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2/13/14 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
There’s a lot to touch on in today’s report with the convergence of last night’s basketball game, tomorrow’s LSU baseball season-opener, and the search to fill LSU’s vacated special teams coaching position. And, of course, there’s our ongoing series profiling members of LSU’s recent football signing class who were voted the most likely to make an impact in 2014. So, let’s get on with it, starting with a brief look at last night’s basketball game.
The LSU men’s basketball team dropped its fourth straight road game in a 83-73 losing effort against Texas A&M last night. Honestly, it was a miserable outing considering what was at stake for LSU. Texas A&M came into the game having lost six of their last seven games, and for LSU to allow an offense that averages 65 points per game to score 83 under those circumstances is downright disappointing. Johnny O’Bryant III ran into foul trouble again on the road, which eventually contributed to the loss. It seems to be a reoccurring theme that has produced consistent struggles on the road.
Before the Texas A&M loss, LSU was thought to be one of the last four teams earning a tournament bid, but they’ll have to do some serious résumé building in order to make the big dance now. The challenge continues Saturday when the Tigers look to avoid their fifth straight road loss in a 4 p.m. contest against Arkansas on ESPNU.
Turning to football, today we’ll continue our series on newcomers likely to make an impact this season by looking at the player who came in No. 2 in our poll - Malachi Dupre. So far, the feedback received on this series has been very positive, and I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Here we go…
Wide Receiver 6-2, 187, John Curtis High School
(2nd in our poll with 11.26% of the votes)
The young man who kept LSU fans on the edge of their seats throughout the recruiting competition comes in at No. 2 of our instant impact signees list. Following the faxing of his signature to Les Miles and LSU, Dupre met with Cam Cameron and showed signs of being “all in” on Cameron’s offensive philosophy next season. After the meeting, Dupre tweeted: “Coach Cam is the man.... We're gonna be so nasty this year.” That relationship is going to be vital because it’s Cameron and the offensive staff that will have to mold Dupre into a superstar.
While you can’t teach Dupre’s size, speed and athleticism, some refining of his route running will transform him into an All-SEC type player. Dupre’s route tree was limited in high school, as John Curtis ran the veer-offense (basically a triple option). Expanding his route technique and improving his ability to beat press coverage should be high on Cameron’s to-do list this offseason.
If you check out Dupre’s video highlights in our Media Gallery, you’ll quickly learn what all of the fuss is about when it comes to this prospect. Dupre, the No. 2 nationally ranked wide receiver per 247 Sports’ composite rating, can catch a ball in a crowd, has the ability to extend his arms to reel in remarkable catches, shows good wiggle in open space and is a graceful runner.
Dupre’s big-play ability could allow him to see the field immediately. His ideal height and outstanding leaping ability should make him a primary target in red zone situations. We stated in yesterday’s writeup that Dupre and Trey Quinn could be the new Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham three years from now. The key word in that statement is years. It would be unfair to assume Dupre will carry the Tigers’ passing game at this stage of his development, but then again, I wouldn’t count out a 400-to-600 receiving yard season as a freshman because of his ability.
In football coaching news, Mike Haywood reportedly interviewed for the position of LSU Special Teams Coach yesterday. As many of you know from the article I linked to a few days ago, Haywood coached running backs and special teams for LSU from 1995-2002 under head coaches Gerry DiNardo and Nick Saban. After that, he worked as an assistant at Texas and at Notre Dame for a few years before landing the head coaching job at Miami of Ohio where he won the MAC title and was named MAC Coach of the Year in his second season (2010) before accepting the head coaching job at Pittsburgh. Two weeks after accepting the big job at Pittsburgh, he was arrested on felony domestic violence charges and was fired. The charges were later dismissed after counseling and public service, but Haywood (49) hasn’t coached since.
LSU’s baseball season gets underway tomorrow at 7 p.m. and I can hardly wait. Expectations for this year’s team are high and there’s no doubt that LSU has enough talent to meet those expectations, but there are a lot of questions to be answered and positions to be earned between now and the start of conference play on March 14. Look for Coach Mainieri to do a lot of experimenting during the opening weeks as he decides on who will catch, who will play first, who will fill out the weekend pitching rotation behind ace Aaron Nola, who will emerge to fill Chris Cotton’s shoes as a dependable closer, and who will protect Alex Bregman in the batting order so that opposing pitchers are forced to pitch to him.
