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12/4/18 5:20 am CST

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

TUESDAY TIDBITS: Your Daily Dose of Tiger News Delivered in a Baker’s Dozen Quick Hitters

1. Let’s start these tidbits with some good news: LSU’s Devin White is in fact going to play in the Fiesta Bowl. The great news came less than 24 hours after fellow projected first-round pick Greedy Williams disappointed many Tiger fans by choosing to sit it out. White announced his decision in a tweet that said, “Good morning Tiger Nation. To clear up the rumors, I will be playing in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl with my brothers. A lot of business to handle. God Bless.”

2. As tweeted by Jerit Roser of TigerDetails, the past few weeks have probably cemented Devin White’s status as one of LSU fans’ all-time favorites. “Add the #FreeDevinWhite support, Daisy Mae ride through campus & quick announcement he would play in the #FiestaBowl to an already stellar career,” Roser tweeted. I couldn’t agree more. 

3. Having White for the bowl game is huge news for LSU’s defense since it will already be without four starters: Williams (sitting out), Kristian Fulton (injured), Breiden Fehoko (injured), and Jacob Phillips (suspended for the first half).

4. Some may take UCF lightly, but I’m not one of them. Any team that can win 25 games straight including a NY6 Bowl against Auburn has my attention and should have yours too. On a somewhat related note, LSU’s Garrett Walvoord reports that this will be only the eighth time LSU will face an undefeated team in a bowl game. Here are the previous results:

1974 Penn St (11-0) Orange L
1971 Nebraska (10-0-1) Orange L
1968 Wyoming (10-0) Sugar W
1966 Arkansas (10-0) Cotton W
1963 UT (10-0-1) Cotton W
1950 OU (10-0) Sugar L
1938 Santa Clara (8-0) Sugar L 

5. According to ActionNetwork.com, LSU opened as a 4-point favorite in the Fiesta Bowl and the line quickly rose to six points. It was up to 7.5 on Monday.

6. Before going any further, big congratulations are in order for five Tigers who were selected to All-SEC teams. Safety Grant Delpit, kicker Cole Tracy, linebacker Devin White, and cornerback Greedy Williams made first team, while punter Zach Von Rosenberg was named to the second team. 

7. Last night the Nagurski Award given to college football’s best defensive player was awarded to Kentucky LB Josh Allen. LSU safety Grant Delpit was a finalist along with Michigan LB Devin Bush, Clemson DT Christian Wilkins, and Alabama NG Quinnen Williams. Though he didn’t win, what a great honor for Delpit who was clearly deserving of the recognition. I have a feeling he’ll be right back in the mix for the award next year.

8. On a related note, the top three kickers in the country are in Palm Beach for the Lou Groza Award Banquet and LSU’s Cole Tracy is one of them. Tracy tweeted that he really enjoyed spending some time at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital with the other award finalist and is looking forward to the rest of the week! The winner of the prestigious award will be announced on Thursday.

9. In other LSU football news, Kristian Fulton’s father told 104.5 ESPN Radio that there’s been no decision as to whether Kristian is going to enter the NFL draft and bypass his last year of college eligibility, but that he’d be very surprised if he does.  He also said he’s very adamant about his son getting his college degree. That’s certainly good to hear.

10. In recruiting news, an ESPN Radio reporter out of Lafayette caused a bit of stir yesterday when he tweeted that LSU had received a commitment from tight end Keon Zipperer. The report referenced two tweets by Zipperer, one that said “Baton Rouge I’m Omw” and another that said “Hold that tiger !” As far as I know, that was a misinterpretation of Zipperer’s tweets (he was just letting people know he was visiting LSU) and he has not committed to LSU, at least not yet. The word is that he did have a very good visit, though. 

11. A couple more recruiting notes: 1) Word is that George Pickens, the five-star wide receiver currently committed to Auburn, had a good visit to LSU last weekend. Whether it turns out to be good enough to flip him to LSU is yet to be seen, though he’s certainly one to watch. 2) Another player to watch is strong side defensive end Charles Moore. Rivals’ Tiger Details site reports that LSU is a threat to flip him from Mississippi State.

