NCAA Baseball Championships:
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8/8/18 5:10 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
First, thanks to all who voted in our poll yesterday asking what was your biggest position of concern for the LSU football team. With over 4,700 votes in, the leading vote-getter was quarterback (43%), followed by offensive line (24%), and running back (23%). Later this week we’ll take a closer look at those three positions.
The team returned to the practice field yestrday and will do so again today and Thursday before scrimmaging on Saturday. Jim Kleinpeter is going to make it out there today so that we can share some video and a first-hand report with you in our next report. In the meantime, here are a few tidbits from yesterday’s practice, as gleaned from media tweets and reports.
• Freshman wide receiver JaMarr Chase wore a gold no-contact jersey but participated at full speed in the individual drills open to the media. Not only did he participate, he continued to standout among receivers.
• All of the quarterbacks continue to look very sharp in the videos being tweeted, like this one from Jacques Doucet of WAFB. Also worth noting, I don’t recall seeing more than two dropped passes when I was there for Day 1 and have seen very few in any of the videos circulating around.
• Speaking of the receivers, they were reportedly split into two groups yesterday. Coach Jerry Sullivan worked with Jonathan Giles, Justin Jefferson, Terrace Marshall, Chase, Dee Anderson, Stephen Sullivan, Derrick Dillon, and Kennan Jones. Coach Mickey Joseph worked with Drake Davis, Racy McMath, and Jaray Jenkins.
• TigerRag reports that LSU practiced some from an offset I-formation with Tory Carter and David Ducré taking reps as the fullback/H-back.
• There were a few notable absences during the media viewing portion. These include defensive tackle Ed Alexander, running back Tae Provens, linebacker Micah Baskerville and cornerback Mannie Netherly. A source confirmed to NOLA.com that there was “nothing serious” about the four absences.
In football recruiting news, Shea Dixon of 247Sports reports that LSU is turning up the heat on four-star DE Adisa Isaac (6-5, 220) of Brooklyn, New York. Isaac is someone who new LSU safety coach Bill Busch recruited for Rutgers before taking the LSU job. It is said that Busch and Isaac have a strong relationship and that an official visit from Isaac is in the works.
Now it’s time for our Game Day Countdown, which seems to be moving faster now that the Tigers are practicing for the Sept. 2 opener vs. Miami. We’re 25 days out, and that’s also the number of victories LSU has against its crimson red rival two states over. LSU is 25-51-5 against the Tide, which has played the Tigers every year since 1964. Alabama replaced Georgia Tech as a permanent opponent the season when Tech left the conference. Despite Bama’s historical advantage, LSU has scored some nice wins, including beating Bear Bryant in his first game as Bama's coach, 13-3, in 1958. That game, highlighted by a Chinese Bandit goal-line stand, was played in Mobile 60 years ago and helped launch the national title season. LSU also beat Bryant in his final season, dominating the Tide, 20-10, in 1982. And who can forget Chad Jones' sack and strip in the thrilling 41-34 victory in Tuscaloosa in the 2007 BCS Championship season?
The downside is that Alabama has won the last seven contests between the two schools, a streak that began on that notorious day in LSU football history when the two powerhouse programs battled it out in the Dome for the 2011 national championship. The Tigers didn’t cross the 50-yard-line in that 21-0 loss, but since that time have been right on the cusp of victory several times. Alabama overcame late fourth-quarter deficits to win in 2012 and 2014 (overtime). In their last trip to Death Valley, the teams played scoreless until Alabama put up a late TD and field goal in a 10-0 win. The Tigers fought hard last year and never backed down in a 24-10 loss. After that game, Orgeron said “We’re coming” with a look of determination that left no doubt that he understands the importance of beating Bama not only from a football standpoint but a job security standpoint. Could this be the year the Tigers arrive? Only time will tell, but I’m feeling more optimistic by the day.
Turning to baseball, LSU released its 2019 baseball schedule, which features 35 home games and 23 games against teams that participated in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. “Nearly half of our regular-season schedule is composed of games against teams that were in the NCAA Tournament last season,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, “and 12 of those games are against teams that played in the 2018 College World Series. We’re very excited to be facing such a challenging schedule, and I know our fans will enjoy watching our team compete at a high level this season.” Here’s the complete schedule. Believe it or not, preparation for the 2019 baseball season gets underway in just 12 days, as the Tigers will engage in a four-week period of conditioning drills and individual workouts beginning on Monday, August 27.
In other baseball news, Chris Reid will not be returning to the 2019 LSU baseball team. With his departure – which was reportedly a coach’s decision – LSU now has 36 players on its roster, which means Paul Mainieri still needs to drop one more player to meet the roster limit of 35 players. I hate to see stuff like this, but it’s the unfortunate reality of collegiate baseball. Reid addressed the news with this classy tweet, in which he states that he is heartbroken by the news but understands the decision. He also thanks the Tiger Nation for its “unwavering support” and says, “Once a Tiger, always a Tiger.”
• I know it’s odd to be writing so much about non-football sports at this time of year, but this is certainly worth sharing: Men’s basketball coach Will Wade says the 2018-19 LSU team is best he’s been around, according to this article by 247Sports.
