NCAA Baseball Championships:
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10/9/18 5:35 am CT
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 battle in the Swamp while also looking ahead to this week’s huge home contest against No. 2 Georgia. 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 that might come in handy this weekend. Here we go…
1. As he does each Monday, Orgeron reviewed positives and negatives from Saturday’s game. “I thought we fought hard the whole game,” he said. “There was no time we thought we couldn't win the game. We fought all the way to the very end to win the game. Obviously, we made a lot of mistakes. We're going to point those mistakes out today.”
2. Among the positives cited by Coach O were the fast start, the 208 yards rushing against a very tough defense, exceptional punting, and great work by the return team. LSU landed four punts inside the 20-yard line and allowed only three returns for minus two total yards. And once again, Avery Atkins’ kickoffs were outstanding.
3. Among the negatives cited were not closing out the game like they could have, being minus two in the turnover ratio, not being good enough on third down conversions, and giving up 215 yards rushing. Orgeron also spoke of the mistake made when fielding a punt inside the eight-yard-line. He said their rule is to stand on the eight and catch everything in front of you.
4. Of course, another negative was sacks allowed. Orgeron said the issues were technical in nature and things they can fix. He conceded that Saahdiq Charles had a rough night but pointed out that he has had a pretty tough injury to get back from and was rusty. Adrian Magee also made some mistakes at left guard but he had only two days of practice at it.
5. As for Garrett Brumfield’s injury status, he will not be ready to play this week but is expected to be good to go next week for the Mississippi State game. In the meantime, the staff will keep the same starting five O-linemen this week in hopes of building some continuity.
6. The good news on the injury front is that starting inside linebacker Jacob Phillips is expected to play this week. “We think he's going to practice today and be able to play,” Orgeron said. “He wasn't able to play and I talked to him before the game, he tried but he wasn't able to play.”
7. While on the topic of injuries, here’s a word on where Georgia stands. According to UGASports.com, the Bulldogs are expected to be missing two starters on their offensive line – guards Ben Cleveland and Solomon Kindley – when they take on the Tigers this Saturday. DawgNation lists a few other Bulldogs who are questionable, including WR Tyler Simmons, DB Divaad Wilson, and DL Devonte Wyatt.
8. Asked about why he didn’t challenge the spot on that third-down play in the second quarter when it appeared Clyde Edwards-Helaire might have had enough for a first down, Orgeron explained it this way: “Yeah, here's the process. They're going to tell me from upstairs whether we challenge it or not. No one from upstairs told me anything. We were making decisions on the sideline whether we were going to go for it or kick it. And I decided to get the points. I didn't want to be down in the red zone twice after the turnover and not get any points. So I thought it was 7-7, we'll get some points, we're going to be in good shape. Right after we kicked it, they said, hey guys, we should have challenged it, but the replay came in too late for us to make any decision on that.”
9. Orgeron also explained why Jonathan Giles was not wearing the prestigious No. 7: “I went to him, asked him if it was too much pressure. He said no. I said, well how about you change it up. What’s your favorite number? I said I got these numbers available. He said, coach, I'll wear 12. I was thinking it took the pressure off him.”
10. Now, this didn’t come from Orgeron’s presser, but Brody Miller of NOLA.com tweeted that Tyler Shelvin, who did not travel with LSU to Florida, was not at practice yesterday. He violated team rules, but is still with the team and will be back soon, according to Miller.
11. For those of you not quite ready to put the Florida game in the rear-view mirror, here’s The Advocate’s weekly film study: Peek at LSU vs. Florida film: What happened on both sides of the line of scrimmage? And here’s a good piece by LSU’s Cody Worsham: The Truth: Capitalizing on Chances Critical for Tigers
12. Attention LSU baseball fans: The 2019 Tigers have been practicing for about two weeks now in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field, and this year the school is putting out blog posts to keep us informed on the action. In this week’s “Fall Baseball Blog #1, Coach Mainieri says freshman Landon Marceaux and junior Zack Hess are “definitely going to be frontline guys” on the pitching staff. It sounds like Marceaux is going to be special. As for Hess, Mainieri says he’s “primed to take his game to a whole other level.” It also sounds like the catcher position is no longer a concern. Mainieri says junior college transfers Saul Garza and Brock Mathis have looked phenomenal behind the plate. There’s also some good info on infield battles, making this blog post a must-read for baseball fans.
13. Lagniappe: With South Louisiana’s first fall cool front on its way (arriving later this week), I thought this would be a great time to remind you of my Chicken and Sausage Gumbo recipe. It’s actually two recipes/techniques. One is for those of you with time to make your own roux. The other is a slightly quicker technique that’s almost as good. I’m always looking to improve these recipes and welcome your feedback and tips.
Have a great day, Tiger Fans.
