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This weekend was an exciting weekend for basketball on campus as the Tigers hosted mid-major powerhouse Xavier in front of a sold-out PMAC.
LSU lost, but they definitely put up a strong fight in what was a terrific basketball game.
I was wrong about this year’s version of the Tigers.
Earlier in the year, I hinted it’d be a long year for the team, because I didn’t see a lot of ‘it’ from the team’s leaders.
But in the past few weeks, Marcus Thornton has emerged as not just LSU’s best player, but the second best player in the SEC behind Meeks and UK and is one of the 15-20 best in the NCAA.
LSU will go as far as their senior guard will take them and if they get into the dance and he gets hot, watch out.
But what is dangerous is that if he’s not hitting, LSU is capable of being beaten by 30 to a team with the talent level of a Utah, so it will be interesting to see how things play out.
The women snapped a 2-game losing streak in Kentucky and won a close SEC game to go to 3-2 in the league.
These Lady Tigers are not going to the Final Four.
They might not even go to the NCAA Tournament.
But they have something working for them — future.
With the entire team (minus Kristen Morris, who was great yesterday) returning and the majority of the contributors being freshmen, LSU has a great chance to return to their status as one of the nation’s premier programs next season.
In recruiting news, this weekend was a huge one for LSU as the Tigers hosted Rueben Randle, Trent Richardson and Janzen Jackson.
I can tell you that after this weekend, all the curiosity regarding Jackson can be ended — the kid will be a Tiger.
Richardson is more of a long-shot and was probably just taking a free trip, but I was told that Russell Shepard did a lot to help possibly sway him out of his agreement with the Tide.
And I was told Randle also had a great time while at LSU and was seen laughing with a lot of the LSU players.
If I had to do the percentage game, I’d put Randle as 75-25 to LSU right now.
The new radio show returns on Tuesday!
Richard and I hope you enjoy!
The past week or so have not been great for me as my computer caught “the virus” and crashed to the ground.
I reinstalled Windows and still don’t have everything up and running just yet, but I am getting there none-the-less.
But aside from my problems, I have good news for everyone involved.
The good news for LSU is three-prong.
1. Brandon LaFell is coming back to school. How big is this? It’s gi-normous, ridiculous, stupid-huge, because LaFell gives LSU’s offense a threat. Without him in the lineup, LSU would have gone into next season with Toliver, both Mitchells and a handful of other guys competing for playing time. While I do think Toliver is going to be a true stud, I much rather him as a #2 than a number one and I rather all of those other guys competiting to be #3-4 guys than I do #1-2 guys.
2. Men’s bball – The men’s basketball team is kicking major league SEC rear. After opening the conference with a road loss at Alabama, LSU has reeled off three in a row (South Carolina, Ole Miss, Miss State) and is now in first place in the SEC West. I do not know what happened after the Utah game, but something happened, because this is not the same team. There is more chemistry, camraderie, etc… This is a new basketball club and it’s fun to watch.
3. The Box – Yes, my friends, baseball is on our doorsteps. Anyone driving down Nicholson recently has been sure to see that the new Box is damn-near completion and boy, what beautiful venue that figures to be. Let’s hope the highly-ranked Tigers give people something to be excited about in their first season in the new park!
This site also has good news as my colleague Richard Fischer and I will soon be joining forces again to do a weekly 30-minute (roughly) audio program.
The show will be themed like a radio-talk show and we will base it just like our old Geaux Show — there will be LSU-related topics, national topics, etc…
It will be a lot of fun to do and I hope everyone involved in our site enjoys listening each week, because we surely will have fun producing the show.
Nationally, we also might have gotten some good news this week as Barack Obama became our nation’s new president.
I will not dip deep into this one, because I don’t know politics, don’t claim to know politics and I don’t want to know politics, so I will not preach about what I do or don’t think about Mr. Obama.
But the fact of the matter is that he is our guy and whether you’re Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green Party, etc…, you still should wish him all the best because he is our guy now.
A good anlogy I like to use regarding this is quarterbacks. If LSU were to have started Jarrett Lee in the bowl game, I would have disagreed with the notion that he was the right man for the job. But none-the-less, a true LSU fan would have still supported him, regardless, because he is a Tiger.
So that’s how this is.
You don’t have to agree with who is in the Oval Office, but you do have to cheer for the Oval Office.
So with all of that being said, have a great day!
I shall post tomorrow following the LSU women’s basketball game!
I apologize for the delay.
A lot of known and a lot is unknown as we head toward the end of January.
What we know is LSU will be without Brandon LaFell and Ricky Jean-Francois next season, both of whom opted to forego their final year of eligibility to go to the NFL Draft.
