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

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4/18/15 6:00 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Today is the day many of us have been anxiously awaiting as the LSU Football Spring Game is set to kickoff at 1 p.m. The contest will feature the White squad against the Purple team and will consist of four 15-minute quarters. The first half of the game will be played under normal rules, with the exception of no live contact on punts and kickoffs. The second half will be played with a running clock.

If you’re heading out to campus to take in the action, please note these Times of Interest. Also, here are the full rosters for today’s game, which LSU released yesterday afternoon. For those of you not able to make it out to Tiger Stadium, the game will be streamed online at WatchESPN.com and broadcast on the LSU Sports radio network (107.3 in Baton Rouge) as well as in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live.

A few Observations Related to the Spring Game Rosters:

• Anthony Jennings, Brandon Harris, John Diarse, and Darrel Williams will play on both teams (White & Purple).

• DT Travonte Valentine was included in a small group of players listed as “Injured/Out.” I was surprisd to see his name on the roster, as nothing has really been said about him since Coach Miles announced at the beginning of spring that Valentine was not someone LSU is counting on at this time, presumably because of issues related to academics.  The other players listed in that group include Corey Thompson (knee), Jacory Washington (knee), and Quentin Thomas (biceps).

• Around the same time that the rosters were released yesterday, Valentine tweeted, “Great meeting with coach miles starting to earn his trust back.”

With the game just hours away, let’s conclude our 7-part series on things I’ll be looking for in today’s Spring Game with the most obvious of all – improvement at quarterback. If you missed the first six parts of this series, you can find links to each one below. Here we go…

Improvement at Quarterback? 

Obviously, quarterback will be the most watched position in today’s game, and with good reason. With the stockpiles of talent LSU has on both sides of the ball, solid quarterback play could be the difference between an 8-5 season and a championship run. 

Offensive Coordinator Coach Cam Cameron came to LSU with the reputation of being an outstanding quarterback coach. In his first year as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator, he seemed to work wonders with Zach Mettenberger and produced a high-powered offense that led the nation in 3rd down conversions with two 1,000-yard receivers. In Cameron’s second year, LSU’s passing game took a huge step backward, but that wasn’t completely unexpected considering the Tigers lost their starting quarterback and their two top receivers. What was expected, however, is that we would see some improvement in LSU’s young quarterbacks, Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris, throughout the course of the season under Cam Cameron’s tutelage. Unfortunately, we did not see a lot of that.

Fast forward to today and we don’t really know what to expect from the quarterbacks this year. Will Anthony Jennings be much better in his junior year, or has he pretty much reached his ceiling? Will Harris, the strong-armed former High School All-American, do what it takes to overtake Jennings, and, if so, will Coach Miles be willing to take a risk with him? It is very unlikely that the spring game will answer any of those questions, but it should give us a glimpse at how the two QBs have progressed and how they compare to one another. 

For what it’s worth, in a press release issued yesterday, Les Miles was quoted as saying, “both guys in different times in spring look like they were closing in on the job, and then the other guy makes a move. Most recently, Brandon Harris has looked pretty good, and I think Anthony Jennings has had a great spring. (Thursday) was a good day for both of them.”

On a related note, here’s an article by Jim Kleinpeter of nola.com titled, “All eyes on LSU quarterbacks at spring football game Saturday,” which includes video interviews of Jennings and Harris. 

From earlier in this series: 
Part 1: What does the team look like without its MVP?
Part 2: Steele Dominant on Defense?
Part 3: New Faces at Fullback 
Part 4: Who is most likely to fill the cornerback spot opposite of White?
Part 5: No Hunter, no Rasco. Who's to wreak havoc? 
Part 6: Can the next Alexander the Great please step forward? 

Now, if you’re curious about last night’s LSU vs. Georgia baseball game, well, there wasn’t one. Because of rain in Athens, the game was postponed and the two teams will play a double header today starting at noon CT. The second game will start approximately 45 minutes after the end of the first game, and both will be nine-inning games. As for the viewing options, they have not changed. Both games today can be viewed on SEC Network+, available at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app. Game 3 of the series is scheduled to be played Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (12 p.m. CT) and will also be streamed on SEC Network+. Coach Mainieri said yesterday that Alex Lange will start the first game today and Jared Poché will start in the second. 