10/8/18 5:35 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
After Saturday’s 27-19 loss at Florida, LSU dropped eight spots to No. 13 in the AP Poll and six spots to No. 12 in the Coaches Poll. Other SEC teams in the rankings include Alabama (1/1), Georgia (2/2), Florida (14/16), Kentucky (18/20), Auburn (21/21), Texas A&M (22/22), and Mississippi State (24/NA). Here’s a look at the complete rankings. As you can see, that leaves LSU with four remaining opponents in the top-25 and two in the top-two. One can look at that in a number of ways, but I’ll choose to see it as ample opportunities for our Tigers to get right back in the hunt.
Man was yesterday some kind of day for emails. I received a ton of messages and enjoyed hearing from all of you, but there’s just no way I’ll be able to answer more than a fraction of them. So, as promised, I’ve selected several to share with you today, along with my responses.
DANDYDON.COM’S MONDAY MORNING MAIL CALL
From Graham: Was Charles at left tackle still injured? He was beaten all day. The pass protection from the blind side was nil. Were there any attempts to rotate at LT?
My Response: Saahdiq Charles had a rough day. Not only did he struggle against Florida’s No. 99, Jachai Polite, but he also had a couple of costly penalties including the holding call on what would have been a 26-yard first down completion to Foster Moreau. There were also times when he and LG Adrian Magee appeared to be on different pages, so to speak. A lot of that has to do with this being the sixth O-line combination in six games. As for rotation at the position, Badara Traore did see some playing time, but with LSU still lamenting the losses of Garrett Brumfield and Ed Ingram, there’s not a whole lot of pieces to shuffle. As for whether or not Charles was at 100% health, I don’t know. Remember, he was considered questionable earlier in the week.
From Brad: I noticed that Giles was not wearing #7. Was that his decision, or the team’s? Personally, I think Grant Delpit or Justin Jefferson should have it.
My Response: Right, Brad. He wore his old No. 12 for the game. Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated tweeted that it was to shake out of his season-long slump. He entered the game with four catches for 20 yards and caught three more for 12 yards. That’s a far cry from his days at Texas Tech when he led the Red Raiders with 1,158 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns on 69 catches.
From Rick: - With just over 3 minutes to play in the first half the linesman marked Nick Brossette short of a first down and the replay showed he had the first. Instead of eating up the clock for a TD we settled for a field goal and UF had time to march down for a go ahead TD at half. That was an 11 point swing. Not sure why the play wasn’t reviewed. Even Gary Danielson said he had it?
My Response: Yep, I don’t get it, Rick. The officiating crew should have called for the review, and when they didn’t Orgeron should have challenged it. It could be that he didn’t feel comfortable risking a timeout there after he had just used a timeout the series before when Burrow tried to draw Florida offsides in the fouth-and-one. Could be that his review staff didn’t strongly advise him to do so. Whatever the reason, I think it was a mistake not to challenge it, and probably a costly one.
From Jay: Underwhelming performance. Success only comes from trenches. No offensive line = no protection, no running game. No defensive line = no pressure on quarterback, no stops for losses. So this brings up my question. Poor picks, poor player development, or both? Our lines got a good old country boy whipping.
My Response: To answer your questions, on offense I think the issue is not so much “poor picks” or “poor development” as it is injury/attrition and lack of depth. The only evaluation component I see there is with Badara Traore who came to LSU highly-touted as the No. 1 JUCO OT but has yet to live up the hype. As for the D-line, I think the biggest issue is the loss of “sack artist” K’Lavon Chaisson. LSU recognizes the lack of pass rush as being a major issue and has started using Travez Moore some off the edge, but it might take him a while to get up to speed. Another big issue with the defense Saturday was not with the line but the linebackers. LSU was without Jacob Phillips and it showed big-time. Oh, and in that Florida daytime heat, it would have been nice to be able to rotate in NT Tyler Shelvin but apparently he’s in no condition to help there. He didn’t even travel to Gainsville. I guess he might fall into your “poor pick” category.
Steve: I’m as big a Dave Aranda supporter as the next guy, but I have not seen the amazing level of defensive play I, and many others, were expecting this year. We cannot stop the run consistently, and I know no team can force 3 and outs on every series, but LSU seems to go quarters letting the other team gash through us on the ground. Where is that stout defensive front? Everyone complains about the offense, but the defense should not get a hall pass. What’s up with the lack of run stopping?
My Response: Honestly, I haven’t seen it either, Steve. I think the two biggest issues stopping the run in this particular game were 1) Florida’s OC out-schemed Dave Aranda. (Never thought I’d say that.) He burned LSU with that option play on multiple occasions and LSU seemed to have no answer for it. 2) Poor tackling, which I attribute in part to not having Jacob Phillips. There was a time when freshman Micah Baskerville, in for Phillips, missed a key tackle on third-and-short and another time when Ed Alexander missed a tackle that would have led to a punt. But yeah, you’re right, the defense hasn’t lived up to its “elite” expectations, and wasn’t anywhere close to it in Gainsville. Of course, we have to give Florida a lot of credit. Dan Mullen has had good success in the past scheming LSU's defense.