LaFell projects to be picked in the 26-50 range with Jean-Francois closer to the 40-75 range.
Why the big gaps? The combine.
So much of the NFL Draft is not about what you do in college, but is about how you do in the combine.
If LaFell and Jean-Francois have favorable measurables at the combine and run well and lift well, their stocks could shoot up, because they both have unlimited potential and high ceiling.
If they don’t workout well, then they get lost in the pack a bit.
What we also know is that LSU will be without Andrew Hatch next season as the sophomore has opted to transfer back to Harvard.
Hatch opened the season as LSU’s quarterback, but he was steadily exposed as a guy who just simply isn’t SEC material.
With Hatch out of the mix, LSU is expecting to have four scholarship quarterbacks on roster next season –Jordan Jefferson, Jarrett Lee, Russell Shepard and Chris Garrett.
Now to what we don’t know — the future.
LSU currently has the nation’s best recruiting class, but LSU is hungry for more.
The best player on the board is Rueben Randle. Randle is currently Rivals.com’s No. 2 overall prospect and from what people say, it’s an LSU/Bama chase for the Bastrop native’s services.
With LaFell and Byrd both being out of the mix for LSU at the WR position, it is very important that the Tigers lock up Randle’s services — as he’d probably be an instant starter.
The LSU men’s basketball team took a step in the right direction last night and steam-rolled South Carolina.
And the women kept on keeping on and won their third-straight against UNO.
Both are traveling on the road this weekend to take on tough SEC foes with the ladies taking on Vanderbilt and the men taking on Ole Miss.
I’ll talk about the ladies for a bit today.
I don’t know if anyone out there is paying attention, because the team lost so many players off last year’s squad, but LSU is playing really, really good basketball right now.
At the beginning of the season, there was a lot of tentativeness within the LSU offense and a whole lot of people not knowing where their teammates were on the floor, etc…
But in the past few weeks, a couple of things have occurred.
1. That chemistry is there now. Things are flowing better and LSU looks like a more capable offensive team than they were even last season, getting better shots on the floor more often.
2. The Lady Tigers have found a 2nd scorer for Allison Hightower — freshman LaSondra Barrett. Barrett has become a force in the paint, along with fellow freshman Courtney Jones.
It’s a very early prediction to make, but in 2-3 years, this LSU team has national championship written all over it as LSU is overloaded with young talent.
That’s it for today!
Roll the casket out.
Put up the tombstone.
College football dies tonight.
I haven’t spoken to the doctors yet, but they say that it will not be revived again until next fall.
So cherish it now, boys and girls, because the sport we love so much comes to a close tonight for 8 months when No. 1 meets No. 2 for the big prize when Florida takes on Oklahoma.
There’s been a lot of yapping back and forth about who should or shouldn’t be in this game, but after looking at everything on paper, I really truly believe the nation’s two best teams are playing in the game.
But with that being said, only one team can prevail, so here are my keys to the game.
KEYS FOR OU:
1. Tebow’s tool-chest – Tim Tebow is one thing, but Florida is damn near impossible to beat when the Harvin’s and the Demps’s and the Murphy’s of the world are going wild. OU needs to keep Tebow’s tools from going crazy, or it will be a rough night.
2. Pass protection – Florida is exceptional at getting a pass rush with their front four. If they get in Bradford’s face, it’s lights out.
3. Special teams – If the Gators can control field position and make OU go 80 yards to score, that’ll be an uphill battle. The Sooners need to win special teams to have a shot.
KEYS FOR UF:
1. Championship poise – Florida’s core players have all been here and done that. OU’s core players have all been in big games and have gotten crushed. Florida needs to win the “mental” part of this game.
2. Ground control – Ole Miss was able to control the game against Texas Tech by having a sound ground attack that kept the Red Raiders offense on the sidelines and kept the points piling up on the Ole Miss scoreboard. Florida has a more dominant ground game and can look to do the same to the Sooners.
3. Turnover battle – Florida got to this game by piling points onto opponents with “cheap” points — points off turnovers, etc… OU is not the team that can handle having those types of setbacks. If the Gators get about 10 points gift-wrapped, momentum can snowball very quickly.
The Big 12 has proven to us time in and time out this bowl season that they are nothing more than a Flag football league.
Florida is more physical, more fast and every bit as capable offensively as the Sooners.
If OU gets off to a hot start, they have a chance, but I see the Gators pounding early and pounding often to join LSU as the 2nd multi BCS National Champion.
Well, Les Miles has apparently put together all of the pieces of the puzzle and has his entire coaching staff laid out for the 2009 season.
