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LSU vs. BYU - September 2nd, 8:30 PM CT
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10/10/17 5:35 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

IT’S TIME FOR TUESDAY’S TIDBITS: Your Daily Dose of Tiger News Delivered in a Baker’s Dozen Quick-Hitters

Coach Ed Orgeron met with the media yesterday for his weekly press luncheon and gave his thoughts on Saturday’s big win in the Swamp while also looking ahead to this Saturday’s huge home contest against Auburn. We’ll recap key points from it and a few other newsy tidbits in today’s quick-hitting format and then I’ll leave you with a bit of tasty lagniappe. Here we go…

1. Coach Ed Orgeron began his press conference by sending his thoughts and prayers to the family of former LSU great Y. A. Tittle and I’d like to do the same. Tittle passed away Sunday evening at a local hospital in Palo Alto, California, and will forever be remembered not only as one of the greatest Tigers of all-time but as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. Here’s a five-minute Tiger Tracks video, created in 2014, which gives a great recap of Tittle’s time as a Tiger and even has him recounting the play for which he is most remembered – one that found him holding the football with one arm and holding his pants up with the other after he intercepted a pass in a key game against Ole Miss. Rest in peace, Mr. Tittle. 

Now back to Coach O’s press conference…

2. As he does each Monday, Orgeron reviewed positives and negatives from Saturday’s game. “First of all, I was proud of our team, proud of our coaching staff, came together in adverse conditions,” Orgeron said. “Got on the plane with one thing in mind was to win. And they did it. Great team win.”

3. Starting with the offense, Orgeron said he was proud of LSU’s third-down conversions (9-of-16), ball security (zero turnovers), and the team’s “next man up” mentality. “At one time, three true freshmen and one redshirt freshmen in the offensive line in the Swamp going down the field. Proud of those guys, proud of the team, never blinked.” He also mentioned that fact that LSU finished the first half with a scoring drive and started the second half with a scoring drive.

Related side note: Center Will Clapp and tackles KJ Malone and Toby Weathersby did not participate during the portion of drills accessible to the media yesterday. The good news is DE Rashard Lawrence and NT Ed Alexander did.

4. On defense, “We felt like we had focus and attention to detail in our meetings all week. You could just feel it. It was a different vibe going on,” Orgeron said. “We played physical football. We played with good effort and as Dave Aranda says we played with grit.” 

5. While Dave Aranda may have liked the “grit” with which the team played, there’s one aspect of his guys’ play that is keeping him up at night: poor tackling. “I don't know if Dave slept last night, to be honest with you,” Orgeron said. “We came back in this morning. He had a breakdown of every tackle that each position had missed, how he missed it and had a film on it, and how we're going to fix it.”

6. On Special Teams, Orgeron lauded the first kickoff and kick coverage which resulted in the Gators starting from their 17-yard line. He also spoke of the two punts downed inside the 15-yard line. Of course, not everything on special teams was praise-worthy. Orgeron also commented on one of Cameron Gamble’s kicks that was not so good. “We can't kick the ball out of bounds,” he said. “Although [he] has been kicking the ball very well, that was not the time to kick a ball [out of bounds].”

7. Orgeron praised the play of defensive end Christian LaCouture who he said is “playing his best ball right now” and suggested that he won’t have to play every down this coming week as he did on Saturday. “Obviously, having Frank [Herron] back is going to be able to have a rotation with those three defensive ends. Going give [LaCouture] some relief.”

8. Injury update: Offensive linemen Toby Weathersby and K.J. Malone are “questionable.” As for defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence, here’s what Orgeron had to say: “He was actually better, according to the trainer, yesterday than he was last week. A little sore, but we'll see as the week goes on. Probably be limited during the week.” Orgeron added, “But having him out there and having his presence and his toughness and his leadership means the world to our defense. And I know having Frank back this week is going to give a boost to our defense.”

9. Asked about running back Derrius Guice not being 100%, Orgeron said, “It is a nagging injury. In order to play full speed, especially against an SEC team like Florida, you have to practice full speed. And he's been in practice, but he's been limited… is he hurting? Yes. Is he limited right now? Yes. But he is getting better.”