The No. 3 LSU softball team returns home after more than a week away to host the No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies for a three-game series beginning on this evening at Tiger Park. All three games will start at 6 p.m. Tonight’s game will be streamed on SECN+, while tomorrow’s and Monday’s games will be televised on the SEC Network (regular TV broadcast). This weekend is a special one as today’s contest is the fourth-annual “Strikeout Ovarian Cancer” game, and it follows the third-annual Geaux Teal walk that will take place this morning. Nearly 700 people have signed up and donated to walk in the event that raises money for local women battling ovarian and other GYN cancers. Fans are encouraged to wear teal to the game tonight and pay just $2 for general admission, and the first 1,000 fans will receive a “Strikeout Ovarian Cancer” roller banner. Tomorrow, the team will have its annual “Bark in the Park” day, and Monday will be the annual “Gold Game.” For more information on these the special events and promotions associated with this weekend’s games, see this article on LSUSports.net. 

In gymnastics news, I’m saddened to report that LSU finished fifth in its NCAA Semifinals last night, meaning this is the first time since 2012 that LSU didn’t make it to the Super Six. I admit that I don’t know much about gymnastics, but my heart goes out to these young ladies and I hate to hear of their season ending. The Tigers needed to finish in the top-three to advance, but ended in fifth place behind Oklahoma, Alabama and Auburn and Nebraska. 

Last but not least… I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange and Crawfish Boils pages with new listings. 

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4/17/15 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The LSU baseball team (32-6, 10-5) returns to action tonight with freshman right-hander Alex Lange making his first Friday night start as a Tiger. Lange will be facing a 20-18, 6-9  Georgia team that is better than their record indicates, and first pitch is slated for 6 p.m. CT at Foley Field in Athens. All three games of this weekend’s series will be streamed online on SECN+, which is accessible at WatchESPN.com and via the WatchESPN app.

Lange sat out last weekend’s series versus Auburn with tightness in his arm, but is said to be 100% ready to go tonight. The freshman from Lee's Summit, Missouri, is 6-0 on the year with a league-best 1.39 ERA, and I’m eager to see how he performs on the road in his first Friday night start. The Georgia Bulldogs (20-18, 6-9) are hitting .273 as a team, which is 10th in the SEC, and have lost their last two series (they were swept at home by Vanderbilt and lost 2-of-3 at home to Alabama), but don’t let that fool you into thinking this should be an easy series win for the Tigers. An SEC road series can never be taken for granted. 

Here’s a look at this weekend’s pitching match-ups and start times. 

Game 1 - Friday, 6 p.m. CT, SECN+
LSU – Fr. RHP Alex Lange (6-0, 1.39 ERA, 51.2 IP, 20 BB, 61 SO)
UGA – Jr. RHP Sean McLaughlin (3-2, 5.13 ERA, 47.1 IP, 24 BB, 45 SO) 

Game 2 - Saturday, 1 p.m. CT, SECN+
LSU – So. LHP Jared Poche’ (6-1, 3.11 ERA, 55.0 IP, 16 BB, 37 SO)
UGA – Jr. LHP Ryan Lawlor (4-4, 2.96 ERA, 48.2 IP, 20 BB, 62 SO) 

Game 3 - Sunday, 12 p.m. CT, SECN+
LSU – Fr. RHP Austin Bain (0-1, 3.29 ERA, 27.1 IP, 11 BB, 32 SO)
UGA – TBA 

Since LSU’s Spring Football game and Game 2 of the baseball series are both taking place at 1 p.m. Saturday, I’ll be pushing the limits of my internet connection trying to stream both games at the same time while tweeting out a few comments and stats to those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter. 

Many of you have asked me to clarify the viewing options for the spring game, so here’s my understanding: First of all, the game at Tiger Stadium is free and open to all fans. For those of you who would like to watch it at home, the game will be streamed live on SECN+ (available online only via WatchESPN.com and  the WatchESPN app), and then replays of it will be shown on the SEC Network and ESPNU (regular TV) several times next week. (I’ll post a replay schedule in a subsequent report.) A live broadcast of the game can also be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network (107.3 in Baton Rouge) as well as in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live.

With the big game quickly approaching, let’s continue our series on What to Look For in this Saturday’s LSU Football Spring Game. We’ll go with Part 6 today, and then we’ll conclude the series tomorrow with the final installment. If you missed the first five segments, you can catch up by following the links below. Here we go…

Part 6: Can the next Alexander the Great please step forward? 

