NCAA Baseball Championships:
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6/30/14 6:00 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Home sweet home! Last night my family and I returned safely from our Colorado vacation, and although we had a great time it sure is good to be back. I’m hoping that later today I can get caught up on answering some of your questions I received by email that were not answered in my daily reports.
Many of you contacted me about the position-by-position review of the 2014 LSU football team that we concluded yesterday, and it was great hearing from you. After yesterday’s review of special teams, a couple of people reminded me not to sleep on freshman Cameron Gamble, freshman walk-on Kyle Pfau and sophomore walk-on Trent Domangue as possibilities for kickoff duties now that Hairston is gone. The role is obviously wide open, and it will be interesting to see which Tiger takes advantage of this open opportunity.
I’ve also heard from a lot of you concerning a rumor going around that LSU will open the 2018 season in Dallas against Miami. That would certainly be interesting, but according to my sources there’s no truth to the rumor.
Being that I’m just getting back into the swing of things and was on the road the last two days, I don’t have much news to pass along, but there is this video of LSU softball coach Beth Torina and Les Miles getting water dumped on them for charity. The Tiger coaches are the latest to get in on the Chillin’ for Charity challenge, as college coaches and athletes across the country have had water dumped on them to support the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. The video shows the heart of Torina and shows that Miles needs only a bucket of water to provide entertainment.
With LSU's season-opener against Wisconsin 61 days away, let's continue our countdown to Game Day by looking at a special former Tiger who wore No. 61 - Tommy Lott. Lott was a member of the famous Chinese Bandits, a defensive squad that was so good that sometimes LSU’s offense would punt on third down with the expectation that the defensive unit would hold the opposition and allow the offense to return with a shortened field. The Chinese Bandits were very small by today’s standards, especially across the defensive line, and the smallest among them was nose guard Tommy Lott at 5-9, 188 pounds. Contrast that with today’s LSU defensive tackles, the smallest of which is Davon Godchaux at 6-4, 271 pounds. Nonetheless, Coach Paul Dietzel credited this squad’s success to their pride, their speed, their ability to gang-tackle, and especially their hustle and enthusiasm. That pride showed in big and small instances and was reflected in a statement made by our number 61. When an injury occurred to the White Team causing Dietzel to offer a promotion (from the Chinese Bandits to the White team), Lott looked the coach in the eye and stated “Okay, but as soon as possible I want to get back to the Bandits.” (Game of My Life LSU Tigers, Marty Mule and Paul Dietzel). And with that we say “thank you” to Tommy Lott and the Chinese Bandits for their terrific Fighting Tiger spirit during what would become an undefeated season capped by a 7-0 National Championship win against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.
I’ll leave you today with this tid-bit about former Tiger Jacob Hester’s football camp that took place this weekend. Hester, along with three other former Tigers who wore the prestigious No. 18 - Bennie Logan, Richard Murphy and Richard Dickson – and freshman quarterback Brandon Harris, all helped to drill the 100+ youngsters who attended the camp. Here’s the article: Youth campers learn lessons at Jacob Hester Football Camp
6/29/14 6:30 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Well, my family and I are nearly back home from a very enjoyable vacation to Colorado. We’ve had a great time and it’s always nice to get away, but I sure am looking forward to getting back home and eating a home-cooked meal of rice and gravy and fresh vegetables from the garden.
Before going any further, I’d like to correct/clarify a couple of things from yesterday’s report.
• First of all, in our review of the defensive backs, we omitted Ed Paris. His omission was certainly not on purpose. Paris, a prized recruit from Texas who can play safety or corner, enrolled early and got a jump on learning John Chavis’ system this past spring, and he’ll be an immediate contender for a starting role.
• The other thing to clear up is that Charlie McClendon’s first season with LSU was 1962 (not 1963 as I stated). The Tigers went 9-1-1 that season, including the 13-0 win over Cotton Bowl win over Texas in January of 1963.
Today we’ll conclude our position-by-position reviews by briefly reviewing special teams, and then we’ll continue with our countdown to Game Day.
There will be a lot of familiar faces in LSU’s special teams this year, but a few changes as well. In fact, the biggest change will actually involve a familiar face as Coach Bradley Dale Peveto will once again be coaching special teams. Peveto was a member of Miles’ first staff at LSU and was special teams coordinator during the Tigers’ 2007 national title run.
Another change will be in the punt and kickoff return department. Odell Beckham averaged 26 yards per return on kickoffs last season and 9 yards per return on punts. The most likely candidate to replace him this fall will be Travin Dural, who actually returned four punts for the Tigers last season and gained 12 total yards. Tre’Davious White, Terrence Magee and newcomers Tony Upchurch and Jamal Adams could contend for the spot as well.
Jamie Keehn will handle punting duties again. He averaged 41 yards per punt on 43 punts last season, but struggled a bit with consistency.
Field goals will continue to be handled by Colby Delahoussaye, who made 13-of-14 field goal attempts last season as a freshman. This time around, Delahoussaye will also perform kickoff duties. As you might recall, James Hairston did all of LSU’s kickoffs for the last couple of years, but was dissatisfied with not being able to kick field goals as well. Hairston announced his transfer from LSU in early March.
Before leaving the topic of the 2014 LSU football team, here’s a great video interview of Cam Cameron by the Advocate that I think you’ll enjoy watching. In it he says that LSU will continue to be a physical team, but that there will be a few differences this year with more of an emphasis on utilizing the tight ends and with a mobile quarterback. Note: The video utilizes Flash technology and is therefore not viewable on Apple iPhones or iPads.