The first two questions - who will catch and who will play first - go hand in hand as Tyler Moore, Chris Chinea and Kade Scivicque are all competing for those positions. It is likely that we’ll see all three at each position in the next three or four games, starting tomorrow with Chinea at catcher, Moore at first and Scivicque as the DH.
As for the starting pitcher rotation, it appears that Mainieri will go with Nola and Bouman tomorrow night and Saturday against UNO, and with Poché on Sunday against Grambling. Cody Glenn will get the start in the mid-week game at Southeastern. Another pitcher who will likely enter the starting rotation is Hunter Newman who is bouncing back from a minor shoulder injury he suffered a few weeks ago.
As for who will bat behind Bregman to keep opposing pitchers honest, all indications are that it will be left fielder Jared Foster, whom Mainieri has called the most improved player on the team.
It will be interesting to seeing who emerges as the all-important closer. Brady Domangue, who comes to LSU from LSU-E (Eunice) where he was 14-2 as a starter, is the leading candidate, although veterans Kurt McCune and Joe Broussard will have something to say about that.
Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the projected starting lineup and LSU’s first opponent, UNO. Oh, and we’ll also conclude our football series by looking at Leonard Fournette. Stay tuned!
Reader Comments: Scott, My good friend Scott Pine, of Bossier City LA., Police Officer in Orlando Florida, was killed in the line of duty on Monday night. He is survived by his wife, three small kids, and hundreds of friends who will miss him dearly. In times like these it may seem trivial but Scott was an avid LSU fan, and I will sorely miss road trips to see the Tigers play and our time spent talking LSU football. He was also a fan of your site and every time we talked LSU football it centered around news and comments from your site. I’m not sure if it is appropriate to post this on your site, but if so I know Scott would be smiling down from heaven reading LSU football news as he always loved to do and seeing this message to him on his favorite site. Rest in peace Scott! GEAUX TIGERS!
2/12/14 5:35 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
It was great to hear from so many of you yesterday in response to our ongoing series profiling the top-five LSU football newcomers likely to make an impact this year. There’s no doubt that the 2014 class is really special, and it’s amazing what a difference it has made in terms of the Tiger Nation’s enthusiasm for the 2014 season and beyond. It certainly is a great time to be a Tiger. Today we’ll continue our series by looking at the player who came in third in our poll, wide receiver Trey Quinn. Here we go…
Wide Receiver 6-1, 200, Barbe High School â€¨(3rd in our poll with 10.4% of the votes)
Trey Quinn comes to LSU with quite a reputation. After pitching a no-hitter in a Little League World Series game broadcast on ESPN back in 2008 (check out a brief video from that CWS performance here) and achieving the all-time national prep receiving record at Barbe, Quinn is no stranger to the national spotlight.
After watching this video of his highlights in our Media Gallery, you’ll quickly value Quinn’s skills as a well-rounded wide receiver. During Quinn’s high school career, he amassed a historical nation’s-best 6,566 receiving yards and 70 touchdown receptions. He did so with very good hands, an ability to catch balls in traffic and an awareness of where to settle down in zones. Of course, his speed, which was hand-timed at 4.39 in the 40-yard dash at the 2012 LSU summer camp, helped him as well.
Quinn’s overall greatest attribute is his technique at the position. There’s a certain fluidity in Quinn’s game that made him a premier wide receiver in high school and should make him a great producer at the next level, where he is projected to be a slot receiver. Quinn’s magnificent technique and overall speed will allow him to adjust to the ball and get up field on medium routes from a slot position.
His aid at slot will be needed considering two of LSU’ best offensive weapons will be gone next season. The Tigers will have to replace two 1,000-yard receivers in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham. Even more so, the Tigers return only one wide receiver (Travin Dural) who recorded more than one catch in 2013. Because of the Tigers’ current situation at receiver, Quinn and fellow signees Malachi Dupre and Tony Upchurch will contend with John Diarse, Avery Peterson, Kevin Spears and Quantavious Leslie to start alongside Dural in the receiving corps next season. That’s what the near future presents. As for the distant future, well, let’s just say Dupre and Quinn could be the new Landry and Beckham three years for now.
