7/30/16 5:45 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
LSU released its schedule for preseason football practice, which gets underway Thursday, and announced that a portion of the first eight practice days will be open to the media. Starting on August 13, the date of the team’s first scrimmage, no media access will be allowed. As usual, the team will be split for the first four practice days with veterans practicing in the morning and “freshmen and select veterans” practicing in the afternoon. The first time the team practices as a complete unit, and with full pads, will be Monday, August 8th. I look forward to attending several practices during the open sessions and attending Media Day on Sunday, August 14th before Fan Day activities begin later that evening.
Here’s the full preseason schedule.
As mentioned yesterday, there are a half dozen true freshmen who we are especially looking forward to seeing in the purple and gold for the first time next week. Yesterday, we wrote about three of them, and today we’ll look at the others. Here we go…
Six Incoming Freshmen We’re Most Looking Forward to Seeing in Purple and Gold – Part 2 of 2
Fulton’s is a a name we haven’t mentioned much recently, but let’s not forget that this 6-foot, 165-pound cornerback from Rummel was ranked as the No. 2 cornerback in the country when the Tigers signed him. The problem is, it’s easy for even the brightest shining young stars to get overshadowed in the Tigers’ crowded secondary. The Tigers return starters TréDavious White, Kevin Toliver, Jamal Adams and Rickey Jefferson, and then there are Dwayne Thomas, Ed Paris, Donté Jackson and John Battle who return as experienced reserves. To make it even tougher for a newcomer like Fulton, fellow freshman corner Saivion Smith had an incredible spring as an early enrollee. Still, opportunities are available, especially since Aranda has moved White to nickel-back for the purpose of adding strength and physicality at the position. This opens the door for intense competition during fall camp, and since we know what the other talented defensive backs bring to the table, it’ll be interesting to see what Fulton adds.
It took one meeting during his recruiting process to get Rashard Lawrence and Dave Aranda on the same page. LSU’s new defensive coordinator was a huge factor in Lawrence deciding to sign with the Tigers over Ohio State and Alabama, and you better believe that was a result of Aranda telling Lawrence how he would be utilized. Entering camp, many presume Lawrence (6-3, 305) can earn a spot in the defensive end rotation, despite two returning starters currently occupying the starting roles (Christian LaCouture and Lewis Neal). Lawrence is a savvy, technical defensive lineman with the tools needed to contribute immediately. He helped build a dynasty at Neville High School, where the Tigers are looking to compete for a third straight 4A state championship this fall. By the way, Lawrence was the top prospect on our in-state list for 2016, which makes us all the more eager to see if he lives up to his billing this fall.
It’s still unclear whether Ed Alexander will be eligible at the start of LSU fall camp, although Coach Miles has said recently that he expects the mammoth D-lineman to report “shortly.” What we do know is that when this 6-foot-2, 333-pound DT from St. Thomas Aquinas arrives, he will be quickly thrust into one of the most interesting storylines to monitor this fall – the battle for the nose tackle position. Right now, Davon Godchaux is the projected starter, but this battle is not only about who will start but also about who will rotate in to provide valuable relief. Because of Alexander’s size, hand quickness, agility and explosiveness at the point of attack, he figures to be squarely in the mix.
Another defensive lineman who figures to be in the mix for the nose tackle position IF he ends up returning to LSU is Travonté Valentine. I’ve been getting a ton of inquiries about Valentine’s status lately and whether he is expected to rejoin the team next week. I wish I had a definitive answer for you, but as of now I do not. Since Valentine is technically still a recruit, coaches are prohibited to speak of him and information is slow to come by. We should find out very soon with preseason camp set to start in five days.
Moving on… The family of LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye issued the following statement yesterday as a result to the outpouring of support the family has received following the tragic car crash last week in Wisconsin:
“Our family sincerely appreciates the outpouring of support for Colby since the accident last weekend. The number of calls, emails and text messages that we have received from people throughout the country has been overwhelming and much appreciated. Colby is in good hands with treatment to his injuries and he’s making progress with his recovery.
“We ask that you continue to pray for the families of Mike Sadler and Sam Foltz during this very difficult time. Mike and Sam were wonderful young men who Colby had great admiration for. Please keep their families in your thoughts and prayers.”
With 35 days remaining until LSU’s season opener vs Wisconsin at Lambeau Field on September 3rd, let’s look at one of the Tigers’ exciting wins last season, a 35-28 victory over Florida. After a 21-19 season opening victory at Mississippi State, LSU coasted in their next four games, winning all by double-digits and an average margin of victory of 19 points. Already claiming four SEC victories, Florida entered the contest 6-0 and ranked eighth in the country. The game got off to a rough start for the Tigers when TréDavious White fumbled a punt early in the first quarter that led to an easy 13-yard TD drive and 7-0 lead for the Gators. LSU’s defense responded by shutting down Florida’s offense on its next three drives. In the process, the Tiger offense had perhaps its best quarter of the season, as LSU erupted for 28 points in the second, including a huge 50-yard TD pass from Brandon Harris to Malachi Dupré with just 15 seconds remaining in the half. Despite a commanding 28-14 halftime lead, the Tiger offense went stagnant in the third quarter, and special teams again failed LSU when the Gators returned a punt 72 yards for a score, tying the contest at 28 apiece. With just 11 yards of total offense on its previous three drives, the Tigers embarked on a classic 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 16-yard touchdown run on an epic fake field goal by Trent Domingue, giving the Tigers a 35-28 lead early in the fourth quarter. Again, LSU’s defense stepped up as the Tigers prevented Florida from scoring on their next three offensive drives to preserve the victory. Harris finished with 202 passing yards and two touchdowns, both to Dupré, who ended with 115 receiving yards. Leonard Fournette rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns, although his yards were more difficult to come by than previously in the season as he needed 31 carries and had no run greater than 25 yards. For the Tigers, this win was probably their most impressive of the season, as Florida finished 7-1 in the SEC and 10-4 overall. You can see the highlights of this great victory here.