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9/28/16 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

With so much change in the air, we’ve had a lot to talk about in the last few days, but lost in the discussion has been the fact that LSU has a game to play this Saturday. In today’s report, we’ll begin turning our attention to LSU’s homecoming contest against Missouri which kicks off Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN. The forecast for Baton Rouge on Saturday is nearly perfect with clear skies and evening lows in the mid-50s, and you know what I call weather like that – Gumbo weather! Bring it on!

Before getting to our weekly stat comparison of LSU and its opponent, there’s some news to pass along about defensive end Davon Godchaux who was arrested Monday morning and then suspended indefinitely. According to reports, prosecutors have decided to drop the charges against him because of inconsistencies in the statement provided by the alleged victim, the mother of Godchaux’s 10-month-old child, and physical evidence at the scene. Godchaux and his girlfriend were both arrested Monday morning after what the police report described as a “tussle” stemming from infidelity in their relationship. As far as I know, Godchaux remains suspended at this time.
 
There’s also a bit of  news to share regarding LSU’s coaching search. According to this article by Football Scoop’s Scott Roussel, LSU’s selection committee is shooting for the stars and will “gauge the interest” of four coaches who have won national championships – Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Bob Stoops and Jimbo Fisher – as well as Houston’s Tom Herman. The article states that LSU believes they will attract a coach of that caliber, and I like that way of thinking. Of course, LSU will be gauging the interest of many other coaches as well, including several I mentioned in Monday’s report. As for my own personal opinion, well let’s just say this: If I were a betting man (and I’m not), my bet (at this time) would be on Tom Herman or Jimbo Fisher. Evidently, the Las Vegas oddsmakers agree. Here are the latest LSU head coach odds according to Bovada (@BovadaLV): Tom Herman 5/4, Jimbo Fisher 3/1, Larry Fedora 4/1, Gary Patterson 15/1, Art Briles 28/1.

Of course, one person who I think has a legitimate chance of landing the job is interim head coach Ed Orgeron. In order for him to do so, he’d likely have to run the table or at least win seven of the remaining eight games including Alabama. What are the chances of that happening? I don’t know. Ask me again this Sunday. I will say this for now: I really like the excitement Orgeron is bringing to the program and feel like LSU is extremely fortunate to have him. Not only is it rare to be able to call up someone from within who has head coaching experience (at Ole Miss), it’s even rarer to have someone on staff who has valuable experience as an interim head coach (at USC). Coach O is exactly what LSU needs in this transitional time, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the team responds with him at the helm this Saturday.

Speaking of this Saturday’s game, let’s move on with our weekly statistical comparison to get a better idea of what LSU will be up against. Here we go…

LSU - Missouri Stats

• First, it should be noted that the stats for Missouri (2-2) are inflated by their dominant 79-0 win last weekend over a very weak Delaware State team and a 61-21 win over a weak Eastern Michigan squad in Week 2. Missouri racked up 698 yards of total offense against the the Hornets of Delaware State and held them to only 140 total yards (44 rushing and 96 passing). Against Eastern Michigan, Missouri amassed 647 total yards (477 passing, 170 rushing) but gave up 428 yards (141 rushing and  287 passing).

• It should also be noted that Missouri nearly defeated a good Georgia team in Week 3 and was leading the Bulldogs in the 4th quarter before falling 28-27. Their other loss was at West Virginia, 26-11, to start the season.  In their two losses, Missouri is averaging 19 points per game, but they did put up 462 yards (282 passing, 180 rushing) of offense at West Virginia and actually out-gained Georgia in total yards 471 (376 passing, 95 passing) to 409.

• Missouri’s defense only allowed 101 rushing yards vs. Georgia, which is impressive considering Nick Chubb is one of the best running backs in the country. He only had 63 rushing yards on 19 carries in that contest.
 
• Missouri is 4th in the nation with 391.3 passing yards per game, and quarterback Drew Lock is second in the country with 1,508 passing yards.  To put that in perspective, LSU quarterback Brandon Harris passed for 2,165 passing yards last season through 12 games, and Drew Lock could break that total in just six contests.
 
• Missouri’s passing stats and pass efficiency are quite impressive. In fact, quarterback Drew Lock leads the league in passing yards per game (377.0) and passing touchdowns (14) and has the second highest pass efficiency in the league behind Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly.  

