NCAA Baseball Championships:
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9/10/14 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fan,
The first thing I’d like to do today is thank all of you who voted in our poll asking: “Which Two LSU Freshmen Have Been Most Impressive So far?” When I closed the poll, 12,894 votes had been cast and I think many folks who cover LSU from afar would probably be surprised by the results, although I think you nailed it.
The leading vote-getter, by a large majority, was wide receiver Trey Quinn with 43.8% of the votes. Outside of special teams, Quinn is the only freshman to have started in a game. In fact, not only did Quinn start against Wisconsin in the season opener, he played in virtually every offensive snap. I think that speaks volumes about what the staff thinks of the youngster from Barbe High School.
Having Quinn finish first in the voting probably doesn’t surprise anyone, but I suspect that the running back who placed second might. Why? Because he’s not Leonard Fournette. No, the freshman running back who DandyDon.com readers believe has been most impressive so far is Darrell Williams (10.8%), and that makes sense on a couple of levels. First, Fournette was hyped so much heading into the season that anything short of 100-yards per game would probably fail to impress a lot of folks. Likewise, Williams was overshadowed by Fournette so much that seeing Williams put up the kind of numbers he had against Sam Houston State was sure to make a big impression. As we mentioned in our Monday Morning Rewind, we were very pleased by Williams’ strong north-south power running.
As for how the rest of the poll results shook out, Fournette finished right behind Williams with 10.6%, DT Davon Godchaux finished fourth with 9.4%, and QB Brandon Harris finished fifth with 6.3%. For the complete poll results, please click here, and thanks to our friends at SaturdayDownSouth.com for spreading the news about our poll.
One newcomer whom I didn’t include in the poll because he’s not a freshman is JUCO transfer tight end Colin Jeter. You may have noticed that he received a good bit of playing time against Sam Houston State and played well. I understand the staff is very high on him and that he is a player to watch moving forward. If you don’t know much about Jeter, I encourage you to read this article by Randy Rosetta of nola.com called “New chance of a lifetime lands Colin Jeter at LSU after walking away from first dream.” Jeter seems like a special young man and the kind of guy you’ll enjoy pulling for as a Tiger.
I considered conducting a poll today asking which veteran on the LSU football team has been most impressive so far, but I think the pick is pretty obvious. It would have to be wider receiver Travin Dural, right? In fact, Dural has been so impressive that yesterday ESPN’s Edward Aschoff added him to his Heisman watch list. Here’s what he had to say about him: “See, Dural didn't have to do any Heisman poses to make it on this list. All he's had to do is find a way to be in the right place at the right time. He has an SEC-high four touchdown receptions, with one being 94 yards and another coming in at 80 yards. Only two of his catches haven't gone for touchdowns, and his LSU-leading 291 receiving yards are the most in school history for a player after two games.”
The LSU football team is busy preparing for the second game of its four-game home stand which will take place Saturday night when the Tigers host in-state opponent ULM at 6:02 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU with Clay Matvick (play-by-play), Anthony Becht (analyst), and Dawn Davenport (sideline) on the call. UL-M is 2-0 on the season with wins over Wake Forest (17-10) and Idaho (38-31), and they won’t bow down to the Tigers as some seem to expect. We’ll have much more on the Warhawks of UL-Monroe later in the week, including our position reviews and keys to victory.
In other football news, according to reports like this one from The Advocate, an arraignment date for LSU defensive back Jalen Mills has been set for October 14. (The Tuesday after the Florida game.) As most of you recall, Mills was charged with simple battery for allegedly punching a woman outside of his apartment in an incident that occurred in May. The word is that Mills will plead not-guilty to the charge. Mills served out a summer suspension and then started both games so far this season.
Last but not least, you’ve got to check out this incredible LSU Football 2014 Intro Video if you haven’t already done so. And even if you did get to see it in Tiger Stadium last Saturday, it’s definitely worth re-watching and sharing. Very well done!
