NCAA Baseball Championships:
DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.
7/23/14 6:00 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
A lot of Tiger Fans who follow recruiting are starting to get pumped about this week’s “elite” high school camp, which gets underway tomorrow. Over the years, summer camps have grown to become a very popular and important component of recruiting, and with good reason. The camps give the staff an opportunity to really get to know the players and see how they respond to coaching, interact with others, and compete against elite competition. This year’s camp will feature most of the state’s top talent and a slew of elite out-of-state prospects like Class of 2015 sensations CeCe Jefferson (DE, 6-2, 250, Glen Saint Mary, FL), Leo Lewis (LB, 6-3, 225, Brookhaven, MS), and others. The Class of 2016 will also be well represented with prospects like Louisiana’s own Willie Allen (OT, 6-8, 300, John Curtis), Edwin Alexander (DT 6-2, 310, Hammond) and Shea Patterson (QB, 6-2, 195, Calvary Baptist).
Speaking of Shea Patterson (the quarterback who is currently committed to Arizona but was offered by LSU last week), CoachingSearch.com is reporting that LSU offered his older brother, Sean Patterson, a position on the LSU coaching staff, and that he has accepted. Sean Patterson was previously working with the Arizona staff. Interesting, isn’t it?
In other news related to LSU football, Strength and Conditioning Coach Tommy Moffitt was interviewed on Baton Rouge’s ESPN 104.5 Morning Show yesterday and spoke highly of the team’s condition. Moffitt stated that the team reported to summer workouts in the best shape of any group he’s had, and that’s saying a lot. He also dished out praise for several players, including freshmen wide receivers Trey Quinn and Malachi Dupre. According to Moffitt, Dupre recorded a 42-inch vertical jump, and Quinn is pushing almost 22 MPH in the sprint, which he said is in line with the fastest time Odell Beckham, Jr. moved in any game last season.
That kind of praise for Quinn and Dupre make me more eager than ever to see them in action this fall, but another wide receiver who I’m expecting big things from this year is the topic of today’s ongoing series on players who have kind of been flying under the radar. Let’s get right to it…
Dural entered last season with some nice hype after showing off his athleticism during fall practice, but once the season began it was the Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr. show. Dural had to bide his time behind the best receiving tandem in the country, but the time he spent rubbing elbows with those two, while also gaining experience against SEC defenses, will be a big plus for him this season. Come August, it will be Dural’s turn to be “the man.” With talented young receivers like Quinn, Dupre, and Tony Upchurch alongside him (not to mention fellow veterans Quantavious Leslie, Avery Peterson, John Diarse and Kevin Spears), he’ll really have to bring his A-game to remain at the top of the depth chart. In my opinion, it can’t be understated how badly LSU needs Dural to blossom into an efficient deep threat. With a new quarterback under center, it’s safe to assume that Leonard Fournette, Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard are going to be given the rock quite often. Defensive coordinators know this and they’ll put together schemes to shut LSU’s running game down, and that’s where LSU’s passing game comes in. Dural is talented enough to give the Tigers a true experienced weapon on the outside and his outstanding leaping ability will make him a favored red-zone target. If he proves his worth and LSU can sprinkle in some young, aggressive receivers opposite him, LSU’s offense could be a powerful force to be reckoned with.
Next up in this series of players who haven’t received a lot of preseason hype is a talented tight end who could also be a big threat in the passing game. As they say, stay tuned.
Let’s close out today’s update with our countdown to game day, which is 38 days away, by giving a shout-out to a great Tiger who wears No. 38 on the current team – Jamie Keehn. Hailing from Miners Rest, Australia, Keehn was a national champion javelin thrower and rower in high school, but never played a down in football. In fact, he had never taken a snap in a competitive football game until the 2012 season-opener vs. North Texas when he stepped in for an injured Brad Wing. Later that year, Keehn saw action in the last game of the season when he again filled in for his Aussi counterpart who was suspended for the Chick-fil-A Bowl game against Clemson. Last year, Keehn had the punting duties all to himself, and showed great promise, averaging 41.05 yards per punt. While Keehn is well known for his exceptional leg, what he is less known for is his exceptional character. A few weeks ago I mentioned that Keehn was nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and mentioned all the good works he has been associated with as a Tiger. Later that day, I received an email from a reader who shared with me the story of his son, a 15-year-old cancer patient, being visited by Keehn at the St. Jude Clinic in Baton Rouge. Not only did Keehn spend valuable time with his son at the clinic, he also gave him a tour of the athletic complex, introduced him to coaches and players and gave him the encouragement needed to keep fighting the battle. The young man’s father who shared this story with me concluded it by saying, “You are correct that it's not often that we hear about stories of young men who are doing the right thing in college athletics. Jamie never sought the spotlight or recognition for any of the things he's done with my son. He did it because he wanted to make a difference.”