From Hugh: There were several big "if's" that likely made a difference (going for 2 instead of having Tracy kick PAT, which would have resulted in a tie at 20-20, which would entirely change the tone of the game; dropped pass by #10 at the end of game, which if caught would have prevented the pick-6) but I think the holding call when Moreau caught a pass for first down on FL 31 yd line really was a ("the"?) turning point in the game, as we would likely have at least gotten a FG out of the drive, again changing the game's complexion. And where was #6--having a true freshman, Baskerville, playing in his place certainly didn't help the Tigers. But to be sure, the game was lost in the trenches.
My Response: Hugh, you make some good points and I agree with two of your three “ifs.” But I disagree on the first one. Going for two was the right call. If LSU had of taken one, Florida almost certainly would have taken one later in the game when they too failed on a two-point conversion. So that would have been a wash. The other two “ifs” you mentioned were certainly huge ones. The biggest, though, was “if LSU had not fumbled near the red zone.” Obviously, we could list a ton of “ifs” but those things are all part of the game and there’s no use crying over spilled milk. Just clean it up and move on. As for your question, No. 6 Jacob Phillips was reportedly dressed out for the game, so I’m not sure what kept him out. His absence was clearly felt and it underscores LSU's lack of experienced depth there.
From Fred: While I appreciate and share your comment about our remaining goals, I think the results of other games this weekend should be considered, specifically AU-MSST and UM-FSU. Those results devalue our “signature” wins and, along with our other game performances, suggest a much rockier outlook for the remaining season. I expect 4 more losses (UGA, UA, MSST and TAM), who would leave us with another mediocre record. So where from here?
My Response: Yep, Fred, the next three weeks suddenly look a lot tougher than they did before Saturday. But you have to remember LSU was playing at The Swamp and was in position to win the game with a field goal drive, just like at Auburn. Games are won by narrow margins that don't show up on the scoreboard. LSU didn’t do quite enough to finish the game but being at home should have an energizing effect for the Tigers in three of the four games you mentioned, just like it was for Florida in this game. (Writing that, I could kick myself for giving LSU the advantage in the “intangibles” category last week, but I digress.) So where do we go from here? Back to work. I don’t see any “quit” in these Tigers and hope to not see it in the fanbase.
From John: Scott, thanks for all your hard work! I read your page every day and really enjoy your perspective on things. My comment today is to remind everyone to take a breath. This is still a young Tiger team. We played really poorly, missed opportunities, turned the ball over three times, had untimely drive-killing penalties, had no pass rush, dropped passes and failed conversions, and still were in position to win the game late in the 4th quarter. I know it’s no consolation, but had we played anywhere close to potential, or made a play here or there, we win going away. It’s frustrating, but we need to hang with our Tigers and believe in them. No one wants to win more than they do. Go Tigers.
My Response: Very well said, John. This game was beginning to look like a copy of the Auburn game. LSU got the ball with about two minutes left and all they needed was a field goal. It’s not like Florida had stuffed them all day. LSU self-inflicted a lot of its trouble but was still sitting there with a chance to pull it out. Winning at Florida is never easy. Last year, LSU won because the Gators missed an extra point. And in 2003, LSU was heavily favored but lost at home to Florida and failed to score an offensive touchdown. Every game is a separate little season affected by thousands of variables, including what happened the week before. Like you, I encourage every fans to let the season play out before passing judgement on this team.
From Stephen: I agree with you. I am also proud of the fighting Tigers for never backing down and playing hard for 60 mins. A loss is never easy to swallow but I would rather it come earlier than later in the season. I just hope when Georgia comes a knockin’ this weekend that Tiger Stadium will be as fired up as Florida Field was. But, about the inconsistent pressure/play from the Defense and DL in particular. Do you think it is way off base to suggest that maybe its time for the Coaches to consider trying Breiden Fohoko at DE? For what I've seen, he constantly brings pressure up the middle; sometimes drawing double teams and appears to be one of our best (if not best) DL for rushing/pressuring; and at beating his man. He's great at NT but I can't help but wonder what would happen if we had his strength, quickness and elite play on the end opposite Lawrence. I realize the coaches have him in a spot where he can make plays, but he'd probably be a game changer at DE and improve the effectiveness of the whole DL. Do you think the Coaches should or will consider it? Would the lack of quality depth at NT be a factor? Geaux Tiger!!!
My Response: Great comment and great question, Stephen. I’ll address the two in reverse order: I would love to see what Fehoko could do at DE and I suspect the staff would too. But he’s been so valuable where he is, and yes, depth at nose tackle would definitely be a factor if Tyler Shelvin is indeed out of the mix there, which I can only assume is this case since he’s played so sparingly and didn’t even travel to Gainesville. As for your first comment, that’s an excellent point about this loss coming when it did and against an SEC East opponent instead of a divisional foe. The Tigers have both time and opportunity to mount a major comeback and make this a special season but it needs to start this week against the Bulldogs. I can’t help but believe that with this game being in Tiger Stadium (on the weekend of Baton Rouge’s first fall weather, no less), Tiger Stadium should be absolutely rocking. I say bring it on!
That’s it for now. Thanks to all who chimed in!
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