NCAA Baseball Championships:
DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.
12/13/13 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
’Tis the season for postseason awards and yesterday they continued to trickle in for LSU as cornerback TréDavious White was named to the Freshman All-SEC Team by the league’s coaches. In my opinion, White is very deserving of the honor, but I find it mildly surprising that he was the only Tiger selected considering the year that Colby Delahoussaye had and the fact that a good argument could be made for Rashard Robinson having just as good a season as White. In the online poll that I conducted a few days ago asking you to name the freshman who had the greatest impact on the LSU team this season, Delahoussaye received 35.6% of the votes, followed by Robinson with 24.5% and White with 17.9%. I find it particularly interesting that Delahoussaye didn’t make the team considering that he made 92.9% of his field goals. Instead, South Carolina’s Elliott Fry, who made 83.3% of his field goals, was the coaches’ selection.
As promised, today we’ll conclude this week’s series of online polls by asking, “Who Was the Best Surprise on the 2013 LSU Football Team?” Considering the transformation of Zach Mettenberger, the play of several true freshmen including the aforementioned cornerbacks, and the late emergence of Terrance Magee, this will probably be a difficult vote for many. Please click here to cast your vote.
In prep football news, hats off to John Curtis for winning their 26th state title last night with a 32-0 shutout of U-High in the Division II state championship. Also, congratulations to Calvary Baptist for winning the Division III title with a 62-7 thumping of Hannan, and to Rummel for winning the Division I title with a 23-22 win over Byrd. Coach Les Miles was in attendance for the University Lab vs. John Curtis game to see his son, Manny, who plays quarterback for U-High. Usually Coach Miles doesn’t attend the state playoff games because doing so normally counts towards his allowed number of recruiting visits, but last night Miles was exempt from that rule because of his son’s participation. While there, Miles was able to see several players who are likely to be on his Tiger team, and I'm sure he had to come away very impressed with the play of 2014 linebacker target Kenny Young and 2015 running back commit Nick Brossette who were named MVPs of the game.
Speaking of recruits, here's a great article on LSU commit Trey Quinn that I encourage all of you to read. It’s called, “The Ultimate Honor,” and it tells the story of Quinn playing in the Army All-American Bowl as a way to honor his cousin who died in action in Afghanistan. It's a great read that says a lot about the kind of young man Quinn is and the type of family he comes from.
In other news, USA Today published this interesting list of college football assistant coaches’ salaries which shows that LSU's combined staff is the highest paid in the nation. With a salary of $1,116,667, defensive coordinator John Chavis is LSU’s highest paid assistant and the third highest in the country behind Clemson’s Chad Morris and Alabama’s Kirby Smart. Runnings backs coach and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson is second on the LSU staff at $616,667, followed by offensive coordinator Cam Cameron at $600,000, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa at $530,334, defensive line coach Brick Haley at $448,467, defensive backs coach Corey Raymond and special teams coach Thomas McGaughey at $326, 667, wide receiver coach Adam Henry at $320,000 and tight ends coach Steve Ensminger at $280,334. Barring any unexpected departures, LSU’s staff will break the $5,000,000 mark next year as Chavis and Cameron are each scheduled to make $1.3 in 2014. Cameron also was paid by his former employer this year, the Baltimore Ravens.
Lastly, I'd like to thank those of you who have already contributed to our annual fundraiser. If you haven’t yet done so, and you appreciate the work that goes into producing these daily doses of Tiger News, please click here and consider donating today.
Reader comments: Scott, here is a good read on the top college jobs for recruiting. LSU is at #3.