A few tid-bits in closing:
• LSU baseball’s Kramer Robertson has been named as the starting second baseman for the Western Division team at the 2014 Cape Cod League All-Star Game. Robertson is the fifth LSU player to be selected for the game which will take place Sunday at 6 p.m. in Bourne, Massachusetts. As mentioned in previous reports, the other four are Conner Hale, Mark Laird, Chris Chinea and Andrew Stevenson. â€¨
• Yesterday LSU gave the media a tour of the new Tiger Stadium south end zone expansion, including the the suites and club areas, and produced this video of the tour which I’ve added to our Media Gallery. Technical note: The movie is in Flash format and therefore is not viewable on iPhones and iPads. â€¨â€¨
• Lastly, I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange with several new listings.
7/22/14 6:00 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
I regret having to start today’s update with the news of LSU freshman defensive lineman Trey Lealaimatafao suffering a serious arm injury after punching through a glass window in the LSU weight room. According to reports, Lealaimatafao was upset after having an argument with his girlfriend and punched the window that separates the weight room and the indoor practice facility. His arm went right through the glass and his bicep was reportedly slashed down to the bone. Lealaimatafao was quickly taken to an area hospital for treatment. As of now, I don’t know the extent of the damage. Here’s hoping and praying for Lealaimatafao’s quick and full recovery.
Now turning to brighter news on the baseball front, yesterday LSU officially announced the hiring of Andy Cannizaro as the Tigers’ hitting coach and recruiting coordinator. A lot of you have asked me how I feel about this, and I’ll tell you: I think it’s a home run hire. Everyone I’ve spoken to who knows Cannizaro, and everything I’ve read about him, indicates that he is a man of high intelligence and integrity who is greatly respected throughout the baseball profession. He’s been around baseball all his life, has Louisiana roots, was an outstanding college and professional player, and is extremely well connected on the recruiting front having served as the Yankees scout for the past five years. While scouting for the Yankees, his territory was Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, the Florida panhandle, and Memphis. The only potential knock on him is that he doesn’t have a ton of coaching experience, but he does have some. During his professional career he worked as head coach of the Louisiana Knights (a U18 fall team consisting of 12 NCAA Division I players) in 2008, and as the East Coast Pro Showcase coach in 2013-14.
The hiring of Cannizaro, combined with the recent signing of the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation (which is a great testament to the recruiting skills of Javi Sanchez), has me extremely excited and optimistic about LSU’s baseball future. For more on Cannizaro and his hiring, be sure to read the following three press releases which I’ve posted in their entirety.
In other baseball news, LSU released its 2015 schedule yesterday. The schedule is probably among the toughest in Coach Mainieri’s time as a Tiger, mainly because of its harder than usual non-conference schedule. The Tigers will start the season with a three-game series against a very good Kansas team on February 13-15. A few other notable non-conference opponents include Boston College, Houston (whom they’ll play in Astros Minute Maid Park), Baylor, Nebraska, and UL-Lafayette.
In football news, Coach Les Miles fielded a ton of questions yesterday during 15 interviews with various ESPN programs. I was working and unable to follow the programming, but I did keep tabs on what was said via twitter and also heard from several of you about various comments made. What really got a lot of Tiger fans pumped up was Miles’ great comment to ESPN analyst and former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy. You may recall that McElroy recently dished out a lot of praise for Coach Nick Saban and seemed to give him all the credit for LSU’s ongoing success. Well, evidently that didn’t sit too well with Miles (understandably so). During yesterday’s Numbers Never Lie program, Miles said to McElroy, “I want to give you one point too, about winning. Winning is a thing that is inherent with how you were raised. It is something you carry with you for a lifetime. And to pretend that it is brought, or deposited, at a place.....and left.....it is not. It is always carried on by those participants and people that are there. Period. Just, in discussion.” Hats off to the “Mad Hatter” for addressing that situation perfectly. You can see a video of Les Miles’ response to Greg McElroy here.