Reader Comments: Scott, here’s a great video to share with LSU fans. It’s not football-related, but anybody who feels a connection to LSU’s beautiful campus will enjoy it. It’s a Drone-view of the campus shot by the staff at LSU’s Reveille.
Reader Comments: Very interesting: The NFL is getting involved in stemming the number of underclassmen declaring for the NFL. Check out this article and share it with your DandyDon audience: NFL implementing changes to address underclassmen issue.
Reader Comments: After thumping Sam Houston State, LSU is looking good at #5 in these College Football Power Rankings. The still-flawed projections now has LSU beating Notre Dame for the national championship and finishing 15-0. I hope the projections aren't too flawed. Take a look at collegefootballpowerranking.com. Thanks.
9/9/14 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Yesterday Coach Miles met with the Media for his weekly press luncheon, and we’ll get to that in a moment, but first I have an online poll I’d like you to vote in. Now that the Tigers have two games under their belts, we’ve had a chance to see 17 members of LSU’s outstanding 2014 signing class (16 freshmen plus JUCO transfer Collin Jeter) in action, and they’ve been quite impressive. My question for you today is which of the 16 true freshmen who’ve played have been the most impressive? I know it would be hard to select just one, so I’m allowing you to choose two players from the list.
Please take a moment to vote in my poll asking “Which Two LSU True Freshmen Have Been Most Impressive So Far?”
Coach Les Miles met with the media yesterday for his weekly “Lunch with Les” presser to discuss last week's win and this weekend’s game against UL-M, and I’ve posted a full transcript of the conference here. For your convenience, here is a quick summary of a few key points:
• Coach Miles started by congratulating the 41 past LSU players who are on active rosters in the NFL and gave a shout out to Alfred Blue who blocked a punt this weekend and returned it for a tocuhdown. (Here’s a video of Blue’s play.)
• Miles praised his team for dominating in all three phases of the game and said that 16 true freshmen played and four of them scored touchdowns. He added that the team’s top-two rushers were freshmen, and that freshmen accounted for six passes, two sacks and 17 tackles.
• Miles said Anthony Jennings managed the game well and did the things they asked of him, pointing out that Jennings has yet to turn the ball over.
• Perhaps the most significant and encouraging news from the presser was that center Ethan Pocic will return this week from the ankle injury he suffered against Sam Houston State.
• Miles also said that Elliot Porter, who was projected to be the starting center this year before being suspended for the first two games, will be back for this week’s game and will get the start.
• Sam Houston State entered the game averaging 43 points and 600 yards of total offense, but they ended up leaving with 206 total yards (50 rushing and 156 passing), seven sacks and three turnovers.
• The shutout was the Tigers’ first since 2010 and in it LSU extended its scoreless streak to 19 possessions in 85 minutes of game time.
• Miles pointed out that Jamie Keehn is averaging 43.8 net yards per punt and that three of his punts against Sam Houston State were downed inside the 20.
• As for UL-M, LSU’s next opponent, Miles pointed out that they are 2â€‘0 with wins over Wake Forest and Idaho. He also reminded the crowd that it hasn’t been long since UL-M beat an Arkansas team that was nationally ranked, and that several years ago UL-M beat Alabama.
• When asked about offensive tackle Vadal Alexander, Miles said he got nicked early in Saturday’s game and they decided to keep him out, but that he’ll be fine for this week.
• Miles was asked about Connor Neighbors who wore a big club on his hand Saturday. Miles said that was because of a wrist sprain and that he is better now and will start Saturday.
• When speaking of the wide receivers, Miles named Travin Dural, Trey Quinn and John Diarse and said that Malachi Dupre, DJ Chark and others are right behind them. A little later Miles was asked about Dupre and described him as tall, athletic, and explosive with great ball skills, adding that he feels much healthier now.
• When asked about freshman linebacker Clifton Garrett, Miles said that he needed an adjustment period once he arrived in Baton Rouge because of the heat, but that he's really improved and is expected to play not only this Saturday but Saturdays going forward.