10. Asked about Arden Key’s effort, Orgeron said, “Yeah. It was better this week. He had his best practice last week. Now, I think he's down to 255 as opposed to 270… On that screen, he missed a tackle right there, but that was a great recognition on him. His pass rush needs to get better. It's not where it needs to be. But he's trying his butt off now. The guy is a team player. He wants to do well.”

11. In other news, hats off to LSU linebacker Devin White for earning SEC Player of the Week honors. We’ve talked about the outstanding season he’s had in previous reports, and its great to know his effort didn’t go unrecognized by the league. White has recorded double-digit tackles for the fourth game in a row. He finished the game at Florida with 13 tackles, one sack, one tackle for a loss, and a key pass breakup that stopped Florida’s final drive of the game. White’s average of 10.2 tackles per game leads the SEC.

12. As I do most weeks, I’ll share with you a great weekly feature by The Advocate’s Ross Dellenger: LSU-Florida film room: Inside jet-sweep success, one big blitz, offensive line combos.

13. And lastly, as the lagniappe tidbit in this “baker’s dozen,” I’ve got a few pics to share with you. Remember those fish I caught last week? Well, last night I enjoyed them in what was essentially a creek-to-table / farm-to-table type of meal. Here’s a pic of it. My recipe/technique for the fried Sac-à-lait (a.k.a. Crappie or White Perch) and simple new potatoes can be found in our recipes section, and a couple of new pics of my fall garden – where the okra and salad greens came from – can be found in our Media Gallery’s Lagniappe section. #SimplePleasures are underrated. ;)

Have a great day, Tiger Fans, and tune in tomorrow as we start looking ahead to the Tigers’ Gold Game against Auburn this Saturday.

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10/9/17 5:40 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

It was great hearing from so many of you yesterday about LSU’s huge win in the Swamp and my initial thoughts on the game. As promised, I’ve selected (somewhat randomly) a range of messages that I received from Tiger fans to share with you today, along with my brief responses. But before getting to that, here are a couple of tidbits to pass along.

Despite chomping the Gators in The Swamp, LSU remains unranked in the latest Coaches Poll and AP Top 25. The Gators dropped from both polls after the 17-16 loss. LSU’s next opponent, the Auburn Tigers, climbed to No. 11 in the Coaches Poll and No. 10 in the AP’s rankings. Check out the complete rankings here.

Speaking of this week’s Auburn game in Tiger Stadium, it was announced yesterday that it will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS. It will also be designated as LSU’s annual “Gold Game.”

Moving on with our normal order of business…

DANDYDON.COM’S MONDAY MORNING MAIL CALL

Reader Comments: I saw a lot of heart and a lot of fight in the Tigers in the Florida contest, which resulted in a critical win in what had been a lackluster season start. I am proud of the team and Coach O for hanging tough in the face of adversity. I agree with you that Canada's play calling the first half is more of what all Tiger fans have been expecting since Day 1. I especially liked his call on 3rd and goal to roll out and toss a short pass to Moreau instead of pounding it up the middle as Florida was expecting. However, it greatly concerns me that in the second half Canada regressed to calling mostly running plays and way overdid Danny Etling's running the ball. It's a good way to get him hurt and it signals that the coach has no faith in his arm. Admittedly, Danny had a sub-par performance through the air, but LSU will need a better passing game to pick up some wins as they run the gauntlet in the second half of the season. But for now, we can all enjoy the much-needed payback the Gators suffered on their homecoming night. Sweet!

My Response: Right on, Rob! About Canada’s play-calling in the second half, it was definitely more conservative and there were probably several reasons why. One is that Etling was struggling in the passing game, but what goes hand-in-hand with that is that the makeshift offensive line, which did a great job in run-blocking, struggled with pass protection. Also, it probably had something to do with trying to keep the defense and its thin line off the field as much as possible and eat up some clock with a lead. (As an indicator of how thin the D-line is, consider this: According to the Advocate’s Ross Dellenger, DE Christian LaCouture played every single snap.) That said, there’s no denying that LSU will need a better passing game during this killer stretch of games that lies ahead. Like you, I’m gonna enjoy the heck out of this win against McElwain and his Gators. Man, that felt good! 