• One downfall of Missouri’s extensive passing game is that it puts their defense out on the field an awful lot. Missouri has only possessed the ball for 25:47 (at WVU), 21:16 (Eastern Michigan), 22:42 (vs. Georgia) and 24:59 (vs. Delaware State), an average of just 23.7 minutes per game vs. 36.3 for the opponent.
 
• Missouri appears to win most of the hidden yard categories such as punting average (4.6 yard advantage), punt return average (2.1 yard advantage), kickoff return average (1.5 yard average). While those yards may not seem significant, those types of missed yards quickly add up and result in unfavorable field position that adds pressure to both offenses and defenses. Auburn took advantage of those hidden yards last Saturday in its narrow victory over LSU.

• Of course, hidden yards also come from penalties, and that’s one area where LSU leads statistically. Missouri is heavily penalized, averaging 9.5 more penalty yards per game than the Tigers. Penalties often kill drives, which could be part of the reason why Missouri only averaged 19 points in their two losses despite the fact they averaged 466.5 yards in those two contests.

• Obviously, Missouri’s fast-paced offense is a big reason why they have so many more plays this season than LSU. Missouri has 331 offensive snaps (161 rushing, 170 passing) for an average of 82.8 per game, while LSU only has 236 snaps, an average of 59 per game. While that is a stark difference (23.8 more snaps per game for Missouri), it will also give LSU’s defensive line an opportunity to increase their 3.5 sack per game average. I look for Arden Key, Lewis Neal and the linebackers to have great opportunities to record numerous negative plays, particularly against quarterback Lock.

Tune in later this week as we compare LSU’s offense vs Missouri’s defense and vice versa, as well as special teams and intangibles.

I’ll leave you today with this video complialtion by Jacques Doucet of WAFB called, “Best of Les Miles.” Have a great day.


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9/28/16 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

With so much change in the air, we’ve had a lot to talk about in the last few days, but lost in the discussion has been the fact that LSU has a game to play this Saturday. In today’s report, we’ll begin turning our attention to LSU’s homecoming contest against Missouri which kicks off Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN. The forecast for Baton Rouge on Saturday is nearly perfect with clear skies and evening lows in the mid-50s, and you know what I call weather like that – Gumbo weather! Bring it on!

Before getting to our weekly stat comparison of LSU and its opponent, there’s some news to pass along about defensive end Davon Godchaux who was arrested Monday morning and then suspended indefinitely. According to reports, prosecutors have decided to drop the charges against him because of inconsistencies in the statement provided by the alleged victim, the mother of Godchaux’s 10-month-old child, and physical evidence at the scene. Godchaux and his girlfriend were both arrested Monday morning after what the police report described as a “tussle” stemming from infidelity in their relationship. As far as I know, Godchaux remains suspended at this time.
 
There’s also a bit of  news to share regarding LSU’s coaching search. According to this article by Football Scoop’s Scott Roussel, LSU’s selection committee is shooting for the stars and will “gauge the interest” of four coaches who have won national championships – Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Bob Stoops and Jimbo Fisher – as well as Houston’s Tom Herman. The article states that LSU believes they will attract a coach of that caliber, and I like that way of thinking. Of course, LSU will be gauging the interest of many other coaches as well, including several I mentioned in Monday’s report. As for my own personal opinion, well let’s just say this: If I were a betting man (and I’m not), my bet (at this time) would be on Tom Herman or Jimbo Fisher. Evidently, the Las Vegas oddsmakers agree. Here are the latest LSU head coach odds according to Bovada (@BovadaLV): Tom Herman 5/4, Jimbo Fisher 3/1, Larry Fedora 4/1, Gary Patterson 15/1, Art Briles 28/1.

Of course, one person who I think has a legitimate chance of landing the job is interim head coach Ed Orgeron. In order for him to do so, he’d likely have to run the table or at least win seven of the remaining eight games including Alabama. What are the chances of that happening? I don’t know. Ask me again this Sunday. I will say this for now: I really like the excitement Orgeron is bringing to the program and feel like LSU is extremely fortunate to have him. Not only is it rare to be able to call up someone from within who has head coaching experience (at Ole Miss), it’s even rarer to have someone on staff who has valuable experience as an interim head coach (at USC). Coach O is exactly what LSU needs in this transitional time, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the team responds with him at the helm this Saturday.