Continuing on the topic of football, today we’ll start a new brief series on five veteran players who you haven’t seen on preseason watch lists or on the media’s preseason All-SEC teams, but who could have a big impact on LSU’s success. To me, these are players who have sort of flown under the radar for one reason or another. Some have been lurking in the shadows of former Tiger greats who have moved on, while others have been overshadowed by the hype surrounding LSU’s stellar class of freshmen. We’ll start the series today by looking at a powerful yet versatile fullback who should play a big part in LSU’s offensive success this year.
Anyone familiar with LSU football knows that fullbacks are an important component of Coach Les Miles’ physical style of play. This year, starting fullback Connor Neighbors will be the driving force of that physicality, plowing over linebackers and assisting in pass protection. But a great LSU fullback has to be able to do more than just block, especially in Cam Cameron’s style of offense, and in 2013 Neighbors proved that he has soft hands and can turn it up field. (Remember his 52-yard reception against Kent State?) Neighbors, along with Melvin Jones behind him, will be essential pieces to LSU’s running game because of the important role the fullback plays within LSU’s offense. All of that aside, Neighbors is going to be just as important as a veteran player on an offense with fresh faces at quarterback, receiver and running back. Having Neighbors back there will only strengthen the overall presence of the inexperienced group, and Neighbors is a player who will do whatever he can to boost the confidence of his fellow players. He did so last season with Zach Mettenberger before the Tigers’ trip to Georgia. In the week prior to the game, Neighbors heckled Mettenberger and tried to hurl every insult he could at the quarterback in order to prepare him for the hostile crowd he would encounter in his home state. Mettenberger playfully called him a “great friend” for doing so. Neighbors is a man’s man in a violent game, and his value extends beyond thrashing and steamrolling linebackers on the field.
When we continue this series we’ll look at a player who had to bide his time last season but now finds himself in a position to be a huge contributor. Stay tuned, Tiger Fans.
As you can see from the countdown ticker at the top of this page, the first game of the season is only 39 days away. With that in mind, today we’ll continue our Countdown to Game Day by recalling a historic LSU game that took place in 1939. As stated in the wonderful book by Herb Vincent entitled “LSU Football Vault - The History of the Fighting Tigers,” LSU’s trip to Boston to take on Holy Cross on October 7, 1939 was the first time a team from the South used air transportation to get to a football game. It took two DC-3s and four stops along the way to get the Tigers to their destination, but once there, superstar Ken Kavanaugh was essentially all the Tigers needed to come away with a 26-7 victory. Kavanaugh scored four touchdowns in the game – three on pass receptions and one on an 80-yard interception return – and went on to earn co-SEC MVP honors that year. After the game, the Tigers took advantage of their newfound means of transpiration by stopping at the World’s Fair in New York before returning to Baton Rouge.
Reader Comments: Scott, I’m sure you’ve seen this already, but please pass it along to your readers who haven’t: Bar owner: Titans' Zach Mettenberger sucker-punched by Alabama fan
7/21/14 6:00 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
As those of you who tuned in yesterday afternoon already know, LSU picked up its 14th commitment for the class of 2015 in offensive tackle, Matt Womack (6-7 320, Hernando, MS). Womack made a big impression on head coach Les Miles and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes at LSU’s first summer camp in June, and was offered on the spot. The huge offensive tackle and his father came back to LSU for this past weekend’s linemen camp and committed while there, choosing LSU over offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina and others. Womack is hoping to graduate from high school in December, enroll early, and participate in spring practice. Considering the Tigers will be losing quite a few O-linemen after this season, the fact that Womack is a potential early enrollee who can come in and compete for immediate playing time is a big plus. I’ve added Womack’s video highlights to our Media Gallery. With his verbal, LSU now has four potential O-linemen in its 2015 recruiting class including Adrian Magee (OG, 6'5", 315, Franklinton), Maea Teuhema (OT, 6'4", 346, Keller, TX), and Hanner Shipley (TE/OT, 6'5", 260, Marble Falls, TX).
