group as one of the fastest units on the team. Beckwith and Duke Riley were named as starters in the middle, while the outside linebackers were said to be Arden Key (at the Buck position) and either Michael Divinity or Tashawn Bower (at the F position). Miles noted that the slowest of the aforementioned players runs a 4.6 forty.

Next up to the microphone was a longtime supporter and super fan, the Big Ragoo. He asked about the new replay system and how it’s going to operate. Miles said there will be three experts in a booth in Alabama that will be able to look at exactly what’s going on on the field. They won’t actually make calls (the ultimate decision will be left to the in-stadium replay official), but will be there to collaborate and confirm good decisions. Miles said he believes it will be a good thing for the game and that he can’t imagine any coach disagreeing.

Genie from New Orleans reiterated how LSU football means so much to the people of Louisiana and gives us something else to focus on and look forward to during these difficult times. Miles said his players recognize the importance in playing well and look forward to doing so.

On a related note, Gene from Bogalusa asked what the team will be doing moving forward to help victims of the flood who are in dire need. Miles started by saying LSU president King Alexander did a great job of making facilities available on campus for shelter, and that the school will continue to do what it can. He added that as for the football team, it’s quite an undertaking to play championship football, go to school and volunteer extra time, but that one thing they can do is help return a sense of normalcy when they take to the field each Saturday. Amen to that.

The last caller of the night was Josh from Vidalia who asked about the running game and whether we will see a reduction in the gap between Leonard Fournette’s carries (300 last year) and Guice’s carries (51 last year). Miles said he’s not ready to say he’ll give the ball to Fournette any less, but that Guice is a tremendous back and their running game will be fine.

All in all, it was an enjoyable show. For me, it was a bit different to take it in from my patio instead of from my now-gutted office where I’ve enjoyed just about every show for the last five years, and it was a little odd hearing Hawthorne as a caller instead of the host, but I must say that the show did indeed help restore a bit of much-needed normalcy in my life, and for that I’m grateful. Oh, and Chris Blair is a heck of a host. 

While football is obviously the hot topic on Tiger fans’ minds right now, there is some baseball news to pass along as LSU has released its 2017 roster and schedule. Much like in football, the Tigers will field one of their most experienced baseball teams ever this season with the return of eight starting position players, including four who were drafted in the MLB draft but elected to return to LSU (senior left-handed pitcher Jared Poché, senior shortstop Kramer Robertson, senior second baseman Cole Freeman and junior first baseman Greg Deichmann). The Tigers also return some very talented pitchers including senior left-hander Poché, All-American junior right-hander Alex Lange and senior right-handed closer Hunter Newman, who led the Tigers with eight saves last season. Other returning veteran pitchers include senior right-handers Russell Reynolds, Collin Strall and Alden Cartwright, junior right-handers Doug Norman and Austin Bain, and sophomore right-handers Caleb Gilbert and Cole McKay. Mainieri said he is hopeful that Cartwright and redshirt freshman left-hander Nick Bush will be healthy this spring after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. 

This veteran-laden team will be bolstered by a highly regarded 2016 signing class of  13 newcomers, including four who were picked in the MLB draft but decided to play at LSU instead. For more on each of these signees, including brief bios, please click here

As for LSU’s 2017 baseball schedule, it’s a doozy. On it are 11 teams that advanced to NCAA regionals last season. “We’re going to play 22 games against teams that were in regionals last season, and that’s 40 percent of our schedule,” Mainieri explained. “Within that number, there are six Super Regional teams from last year and three that played in the College World Series. Of course, every weekend in the 30-game SEC schedule is grueling,  and we have some very attractive non-conference match-ups. I think our fans will enjoy watching us compete against some outstanding clubs throughout the year.” The non-conference schedule is highlighted by a trip to Houston’s Minute Maid Park for the Shriners Hospitals College Classic, as the Tigers will face TCU, Baylor and Texas Tech March 3-5. The Tigers open SEC play on March 17, when LSU plays host to Georgia in Game 1 of a three-game SEC series in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. 

Now let’s jump back to football and close out today’s report with our countdown to Game Day, which, believe it or not, has already reached single digits. That’s right, folks, LSU football season is only nine days away, and with that in mind today we’ll take a look at a special former Tiger who wore No. 9 – Devery Henderson. Henderson grew up in Opelousas, LA and starred at Opelousas High in football and in track and field. At LSU, Henderson remained a two-sport Athlete and was a member of LSU’s 2001 National Champion Indoor Track and Field team as well as the 2003 National Championship Football team. After beginning his LSU football days as a running back, Henderson transitioned to a wide receiver and ended his career by leading the SEC in single-season TD receptions with 11 in his senior year. Henderson was on the receiving end of one of the most memorable plays in school history when he hauled in a 75-yard TD pass from Marcus Randall as time expired to beat Kentucky in 2002. The play was dubbed “The Bluegrass Miracle” and was named the AP Play of the Year. You can relive the memory here by watching this video. After graduating from LSU, Henderson was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2004 NFL draft by the New Orleans where he remained until 2012. In 2009, Henderson had seven catches for 63 yards when the Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.

Lastly, please note that I will be updating our Ticket Exchange later today. If you have tickets for sale and would like me to add your listing, or if you have a listing that you would like me to remove, please let me know

 

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