12/12/13 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Yesterday I heard from a lot of Tiger Fans who are excited about LSU getting a commitment from Darrell Williams, not only because he's a great back, but because it had been 70 days since LSU had picked up a commitment. Barring a major surprise, LSU won’t have to wait much longer to pick up another big-time commit as linebacker Clifton Garrett of Illinois will be announcing his school of choice Tuesday the 17th, and all indications point to it being LSU. Getting Garrett's verbal would really invigorate this recruiting class, but it won’t be until a couple weeks later that things really heat up during the Under Armour All-America game. Six of the Tigers top-targets are expected to announce their schools of choice during the game which will be broadcast to a national audience at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN. The six include Leonard Fournette, Tony Brown, Speedy Noil, Malachi Dupre, Gerald Willis and Jamal Adams. Seeing several of these young men don an LSU cap would be the best publicity possible for LSU in terms of assuring the nation that LSU is an elite program with a very bright future, especially if freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings leads LSU to a victory in the Outback Bowl the day before. One way or another, we should have a much better feel for the future of LSU football come January 3rd.
Starting tonight, many of Louisiana’s top prospects will be at the Superdome for the final round of the LHSAA state playoffs. Below is the complete schedule of championship games. Of particular interest to LSU fans will be this afternoon’s 4:30 game between University Lab and John Curtis. U-High features three LSU commits in Garrett Brumfield (2014 OG), Nick Brossette (2015 RB) and Dylan Moses (2017 ATH). John Curtis features LSU targets Kenny Young (2014 LB) and Malachi Dupre (2014 WR). Saturday’s 4:00 game will feature LSU commit Donnie Alexander (2014 LB) and LSU target Speedy Noil (2014 WR) for Edna Karr, while the late game that night will feature 2014 quarterback commit/signee Brandon Harris for Parkway.
Louisiana High School Football Association Championship Games
Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013:
12:30 p.m. - Division III State Championship - Archbishop Hannan vs. Calvary Baptist
4:30 p.m. - Division II State Championship - John Curtis vs. University Lab
8:30 p.m. - Division I State Championship - Archbishop Rummel vs. Byrd
Friday, Dec. 13, 2013:
12:30 p.m. - Class 1A State Championship - Haynesville vs. Mangham
4:30 p.m. – Class 2A State Championship - Many vs. Kinder
8:30 p.m. – Class 3A State Championship - Livonia vs. Union Parish
Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013:
12 p.m. - Division IV - Vermilion Catholic vs. St. Frederick
4 p.m. – Class 4A State Championship - East Jefferson vs. Edna Karr
8 p.m. – Class 5A State Championship - Acadiana vs. Parkway
Tickets are currently on sale to the public and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s Box Office. Pricing information can be found at the LHSAA website.
On a related note, those of you participating in our LA Prep Football Pickem have until 10 a.m. today to make your picks.
In other football news, yesterday I asked you to vote for LSU’s top freshman in 2013, and placekicker Colby Delahoussaye won by a considerable margin. Delahoussaye received 35.6% of the votes, followed by cornerbacks Rashard Robinson (24.5%) and Tre'Davious White (17.9%). Following in the footsteps of Drew Alleman, Delahoussaye had some awfully big shoes to fill. In the preseason, I listed placekicking as one of the team’s major question areas, but Delahoussaye quickly put those worries to rest by going 3-for-3 in field goal attempts in the season opener against TCU. Throughout the season, the New Iberia native remained incredibly consistent, making 13 or 14 field goals attempted (92.9%) and 53 of 54 PATs (98.1%). Interestingly, back in February when I asked you to vote on “which LSU football signee(s) will make the biggest impact in the 2013 season,” the largest vote getters were DE/LB Kendell Beckwith, DE Frank Herron, and White. (Colby Delahoussaye wasn’t on the ballot because he is a redshirt freshman). Tomorrow I'll conclude our series of polls by asking you to vote on the biggest surprise player of 2013.
In football coaching news, I've received countless emails about the rumors of Nick Saban to Texas. As of now, here’s all I know. There are numerous unofficial reports that Mack Brown will be stepping down from the Texas head coaching job by the end of the week. There are also reports stating that Nick Saban has had a contract extension on his desk for almost a week now, and the longer it remains unsigned the more uncomfortable Alabama officials become. One thing is certain, Saban will be get a whole lot of money out of this deal - either by moving on to Texas or by accepting Alabama's new contract extension. Stay tuned, Tiger Fans. This could get interesting.
