NCAA Baseball Championships:
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6/25/14 6:00 am MDT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Today we’ll continue our position-by-position analysis of the 2014 LSU football team and our countdown to Game Day, but first a brief bit of basketball news.
LSU head basketball coach Johnny Jones has announced the promotion of coaching staff member David Patrick to assistant head coach for the 2014-15 season. Patrick (38) has been a member of Jones’ staff for the past two seasons, assisting in both game and practice coaching responsibilities, scouting, and recruiting. In fact, Patrick played a major role in helping LSU acquire an outstanding 2013 signing class that included All-SEC freshmen Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey and players that will make their LSU debuts this coming season like transfer Keith Hornsby and signees Elbert Robinson, Josh Gray, Jalyn Patterson and Aaron Epps. For more on Patrick’s promotion, here’s the official press release from LSU.
Now let’s continue our position analysis with one last offensive unit to review before moving on to the defensive units in tomorrow’s report. Here we go…
The tight end position has never been as deep as it will be this fall, which has many, including us at Dandy Don, speculating that we may see a few package wrinkles in 2014. Before we get into all of that, though, let’s take a look at why this unit is so deep, starting at the top with the veteran tight ends who are more of the Les Miles’ type tight ends.
While Dillon Gordon and Travis Dickson are more than capable of impacting the passing game with their receptions, they affect the game more with their build and ability to block. That’s a coveted trait in a ground-and-pound offense.
But then there’s DeSean Smith and Jacory Washington. Smith, who saw limited action last year and had 45 receiving yards and a touchdown in the spring game, is a bigger version of a wide receiver. Washington, who came to LSU as a heralded 4-star tight end, is very similar. Add in a veteran like senior Logan Stokes, and you’ve got yourself a deep, diverse tight end unit.
A big question heading into the 2014 season is how Coaches Miles and Cameron will utilize their tight end talent. As we’ve stated before on this site, Cameron’s specialty in the NFL involved multiple tight end sets that setup the medium-range passing game with tight ends and running backs. Look no further than Ray Rice in Baltimore for an example of Cameron’s usage of running backs. Leonard Fournette’s hands, speed and athleticism could be utilized in this phase of the game, along with LSU’s diverse collection of tight ends. In the past, the Tigers’ have underutilized talent at tight end, but that could very well change with Cameron at the helm, a fresh mind to mold at quarterback and a collection of talented tight ends.
Last but not least, let’s move on to our Countdown to the start of LSU’s football season, which is 66 days away, by recognizing that LSU has produced 66 First Team All-Americans. From Billy Cannon to Tommy Casanova to Glenn Dorsey to Tyrann Mathieu, some of the greatest college football players in history have called LSU home. The most recent Tiger to be named an All-American is Odell Beckham, Jr., who was awarded the designation for his all-purpose skills. Beckham was the inspiration behind adding a new category for “miscellaneous yards” in the record book for his 109-yard field goal return for a touchdown. (It never gets old watching that play, so I’ve added a video of Beckham’s 109-yard FG return to our Media Gallery.) One of the more intriguing stats I found when looking up the history of LSU All-Americans is the fact that LSU has placed 10 players on the list since 2010. Under Les Miles, LSU has produced nearly 30 percent of its All-Americans, with 20 players making the list since 2005. I think this speaks volumes for the job Coach Miles and his staff have done not only in recruiting, but in player development.
Reader Comments: Scott, you might want to let Tiger baseball fans know that Alex Bregman has been producing at a high level for Team USA thus far in the early goings. In his first three games of action, he’s fifth on the team in batting average with a .273 and he’s tied for the team lead in RBIs with six. He has committed only one error and has struck out only once in his first 11 plate appearances.
Reader Comments: Tiger fans should see this. SBNation charts the 15 CFB teams with 100 wins since current recruits started paying attention.