• Sports Illustrated released its preseason Top 25 and pegged LSU at No. 23. Here’s what they had to say about the Tigers: “LSU finds itself in unfamiliar territory: None of its returning backs rushed for a touchdown in 2017. After four years of Leonard Fournette and then Derrius Guice, the Tigers have been spoiled by dominant running back talent. (The last time an LSU team didn’t have a 1,000-yard rusher was 2012.) Now, the load appears to fall onto sophomore Clyde Edwards-Helaire and senior Nick Brossette, who combined for 28 rushes for 127 yards a year ago. The duo could form an impressive tandem to support grad transfer QB Joe Burrow.”
• In this Bleacher Report Q&A, former Tiger great Jamal Adams talks about becoming the NFL’s best safety and the Jets' new Namath.
• Lastly, I’ve updated our Ticket Exchange with several new listings.
8/7/18 5:55 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Tuesday Tidbits - Your Daily Dose of Tiger News Delivered in a Baker’s Dozen Quick Hitters
1. Let’s kick off this Tuesday with an online poll: What position concerns you the most on this LSU football team? Take a moment to vote and we’ll break down the top vote-getters in a subsequent report.
2. Stepping away from football for just a second, there’s some news on the LSU basketball front to pass along. Coach Will Wade completed his 2018 signing class yesterday by landing a commitment and signing papers from small forward Aundre Hyatt of White Plains, New York. “We are pleased to have Aundre Hyatt join our LSU basketball program for the 2018-19 season,” said LSU Head Coach Will Wade. “He’s a high character, exceptional student who is known as a tremendous shooter.” Here’s more on the topic and Coach Will Wade’s exceptional signing class which is ranked No. 4 in the country in the national composite rankings.
3. In football recruiting, a couple of LSU targets committed elsewhere yesterday. One is Hawaiian five-star linebacker Maninoa Tufono who chose to stay closer to home and commit to Southern Cal. He was always considered a long shot, although his relationship with LSU’s Breidon Fehoko and Dave Aranda had LSU in the picture.
4. The other LSU target to commit elsewhere is running back A'montae Spivey of Phenix City, Ala. He committed to Arkansas yesterday. You might recall that Spivey is a teammate of LSU quarterback commit Peter Parrish and was a standout at this summer’s LSU elite camp.
5. So, with Spivey and John Emery, Jr. of Destrehan both committed elsewhere, where does LSU turn to add a couple more running backs in its 2018 class? Well first, don’t assume that LSU will relent on either of those targets. That said, one of LSU’s top targets is four-star Noah Cain of IMG Academy. Interestingly, Rivals’ TigerDetails site reports that Cain’s five-star teammate, Trey Sanders, is considering an official visit to LSU this fall. Also, we at DandyDon are hearing that LSU is warming up to in-state running back Mike Hollins of University Lab.
6. Speaking of running backs and University Lab, current LSU senior running back Nick Brossette (who is an alum of the Cubs) appears to be in the best shape of his career at 220 pounds and could be in for a big year. He spoke to the media yesterday and said the zone run game in LSU’s new offense is similar to U-High’s and fits him well, according to a tweet by WAFB’s Jacques Doucet.
7. Doucet also tweeted, “It's year three of Dave Aranda at LSU. What will be different? Well, to speak in baseball terms, the players say opposing offenses have been sitting on the fastball and now it's time for the Tigers to hurl a few more curveballs.” This is just the latest in a string of statements from players and staff that have me believing that this LSU defense will be nasty (in a good way)!
8. Obviously, two of the biggest reasons for optimism about the LSU defense are inside linebacker Devin White and cornerback Greedy Williams. To help quantify how special these guys are, ESPN has each of them in their Top 50 Players in College Football. White checks in at No. 27 and Williams is 37 on their list.
9. Just that as the aforementioned Tigers are two standouts on defense, two standouts on offense are wide receiver Jonathan Giles and tight end Foster Moreau. In this Q&A by Sam Spiegelman, former LSU running back Leonard Fournette dishes on the two Tigers who sport the prestigious No. 7 and No. 18 jerseys.
10. And if you’re looking for more reading material on this Tuesday morning, here’s a good article by Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated. He spent two days embedded with LSU’s equipment staff to get a behind the scenes look at “the unsung heroes of college football” as they prepared for preseason camp.
11. According to BusinessReport.com, LSU is testing a flexible football season ticket package in an effort to boost attendance. You can read all about it here. SECCountry.org reported back in February that average game attendance at LSU fell from 102,004 in 2015 to 98,308 last season.
13. With just 26 days remaining until LSU’s season opener against Miami, let’s continue our Countdown to Game Day with a brief look at No. 26 on this year’s team – safety John Battle. As a fifth-year senior with 19 starts in the last two seasons, Battle is LSU’s most experienced safety and a key component in LSU’s defense. Here’s the lagniappe portion of these baker dozen’s quick-hitters: He’s also a heckuva photographer. You can check out his Instagram feed for proof.
That’s it for now. But please don’t forget to take a moment to vote in our poll: What position concerns you the most on this LSU football team?
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