John Chavis has been introduced as the team’s new defensive coordinator. No real surprise there.
But the missing links we didn’t fully know about were the DB coach and the DL coach.
The DB coach will be former South Carolina defensive backs coach Ron Cooper.
Defensive back coaches don’t exactly get much glory and people usually only know who their team’s DB coach is if their team’s DB’s stink. But I can tell you that Cooper is one of the best in the business and for proof, just look at the S. Carolina defensive backs who are drafted into the NFL year in and year out.
What Cooper is the best at, according to people close to the Gamecocks is coverage technique, so that will be a sight for sore eyes for LSU fans, because rarely this season were their DBs beaten badly on plays. A lot of times it was just smaller things like not looking back toward the football or getting turned around, etc… All of those things should be corrected with Mr. Cooper manning the ship.
The defensive line coaching hire is “unofficially” official and reports are stating that Brick Haley will take over Earl Lane’s post as the LSU DL coach.
Haley is the former Mississippi State defensive line coach and is the current Chicago Bears coach in the same capacity.
I can not speak about the Bears, because I frankly haven’t watched them very often this season, but I do know when Haley was at State, the Bulldogs always had a very stout front-four, so I think Haley will do a fine job with the talented defensive linemen at LSU.
The question becomes what will happen to Earl Lane. Lane’s DLine woefully underperformed this year and while Les Miles would feel bad “firing” Lane, I think it’s safe to assume he’ll mysteriously find a new job in the next few days to pave the way for Haley.
So, I present to you, good friends, the new LSU coaches.
The LSU men’s basketball team suffered their second setback of the season last night in a 30-point beating at the hands of Utah.
The Tigers were pretty much outmanned all night and were beaten soundly in all aspects of the basketball game.
The problem with LSU in my opinion is leadership.
Ever since his graduation, LSU has not had the cold-blooded leader that Darrel Mitchell was.
This year’s team has good leadership from guys like Garrett Temple and Tasmin Mitchell, but neither of those players are guys who can really “take over” a basketball game.
The only guy on the roster LSU has who can do that is Marcus Thornton and he is a very passive player late in games and defers to other players.
If he develops that hot-blooded attitude between now and the end of the season, LSU has a chance to win in these wild environments. If not, expect LSU to have major problems on the road all season.
Have a good day tomorrow!
We last left you with a post about how LSU hoped to get 3-4 commitments from the All-American games this weekend.
They got 3-4 less than 3-4 and ended up with no new commitments after the weekend.
So: All lost?
Not at all!
The good news is that the players who LSU have committed who DID play this weekend look dynamite.
I am not the recruiting guru, so if I left out a few who stood out, please leave a comment and I will fix it.
Pat White in an LSU uniform. Shepard is like a halfback in the quarterback position.
But while that speed is his biggest asset, that runningback mentality is his biggest weakness, as he needs to work on his throwing before Autumn.
Shepard will be a very fine specialty player next year for LSU and will have a major impact, because I can’t see SEC defenders being able to keep him boxed in.
Loston was probably the best player in the entire Under Armour Game. He was flying around the secondary and making an impact disrupting his opponent’s offense.
Most all-star games, the DBs look bad, because they are used to playing on offense for their high school teams, but Loston was an exception and he looked like he’ll be ready to see the field in 2009 for LSU.
Downs needs to add 25-30 lbs to his frame and might be a redshirt candidate this year at LSU. But he is nimble as a cat off the line and that’s just simply something you can’t teach.
Should be another in a long line of LSU studs at DT.
I know there were others committed to purple and gold on the field this weekend, but those 3 stood out the most to me.
There is no news yet on the LSU coaching staff, but it’s not a time to panic. Everything seems to be par for the course for Chavis to be the DC. What happens from there will be likely decided after Jan 8 when the season ends as a lot of guys who LSU might be considering for lesser staff positions might be offered bigger positions once the season ends.
The seasons of 4 more NFL teams came to a close this weekend and the Chargers, Ravens, Cardinals and Eagles are moving on in what was the Weekend of the Birds in the NFL playoffs.
The Ravens looked like the most Superbowl-ready of all the wildcard winners this weekend just because you know they’ll never be out of any game.
The most you’ll score on them is 17-20 if they don’t turnover the ball. So that’s a 2-3 score cushion. They’ll be in every game until the end. That always gives them a chance.
Here are the 4 matchups next weekend.
No. 6 Baltimore at No. 1 Tennessee
My Early Gut: Bye-Bye No. 1
No. 4 San Diego at No. 2 Pittsburgh
My Early Gut: Bye-Bye Big Ben
No. 6 Philly at No. 1 New York Giants
My Early Gut: McNabb falls short
No. 4 Cardinals at No. 2 Panthers
My Early Gut: Delhomme doesn’t turn it over, Carolina wins
I’ll focus a little more on the LSU men and women’s basketball teams in tomorrow’s post!