On a related note, LesMiles.net has just published this new video of some of Odell Beckham, Jr.’s best catches and moments as a Tiger that I’m sure you will enjoy.
Switching to men’s basketball, the LSU Tigers (15-7, 6-4) will look to avoid their fourth straight road loss when they battle Texas A&M on CSS/CST at 8 p.m. tonight. Coming off of a victory against an SEC foe (Auburn) who has two of the top four scorers in the conference (Chris Denson and KT Harrell), the Tigers’ next foe has only one player (Jamal Jones) averaging double-figures in points. In fact, Texas A&M enters this ballgame having lost six of its last seven. Still, LSU can’t overlook Texas A&M, as the Tigers have proven to struggle on the road.
The biggest keys to victory tonight are getting solid play from Johnny O’Bryant and avoiding foul trouble. If O’Bryant can be aggressive in the post without committing fouls early, the Tigers should mirror his intensity and get their first road win since Jan. 11.
In baseball news, expectations continue to build for LSU’s season which gets underway in two days, as the Tigers were predicted to win the 2014 SEC West by conference coaches. In the annual poll which was released yesterday, South Carolina was predicted to win the overall SEC title by a slim one-vote margin over LSU.
Also, congratulations are in order for Demie Mainieri, father of LSU head coach Paul Mainieri, for being selected for induction into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Here’s the official press release as sent out by LSU:
FATHER OF LSU COACH PAUL MAINIERI SELECTED FOR INDUCTION INTO COLLEGE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME
BATON ROUGE, La. – Demie Mainieri, the father of LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri, has been selected for induction into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Demie Mainieri was the first junior college coach to win at least 1,000 games. He finished his career with 1,012 wins in 30 seasons at Miami-Dade North Community College. More than 100 of his former players were drafted or signed by professional teams, and 30 of them made it to the Major Leagues.
His 1964 team won the NJCAA national championship, he had three teams finish second and another finished third. He has been inducted into six halls of fame and was named to the NJCAA All-Century Team.
Joining Demie Mainieri in the 2014 class are Bill Bordley, pitcher, USC; Alex Fernandez, pitcher, Miami and Miami-Dade South Community College; Mike Fiore, outfielder, Miami; Gene Stephenson, coach, Wichita State University; Mickey Sullivan, outfielder and coach, Baylor; and William C. Matthews, shortstop, Tuskegee Institute and Harvard.
The 2014 class will be inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the annual Night of Champions event on June 28 in Lubbock, Texas.
“I am so happy to see my father inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock - college baseball’s equivalent to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown,” said Paul Mainieri from his office at LSU. “This is the crown jewel for one of the most remarkable careers ever in college baseball coaching. My father was a pioneer for college baseball in South Florida when no one was really paying attention to college baseball there. In only his fourth year on the job at a new institution, he won the national championship and brought unprecedented national attention to his school and that area of the country.
“He really dominated the college baseball scene in South Florida at all levels, including Division 1, for all of the 1960s and a portion of the ‘70s. He influenced hundreds of young men on the field and made them better men ready to succeed in life off the field. I know that is for what he is most proud.
“Obviously, he means everything to me. Not only was he a tremendous father to me and my four siblings as we grew up, he was a great mentor to me as I chose the coaching profession. He is still my most trusted counsel today and I lean on him very much. It’s great to know he has not been forgotten by the national baseball community and this induction is well-deserved and most appropriate.”
For more information on the College Baseball Hall of Fame, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
Reader Comments: Scott, that was a great article yesterday on [2015 commit] Blake Ferguson. You might want to share this one as well: 2013 Herbalife 24 Chris Rubio Award Goes To High School Junior
Reader comments: Baseball season’s right around the corner. Can’t wait for Friday’s game. Some of your readers would like this piece about Mainieri’s connection to UNO coach Ron Maestri.
2/11/14 5:45 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
In just three days, the 2014 LSU baseball season will officially get underway, and I can hardly wait. As someone who loves baseball, gardening and fishing, I’m thrilled that spring is just around the corner. Another thing I like about spring is keeping tabs on all of the football prospects that perform well in spring camps, combines and “junior days.” LSU will be having its Junior Day workouts next Saturday, the 22nd, but first the coaching staff will hold their Boys from the Boot event this Saturday, the 15th, for select prospects around the state and players already committed to LSU for 2015.