In basketball news, LSU’s men will return to action Saturday night at the PMAC to take on ULM at 7 p.m. in a game that will be televised by Cox Sports Television. The game will also be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle 98.1 FM) and in the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net. The Tigers have been juggling practice schedules ever since returning from Florida and the Old Spice Classic and haven’t played since the 70-68 win over Butler in overtime in the third place contest. The ULM game starts a series of five games, four at home, that will lead the Tigers into the start of SEC play on Tuesday, Jan. 7, against Tennessee. Tickets for home games, including all SEC games with the exception of Kentucky, are available at LSUtix.net as well as mini-plans that can be used throughout the season.
Coach Johnny Jones met with the media Wednesday afternoon prior to practice and here are some of his comments:
“We’re really excited this week about getting back into as close of our regular routine as we possibly can with finals going on prior to our game on Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe. Louisiana-Monroe is a team that is sitting there at 3-1. Their lone loss came against a very good Kansas basketball team, and they played Kansas extremely well for the first half and made their runs there in the second half as well.
“I thought our guys did a tremendous job at the tournament in Orlando. I thought it served a great purpose for us in the parameter in terms of where we are in this early part of the season. As a basketball coach, I was excited to have an opportunity to go into the venue that we went into and play against three challenging basketball teams. Having three games in four days was a good experience for our guys, and I thought overall they played really well, especially considering the circumstances. A new basketball team with a lot of new guys – we are asking to play certain roles, and I thought our guys did a great job. Even after a setback in the second game, I thought they did an excellent job coming back against a very good Butler basketball team. They had to concentrate and focus throughout against that team and make the necessary plays down the stretch to have an opportunity to win that basketball game.
“It’s been tough on this 14-day layoff for finals not playing – trying to make sure that we are able to get some practices in and really give guys adequate time being off to concentrate and focus on their studies at hand and to take care of their finals because they are student-athletes. We want to make sure that they can maximize their time to be the best that they can during this week and preparation for their finals.”
On where Coach Jones thinks his team stacks up to the rest of the country…
“I think the good part is the caliber of competition was there in Orlando. They had one team I think that ranked in the top five in the country in Oklahoma State and Memphis, a top-20 basketball team. We had the opportunity to play one of those teams (Memphis) and see the way that they fared after having a matchup with Oklahoma State. I thought it allowed us to look at it as a basketball team and saying, ‘If in fact we are able to execute and take care of our business, we have the size, strength and quickness of our basketball team.’ It just comes down to executing at a certain level night in and night out on both ends of the floor – that you give yourself a chance to be successful in those games. I think throughout the country that’s what we see that we are able to compete at that level.”
On the team playing well without Andre Stringer and Anthony Hickey not shooting much…
“It’s about balance. I think even in the Memphis game if we had a more balanced scoring attack, there’s a chance that there could have been a difference in that game. Taking care of the basketball – I think we had 24 turnovers in that basketball game, and I thought it came back to haunt us late. We’ve got guys that are shooting very good field goal percentages. Our post guys, Johnny [O’Bryant III] and Jordan Mickey, with their inside game – I think you have to make sure that you have a good balance, getting touches there and attempts as well. Then, I think our guards they need to be able to take advantage of when their getting double-downed on especially with the post guys when they are getting double-teamed they are making the right decision in terms of gapping the defenses and taking the shots that we need. It’s real important that we execute and knock those shots down against good competition as well.”
On the break benefitting the health of Jarell Martin…
“It’s good for him. I think one of the things (about) a high ankle sprain sometimes is something that is really hard to come back from. It really takes a while to get people comfortable back out there on their legs, and I think Jarell has had an opportunity to go through that process. We’re hoping that we can eventually get him back to 100 percent, and I think we were able to see through the tournament that he probably wasn’t full-speed. Right now, he’s probably still not at 100 percent, but we feel that he’s really given us some positive minutes in the games that he has had an opportunity to play in. I think it speaks to the talent level that he has and the decisions that he is able to make on the floor even when he is not at 100 percent.”