Speaking of this Saturday’s game, let’s move on with our weekly statistical comparison to get a better idea of what LSU will be up against. Here we go…

LSU - Missouri Stats

• First, it should be noted that the stats for Missouri (2-2) are inflated by their dominant 79-0 win last weekend over a very weak Delaware State team and a 61-21 win over a weak Eastern Michigan squad in Week 2. Missouri racked up 698 yards of total offense against the the Hornets of Delaware State and held them to only 140 total yards (44 rushing and 96 passing). Against Eastern Michigan, Missouri amassed 647 total yards (477 passing, 170 rushing) but gave up 428 yards (141 rushing and  287 passing).

• It should also be noted that Missouri nearly defeated a good Georgia team in Week 3 and was leading the Bulldogs in the 4th quarter before falling 28-27. Their other loss was at West Virginia, 26-11, to start the season.  In their two losses, Missouri is averaging 19 points per game, but they did put up 462 yards (282 passing, 180 rushing) of offense at West Virginia and actually out-gained Georgia in total yards 471 (376 passing, 95 passing) to 409.

• Missouri’s defense only allowed 101 rushing yards vs. Georgia, which is impressive considering Nick Chubb is one of the best running backs in the country. He only had 63 rushing yards on 19 carries in that contest.
 
• Missouri is 4th in the nation with 391.3 passing yards per game, and quarterback Drew Lock is second in the country with 1,508 passing yards.  To put that in perspective, LSU quarterback Brandon Harris passed for 2,165 passing yards last season through 12 games, and Drew Lock could break that total in just six contests.
 
• Missouri’s passing stats and pass efficiency are quite impressive. In fact, quarterback Drew Lock leads the league in passing yards per game (377.0) and passing touchdowns (14) and has the second highest pass efficiency in the league behind Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly.  

• One downfall of Missouri’s extensive passing game is that it puts their defense out on the field an awful lot. Missouri has only possessed the ball for 25:47 (at WVU), 21:16 (Eastern Michigan), 22:42 (vs. Georgia) and 24:59 (vs. Delaware State), an average of just 23.7 minutes per game vs. 36.3 for the opponent.
 
• Missouri appears to win most of the hidden yard categories such as punting average (4.6 yard advantage), punt return average (2.1 yard advantage), kickoff return average (1.5 yard average). While those yards may not seem significant, those types of missed yards quickly add up and result in unfavorable field position that adds pressure to both offenses and defenses. Auburn took advantage of those hidden yards last Saturday in its narrow victory over LSU.

• Of course, hidden yards also come from penalties, and that’s one area where LSU leads statistically. Missouri is heavily penalized, averaging 9.5 more penalty yards per game than the Tigers. Penalties often kill drives, which could be part of the reason why Missouri only averaged 19 points in their two losses despite the fact they averaged 466.5 yards in those two contests.

• Obviously, Missouri’s fast-paced offense is a big reason why they have so many more plays this season than LSU. Missouri has 331 offensive snaps (161 rushing, 170 passing) for an average of 82.8 per game, while LSU only has 236 snaps, an average of 59 per game. While that is a stark difference (23.8 more snaps per game for Missouri), it will also give LSU’s defensive line an opportunity to increase their 3.5 sack per game average. I look for Arden Key, Lewis Neal and the linebackers to have great opportunities to record numerous negative plays, particularly against quarterback Lock.

Tune in later this week as we compare LSU’s offense vs Missouri’s defense and vice versa, as well as special teams and intangibles.

I’ll leave you today with this video complialtion by Jacques Doucet of WAFB called, “Best of Les Miles.” Have a great day.

9/27/16 5:40 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Yesterday a new era began in LSU football – the Coach O era – as Ed Orgeron was officially introduced as LSU’s interim head coach. Addressing the media for the first time in his new role, Orgeron promised to “flip the script” and energize the team and fanbase. It was a message delivered in a manner respectful to his predecessor that I’m sure will be well received. You can view a video of the entire press conference (18:24) here, and I’ve recapped several of the key points below in the first seven of today’s Dandy Dozen Quick-Hitting Tidbits. Note: pay attention to No. 8, as it’s one that could have a big adverse effect on LSU’s defensive line. Here we go…

Tuesday Tidbits - Your Daily Dose of Tiger News Delivered in a Dandy Dozen Quick Hitters

1. After promising to reenergize the team and “Tiger family,” Coach O asked all Tiger fans to come out to the stadium this Saturday and support the players. “They work long and hard hours and they deserve the success and deserve the energy that our fans will bring 'em and I know that you guys want to see a great product. We plan on putting it on the field.”