My apologies for the past few days as a little taste of the flu had me lying around my bed more than I would have liked.
The bad news is I missed out on some fun times with my family.
The good news is I am better now and that the down-time allowed me to watch tons and tons of football.
Let’s start here at home where LSU dominated Georgia Tech inside and out to score a 38-3 win in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
LSU certainly saved their best game for last as they won all three phases of the game — offense, defense and special teams to throughly dominate Georgia Tech.
The offensive MVP and the bright spot of the game is Jordan Jefferson.
What a difference 3 months makes.
I can assure you Jefferson was not ready to see the field in early September when Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch were on the field for LSU.
But hard studying and increased reps and better conditioning gave Jefferson the knowledge of the playbook and the skill-set he needs to compete in the SEC.
With Russell Shepard coming in and all the current quartbacks staying (maybe) on LSU’s roster in 2009, what seems to be the weakness of LSU in 2008 can be the strength next season.
With this being a big recruiting weekend because of the Army and Under Armour All American games, many people are also anticipating LSU to score major victories with the prospects this weekend.
The beat started drumming today as 5-star safety Craig Loston committed to LSU.
Loston’s commitment to LSU was probably the worst-kept secret in the history of recruiting, but to have him finally come out publicly and proclaim LSU as his team is a sight for sore eyes.
Other guys LSU is holding out hope for are receivers Andre DeBose and Rueben Randle as well as defensive tackle William Campbell.
We’ll see, but if I had to guess, LSU will haul in the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class and take boat loads of momentum into the New Year.
The other football game that got interest here at home was last night’s Sugar Bowl, where the SEC West champs Alabama had their tails kicked in by undefeated Utah.
The Tide trailed from start-to-finish and really never had a legit shot in the game.
The Crimson Tide got 7 of their 17 points on a punt return and the Utah defense battered and bruised John Parker Wilson all game and forced him into inaccurate throws.
While LSU is taking worlds of momentum into the next season, the Tide will be taking none as Nick Saban’s team lost both of their last 2 games in 2008, proving to the world what most people thought all year anyway — that the Tide were big-time overrated and had no business having the success they had this season.
But the problems for the Tide are that it will be even harder next year. They only lose 9 seniors from this year’s team, but the losses they have will be hurtful ones like John Parker Wilson, Andre Smith, etc…, so the Tide have pieces to fill in if they expect to have any chance to duplicate their success in 2009.
The big game on the forefront is now the BCS National Title Game between Florida and Oklahoma.
I do not know if this is sound logic or not, but from watching the other Big 12 teams play in the bowl season, I am more convinced than ever that Florida will put the Sooners away soundly, if they bring their A-Game.
Looking at the Big 12, Missouri’s offense looked out of whack against a poor Northwestern defense, Texas Tech was dominated by Ole Miss, etc… What we’re seeing so far is what I thought we’d see — that the Big 12 teams only put up fat numbers because all of the defenses in that league stink.
In this game, I think we’ll see that again as Florida will slice and dice the OU defense and get just enough stops to win easily.
NFL this weekend:
Have a good weekend!
Well, the time has come and the waiting is over. It’s time to send out football season with a bang tonight when LSU takes on Georgia Tech.
I’ve given the keys to victory for both sides, so it’s time to make my pick.
For LSU, it’s all about the two B’s: Balance and Big Plays.
LSU needs to find a balance on offense. They will have opportunities to hit big plays down the field against a Georgia Tech defense who will keep 7-8 in the box at all times to stop the LSU ground game. If Jordan Jefferson moves the chains in the passing game, LSU will have a big offensive day.
If he doesn’t expect to see a whole lot of punting from the Tigers.
LSU needs to stop big plays for the Jackets. Assignment football is hard to stop for 60 minutes. A lot of teams contain it for 2-3 quarters, but then have a hiccup or two here and there. That’s more than enough to turn a good defensive day into a terrible one against an offense like the Jackets’.
This is such a hard game to predict, because we have no idea how it will play out, because we’ve never seen LSU play an option attack before.
On one hand, there’s the LSU front four which has all of the talent in the world and on paper should be able to do enough to disrupt the timing of th offense.
But then there is the lack of discipline we’ve seen all season. From the missed tackles to the untimely penalties to the missed assignments, LSU has not been the most sound defense this season and discipline is always given utmost importance when facing an option attack.
So instead of guessing about things we do not know, I will make my prediction based on something I do know — Les Miles.