On the number of turnovers during the Memphis game…
“Some of the things in that game if you look back are not normal or natural. It’s something that I haven’t seen before. I think Johnny [O’Bryant III] had four offensive fouls. That was four of the 10 turnovers that he had. We had other guys out there with offensive fouls as well. When you talk about the 24 fouls, I think maybe six or seven of those could have been offensive fouls which means that we had the ball and just weren’t in the right place and the right time or putting ourselves in a position to allow that happen. We just have to do a better job. Again, if we have 11 turnovers or 12 turnovers the way that we play – you understand because we play really quick and fast. We are going to take some chances on long passes with the ball. We are going to make sure and are hopeful to execute a much higher percentage of those than we have. If we are able to do that night in and night out, because of the way we play some great things are going to happen for us. But when you get to that number, 24, which was a high for us, that’s not a good night for us, and I thought it cost us because I thought we shot really well from the field. I think we shot over 50 percent from the field if I am not mistaken in that game. You take those turnovers and get attempts out of it then we could have been looking at a different result.”
On the type of team Louisiana-Monroe is…
“They are a quick basketball team and had a very good game against Kansas. They’re a good passing basketball team, and they made some plays. Their guards made shots. They played against Northwestern (State) who we’ve played against as well. I think Northwestern (State) may have had them down 15 or 16 – they came back, got the game in overtime and wound up winning it. They’re a fast-paced, quick basketball team and rangy. (ULM Head Coach) Keith Richard has done a tremendous job of putting together and assembling this basketball team.”
On his relationship with ULM Coach Keith Richard…
“Keith and I actually played AAU basketball together. He was here in Baton Rouge (and) played at Redemptorist High School with Howard Carter. When I was in the ninth grade, I was able to go on a trip to West Virginia and play in the AAU national tournament. He was a part of our team, and we’ve really somewhat kept in touch since then. Be it through the coaching professions when he was at Louisiana Tech and during his time here (at LSU) when he was an assistant when he was here with (former coach) Trent (Johnson). Then, we were in the same league with me coaching at North Texas and him being at Louisiana-Monroe. We had opportunities to play against each other during that time.”
On stressing execution to his team…
“I think when it (execution) becomes natural to you – you’re out there, you’ve played enough and I think the repetition helps. When you’re able to get enough practices in, it allows you to go without doing a whole lot of thinking because our offense becomes natural to you. You know where your teammates need the ball, and they are going to do a better job of scoring from you knowing each other. Along with execution, you have to do it at a high speed and a high level. I think after you have enough repetition out there – that has a tendency of taking care of a lot of that if you’re doing it the proper way.”
On Jordan Mickey handling his early success…
“I’ll tell you it’s been great because he hasn’t changed at all. You look at the way that he plays; he’s really stoic out there. His facial impression never changes be it he block a shot, knock down a shot or make a great pass. He’s just the same. It’s great when you have someone that plays at that type of level. They don’t get up, they don’t get too down and they just play the game. He’s really been able to make an impact for us. For him to come in averaging 12 or 13 points and seven or eight rebounds as a freshman and the impact that he had on each of our games – he hasn’t taken any steps back. It’s really been good for us and certainly a great bright spot in the program.”
On Malik Morgan’s defensive evolution…
“I thought Malik was really good in the Old Spice Tournament down there in Orlando. I thought he performed well in all three games. Not only that, I thought he arrived back here, and we started practice – he’s one of the guys who had a really good practice for us as well. He’s done a tremendous job in terms of his energy and what he’s bringing. I think he sees that opportunity from Orlando. The impact that he’s made on the team, not only him but Shavon [Coleman], what they’re able to do together is something he can look to and really take a lot from. That’s really been a big plus for us, and I think it’ll really help him.”
In closing, I'd like to encourage those of you who have not yet done so to please take a moment to read this important message and consider donating to our annual fundraiser. Thanks in advance for your consideration.