Reader Comments: My question is related to strength and conditioning. I understand that players get hurt but when LSU has that many injuries, in my opinion the strength and conditioning coach needs to be in question. Alabama probably has the best strength coach in the country and have very few injuries. What is your take Scott?

My Response: Kenny, everyone I’ve heard from who is familiar with Tommy Moffitt’s conditioning program has been very complimentary of it. This year it does seem like there are a lot more injuries than normal, but I think that is both caused and magnified by LSU’s lack of depth at key positions and/or players having to play when they’re really not 100% healthy, i.e. Lawrence, Weathersby, Guice, Williams, etc…

Reader Comments: My comments are two parts: Number one it appears to me that Etling is not improving as a passer. Number two: I believe Sullivan has to be a part of our offense, he is a mismatch for whoever tries to defend him. Thank you Scott! Love the website. 

My Response: Kenneth, I agree on both accounts. But I do think it should be noted that while Etling might not be improving as a passer, he is improving as a leader and his toughness and determination went a long way towards the Tigers’ win Saturday. That said, LSU must improve its passing game going forward to have success, and that involves pass protection and receiver separation just as much as it involves Etling. As for Sullivan, I would love to see him be a bigger part of that passing game and I suspect the staff would too. In Saturday’s win, he was targeted twice, which is more than any other receiver on the team. (There were only four pass attempts to receivers all day. Running backs and F-backs were targeted 12 times.)

Reader Comments: It seems Key is not the same player he was last year. In fact I would dare say, he's a liability. He looks like he is playing not to get hurt. Is he protecting his NFL draft status?

My Response: You’re right, Brian, and if what we’re witnessing is Key trying to protect his NFL draft status, I’d say it’s backfiring on him. I can’t help but believe his draft stock is dropping with each lackluster game. Personally, I think his deal is more about him having been away from the game and putting on some weight. Seemed just a step or two away from making several big plays. 

Reader Comments: Scott, in the spirit of dogging Coach O and the team in the aftermath of the "unthinkable" loss to Troy, I would like to remind people of some other "unthinkable" losses in college football. No one thought that Colorado St. or Southern Miss could come into Tiger Stadium and win. No one thought that Miami of Ohio could come into Tiger Stadium and beat a team with Tommy Hodson and crew. No one thought that UAB would come in and beat Nick Saban. No one thought that ULM could go to Tuscaloosa and beat Nick Saban. No one thought that App. St. could go to the Big House and beat Michigan. No one thought Kansas St. could go to Eastern Washington and get beat or go to Vandy and lose. Yesterday, no one thought that an Iowa St. team that hadn't beaten Oklahoma in 27 years could go into Norman and beat the number 3 team in the nation, but they did. And lastly, no one thought that pigs would fly in 1993 when a Curly Hallman team, remember that, a team coached by probably the worst coach in LSU football history, went to Tuscaloosa and beat the defending national champions with a 35 game winning streak on the line. As far as the 49-game non-conference home winning streak? It had to end sometime. Yes, I too would have preferred it be to a Power 5 team but it wasn’t and there's no sense in harping on it.

My point is this - these things happen and not just to LSU. Am I defending Coach O? No. I'm merely saying that people need to step back and take a look at reality. This is a very young team with lots of injury and depth issues. As we saw in yesterday’s game the Oline consisted of four freshmen at one point. That is not a very good formula for success against veteran players on the other team. There's no substitute for experience. I don't think it fair to be judging the coaches or the team on the basis of the season so far. Is he the right person? I don't know and neither does anyone else at this point.

What this team needs more than anything else from the fans right now is our full and enthusiastic support. Let the season play out. Will we be disappointed again in other games? Maybe. But, like yesterday, we might also be pleasantly surprised. Let's not allow anything to take away from that.

Keep up the great work and Geaux Tigers!

My Response:  I like the way you think, Mike, and will share your message on our Mail Call. 

Reader Comment: Man what a difference Lawrence makes. I gotta say Orgeron knows his players. He knows them better than us. He has said on multiple occasions that Rashard was the best defensive player on the team. Yesterday helped prove that. It sounded hard to believe earlier in the year knowing guys like Key, Jackson, and White were there to talk about as well when chatting about "who's the best". I think this thought is a testament to Ed knowing his guys and knowing what they all bring to the table. Makes me have more confidence in Ed. He's a players’ Coach and I like that. I think this also can teach us as fans that we don't need to criticize so hard right now. It's a bit foolish to be so negative. Be patient. Thanks Scott for what you do.