Miles is 3-0 at LSU in bowl games with all three wins coming in dominant fashion.
Given 4 weeks to get ready, I trust he will have his players ready to do just enough to control the Jackets’ offense.
Ga Tech 20
MVP: T. Toliver – I see there being a lot of plays down the field for the LSU offense. If Jordan Jefferson keeps his poise, I think he will hit 2-3 of them with Toliver, as the Jackets will be zeroed in on Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd.
Aside from the big game, the big news is again on the LSU coaching staff as reports from all across the state have former Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron accepting a position as the associate head coach and defensive line coach at LSU.
According to the reports, Orgeron would be the highest-paid assistant on the LSU staff and would have a large role in aiding Les Miles in game-day preparation and recruiting.
WHAT A HIRE!
1. Game-day preparation – Orgeron did not have a great deal of success at Ole Miss in the W/L record. But his teams were ALWAYS ready to play (just ask LSU). With his fiery personality and his experience, I think LSU’s slow starts will be long gone
2. Recruiting – Look at some of the greats in the USC program in the past 10 years. Most of them were recruited by Coach O. Whether at Miami, USC or Ole Miss, Coach O has been a fabulous recruiter and I think LSU will be able to keep the best talent in Louisiana and across the Southeast on their radar with the recruiting trio of Miles, Orgeron and Josh Henson all on board.
I love the hire of Coach O and the 2009 coaching staff is beginning to look special.
Enjoy the bowl, my friends!
The speculation is over.
The guessing games are complete.
After about a month-long spree of rumors, speculation and the works, ESPN broke the story today that LSU coach Les Miles will hire former Tennessee coordinator John Chavis to be his new defensive coordinator.
I think so. I think it is the safest hire, too.
Chavis is the only of the potential candidates who’s actually done it in the SEC and he’s done it quite well.
Here are a look at Tennessee’s defensive numbers this season and where they rank nationally and in the SEC.
263 yards allowed per game (2nd in the SEC, 4th in the nation)
103 yards allowed per game (3rd in the SEC, 12th in the nation)
160 yards allowed per game (1st in the SEC, 4th in the nation)
So how do these numbers translate where it matters the most — points allowed?
Here is how Chavis’s defenses have fared in scoring defense in the past 5 seasons.
2008: 16.8 points allowed per game (10th nationally)
2007: 27.3 points allowed per game (61st nationally)
2006: 19.5 points allowed per game (33rd nationally)
2005: 18.6 points allowed per game (16th nationally)
2004: 22.7 points allowed per game (37th nationally)
So as you all can see, Mr. Chavis brings a lot of experience and a lot of good coaching to the table.
Here’s to hoping he can continue that trend at LSU!
It’s that time. The Peach Bowl (sorry, I’ll always call it that) is just a few days away. Here are three keys for each team heading toward this matchup.
1. Quarterback play – It’s the obvious bullet point and it’s the bullet point that’s been the sore thumb all year. We know Jefferson will start and if he plays well, he’ll have the ball all game. But whether it’s Jefferson, Lee, Hatch, or whoever else, the Tigers need to be able to stretch the field in the passing game — because Georgia Tech has a very, very good front 4 and it will be difficult to be one-dimensional toward the run.
2. Big play stoppers – Most people think Georgia Tech’s triple option attack is a clock-control offense. WRONG! The Yellow Jackets live and die by the big plays and the quick strikes. If LSU limits the Jackets to small gains, they’ll win the game.
3. Attitude – LSU has been one of the disappointments of the 2008 college football season. So how will the Tigers approach this game mentally? Will we see a team with a “We have nothing to lose”, attitude show up, or a team with a “Let’s get this season over with”, attitude take the field? Bowl games can give teams huge momentum swings to take into the spring (see LSU’s win against Notre Dame prior to the national title season), so it’ll be interesting to monitor the Tigers’ frame of mind going into the game.
1. Passing attack – Georgia Tech will get 250 at the bare minimum on the ground. That’s just how they play. But what will turn a good offensive team into a great offensive team is if they can fake the option and hit a pass or two down the field on LSU’s weak secondary. If they hit 2-3 cheapies, the Jackets can hang crooked numbers on LSU.
2. Win first and second down – On offense, the Jackets want to push forward on first and second down to avoid passing situations. On defense, the Jackets want to make Jordan Jefferson beat them, so they want to stuff Charles Scott on the run-down situations.
3. Strike early – For a few reasons. First, it allows the team to feed off the crowd in what will be a home game for the Jackets. Second, it allows them to stay away from must-pass situations.
I’ll make my pick tomorrow.
Have a great Tuesday!