Kwon Alexander was a linebacker heavily utilized in John Chavis’ system, and his absence will be felt in 2015. His rare combination of speed, strength and tackle ability made him a versatile linebacker in many sets. Luckily for LSU, his absence won’t spell doom for the Tigers. On the contrary, LSU will be deep at linebacker this year (2016 could be a different story), with returners Kendell Beckwith, Lamar Louis, Deion Jones, Ronnie Feist, Duke Riley and Donnie Alexander joining efforts with Clifton Garrett, who looks to become a factor at the position. Also, new to the mix is former defensive back Devin Voorhies, who transitioned to linebacker this spring and has the potential to be an outstanding linebacker. Judging by the talk of Steele wanting to implement four-linebacker sets, all of these linebackers will probably get their opportunities to shine. 

The combination of Jones and Beckwith seems to be an effective one for the Tigers, as Steele has raved about their chemistry. Garrett is slimmer than he was last season (in better shape than a year ago), while Louis is continuing to come into his own. Athletically, Jones seems to be the most viable replacement for Alexander with his speed and explosiveness. With more 3-4 sets, look for Jones and Louis to occupy the outside slots, while Beckwith and Garrett work the middle. Garrett came onto campus with a lot of hype, and I’m hoping to see him use the spring game as a launching pad for bigger and brighter things in 2015. 

From earlier in this series: 
Part 1: What does the team look like without its MVP?
Part 2: Steele Dominant on Defense?
Part 3: New Faces at Fullback 
Part 4: Who is most likely to fill the cornerback spot opposite of White?
Part 5: No Hunter, no Rasco. Who's to wreak havoc?  

Turning to basketball, I heard from many of you yesterday about new LSU assistant coach, John Treloar, including a couple of you who know him personally, and  the response to his hiring has been overwhelmingly positive. Coach Jones has a knack for bringing in top talent, whether it be players or assistants, and I am convinced that he has the LSU basketball program moving on the right track. Granted, there were some disappointments this year and the season ended on a sour note with a last second loss to North Carolina State, but let’s not forget that the Tigers won 22 games and made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years. To remind you of some of the highlights of the season, I’ll leave you with this new LSU basketball hype video that LSU released yesterday.

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4/16/15 5:55 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

We’ll start today’s update with this news on the basketball front: Coach Johnny Jones announced yesterday that John Treloar, who served on the LSU staff from 2004-08, will be returning to LSU as Jones’ associate coach. Treloar is presently finishing his fifth season as the Director of Player Personnel for the Phoenix Suns of the NBA, and therefore will not join the LSU staff officially until July 1 when he will have concluded his duties for Phoenix and the preparation for the June NBA draft. A 33-year veteran of basketball as a coach or manager, Treloar has extensive experience in the NCAA and in the professional ranks, and seems to be an ideal hire. There’s a lot more you need to read about Treloar, including his prior success at LSU and Indiana, but rather than including it here I encourage you to read this press release sent out by LSU, which I’ve posted in its entirety. 

In baseball news, LSU improved to 32-6 on the season with an impressive 11-2 win over Lamar. After cooling a bit at the plate against Auburn, the Tigers’ bats heated up in a 13-hit outing highlighted by four doubles and two home runs. More impressive than the 13 hits was the fact that LSU went 7-of-16 with runners in scoring position. 17 Tigers stepped up to the plate, and 10 collected at least one hit, including pitcher Collin Strall who lined an RBI single in the 8th. (LSU pitchers are batting 1.000 on the season, 2-for-2.) Chris Chinea led all Tigers offensively by going 2-for-2 with a double, a home run and four RBI. Andrew Stevenson also swung the bat very well and ended 3-for-4 with a double. 

Kyle Bouman (1-1) got the start and the win for the Tigers, turning in his longest outing of the season. Bowman lasted five innings and allowed one run (a solo homer) on five hits with three strikeouts. Six relief pitchers saw action in the game, including walk-on Ryan May. The fact that LSU sent a walk-on pitcher to the mound and a pitcher to the plate tells you what kind of night it was. 

Here are the game’s video highlights and boxscore

Next up for the Tigers is a three-game road series at Georgia. After last night’s game, Coach Mainieri announced that freshman right-hander Alex Lange will move into the Friday night spot this weekend. If things go as planned, Jared Poché will get the Saturday start and Austin Bain will start on Sunday, although Mainieri said there’s a chance Poché could come out of the bullpen Friday night, if needed. If that happens, Bain would get bumped up to Saturday and Poché would pitch Sunday. 

The No. 3 ranked LSU softball team (39-5) also came away with a dominant win, 13-4 over the Cowgirls of McNeese State.  Eight different Tigers produced at least one hit in the game, and the team drew a season-high 10 walks. Finishing with multiple hits on the night were Bailey Landry who went 2-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored, Bianka Bell who went 2-for-3 with two RBI, Sahvanna Jaquish who went 2-for-2 with a double and run scored, and Sandra Simmons who went 2-for-2 with three runs scored and two walks. The hit of the night was a grand slam by junior outfielder Alayna Falcon, her first ever home run as a Tiger. 

