NCAA Baseball Championships:
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10/10/18 5:35 am CT
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Coming off its only loss of the season, No. 12 LSU will look to bounce back in a big way when the Tigers take on No. 2 Georgia this Saturday. The game is set to kickoff in Tiger Stadium at 2:30 pm CT and will be televised by CBS. As we do each game week, today we’ll take a look at how the two teams stack up statistically.
The first thing you’ll notice when glancing at the chart below is an awful lot of red. Georgia holds a statistical advantage in almost every category charted, but we all know stats never tell the whole story. What’s important to remember is that Georgia will be LSU’s fourth Top 25 opponent, three of which were Top 10 at the time of the game. LSU is 2-1 vs. Top 25 foes this year. The only ranked opponent the Bulldogs have faced is South Carolina, a team they beat 41-17 in Week 2. None of that is to suggest that Georgia isn’t worthy of their No. 2 ranking. To the contrary, their undefeated record and the first two lines on the chart below make it easy to see why they are.
• Georgia enters the LSU game averaging 42.8 points a game, which ranks second in the SEC. In fact, the fewest number of points the Bulldogs have scored in a game this year came in a 38-12 victory over Tennessee.
• On defense, Georgia is allowing just 13.0 points per game, which ranks second in the nation. The most points they surrendered this season came at Missouri in a 43-29 win.
• So far this season, quarterback Jake Fromm has completed 72.8 percent of his passes for 1,200 yards, 12 touchdowns, and two interceptions. That completion percentage is fifth in the nation and puts him on pace to beat Georgia’s all-time record in that statistic. His backup, freshman Justin Fields (who has seen action in every game), has completed 72 percent of his 25 attempts.
• As impressive as the Bulldogs’ passing numbers are, one look at their offensive balance reveals that the passing game is not their bread and butter. Georgia runs the football 63 percent of the time and is first in the league in rushing yards per game with 245 yards per contest. By comparison, LSU is eighth in the conference.
• Though LSU didn’t look like it at times last week, the Tigers and Bulldogs are two of the best run stopping teams. Each defense ranks in the top six in the conference.
• One of the bigger surprises of the year has been LSU’s struggle defending the pass. We say “struggle” because of the lofty standards LSU has created over the years, but after the Florida loss, the Tigers are allowing more than 220 yards through the air per contest. That’s ninth in the conference, while Georgia’s 170 passing yards per game is third best in the league.
• Among the many things Georgia excels at is third down conversions. The Bulldogs are second only to Alabama in the conference with a 47.8 percent conversion rate. Alabama, by the way, is converting a ridiculous 59 percent of the time.
• For as dominant as Georgia is, the Bulldogs have struggled to generate pressure this season. In fact, Georgia is dead last in the conference with only six sacks in six games. This could be pivotal Saturday afternoon, as LSU is coming off of a game where the Tigers allowed five sacks to Florida.
Moving on with news on the baseball front. In yesterday’s update, I shared a bit of news on fall standouts but wasn’t aware at the time of some notable injuries. As it turns out, the baseball team is pretty banged up.
As detailed in this report by Tiger Rag, LSU is currently without eight pitchers due to various injuries. Right-hander Nick Storz recently underwent surgery to his shoulder/lateral area and could miss all of the 2019 season. Senior right-hander Caleb Gilbert underwent shoulder surgery this summer. Sophomore right-handers Ma’Khail Hilliard and AJ Labas are still dealing with recurring soreness and probably won’t pitch this fall. Then there’s junior right-hander Matt Beck who was shut down due to elbow soreness, freshman right-hander Cole Henry who’s out with a stress reaction in his upper arm, and freshman right-hander Rye Gunter who’s been out with a stress fracture in his back. Freshman left-hander Easton McMurray and sophomore right-hander Trent Vietmeier have also been out with undisclosed injuries but it sounds like they are close to returning.
As if the pitchers weren’t enough, catcher Saul Garza injured his knee last week while blocking a pitch in the dirt and has since undergone knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He’ll be out for three-to-four months. Fellow catcher, freshman CJ Willis, can’t throw until the spring due to an injury from his high school days, which leaves LSU very thin at catcher this fall.
The team’s most recent injury came Monday afternoon when shortstop Josh Smith injured his shoulder diving for a ball. LSU feared the injury might be serious (remember, a back injury kept him out almost all of last season), but fortunately it’s been diagnosed as a rotator cuff bruise. This will probably keep him out for at least a week, meaning he probably won’t play in Sunday’s exhibition game against UNO.
In other news, prayers are requested for LSU linebacker commit Kendall McCallum of Oxford, Miss. According to The Anniston Star, the 6-3, 230-pound high school senior is undergoing medical tests and said he will have “heart surgery next Monday.” He announced the news in a Snapchat post and asked for prayers. I have no doubt the Tiger Nation will gladly oblige with his request. The article states that McCallum is currently “doing fine” but will not play in his team’s game this Friday. His future playing status is currently unknown.
More on the recruiting front:
Remember when Ed Orgeron said recently that he would like to add another quarterback in his 2019 recruiting class? Well, one known target who LSU has been in contact with is Knox Kadom (6-2, 180) of Rome, Georgia. Yesterday he tweeted that he will be visiting LSU for this Saturday’s game against Georgia (and he used a #GeauxTigers hashtag). Kadom is a three-star pro-style quarterback who impressed in an LSU summer camp. He doesn’t yet hold an offer from LSU or any major program but is definitely one to keep an eye on moving forward.
Also, LSU has extended an offer to 2019 four-star OT Charles Cross ( 6-5, 285) of Laurel, Miss. He’s currently committed to Florida State and it’s hard to say what chances LSU has of flipping him. What’s easy to see, however, is that LSU’s offensive line recruitment is trending towards more athletic tackle-types, rather than the larger guard-types that Coach Les Miles seemed to focus on. Here’s 247Sports’ article on the topic.
• If you’re heading to this Saturday’s LSU-Georgia game, please note that it is officially sold out and LSU is encouraging fans to arrive early. Not only has LSU sold all of its tickets, Georgia’s allotment of 6,000 tickets are sold out too.
• Though the game is officially sold out, there are some tickets for sale on our Ticket Exchange. I updated the page last night with several new listings.
Reader Comments: Attention all Tiger fans in central Miss! Come join the local Tiger faithful at Capitol Grill, this Saturday at 2:30 to watch the Tigers maul the Bulldogs! Capitol Grill's address: 5050 I-55 North Frontage Rd, Jackson, MS (in Deville Plaza). If you need more info, call John Dorsa at 601 790 2600 or 601 790 9425.
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.
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