12. The coaching carousel was spinning early Monday and with a decidedly LSU flavor. First, former Tigers coach Les Miles made his first hire and one with LSU roots. Former Tiger cornerback Chevis Jackson will leave Ball State to become defensive backs coach at Kansas under Miles, Footballscoop.com says. Jackson is best remembered by Tiger fans for his interception in LSU's BCS Championship Game victory against Ohio State. Also, Miles apparently is reaching into the SEC for his offensive coordinator. Chip Lindsey is expected to leave Auburn to join the Kansas staff, according to Matt Zenitz.

Another former LSU assistant, Joe Cullen is the leading candidate for the head coaching job at University of Massachusetts, says NFL insider Ian Rappaport. Cullen coached the defensive line in 1999, Gerry DiNardo's last season, and has been defensive line coach for the Baltimore Ravens the past three years. Cullen is infamous for being fired by Ole Miss after an arrest for being drunk and disorderly. He also had legal problems while coaching  with the Detroit Lions in 2006 when he received a DUI and, in a separate incident, drove through a Wendy's drive-thru while naked.

13. I have no new cooking lagniappe to share with you today, though I hope to have pics later this week of the main ingredient in my fried sac-à-lait recipe. In the meantime, this week’s lagniappe is a friendly poll:

DandyDon.com Asks: How do you feel about LSU playing UCF in the Fiesta Bowl?

Please click on the link above to cast your vote.

Do you appreciate the newsy tidbits and occasional lagniappe you get in our quick-hitting, easily-accessible format? If so, please consider donating to our annual fundraiser today. To find out how to do so and why it’s important, please click here.

Have a great day, Tiger Fans!

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12/03/18 5:40 am CST

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

A New Year’s Six bowl game against undefeated UCF in sunny Glendale, Arizona…bring it on, baby! As most of you have heard by now, the No. 11 LSU Tigers are headed to the Fiesta Bowl to face the 8th ranked Knights of UCF at noon CT (11 a.m. MT) on New Year’s Day. The contest marks the Tigers’ best bowl game since the 2011 season and is full of storylines that will make it one of the most-watched games of the postseason. The Knights are riding a nation’s best 25-game win streak and will be trying to claim a second undefeated “title” while LSU will be looking to finish with ten wins and a top-10 ranking in a season where they were picked to finish fifth in the SEC West. This is great stuff, and I couldn’t be happier for the staff and the team. Now all that’s left is to finish strong!

DANDYDON.COM MAIL CALL - POST BOWL ANNOUNCEMENT EDITION 

From Chad: Scott, I have mixed feelings about this bowl draw. I’m thrilled that LSU will be playing in a New Year’s Six game but I hate that it’s against UCF. Seems like a no-win situation. If we win it won’t mean much coming over a non-power 5 team. If we lose it’s an awful look. What you say?

My Response: Yeah, I hear you, Chad, and I get it. It’s the old “if we win it was supposed to happen; if we lose then catastrophe syndrome sets in.” But here’s how I look at it: It’s a New Year’s Six bowl game, the Tigers’ best bowl since the 2011 season, and it’s in a great location against an opponent that’s riding a 25-game win streak. A convincing win would catapult LSU to a top-10 ranking in a season that was supposed to be the worst since the pre-Saban years. This is great stuff, and I’m not gonna let the fact that UCF is a non-power five team put a damper on what has been a highly enjoyable and successful season. And one thing’s for sure: The Tigers can’t afford to take UCF lightly. Just ask those other Tigers over at Auburn, who the Knights beat in last year’s Peach Bowl.

From Pat: Hearing a lot of talk about Devin White and Greedy Williams not playing in the bowl game? Your thoughts on that?

My Response: Well, Pat, that’s at least half true. Last night, Brody Miller of NOLA.com tweeted that he received confirmation that Greedy Williams will not play in the Fiesta Bowl. Ed Orgeron had addressed the topic only an hour or so earlier and said they hadn’t talked about it yet. As for White, I haven’t heard anything on him, and as far as I know, he hasn’t said anything to suggest he won’t play. I get the fact that these guys have very lucrative careers to think about, but they also have teammates, fans, and the LSU football program to think about. I sure hope to see White prove that this one-team, one heartbeat thing is more than just a bunch of talk. Derrius Guice did just that last year by playing, and I respect him for it.

From Dan: Our DBs were banged up against Texas A&M, especially toward the end of the game. Is everyone expected back in good health for the bowl game?