In other football news, yesterday it was announced that LSU’s conference opener against Mississippi State on Saturday, Sept. 20 in Tiger Stadium will kickoff at 6 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN. The Mississippi State contest will serve as LSU’s annual “Gold Game” and will be the third straight home night game for the Tigers this year.
In basketball news, former LSU basketball star and 10-year pro Ronald Dupree was named a student assistant on the LSU men’s basketball staff. Dupree played at LSU from 1999-2003 under then LSU Coach John Brady, and then played six years in the NBA with Chicago, Minnesota and Detroit. Like Coach Johnny Jones did during the 1984-85 season under Coach Dale Brown, Dupree will finish his degree work while serving as a student assistant. Welcome aboard, Coach Dupree!
In baseball news, Coach Paul Mainieri reportedly picked up two commitments last weekend. One was for class of 2015 IF/OF Brody Wofford of Rome, Ga. who made Perfect Game’s preseason All-American Honorable Mention list. The other commitment was from class of 2016 infielder Mason Templet from St. Thomas More High School in my hometown of Lafayette.
A couple of tid-bits in closing:
• I’ve updated our ticket exchange by removing all of the Sam Houston game tickets and adding a few new listings.
• If you are participating in our LA High School Football pickem contest, please note that the voting for this week’s games is open and expires Friday at 5 p.m. If you haven’t yet signed up to play, it’s not too late as each week we’ll be naming a winner.â€¨â€¨
• As mentioned yesterday, this week’s winner was Norman Tarver. Yesterday I heard back from Mr. Tarver and this is what he had to say: “I'm 69 years old and retired, live in Tallulah, LA right in the middle of great football. I’ve been reading DandyDon for several years and got into the pickem contest last year, really enjoy it. I get as much info as I can off several internet sites and also subscribe to the Louisiana Football Magazine which I heard about on DandyDon (Lee Brecheem’s LA High School Football Magazine). Hope I can stay at the top!â€¨â€¨
9/8/14 5:50 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
After an impressive 56-0 shutout win over Sam Houston State, LSU climbed in the rankings and is now a top-10 team in both the AP (9) and USA Today Coaches (10) polls. The last time LSU was in both polls’ top-10 was October 14, 2013 after the Tigers beat Florida and climbed to 6 and 8, respectively. (The following week they dropped out after getting upset by Ole Miss.) Other SEC teams in this week’s top-25 include Alabama (3/2), Auburn (5/5), Georgia (6/6), Texas A&M (7/8), Ole Miss (14/15), Missouri (20/22) and South Carolina (24/23). You can check out the complete rankings here.
Last Sunday I posted something we called our Monday Morning Rewind, and it was so well received that I decided to do the same this week. I have to give the credit for this idea to my friend Jake Martin who suggested the feature and does much of it’s writing. Here we go…
Monday Morning Rewind:
• One of the biggest takeaways from the Sam Houston State game has to be Anthony Jennings’ continued development. We covered his deep balls and athleticism in the last rewind, but there was one passing play that really raised my brow in the Tigers’ 56-0 win. The best throw of the game came on the Tigers’ second drive of the night. Jennings was pressured on a play-action play, and zipped a pass to the sideline, completing a strike to Trey Quinn. Jennings receives his fair share of credit for his accurate deep ball, but it’s throws like that one, as well as his poise and maturity, that are keeping him in the driver’s seat as the starting LSU quarterback. A couple of things I would like to see Jennings improve upon are his short passes and his option read. Both of those aspects of his game should improve with repetition, so it’s imperative he makes the most of his reps before SEC play.
• Also impressive in the victory was Brandon Harris. Harris played much better than he did last week when he went three-and-out in his only possession. After settling in, Harris’ athleticism took over with a long touchdown run, a perfect touchdown pass to Malachi Dupre in the corner of the end zone, and a beautiful back-shoulder throw to Leonard Fournette. After last night’s showing, I still firmly believe Harris will be a star for LSU, but right now this is Jennings’ team, at least until Harris gets enough experience to run the offense comfortably.