My Response: Jason, Lawrence is the real deal and there’s no understating what a difference he makes. While he was in, he was frequently double-teamed and was even triple-teamed on at least one occasion. And you bring up a great point – it’s easy for us on the outside to be critical and say a coach should do this or that with his personnel but no one knows the players and their mindsets better than their coach. 

Reader Comments: The one thing that I find about this team is they give up too much yardage from poor tackling. Yesterday on one third down play at least 3 missed tackles gave Florida a first down. This was just one incidence. Watching the replay I am sure you will see much too much of this happening. 

My Response: Yep, I noticed that too: There were far too many missed tackles. Fortunately, that’s the kind of thing that can be corrected with coaching, as opposed to the depth & injury issues that have plagued the Tigers.

Reader Comments: There were multiple poor calls yesterday.  Are there any repercussions for blatantly incorrect calls? On one run, the Florida runner stepped out twice and it was obvious in the replay, but nothing was done, even though they were supposedly reviewing it. On another penalty call they called offsetting personal fouls but in the replay it showed the Florida player swing and hit our guy in the head. Our player did not hit their player back. According to the rules they had just shown, that is cause for ejection, but yet nothing was done.

My Response: Craig, as the son of a former official, I’m usually not very critical of the refs, but man the officiating in that game was awful. The guy clearly stepped out of bounds and there’s no way the personal foul should have been called on Russell Gage. As you said, Florida’s Duke Dawson flat-out slapped him and Gage did not retaliate. How either of those two calls was not reviewed by the replay crew is beyond me. I’m sure LSU will turn in those plays to the SEC office this week, but it’s doubtful anything will come of it.

Reader Comments: Devin White is turning into a superstar right before our eyes. This kid in my opinion is the best player on defense right now, with Lawrence banged up & Key unmotivated. White is also an emotional leader....something this team desperately needs!

My Response: He certainly is, Kep. That just goes to show that we shouldn’t pre-judge anyone. You might recall that while LSU was recruiting White he had a serious run-in with the law and many believed he would be a trouble-maker. Then when he first got to LSU there was talk that he wasn’t putting in the work to learn Aranda’s defense. He sure has matured a lot since then and is now clearly a team leader. I’m really happy for Devin, and happy that he’s a Tiger. We better hope he doesn’t get injured (knock on wood) because that would be a major blow to this team. 

Reader Comments: Sloppy win Scott..... not impressed! Gamble should never kickoff again. I believe he is now LSU's record holder for kicking balls out of bounds. He is a penalty machine…. Arden Key should be sitting on the bench... Etling was average and made key mistakes in the clutch. Florida is not a very good football team, they are not the Florida of old and we are not either at this point in time. Auburn will win next week. The LSU Tigers will play tough, but the plainsman win the game. LSU will not win the west for many many years. There are too many positions to fill and they are a very young squad with not a lot of seasoned experienced players. The 2018 recruiting class is weak.... LSU is not filling their position needs well - at this point. Geaux Tigers 

My Response: Well Greg, who would you have kickoff other than Gamble? And yeah, it’s obvious that Key is not the same, Etling is not Johnny Unitas, and this year’s Gators are not as good as they usually are, but c’mon man, not impressed? Let’s give these guys and the coaching staff some credit and enjoy the win. In my book, bouncing back from a humiliating loss with a huge SEC road win in a hostile environment is impressive stuff, especially considering all the negativity that’s been swirling.  As for recruiting, I’ll agree with you that there are still a lot of position needs to fill. The good news is there are still five months to fill them. A ton of LSU targets were at the Florida game, and I’d be willing to bet a lot of them were impressed with what they saw, especially so many freshmen playing a part in the win. 