Yesterday I gave you a little baseball news about four Tigers who were named to the Cape Cod All-Star team, and today I need to give props to three more Tigers who are excelling this Summer. Alex Bregman was named MVP in Team USA’s Championship win over Japan in a tournament in The Netherlands after hitting .367 in eight-games with two RBI, eight runs scored, six stolen bases and a .441 on-base percentage. He struck out just once in 30 at-bats, and he committed only one error in 39 chances. Also, I’ve learned that two other Tigers were named to summer All-Star teams. Senior left-hander Henri Faucheux was chosen for the Alaska League All-Stars, and senior right-hander Brady Domangue was selected for the Florida Collegiate League All-Stars. Hats off to all these Tigers! With guys like these (and the four I mentioned yesterday) coming back, plus an outstanding signing class with 11-of-12 signees joining the team, the future of LSU baseball certainly looks bright. A big part of that future will involve Andy Cannizaro who will be officially introduced today as LSU’s hitting coach and recruiting coordinator.
Jumping back to football, Coach Les Miles will join six other coaches from the SEC today to go through ESPN’s “Car Wash.” Miles will participate in just about every one of ESPN’s daily shows today, including SportsCenter, First Take and College Football Live. In all, Miles will spend about five hours talking LSU football on the various ESPN platforms today.
Here is Coach Les Miles’s ESPN Car Wash Schedule for today (Monday, July 21). Note that all times listed are central and are subject to change. Stay tuned to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 throughout the day for coverage. Fans can also get a behind-the-scenes look at Miles’ ESPN visit on Twitter by following @LSUBonnette and @LSUfball.â€¨
9 a.m. - ESPN.com
9:20 a.m. - SportsCenter
9:40 a.m. - First Take
10 a.m. - College Football Roundtable
10:55 a.m. - SEC Network Talkbacks
11:10 a.m. - Highly Questionable
11:30 a.m. - Numbers Never Lie
11:45 a.m. - Colin Cowherd Radio Show
11:55 a.m. - SEC Film Room
12:10 p.m. - College Football Live
12:25 p.m. - SVP & Russillo
12:45 p.m. - E:60
1:15 p.m. - SportsNation
1:40 p.m - College Gameday / SEC Thematic Shoot
2p.m. - ESPN Images
Those of you who’ve followed this site for the last week know that we’ve been reviewing this year’s LSU football opponents, a little at a time. So far we’ve covered the first eight games, and today we’ll go ahead and wrap up the series by looking at the final four opponents. Rather than including those write-ups here, I’ve created a new page that includes all 12 opponents (the eight we’ve covered and the final four.) You can check out the complete preview of LSU’s 2014 opponents here.
As a teaser, I want to let you know that tomorrow we’ll begin a new series looking at five current players who I feel have been flying under the radar but will have a big impact this year. As they say, stay tuned. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
With 40 days until Game Day, let’s conclude today’s update with our countdown to game day by remembering LSU’s big 40-3 win over the Miami Hurricanes in the 2005 Peach Bowl in which the Tigers scored 40 unanswered points. This was LSU’s first year under Coach Les Miles, and the Tigers entered the game 10-2 following their most devastating defeat of the season, a disappointing 34-14 loss to Georgia in the SEC championship game. This was also the first start for quarterback Matt Flynn who was called to step in for JaMarcus Russell after he suffered an injury in the 3rd quarter of the SEC championship game a few weeks earlier, and man did Flynn respond! The sophomore quarterback from Tyler, Texas, led the Tigers to eight consecutive scoring possessions and ended the night with 196 yards passing and MVP honors. All told, the Tigers piled up 468 yards, the most allowed by Miami all season, and were just as impressive on defense, holding the Hurricanes to only 153 yards and six first downs. I can think of no ending more appropriate for this 2005 Tiger team than this remarkable rebound against the Hurricanes. After all, the Tigers and the people of Louisiana had already had to overcome hurricanes Katrina and Rita earlier in the season. Take a walk down memory lane by reviewing that historic games video highlights.
In closing, I want to give a shout out to the Warren Easton’s 7-on-7 team for winning the National Select 7-on-7 Football Championships in Hoover, Alabama. The championship by Easton is the first for a Louisiana team since Evangel won it in 2002.
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.