12/11/13 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
I'll start this update with the good news of LSU picking up a commitment last night from running back Darrell Williams of John Ehret High School. Williams (6'1", 213, No. 14 on my list of Top LA Prospects) chose LSU over offers from Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Missouri, Tennessee and several other schools. As a big, physical, versatile back, Williams helped John Ehret win the district title this year after going winless last season. When stats were compiled at the end of the 10-game regular season, Williams was third in the state in rushing yards with 2,036 yards and 27 TDs, which is incredible considering he plays 5-A ball. By comparison, Leonard Fournette was 7th in the state with 1,508 yards and 12 TDs. Now don’t get me wrong, I'm not implying that Williams is a better back than Fournette (the No. 1 player on my list and the No. 1 prospect in the country) because he is not. But he is a comparable, big-time back and a great addition to LSU's 2014 recruiting class.
What’s particularly interesting about the timing of Williams’ commitment is that it comes only a couple of days after the de-commitment of Sione Palelei and a few hours after LSU visited Miami running back Dalvin Cook. I understand that LSU’s visit with Dalvin Cook went well and that LSU is working on getting him in for an official visit next week. Don’t worry folks, Leonard Fournette remains LSU's top priority at running back and I’ve been told the staff feels very good about landing him. There’s little doubt in my mind that LSU would gladly take all three backs if given the opportunity, and what a trio of backs that would be.
In other news, postseason honors continued to roll in for Odell Beckham, Jr. as he was named to the Coaches All-SEC First Team. Jarvis Landry, Jeremy Hill, La'el Collins, Anthony Johnson, and Lamin Barrow were named to the second teams. Look for more awards to come Beckham’s way when the All-American selections begin to surface later this week.
On a related note, I want to thank all of you who voted in our poll yesterday asking who was the MVP of this year’s Tiger team. As expected, Zach Mettenberger received the most votes (45.4%), followed by Jarvis Landry (32.1%), Odell Beckham (18.7) and Jeremy Hill (3.2). Mettenberger and Landry may not be receiving as much postseason recognition on a national level as Beckham, but Tiger Fans surely recognize just how critical they were to LSU's offensive success this year. Mettenberger threw for 3,082 yards and 22 touchdowns this season with an amazing completion percentage of 64.9, which ranks third in school history. As for Landry, throughout the season I've called him a “third down machine,” and that is reflected in the fact that he leads the nation with 15 catches of 15-plus yards, six catches of 25-plus yards, and six touchdowns on third downs alone.
As promised, today I'm continuing along those lines by asking you to please vote in our poll asking, “Who Was LSU Football’s Top Freshman in 2013?” With the outstanding play that LSU received from several freshmen this season, this will be a tough one. Tomorrow we’ll conclude the poll series by asking you to vote for the player who was the biggest surprise this season.
In baseball news, online registration for the winter sessions of the Paul Mainieri LSU Baseball Camps is now available at www.LSUbaseballcamps.com. Here's more information as provided by LSU’s Sports Information Department:
Sessions that are open for immediate registration:
· Saturday, December 21 through Monday, December 23
· Saturday, December 28 through Monday, December 30
High School Showcase Session
· Saturday, January 11 through Sunday, January 12
The camps are designed to create enthusiasm for the game of baseball while teaching campers the skills they will need to be successful during competition. The camps offer daily instruction on position specific fundamentals -- hitting, pitching, fielding and baserunning. First-class instruction is offered for players of all ages and abilities in a structured, enthusiastic and fun environment. The camp staff features some of the best collegiate coaches and players, along with top high school coaches in the area. Visit www.LSUbaseballcamps.com to register and learn more about the Paul Mainieri LSU Baseball Camps.
In basketball news, following a 7-1 start to the season – its best start since 2009 – the LSU women’s basketball team moved up to No. 13 in the USA Today Coaches poll and remained No. 13 in the Associated Press Top 25. LSU has put together an impressive non-conference resume so far with wins over Saint Joseph’s, Rutgers and Michigan, and these wins have put the Lady Tigers fifth nationally in a projected RPI used in NCAA postseason seeding. LSU also boasts a strength of schedule ranked in the top 15 nationally. The Lady Tigers will resume play after final exams when they travel to face Arkansas-Little Rock at 2 p.m. CT Sunday. LSU’s men, who are off to a solid 5-2 start, return to action in the PMAC Saturday night at 7 p.m. against UL-M.
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