6/24/14 6:05 am MDT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Yesterday it was announced that LSU’s 2014 regular-season finale against Texas A&M on Thanksgiving in College Station will kickoff at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN. The Texas A&M contest will be the first for LSU on Thanksgiving Day since 1973 when the Tigers dropped a 21-7 decision to Alabama in Tiger Stadium. LSU is 5-4-3 all-time in games played on Thanksgiving including a 7-7 tie against Texas A&M in Houston in 1913. I’m interested in hearing what the LSU faithful think about the Thanksgiving change. Love it, hate it or don’t really mind? Send me an email and let me know, but please note that I might not be able to reply to every message individually as I’m still on vacation in the Rockies.
Moving to some baseball news, former Tiger ace Aaron Nola made his pro debut last night and was hit hard. Pitching for the Clearwater Threshers, Nola walked the first batter he faced and then was rocked for five runs in the 3rd inning. Nola threw 2.1 innings, allowed four earned runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Now, let’s move forward with our position-by-position analysis of the 2014 LSU football team by looking at the wide receivers.
Folks, it not easy to replace a Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr. As the two became the first duo in school history to establish 1,000-yard seasons each, Beckham and Landry were this decade’s Josh Reed and Michael Clayton. That’s why it was crucial for the Tigers to pickup Malachi Dupré on signing day to go along with long-time commits Trey Quinn and Tony Upchurch. Many expect Dupré and Quinn to become the next Beckham and Landry, and that certainly could be the case. But first, a lot of work has to be done. And don’t sleep on Upchurch. As I’ve said before, the staff is extremely impressed with this versatile 6-foot-2, 228-pound playmaker from Texas and will find a way to get him on the field. When Coach Miles spoke at the Tiger Tour function in Lafayette, Upchurch was the first freshman named when speaking of newcomers who could contribute early.
The fall will incorporate many story-lines for the Tigers, but undoubtedly one of most interesting will be LSU’s wide receiver newcomers versus the returners. Travin Dural is, and should be, the No. 1 wide receiver entering the season. Dural provided 145 receiving yards and two touchdowns last season, and he built off of that with 130 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns in the spring game. Now, here’s where it gets interesting. The next leading receiver was a tight end, DeSean Smith, who we will talk about extensively in tomorrow’s report. John Diarse, who ran at No. 2 for most of spring, hauled in one catch for 33 yards, which has many believing Dupree, Quinn and Upchurch could make an immediate impact.
In the SEC, a jump from high school to college should never be taken for granted. Whether you’re a 5-star prospect like Dupré or not, the speed of the game and technique refinement will have to take its course. That gives Diarse, Avery Peterson, Kevin Spears and Quantavius Leslie an advantage going into camp, since each has had a year or longer to adapt to the speed of the SEC while practicing against LSU’s defensive backs.
And now let’s close out today’s post with our ongoing countdown to LSU Football Game Day, which is 67 days away, by looking at a special play in a big win for LSU. I’m referring to the 67-yard run by LSU running back Keiland Williams in the Tigers’ win over 9th ranked Virginia Tech in 2007.
The 2007 college football season was special for many reasons with the national championship victory against Ohio State obviously topping the list. But from the Florida game, which some argue is the best game ever played in Death Valley, to the last-second Demetrius Byrd Hail Mary to beat Auburn, the Colt David fake field goal flip against South Carolina and the fourth quarter comeback win at Alabama, it was one of the most entertaining seasons in LSU history for several reasons. Another special moment that year was the 48-7 whooping the Tigers put on Virginia Tech in a Top-10 showdown on national television. LSU steamrolled Virginia Tech from the beginning, scoring on the first two possessions of the game. Up 17-0 in the second quarter, Keiland Williams put the stamp on Virginia Tech with a 67-yard touchdown run. In a pistol set, Matt Flynn took the snap and pitched to Williams, who got to the second level with a hurdle. After a missed tackle and a stiff arm to follow, Williams broke free, cut to his left and scored to make the game a 24-0 advantage for LSU. The crowd erupted, and Virginia Tech would never recover. Williams finished that game with 126 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on just seven carries. Over the years, Virginia Tech has been scrutinized for being overrated in preseason polls and finishing further down the ladder than the media usually predicts. Overrated or not, the beating the Tigers put on then No. 9 ranked Virginia Tech was undoubtedly an eye opener. It being the second game of that memorable season, the contest was a precursor to more sensational moments to follow. (You can revisit that LSU-Virgina Tech game by watching these video highlights. William’s 67-yard touchdown run is at the 3:23 mark.)