Now let’s switch gears and continue our brief series on What to Look For in this Saturday’s LSU Football Spring Game. We’ll go with parts 4 and 5 today, and then we’ll add another two or three parts before the game. If you missed the first three installments, you can catch up by following the links below. Here we go…

What to look for in this Saturday’s Spring Game?

Part 4: Who is most likely to fill the cornerback spot opposite of White? 

Perhaps the best competition this spring has been Ed Paris battling Kevin Toliver II. It’s a good thing too with Jalen Collins entering the NFL draft and Rashard Robinson struggling to find his way back onto the field. Les Miles has said that Paris, who recorded three tackles last season as a true freshman, has gained more confidence and seems to be in a position to contribute greatly this season. Meanwhile, true freshman Toliver, the headline recruit of the 2015 class, showed up to LSU with intentions of playing immediately. 

LSU wide receivers Travin Dural, Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn and D.J. Chark will likely be split amongst the teams in Saturday’s scrimmage, and all four wide receivers should present a tough test for Toliver and Paris in the spring game. Will Toliver showcase why he’s believed to be the next great defensive back at LSU, or will it be Paris who turns heads with a shutdown performance? Hopefully the answer is both. 

Part 5: No Hunter, no Rasco. Who’s to wreak havoc? 

Replacing a duo that combined for 20.5 tackles for loss last season is a daunting task. That’s the task facing LSU when the Tigers look to replace Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco. The top contenders to replace them at defensive end in a 4-3 set appear to be Tashawn Bower, Lewis Neal and Sione Teuhema. 

Bower, who looks to be more physically imposing than he was last year, has been joined by Neal in working with the first string defense. Neal, who has stayed at around 258 pounds despite LSU trying to transform him into a defensive tackle last year, is a natural defensive end with a lot of potential. Teuhema is not to be forgotten, though, as he, like Bower, gained experience last season with prominent playing time. 

An interesting twist this year is that LSU will likely play the 3-4 set (three D-linemen and four linebackers) quite a bit, which is something Coach Steele did at Alabama. In this formation, look for Davon Godchaux to be one of the principal pass rushers wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks. 

From earlier in this series: 
Part 1: What does the team look like without its MVP?
Part 2: Steele Dominant on Defense?
Part 3: New Faces at Fullback 

In other football news, Coach Miles and his staff are gearing up for a very important weekend in recruiting. For Saturday’s Spring Game, the staff will host a very impressive group of visitors, including seven of LSU’s commitments for 2016 (everyone except for QB Feliepe Franks) and both of LSU’s 2017 commits. Also visiting will be 20-30 of LSU’s top targets, including linebackers Keion Joyner of North Carolina and instate sensation Michael Divinity of John Ehret High School. For a comprehensive list of who is expected in, see this article by my friend Jimmy Smith of nola.com.  Now, before any of you panic about Feliepe Franks not attending the game, that’s just because his brother’s spring game at UCF (University of Central Florida) is same day. His brother, Jordan Franks, is UFC’s starting safety. From all indications, Franks’s commitment is very solid and he has said that he would like to play baseball and football at LSU.

Two tidbits in closing:  

• Congratulations are in order for former Tiger great Mikie Mahtook. Last night he collected his first hit in the big leagues for the Tampa Bay Rays and it was a home run! Here’s the video. Way to geaux, Mikie! 

LSU lost a great Tiger last week. Felix Holmes “Buddy” Lee, who played quarterback for LSU in 1968-70, passed away in Florida on April 10 after a lengthy illness at the age of 67. I know I speak for the Tiger Nation when I offer my most sincere condolences to the Lee family. 

Reader Comments: The BAYOU BENGAL BOOSTER CLUB OF MISS. is hosting its SPRING TOUR EVENT ON 4/22/2015. Location will be the Sparkman Auditorium at the Mississippi Agricultural Center at the corner of I-55 and Lakeland Drive in Jackson, Miss.  Coaches Les Miles, Johnny Jones, Nikkie Caldwell and D. D. Breaux will share an update on their sports teams. A few tickets remain but will not be sold at the door. Tickets $40.00 each or tables of 10 for special pricing. Contact for details: Eckels Evans 601-953-1462, Pat Taylor 601-826-4716 or Bill Hulsey 601-291-1883.

 

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