2. Orgeron promised a new style of play on offense, while at the same time acknowledging that there is not a whole lot of time to change things. Later in the presser, he said the team is going to spread the ball out a little bit, be more creative and find ways for the quarterback to get the ball down the field throwing it.

3. Coach O (a.k.a. Bébé) introduced his new coaching staff, confirming the changes we wrote about yesterday which include moving Steve Ensminger to offensive coordinator and bringing in Pete Jenkins to coach the D-line. He also mentioned that Dave Aranda now holds the title of Associate Head Coach and that Steve Kragthorpe has been named “chief of staff” and will help come up with ideas on offense.

4. While speaking of  coaching appointments, Orgeron said he asked Bradley Dale Peveto to work solely on special teams (instead of also coaching outside linebackers) because that’s an area that needs work. He then said he has some ideas for that unit and promised improvement. Taking over Peveto’s duties as outside linebacker coach will be Dennis Johnson, a graduate assistant who is also a former player. 

5. Another area that needs improvement is clock management and Orgeron has ideas for improving that too. He said they will have someone in the press box whose only tasks will be “clock management and game management.”

6. One interesting change already implemented by Coach O has to do with the team’s practices. Orgeron is scaling back practice time while increasing time in the meeting room, something he says will keep players “fresher.” And get this: Oregon opened yesterday’s “walk-through” practice to the media. Here’s a report on the practice session by the Advocate.

7. As for recruiting, Orgeron said he and his staff called every recruit last night. While acknowledging that the recruits were obviously sad to hear of the firings, Coach O said they were excited that he is now the interim head coach and that the response was positive.

8. Now for a bit of depressing news: LSU’s best defensive lineman, Davon Godchaux, was arrested Monday morning for domestic abuse battery/child endangerment and false imprisonment. According to The Advocate, the victim  in the case is the mother of Godchaux’s 10-month-old child. Evidently, she and Godchaux got into a violent argument over “infidelity” in their relationship. LSU wasted no time in suspending Godchaux indefinitely, and I applaud them for their swift action.  

9. While I know football is on everyone’s mind at this time, there’s some baseball news to report as LSU’s 2016 recruiting class came in at No. 7 in Collegiate Baseball’s recruiting rankings released yesterday. This is the ninth time in 10 years the Tigers are in the Top 10 of the survey. LSU was No. 1 in 2007, 2010 and 2014; No. 3 in 2009; No. 4 in 2012; No. 7 in 2011 and 2015; and No. 10 in 2013.

10. Also some news on the basketball front: A total of 10 former Tigers are on preseason NBA rosters for the 2016-17 season. Heading that list is veteran player Brandon Bass, who will move to a new team this year, and the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Ben Simmons. Here’s the complete list of the 10 and more information on this topic.

11. Jumping back to football news, this exclusive interview of Joe Alleva by The Advocate indicates that Les Miles will be paid a buyout of $9.6 million. In it, Alleva says the next nine weeks are an audition for Coach Orgeron, but that he doesn’t believe he will have a problem attracting a quality candidate to replace Miles.

12. I’ll leave you today with a video from The Dan Patrick Show in which Les Miles was interviewed about his situation. Miles’ comments clearly that show what a class act he is and how he wants nothing but the best for our program. Just as I will forever be a Tiger Fan, I will forever be a Les Miles fan. 

Stay tuned as tomorrow we’ll begin looking ahead at this Saturday’s homecoming game between LSU and Missouri. By the way, a few tickets to that game can be found on our Ticket Exchange, which was updated last night.

9/26/16 5:40 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

As I’m sure most of you have heard by now, Les Miles and Cam Cameron have been relieved of their duties at LSU. 