6/23/14 5:45 am MDT
Good morning Tiger fans,
There’s a lot to get to in today’s report, including our continued analysis of every LSU position this fall and a trip down memory lane to LSU’s first Peach Bowl victory. But first, this tid-bit in basketball recruiting:
Unfortunately, 2016 U-High point guard Skylar Mays has decommited from LSU. Mays is a 4-star recruit and a target Tiger basketball fans want. But I wouldn’t worry too much about his decommitment just yet. In this article by Andrew Lopez of Nola.com, Mays states that he wants to make sure he makes the right choice and that he still loves LSU. He also said he plans on attending football and basketball games at LSU.
Now, let’s get right to our ongoing position-by-position review of the 2014 football team by looking at the Tigers’ running backs:
LSU will have to replace its leading rusher from 2013 – Jeremy Hill – and that’s no small task. Hill was a special back whose vision, power, speed and agility allowed him to break off numerous long runs and amass 1,401 rushing yards despite the Tigers possessing two 1,000-yard receivers. And, I might add, he did this despite not getting nearly as many carries as most featured backs receive.
The good news is that LSU remains loaded at running back with two veterans returning and two hotshot incoming freshmen, including Leonard Fournette who comes to LSU as the most highly regarded signee of my lifetime. If you’ve seen Fournette’s video highlights, you know what a special back he is. I look for huge things from him, but predicting a Hill-like performance in his freshman season might be asking too much, especially considering that there are several other talented backs on the roster like veterans Terrance Magee and Kenny Hilliard. Those of you who’ve followed this site for a while know that I (and my father before me), have been high on Magee since his days at Franklinton High School. This could be his season to shine, especially early on when the young quarterbacks are coming of age and Fournette is adjusting to the college game. And let’s not forget about incoming freshen Darrell Williams of John Ehret High School who is a heck of a back in his own right, as you can see in William’s highlight video.
With so much talent and the veteran leadership of Magee and Hilliard, LSU’s stable of running backs is very impressive. And when you consider the strength of LSU’s offensive line, which returns four starters, LSU’s running game looks to be in great shape.
Stay tuned as tomorrow we’ll take a look at what is probably the second biggest position of interest on the 2014 team – the wide receiver position.
Now, with 68 days remaining until the start of LSU football season, let’s continue our countdown by remembering a special Tiger win that took place in 1968.
1968 was a disappointing season for LSU football fans. The Tigers would finish 7-3-0 with a heartbreaking loss to Ole Miss 27-24, an uninspired 16-7 loss to Alabama in Birmingham, and an embarrassing rout at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes, 30-0. The Tigers were picked to do much better. But on a cold and rainy December 5th night, the Tigers did come away with a great win over the 19th ranked Florida Seminoles in the inaugural Peach Bowl, and by all accounts it was a heck of a game.
Those of you who were there probably remember the Tigers’ awful start. After fumbling the opening kickoff and spotting Florida State a 13-0 lead in the second quarter, the Tigers needed to rally. LSU did just that when they seized momentum on a 39-yard punt return touchdown by Craig Burns. That led to 24-unanswered Tiger points and a 24-13 lead entering the fourth quarter. The game was far from over though, as Florida State regained the lead on two fourth-quarter scores. Down 27-24 with six minutes to play, quarterback Mike Hillman went to work, carving up the Seminoles’ defense on a 61-yard drive, including a 20-yard completion on 3rd-and-19 at the Florida State 37-yard line. The drive culminated in a 2-yard touchdown run by Maurice LeBlanc with two minutes to play. The Tigers held on to win 31-27 against the No. 19 Seminoles in the first of many Peach Bowl classics to come.
Two tid-bits on the Peach Bowl: • From 2006 to 2013 the Peach Bowl was known as the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but on April 21 it switched back to the Peach Bowl name. • LSU is 5-1 in Peach/Chick-fil-A Bowl games.
Reader Comments: Scott, here’s a nice read by Randy Rosetta on Collin Strall: Newest LSU signee Collin Strall is anxious to carve a role once he arrives
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