One player currently committed to LSU who will be attending the Boys from the Boot event is long-snapper Blake Ferguson, and he’s a special young man. Many of you already know that he’s the younger brother of current long snapper Reid Ferguson, but what you might not know is that Blake was diagnosed with new onset type 1 diabetes in January of 2011, at the age of 13, and has since been bravely participating in a clinical research study in an effort to help combat the disease. (You can read more about that in this article.) I learned yesterday that the Ferguson family hopes to one day create a foundation to help further Type 1 awareness through Blake's exposure, and I think that speaks volumes about the type of people they are.
In football recruiting news, Deondre Clark is now officially/publicly a member of the 2014 signing class. As I mentioned last week, LSU has had his signed LOI since Signing Day, but was waiting to officially announce him as a member of the class until Clark had a chance to make his announcement at school. The weather in Oklahoma City cleared up enough for school to reopen yesterday, allowing Clark to have his moment in the sun. Welcome aboard, Deondre!
Speaking of the 2014 signing class, today we’ll continue our series profiling the top-five incoming freshman who are likely to make an impact in 2014, as voted on by you, the users. Yesterday we profiled Jamal Adams and I’m glad many of you enjoyed learning more about him and seeing his highlights. Today we’ll do the same for Clifton Garrett. Here we go…
Linebacker, 6-2, 228 Plainsfield South High School (Illinois)â€¨
(4th in our poll with 9.26% of the votes)
Clifton Garrett, son of minor league baseball player Cliff Garrett, is a blue chip defender from just outside of Chicago. The well-spoken Plainsfield native is ranked as the No. 2 outside linebacker in the nation in 247’s composite rankings, but is projected to play inside because of his motor and tackling ability. Not only is Garrett an explosive, downhill run-stopping linebacker, he can also sniff out screens and move well from sideline-to-sideline.
Check out Garrett’s video highlights in our Media Gallery to gauge his athletic prowess. Immediately, his ability to go from 0-to-60 at the snap of the ball catches observers’ eyes. At Plainsfield High, Garrett was asked to mostly sniff out opponents rushing games, which is his forté. His relentlessness against running games allowed him to pile up 139 tackles and three forced fumbles his senior year. He often covered backs coming out of the backfield, where he displayed great lateral agility. Still, it’s unknown whether or not he can hold his on in man-to-man coverage at this stage.
John Chavis asks his linebackers to cover in 4-3 formations and Mustang packages (variation of a dime, a 3-2-6 formation), so Garrett has to improve his man-to-man coverage skills. His quickness and lateral movement, as seen in the video, implies that he will be able to do so and become an every down linebacker for Chavis in the future. So, coming in, don’t be surprised to see Garrett contribute as a one-dimensional role player, especially given the crowded space amongst linebackers.
After taking taking a peak at our updated depth chart, you’ll notice the incredible depth at linebacker. With starters D.J. Welter and Kwon Alexander returning alongside Deion Jones, Lamar Louis, Kendell Beckwith, Ronnie Feist, and special teams sensation Duke Riley, Garrett will have to really turn heads to earn playing time this fall. With that said, the Tigers will have to replace Lamin Barrow, who led the Tigers in tackles last season with 91. It would make sense to replace one tackling machine with another, so Garrett, though somewhat limited as a cover linebacker, is in a prime position to bring the wood like past great LSU linebackers. With some polishing from LSU’s great coaching staff, the sky is the limit for this hard-nosed linebacker.
In LSU basketball news, sophomore guard Malik Morgan underwent knee surgery yesterday for his torn patellar tendon. The good news is that it was reportedly a “clear tear,” which should help to reduce recovery time. Still, Morgan is looking at six to nine months of rehab before returning to full speed. In Morgan’s absence this season, look for Tim Quarterman and Shane Hammink to see more playing time. The Tigers will return to action tomorrow at Texas A&M in a game that tips off at 8 p.m. CT on CSS/CST.
I’ll leave you today with this exceptional article on LSU shortstop Alex Bregman written by Luke Johnson of Tiger Rag: There goes Alex Bregman, working until he's the best there ever was
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