NCAA Baseball Championships:
DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.
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8/9/18 5:15 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Before getting on with our normal order of business, here’s some news that broke late last night:
According to The Advocate, LSU has suspended linebacker Tyler Taylor after learning he was arrested in May “for reportedly serving as the getaway driver in the burglary of a Georgia pawn shop.” You can read all about it here. Taylor, a sophomore from Buford, Ga., had five starts as a freshman last year and was battling with fellow sophomore Jacob Phillips to be the starting inside linebacker alongside Devin White. The incident occurred in January and the arrest was made in May, but apparently, LSU didn’t learn about it until yesterday. Fortunately, the Tigers have more depth at linebacker than in recent years, but this is still a significant blow.
LSU was back on the practice field for its first day in full pads and got a slight break from the weather during the portion of the workout open to media. I wasn’t able to make the trek to Baton Rouge from Lafayette, but Jim Kleinpeter was there to cover it and provided the following report as well as some phone footage that I stitched together into the four-minute video linked below.
Just as the media walked in, dark clouds from the west started rolling in and dropped the temperature significantly. There were also some nice breezes that added zip to the ball and made it easier to believe that fall is right around the corner. LSU will have one more day in full pads, then Friday they’re off before the camp’s first scrimmage on Saturday.
Missing: CB Andreaz “Greedy” Williams, LB Tyler Taylor, NT Ed Alexander, NT Tyler Shelvin, LB Micah Baskerville, CB Mannie Netherly, LB Patrick Queen, OT Cameron Wire, TE Jacory Washington, RB Lanard Fournette, S Eric Monroe. Neil Farrell sat out the media portion but watched from the sideline.
After practice, Coach Ed Orgeron said Greedy had a “slight injury” and was pulled from practice as a precaution. Alexander and Netherly missed the second straight day. Orgeron said Alexander came out the first two days but missed the last two. “It’s going to be an ongoing thing,” he said. Alexander has been trying to recover from a knee injury that hampered him in the spring. Wire, a freshman, practiced the first day but was expected to be limited because of a high school injury.
Returned: RB Tae Provens returned after missing Tuesday and looked full strength. WR Ja’Marr Chase, who practiced in a gold no-contact jersey Tuesday, was back in his practice whites Wednesday.
• The quarterbacks threw a variety of routes, including wheel routes, deep outs, short outs, and the “Sluggo” (slant and go) route. The order of progression was Justin McMillan, Joe Burrow, Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse. (The staff will continue to mix up the order of progressions to give each QB a shot with the first string.) Burrow threw the ball well and strode around confidently like he’s been here a couple of years. The only knock on Burrow when he arrived at LSU was that he didn’t have exceptional arm strength, but his throws were as strong as the others. If he lacks any arm strength, it’s not by much.
• Some of the young receivers are learning not to catch the ball against their body but to extend their hands. Wide receiver coach Mickey Joseph was imploring Terrace Marshall to “Catch it clean! Catch it clean!” Later, when Racey McMath pulled up on an overthrow, Joseph called out “You gotta go get that, Racey!”
• Orgeron got hands-on, literally, with the defensive linemen in their hands drill. Orgeron doesn’t like them loafing and would yell, “Drive! Drive! Drive!” to the end of the drill if they slowed up at all. He also encouraged the outside linebackers when they worked on their hands against dummies. “That’s the way to get out of there,” he shouted to K’Lavon Chiasson. “That’s a great rep, right there!” he said to Ray Thornton.
• Sophomore Tory Carter, who is listed as a fullback, worked out with the tight ends. FB David Ducré worked out with the running backs.
Highlights of Orgeron’s post-practice press conference:
On CB Kristian Fulton, who will have an NCAA eligibility appeal hearing today:
“He’s never complained or missed practice. He’s done everything we’ve asked. Complete professional. I think it’s going to end up being a great story.”
With Williams out, Orgeron said Fulton has practiced with the first and second units.
On QB rotation for scrimmage:
“I haven't talked to Steve (Ensminger) yet. Friday is a day off for the players. We have a two-hour film review. We’re going to go over the quarterback rotation, and every rotation, and decide Friday night.”
“It's too early. It’s way too early,” he said when asked where they stand. “We want to let the process play out.”
On the transfers:
“We have five or six kids and almost every one will start for us. It’s like free agency.”
On Joe Burrow:
“I see a confident player who stands in the pocket, makes reads. Mature guy back there.”
• Orgeron said backs Tory Carter, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Chris Curry have looked good catching the ball out of the backfield. He added that with the loss of TE Jamal Pettigrew, he might move a big wide receiver to tight end. “We have a void, and we need to fill it.”
• Among defensive linemen, Orgeron said Breiden Fehoko is having the best camp and Tyler Shelvin, listed at 362 pounds on the roster, is down to 350. On the outside linebackers, he said Michael Divinity is “having one heck of a camp.” He also praised Ray Thornton and Travez Moore for their pass rush ability.
As alluded to above, we could hear something about the status of LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton later today. NOLA.com reports that his hearing is set for this afternoon and that his lawyer, Don Jackson, said a decision could come shortly after the hearing, but deliberations could spill over into tomorrow morning. As most of you know, Fulton is 18 months into a two-year suspension for tampering, or attempting to tamper, with a drug test. As soon as we have more news on the matter, we’ll tweet it to those of you who follow DandyDonLSU on Twitter.
In other football news, LSU’s first opponent, the Miami Hurricanes, suffered their first major injury of fall camp. Junior tight end Michael Irvin II, son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, sustained a knee injury earlier this week and will undergo surgery that is expected to sideline him for four months. The Hurricanes will miss his experience – Irvin played in 12 games last year as a backup TE and was a projected starter this year – but have plenty of talent behind him. Their two freshmen tight ends, Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory, were rated as the nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 tight end recruits in 2018.
Now let's check in with our Game Day Countdown, which hits 24 days until the LSU-Miami opener. Let's venture back to the 1924 season when LSU christened Tiger Stadium with the first game there. It was a 13-0 loss to Tulane in the season finale on Thanksgiving Day. But it started the ball rolling to one of the most storied college football facilities in the country. Work on the stadium had begun in January of that year and was hurriedly completed in time for the game. The new campus was not yet occupied and a section on the stands had to be roped off when engineers determined they weren't yet safe. Still, the estimated 18,000 who attended represented the largest crowd to see a football game in Louisiana, the previous mark being 12,000.
LSU, coached by former Auburn legend Mike Donahue, entered the game 5-3 against the 7-1 Greenies. Tulane took a 6-0 lead but LSU, using a newly installed version of the T formation, drove to the Greenies’ goal line but were stopped on a fourth-down try by Fritz Spencer. A Tulane interception led to a clinching score. But the game marked two other milestones: It was the beginning of big-time football as LSU banked two gunny sacks of bills and silver from the gate receipts. It was also the first game in the South to be broadcast. Former Tiger Buck Gladden handled the play by play, walking up and down the sidelines and relaying the information to professors in the school physics building. They relayed the call to several Louisiana radio stations. The rest, as they say, is history. A hat tip to late journalism legend Peter Finney, from whose book this information was gleaned. It seems like a good time to watch this video tribute to what Tiger Stadium has become.
In closing, I’ll leave you with a good read by AndTheValleyShook: Joe Burrow In His Teammates’ Words - Some background on LSU’s new quarterback from old friends and teammates.
Have a great day, Tiger Fans.
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.
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