11/26/14 5:35 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
I know that many of you will be traveling tomorrow, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. Those of you who’ve followed this site for a while know that Thanksgiving is a special time of year for me, just as it was for my Dad, “Dandy Don” Long. Every year at this time, Dad would give thanks for his many blessings and remind us that as great as LSU sports are, there are more important things in life. I think that’s a great tradition worth continuing, and today I intend to do just that by sharing with you my third annual Thanksgiving Message. In it, you’ll find links to my Dad’s legendary Thanksgiving stories about the good ol’ days gone by, as well as few stories of my own including the ones I shared with you last year about how this website came to be, and about my life as a kid in the 70s and 80s. As lagniappe, I’ve included links to a few of our recipes that you might find useful this time of year, and to a poem written by one of our readers that was inspired by Dad’s stories. I hope you find it enjoyable and worth sharing with your families.
Now back to our normal order of business…. The LSU football team will enjoy its Thanksgiving dinner today at the Faculty Club before flying out to Texas for tomorrow’s big game against the Aggies. The team will depart from the Baton Rouge airport at 2:30 this afternoon and arrive in Houston at 3:30. After spending tonight at La Torretta Resort in Montgomery, Texas, the Tigers will head out to College Station tomorrow at 3:25 to prepare for the 6:32 kickoff against the Aggies. For a full list of Times of Interest, please click here.
Last night Coach Les Miles held his weekly radio talk-show, and below you’ll find my rough summary of its key points.
Rickey from Birmingham pointed out that the team could end up fourth or last in the SEC West and asked if there is enough there to motivate the team to lay it all on the line tomorrow night. Miles answered affirmatively, saying the team realizes they can win nine games and extend their streak of 8-win seasons to 15, but really it’s matter of playing hard for who you are and who you represent.
Ron from Kenner talked about the “anemic” play at quarterback and asked if that was because of the players or the coaching. Miles said the problem is not with coaching and that Cam Cameron is a tremendous coach who is doing a great job of mentoring the quarterbacks. While acknowledging that everyone is unsatisfied with quarterback play, Miles said it may not all be the quarterbacks’ fault and then mentioned pass protection and drops by young receivers. Miles added that he would not be surprised at any point to see Brandon Harris taking some snaps.
When asked by Donald from Vicksburg why Harris has received 50% of the snaps in practice yet has not received more playing time, Miles answered by saying, “We’ve chosen not to make the decision on our future quarterback until down the road. That’s why he’s getting 50 percent of the reps.” Miles also said they are trying to put Harris in a position where he can make some explosive plays without encumbering him with the whole offense. In his closing statement to Donald, Miles emphasized that Anthony Jennings is currently the quarterback who makes the team better over a range of things.
Michael from Lafayette said that the offense is more one-dimensional than he’s seen it in a long time and asked how that can be corrected so that all the playmakers can contribute. Miles said the plan is to have balance and to execute better in the passing game, but that the plan “doesn’t currently fit the age of our passing group - both receivers and QB.”
The next caller, Neil, asked why they no longer name Plays of the Game during the weekly call in shows, as they’ve done in year’s past. Miles said that’s a great question and that he really enjoyed that part of the show, too. Gordy Rush, who was filling in for Jim Hawthorne, assured Neil that in the next edition of the show they’ll bring back that feature.
Sadie, the young girl from Denton, Texas, who usually calls-in each week, was in the live audience for the show and asked Coach Miles what he’s most thankful for. Miles answered first with, “My family and the good health the lord has provided.” He then added that he’s very thankful for his players who are motivated, hard working and very ambitious.
Genie from New Orleans asked Coach Miles how he balances keeping his players here versus leaving early for the pros. Miles’ answer was a little hard to understand, as he started with something like, “We recruit a style of guy that can come in and play right way, and that makes it more likely that he’ll be gone after three years,” and ended with something about that being harder to do with quarterbacks, although Jordan Jefferson was very productive as a true freshmen. Sorry, but I wasn’t able to follow enough of his answer to give you a clear translation.
The Big Ragoo emphasized that it is very important to win out and end with nine wins, as this will carry over into recruiting and the whole nine yards. He then asked Miles if Leonard Fournette would get more than 5 carries in this game. Miles’ answer was, “We have to have some carries to give him.”
Bart from Memphis reminded Coach Miles that in the second half against Wisconsin Jennings worked out of the pistol set with the offense spread out and that the team ran well and Jennings seemed comfortable. He also pointed out that in the Arkansas game the Razorbacks were able to pick up on a lot of tendencies and anticipate where the play was going. Miles said they have kept the formations we saw against Wisconsin and have used them at times. As for the predictability, Miles said that they are trying to off-set those tendencies.
In other football news, LT La'el Collins has been invited to participate in the Senior Bowl on January 24 at Ladd Memorial Stadium in Mobile. Other Tigers invited to play in post-season all-star games include DE Jermauria Rasco and RBs Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard, who have been invited to participate in the East-West Shrine game on January 17 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. At this time, it is uncertain whether Hilliard will be able to participate in the Tigers bowl game or in the East-West Shrine game due to the shoulder injury he suffered against Alabama.
In football recruiting news, LSU has been turning up the heat on a couple of Florida commitments since Will Muschamp's resignation. On Monday LSU extended an offer to Derrick Dillon (ATH, 6-0, 174, Pine, No. 18 on our list of Top LA Prospects), and yesterday I learned that George Brown (OT/DE, 6-6, 253) is set to visit LSU on the weekend of December 5th. Brown is former Tiger running back Spencer Ware's cousin, and he is said to have a great relationship with LSU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. It’s looking like December 5th is shaping up to be a big recruiting weekend with several official visits, and in a subsequent report we’ll take a look at who LSU is expecting in.
A couple of basketball tid-bits in closing:
• LSU’s Lady Tigers, who began with a preseason ranking of 24th in the country, are now 2-4 after losing to Santa Clara in Mexico yesterday. Despite cutting an 11-point halftime deficit to three with less than two minutes to play, LSU was unable to complete the comeback and fell 69-67 in the opening game of the Hardwood Tournament of Hope. The Lady Tigers will return to action today at 2:30 p.m. CT against UTEP before completing the tournament on Thanksgiving Day at 5 p.m. CT against Kansas State.
• Congratulations are in order for LSU sophomore Jordan Mickey who was named to the Paradise Jam All-Tournament team. Mickey averaged 16.7 points and 10 rebounds per game and had a career-high 27 points and 14 rebounds in LSU’s win over Weber State.
That’s it for today folks. Now it’s time for me to walk out to the garden and pick a big mess of turnips and mustard greens to prepare for tomorrow’s feast. Have a great day, Tiger Fans, and make the most of this holiday time.