With 62 days remaining until the start of the LSU football season, today’s topic for our countdown is the greatness of beating Tulane 62-0 on three different occasions. All three of those 62-0 victories took place within an eight-year period, starting in the very special year of 1958 in which LSU won its first national championship. Interestingly, the Tigers only led 6-0 going into the half and would score 58 points in the second half to send Tulane home with a disheartening defeat. As fate would have it, Tulane would get to experience that same exact loss two more times within the next decade, in 1961 and 1965. The Tigers currently lead the series against the Green Wave 69-22-7, and for you younger fans out there the Greenies might not seem like a significant Tiger opponent. However, I’m sure that those of you who are my age or older remember well what a big rivalry this used to be. One of my earliest memories of being in Tiger Stadium was in the late 70s or early 80s. I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I remember sitting with my Dad and watching the Tigers add to a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter. That’s when the gentleman sitting in front of us stood up and yelled with all his might, “Go for two!”
In closing, I’d like to congratulate Coach Paul Mainieri’s father, Coach Demie Mainieri, for being inducted in the College Baseball Hall of Fame last night. Demie was the first junior college baseball coach to win at least 1,000 games, and he finished his career with 1,012 wins in 30 seasons at Miami-Dade North Community College. Paul followed in his footsteps, recording his 1,200th victory this season. The induction ceremony took place at the Overton Hotel in Lubbock, Texas, as part of the annual Night of Champions event.
6/28/14 5:40 am MDT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Good news surfaced for the LSU baseball program yesterday when the College Baseball Foundation announced Aaron Nola as the 2014 National Pitcher of the Year. This marks the sixth time an LSU pitcher has the won a national player or pitcher of the year award. Nola joins Ben McDonald (1989 Golden Spikes Award), Lloyd Peever (1992 Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year), Eddy Furniss (1998 Dick Howser Trophy), Brad Cresse (2000 Johnny Bench Award) and Alex Bregman (2013 Brooks Wallace Award). The recognition further adds credibility to one of the most prestigious college baseball programs in America, and as baseball withdrawals continue to ramp up, it’s always nice to get to write about accolades following another memorable Tiger season.
Crossing over to the hardwood, LSU basketball commit Ben Simmons is continuing to climb recruit rankings. This time, Simmons is climbing the Rivals150, where he went from being the fifth-best rated prospect to No. 1 on the board. This comes days after 247 Sports elevated Simmons status to No. 1 in the 247 Sports ranking and 247 composite rankings. Simmons is making a name for himself by earning MVP honors at the NBAPA Top-100 camp, a camp in which Dwayne Wade, Kyrie Erving and former camp MVP Kevin Love each participated. Hopefully, Simmons will continue to make a name for himself when he comes to Baton Rouge in 2015.
Now moving on to our final defensive position review in our 2014 LSU football team analysis – the Tigers’ secondary.
It’s beginning to look like LSU DBU again, even with the unwanted news of Jalen Mills’ suspension after his alleged disturbance. With the Mills’ news still recent, we might as well address the safety position first. Mills was making the move from corner to safety this season, which he played in a few games last season. However, we are unsure of Mills’ return timetable or even if he will return to the team in 2014. Without Mills, Corey Thompson and either Ricky Jefferson or Ronald Martin would likely be the starters. Thompson came on strong toward the middle of the season, garnering four tackles against Florida and eight against Alabama.
All three safeties can make a strong case to start, but so can freshmen Jamal Adams, Devin Voorhies and John Battle. Adams is a ball-hawking safety with a knack for lowering the boom in the secondary. Don’t count out Voorhies in the race either, as his track speed and athleticism could be a factor. Currently, the Mills’ cloud has made the safety position a big question mark going into fall camp, so expect an intense position battle to take place.
As for the corner positions, Tre’Davious White and Rashard Robinson have those positions locked up. Both played as true freshmen last year, and both showed tremendous promise. I fully expect both players to grow into lockdown cornerbacks in the SEC as sophomores. Behind them will be Mills, Dwayne Thomas and Jalen Collins. Thomas is a great pass rushing corner who could play some nickel next season and rush the quarterback. D.J. Chark and Russell Gage will come in as freshmen, and we all know that Coaches Miles and Chavis don’t hesitate in playing freshmen at defensive back. All told, the defensive backfield should be a strong unit for the Tigers.
Now moving on to our countdown to game day which is 63 days away, let’s remember LSU’s 1963 season, which was Coach Charlie McClendon’s first as head coach at LSU.
Before there was Les Miles and before there was Nick Saban, there was “Cholly Mac.” McClendon coached the Tigers for 18 seasons and put together a remarkable 137-59-7 record. In eleven of those seasons, McClendon’s Tigers won at least eight games. And in McClendon’s first season with the Tigers, he put together a 9-1-1 season and upset a top-5 ranked Texas team in the 1963 Cotton Bowl. McClendon’s stingy defense wouldn’t relent a touchdown against the previously undefeated Longhorns. The Tigers’ offense was limited as Jerry Stovall could only amass 36 rushing yards in the game, but a couple of field goals by Lynn Amedee combined with a 22-yard rushing touchdown by Jimmy Fields would be all the Tigers needed in a 13-0 statement win.
In closing, I’d like to point out that I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange and it now includes several new listings.
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