8/21/16 5:50 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
The LSU football team went through a 100-play scrimmage yesterday that was forced indoors due to inclement weather. Afterward, Coach Miles met with the media and seemed very optimistic about where his team is at this point, two weeks before the start of LSU’s highly anticipated season-opener. Below are a few tidbits I gathered from this video of the press conference and media reports.
• As expected, Leonard Fournette did not participate in the scrimmage due to his ankle injury, but Miles sounded certain that Fournette will be ready for the season opener and said he could return to action as early as this week. In his absence, Darrell Williams and Derrius Guice each rushed for 60 yards, and Nick Brossette for 25. Williams, in particular, drew high praise from Miles.
• As for the passing game, the Tigers threw for about 200 yards with Brandon Harris and Danny Etling each completing about 65% of their attempts. Wide receiver Travin Dural sat out due to a minor hand injury but is expected to be good to go the next time the Tigers take the field. When asked who was stepping up as the third receiver, Miles lauded DJ Chark and Jazz Ferguson for their performances.
• The tight ends were also lauded for their contribution to the passing game. Caleb Roddy grabbed a 25-yard reception and Foster Moreau and Colin Jeter were both described as really good receivers and guys who will be targeted in the passing game.
• After much speculation, Miles has finally revealed who his starting five offensive linemen would be if the season started today. KJ Malone would be at left tackle, William Clapp at left guard, Ethan Pocic at center, Josh Boutte at right guard and Toby Weatherby at right tackle. Maea Teuhema, who has been hampered by injury, would be the first tackle off the bench.
• Miles complimented the play of the defense saying he didn't see missed tackles and there was lots of pressure on the quarterback. He added, “It was the style of scrimmage you would expect from a good defense.”
• Miles sounded very high on Travonté Valentine, saying, “He seems very physical, difficult to block. Not a guy you want to have one guy block him.” Side note: Valentine will be taking his final exam today and if all goes well he should be ruled eligible to play in the next few days. I fully expect Valentine to be the starting nose tackle when the Tigers take the field at Lambeau.
• Miles described freshmen linebackers Michael Divinity and Ray Thornton as talented, physical guys with great speed and said both will play.
• As for the kicking game, Miles said senior Colby Delahoussaye will likely be the starting field goal kicker but that freshman Connor Culp is pushing him. Culp is also battling, along with Cameron Gamble, for kickoff duties.
• The only new injury to report is to freshman offensive lineman Willie Allen. The John Curtis product suffered an unspecified leg injury earlier in the week and will redshirt this season.
Before moving on to our countdown and a few closing tidbits, I want to thank all of you who voted in our poll yesterday asking, “Would you rather LSU be a two-loss team that beat Alabama or a one-loss team whose only loss is to Alabama?” I found the results very interesting and mildly surprising. With over 2,600 votes cast, 62% said they would rather LSU be a two-loss team that beat Alabama than to lose for a sixth straight time to Bama and win every other game. Usually, when I post these online polls I can predict the results pretty accurately, but I expected this one to be much closer than it was. Stay tuned, as soon I’ll conduct our annual poll asking you to predict LSU’s season record.
Now, with only 13 days remaining until the season-opener, today we’ll continue our countdown to game day by remembering a special Tiger quarterback who wore No 13 - Tommy Hodson. When many Tiger fans, especially the younger ones, hear the name Tommy Hodson, they immediately think of the famous “Earthquake Game” and Hodson’s earth-shaking, game-winning fourth-down pass completion to Eddie Fuller (see video). That was a spectacular moment, no doubt, but there’s much more to Tommy Hodson’s career than that memorable play. Born in the small town of Mathews, Louisiana in Lafourche Parish, Hodson led LSU to two SEC championships and was the first quarterback in SEC history to surpass 60 career passing touchdowns with 69, which is still an LSU record. During his time as a Tiger, Hodson passed for more than 2,000 yards in each of his four seasons and ended his college career with an incredible 9,115 passing yards, which still stands as the most by any LSU quarterback. In fact, if bowl game stats were included, Hodson would have 9,690 passing yards and 73 touchdowns. In 1986, Hodson led the Tigers to their first AP Top-10 finish since 1970, and then he topped that in 1987 by leading the Tigers to their first top-5 finish since 1961. Hodson finished his career with two SEC Titles (1986, 1988), three bowl games (1986-1988) and a 30-13 Gator Bowl win in 1987 over South Carolina, which was LSU’s only bowl victory in the 1980s. After his time as a Tiger, Hodson was selected 59th overall in the 1990 draft by the New England Patriots. He went on to play a total of six years in the NFL for the Patriots, Dolphins, Cowboys and Saints, and in 2013, he was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Today, Hodson is a co-owner of JTH Agencies, which represents different manufacturers in Louisiana and Arkansas.
As I do most weeks, I’ll leave you today with a few good reads to go along with your Sunday morning coffee, plus this brief video showing a great gesture made by South Carolina to LSU and the thousands suffering through the recent flood. It’s one of many ways the the Game Cocks are repaying the kindness LSU showed them after the Palmetto State was flooded by record rain last fall, and it’s great to see.
• LSU's Miles brushes off scrutiny as 12th season nears, by AP Sports Writer Brett Martel.
• 'Old plays ... different ways': A look inside LSU's promised, but veiled, offensive overhaul, by Ross Dellenger of The Advocate
Last but certainly not least, congratulations to former LSU stars Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles for earning their third straight Olympic gold medals yesterday when the USA defeated Spain, 101-72. Augustus played 17 minutes and tallied six points, three rebounds and two assists. Fowles was on the floor for 14 minutes with three points scored and six rebounds. The win marked Team USA’s sixth consecutive Gold medal in women’s basketball.