Reader Comment: Scott, I was looking at one of our JUCO targets ASA College OT, Badara Traore. He looks like he can come and start for us on day one. While looking at Badara Traore, I couldn't help but notice this 6'5" 350 lbs DT, Tayland Humphrey out of Hutchinson Community College. I really would like to see us sign this big man! If we can get stronger in the trenches with D. White and the freshmen linebackers gaining experience we will be a lot better next year considering the Texas Tech transfer and Mr. Shelvin playing next year. Not to mention Rashard Lawrence and Ed Alexander coming back! I know we are taking our lumps, and it doesn't feel or look good, but if we can knock out this recruiting class to include some JUCO size and talent that can be added to the freshmen that are gaining experience now, we will be a very intriguing team next year. No Sir, I'm not writing this season off, but we aren't a playoff caliber team just yet...just yet! 

My Response: Good to hear from you, Landry. I’m with you. JUCO linemen have to be LSU’s biggest recruiting priority right now. And a couple of big ones – like the ones you mentioned – could make a world of difference. And though no one likes the “next year” talk this early in the season, you bring up a great point. The silver lining in all these young guys taking their lumps this season is that they’ll be that much better the next two or three years. 

Reader Comments: I loved yesterday afternoon! And for those who thought it was ugly, I would love to have six more wins just as ugly!

My Response: I’d take ’em too, Ross. Well said!

Reader Comments: Scott, I know that you will disagree, but what Orgeron needs to do these last six games, is to go with Brennan at QB the rest of the way, even though it could cost LSU from being bowl eligible. The reason is that Etling has reached his potential and that Brennan is LSU's future, for these last six SEC games would prepare him for the 2018 season. 

My Response: Bryan, I do agree with you that Etling has pretty much reached his potential and that Brennan has more “upside,” but at this point, with LSU still controlling its own destiny, I don’t think it would be fair to anyone on the team, especially the seniors, to play for the future rather than going with the quarterback that the staff thinks gives them the best chance to win today. Obviously, they think that guy is Etling. That said, I hope to see Brennan get a lot more meaningful snaps this year.

Reader Comments: I'm proud of the players but I feel that the win gives false hope that coach o is the answer. We will not be the team that we as fans are used to under his leadership..

My Response: Theudas, in my opinion, it’s too early to say whether Coach O is “the answer” but as Tiger fans we should all get behind him, hope that he is, and give him a fair chance.

Reader Comments: Choose one answer that describes Derrius Guice's play this season:

A. Guice is playing with injury that hasn't allowed him to replicate his break out last season.
B. Our offensive line is the issue, it's not his fault.
C. Guice complimented Fournette so well, he needs a feature Back like Fournette to have major success.
D. Both A & B 

My Response: I’ll go with D, Ryan. Thanks for reading DandyDon.com.

Reader Comments: Scott, this is the first win for LSU in the daytime in Gainesville since 1986. Coach O did something that neither Nick Saban nor Les Miles did or the 3 LSU Coaches who preceded them. The heat in the Swamp in October is brutal. I remember being there in 2012. It was debilitating. The wins in 2002, 2004, 2010 and 2014 were all at night. There is also another interesting parallel. LSU had an embarrassing loss to Rice in 1980 like LSU Losing to Troy this year.  They then went to Gainesville and beat an undefeated Florida team, 24-7.  This year’s Gator team was undefeated in the SEC. The Tigers  returned to Baton Rouge during the 1980 season the following week and defeated Auburn, 21-17.  Could history repeat itself this week? You never know! Geaux Tigers!!

My Response: Thanks for the history lesson, Charlie (good stuff!), and Geaux Tigers!

Reader Comments: On any given day an underdog may upset the favorite. Witness the Oklahoma-Iowa State game – a 31 point dog beats Ok. It is sad that so many "fans" were willing to throw Coach "O" and the team under the bus. Supporters must recognize that we are young, inexperienced and banged up.. we will continue to improve and get better. KEEP THE  FAITH… GEAUX TIGERS !!!

My Response: Well said, Dave, and that’s a message that needs to be heard. I’m keeping the faith, brother, and will encourage everyone to do the same!

That’s it for today, but be sure to tune in for tomorrow’s Tuesday Tidbits in which we’ll cover the latest news, including any injury updates Coach Ed Orgeron dishes out during his Monday press luncheon. Have a great day, Tiger Fans!



 

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