• Some of Leonard Fournette’s early runs were halted by Sam Houston stacking the box or an offensive lineman missing an assignment upfront. Fournette’s second run in the game, for example, went for a yard because Fehoko Fanaika pulled and missed the unblocked linebacker inside. There were other instances though, when Fournette didn’t seem to hit the hole with the same speed and authority as Kenny Hilliard. That should come with confidence as he develops trust, chemistry and timing with the offensive linemen. In fact you could see that trust and confidence really beginning to form in the second half. A side note on Fournette: I’m not so sure the package with Fournette trying to stretch the field in a shotgun set is best suited for his abilities. Play takes too long to develop, and if Sam Houston is able to beat Fournette to the outside, SEC schools will be able to, as well.
• Depth at running back is a constant at LSU. Fournette showed glimpses of his greatness last night, while Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee are proven commodities. However, the Tiger who really impressed us last night was Darrel Williams with his strong north-south running. Williams showed that he is a load to handle, and he’ll be an effective tool in softening defenses. With Williams, the Tigers are four deep, which is usually how Les Miles operates his running back rotation. Don’t sleep on Williams.
• Defensively, John Chavis dialed up his patented “Mustang” formation, which is a 3-2-6 formation, throughout the game. The defensive concept allowed LSU to be athletic at the ends and play athletically with six defensive backs on the field. The scheme worked especially well because of Sam Houston State’s lack of bulk upfront.
• On Dwayne Thomas’ interception in the first quarter, Danielle Hunter provided the pressure that rushed Jared Johnson. The very next defensive play saw Hunter get a tackle for loss. Hunter was unblockable in the first half and ended the game with seven tackles, which tied for team-best.
• Overall, the defensive line played much better this week, but of course it helps when you’re not facing multiple 300-pound offensive linemen. Perhaps the best, most encouraging aspect of the unit’s performance came late in the game when backups, who will eventually morph into role players, stepped up big. Sione Teuhema, Justin Maclin and Greg Gilmore each recorded a sack in the win. Depth is starting to form on that defensive interior, and that will prove to be valuable.
• The offensive MVP of the game has to go to Travin Dural. His exceptional deep threat presence is going to help every player on offense. Teams will have to put a safety over the top or he will blow past defenders for scores. That should allow one-on-one matchups for Trey Quinn and Malachi Dupre, who both showed last night that the sky is the limit for that duo. Also, Dural’s deep threat ability will help the Tigers’ running game, forcing teams to respect LSU’s passing game.
• The Tigers’ defensive MVP needs to go to Dwayne Thomas. Thomas is a great player for Chavis to scheme around on defense. Not only are his cover skills getting better, but Thomas is proving to be a force when he stunts from the outside. Thomas recorded a sack, an interception and tied Hunter and Kendell Beckwith with the most tackles with seven.
Yesterday I posted LSU’s video highlight of the game in our Media Gallery, and today I’ve added the video highlights by Football News which are really good. Check ’em out if you have a few minutes to spare in your busy Monday morning.
Before closing out for the day, I want to give props to week 1’s winner of our LA High School Football Pickem Contest - Norman Tarver. Mr. Tarver picked the winner of 113 of 143 games (79%) which is very good. I’ve reached out to Mr. Tarver to find out a little more about him and his relation to high school football, but haven”t yet heard from him. Please note that it’s never too late to join our Pickem Contest as we’ll be announcing each week’s winner. Voting for this week’s games is now open and hope many of you will decide to join in the action.
Lastly, I’d like to point out that I’ve updated I’ll be updating our Ticket Exchange page later this morning.
Reader Comments: Scott, here’s a good article on Leonard Fournette striking his Heisman pose to share with your readers. It’s by a writer for LSU’s school paper, the Reveille: Opinion: LSU running back Leonard Fournette's Heisman pose misguided
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