My Response: Good question, Dan. At this point, the only injury update I’ve heard is about Kristian Fulton. Orgeron said last night that Fulton had an operation on his foot and is out for the bowl game and that his status is uncertain for spring ball. That makes the news of Greedy choosing to sit out the bowl game all the more concerning. And if Devin White chooses to sit out (I don’t think he will), that would be a big blow too, especially since Jacob Phillips will miss the first half after getting ejected for targeting in the A&M game. On the flip side, we do know that UFC’s starting quarterback is out, but his backup, Darriel Mack Jr., performed very admirably in the conference championship by passing for 348 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 59 yards and four scores.

From Stephen: Will Kristian Fulton be back next year? I recall an earlier article suggesting this may be his last season of eligibility since he never redshirted and wasted two years on suspension. This would be disappointing considering his stellar play prior to his injury.  I ask this out of concern there may be a drop off next season in the type of exceptional (lock-down) CB play we've all become so accustomed to. Because of transfers & misses in recruiting, it seems the quality of the depth at DB is a bit down. This causes me to wonder which guy (if any) on the roster could possibly replace a "Greedy Williams?" Kelvin Joseph may be more suited for safety; while Kary Vincent is very fast but a bit undersized and developing, and the same can be said of Terrance Alexander. Recruits, Derek Stingley & Maurice Hampton should they end up in this year's class will be new. Is there any question regarding K. Fulton's eligibility for next year? Do you have any concern there could be a drop off at the starting CB position once Greedy is gone? 

My Response: Fulton has another year of eligibility and I think he can be that lock-down corner. Of course, he’s also draft-eligible, so we’ll have to see what he decides. But I fully expect him to return especially since he recently had foot surgery, not to mention the fact that LSU went to bat for him to get his suspension shortened from two seasons to a little over one. Another player who could definitely be as good or better than Greedy is Derek Stingley. This is a player LSU absolutely must hold onto in this recruiting class, and I have no reason to think he would flip. He should be a difference-maker right away not only in the secondary but in the return game. And don’t forget about Cordell Flott. He, along with Stingley and Hampton, give LSU three corners in this recruiting class and the staff is still in pursuit of others, including Jay Ward and Raydarius Jones.

From Jim: Scott, while you were scratching your head over LSU’s offense while watching Bama-UGA, I was scratching mine about something I think much more significant: LSU’s psyche. Seeing Georgia come out of the box attacking Bama caused me to recall just how timid the Tigers have looked when facing Alabama since they last defeated them in 2011. I’m convinced the Tigers are totally psyched out. I can think of no other explanation how an LSU team that thumped UGA by 20 looks so meek against a team UGA took to the mat but could not pin. If this is true – and I’m no psychologist – this is a much worse condition than simply an anemic offense. Your reaction? 

My Response: I believe the problem in beating Alabama is multi-faceted, and yes, that is a part of it. Your question reminds me of something I read a while back about how important psychology is to Nick Saban’s “process.” According to a book by Monte Burke titled, “Saban: The Making of a Coach,” Saban owes this philosophy to Dr. Lionel “Lonny” Rosen, a Michigan State University psychiatry professor he worked with in the late ‘90s. I’m not sure where I’m going with that other than to say that yes, confidence/psyche is a factor and LSU sure has looked timid against the Tide, especially with regard to play-calling. I’m reminded of something that DandyDon reader Brock K said in a message I received today: “Georgia came out and punched Alabama in the mouth. They lost, but they weren’t afraid. I think Bama is in the Tigers’ heads – from the players to the coaches and even the fans.” (That probably explains why we’re talking about them now instead of LSU’s bowl opponent ;)

From Paul: Scott, there’s quite a bit “down time” between now and the bowl game. Seems like it would be good time for another Q&A with your buddy Mike Detillier. 

My Response: I got a good laugh when I read your statement about downtime. As the publisher of a daily blog these “down times” are always the hardest times to come up with content. But I get what you’re saying, and yes, a Q&A with Detillier is in the cards. Look for it this Thursday and Friday. If you (or anyone else reading this Mail Call) have any questions you’d like me to consider asking, send them my way ;)  

Thanks to all who chimed in.

Lastly, today starts the second week of our annual fundraiser. To those of you who have already shown your appreciation for the work that goes into producing a daily site like this one, my family and I offer our most sincere thanks. If you haven’t yet done so, please read this important message and consider donating today. Thanks in advance for your support.



 

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