As someone who has always had great respect for Les Miles, I want to start this report by thanking him for all he did for the school, the program and the state of Louisiana since arriving here in 2005. One can make an argument that there are better collegiate coaches out there, but you would be hard pressed to find one who’s a better man. I also want to thank Miles not only for providing over a decade of entertaining wins and memorable quotes but for a particular call he made back in April of 2012. As you can tell by the date, I’m not referring to a play-call. No, this was a phone call made to my father during Dad’s last week of life, one in which Miles thanked him for his passionate service to LSU and wished him well. That’s the kind of man Les Miles is, and his kindness and goodness will never be forgotten. I pray that he, and Cameron, find much success wherever their paths lead them. 

With all that said, I do understand that it was time for a change. Fan support had reached an unhealthy level, wins were on the decline, and things were becoming – for lack of a better word – stale. A fresh perspective will do the program good. 

So just who will be ushering in this fresh perspective for LSU? Well, the long term answer is yet to be determined, but here’s where things stand now. Ed Orgeron has been promoted to interim head coach, and I have no doubt that he will do a great job in that capacity. Dameyune Craig is expected to take on Orgeron’s role as Recruiting Coordinator with the help of Austin Thomas, who is being promoted from Director of Player Personnel to General Manager. (Thomas is close friends with Miles, and I was happy to learn that he will be staying.) I’ve also heard that defensive line guru Pete Jenkins is expected to join LSU’s staff and help coach the D-line. This is exciting, as Jenkins is widely regarded as one of the best in the business and has great familiarity with LSU having served as LSU’s D-line coach from 1980 to 1990 and from 2000 to 2001. What makes him an even better fit is he has a great relationship with both Orgeron and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, having worked with both of them in the past. As for the offensive coordinator position, tight end coach Steve Ensminger will assume that role. Ensminger, a former LSU starting quarterback in the mid-1970s, has been an assistant or coordinator at six previous stops, including McNeese State, Louisiana Tech, Texas A&M, Clemson, and Georgia. Graduate assistant Eric Mateos will take over Ensminger’s role as tight ends coach, and graduate assistant Dennis Johnson is expected to take over as outside linebackers coach, freeing up Bradley Dale Peveto to focus solely on special teams.

As for who will be hired as LSU’s next head coach, there are several possibilities floating around but everything is just speculation at this point. One possibility is that the next few games will serve as an audition of sorts for Coach O, although I think the more likely scenario is that LSU will conduct a national search and bring in someone new. Interestingly, Bill Embody of scout.com has tweeted that LSU has reached out to Tom Herman (Houston) and Art Briles (formerly of Baylor) through their agents. A few other names to keep in mind are Jimbo Fisher (FSU), Bobby Petrino (Louisville), David Shaw (Stanford), Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Larry Fedora (North Carolina) and Lane Kiffin (Alabama OC). Again, these are just a few of the many names that are circulating out there, and it’s worth pointing out that it very well could end up being someone that no one is even talking about at this time. I’m reminded of when LSU hired Les Miles back in January of 2005. In the weeks prior to his hiring, we wrote about several potential candidates (interestingly, Jimbo Fisher and Bobby Petrino were in that conversation, too) but Les Miles’ name was not even on anyone’s radar until a few days before his hiring. Of course, that was well before the days of social media, but you get my point: These things are sometimes hard to predict. They’re even harder to predict mid-season when no currently employed candidate wants to be associated with a coaching search. 

As for how this mid-season change will affect LSU in recruiting, it’s hard to say. With Ed Orgeron, Bradley Dale Peveto and Austin Thomas all still on board the effect won’t be as severe as it would be without them, but don’t underestimate just how incredible of a recruiter Les Miles was for LSU. Clearly, his firing will take a toll on this class of 20 commits which is currently ranked No. 4 in the country, the question is how much of a toll.  The good news is that a few commits, including quarterback Myles Brennan and safety Grant Delpit, have already confirmed that they are sticking with LSU. We are likely to hear comments from many more in the coming days.

Stay tuned for more on all the changes going down as that’s sure to be a hot topic for quite a while. Athletic Director Joe Alleva will introduce Ed Orgeron as the interim coach at a 12:30 press conference today and player interviews will be conducted at 1:45. Then on Wednesday, Coach O will hold his first call-in radio show, which is sure to be interesting. 

Reader Comments: Scott, you might want to share these reactions from current and former LSU players about the news of Miles’ firing. No doubt he was (and still is)  a father figure and a mentor to countless young men. Truly a “quality” man. 

 

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