I would first like to speak to the people of Louisiana:

Guys and gals,

We made it! Gustav was a beast and he romped and roared throughout Southern Louisiana and battered Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes among other places and left his mark across our state, but despite that, we still made it. And we will be back and we will be better than ever.

Shingles can be replaced. Roofs can be replaced. Homes can be repurchased. Homes can be patched up and rebuilt. But the spirit and the unity that I saw out of the people of my state in the past 3 days will last forever.

Let me tell you guys a few stories.

The first story was in Mississippi. This did not happen to me, but was told to me by someone at our hotel. There were hundreds upon hundreds of cars and the station managers informed the customers they were about to run out of gas. So instead of a mad-scramble motivated by greed, a man from Boutte took control and stood on the hood of his car and told the people who had less than a quarter-tank of gas to go to the front so they could have what the station had left.

Another story is something I did experience in that I’ve seen strangers helping other strangers unpack at hotels and helping people get settled into their temporary “homes” here in hotels.

Either way, I can give 100 more, but I am proud of our state. We can rebuild homes. We can not buy unity.

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With life getting a little closer to being back to normal, LSU will begin to prepare for Troy.

From everything I have been told, LSU officials expect the game to be played Saturday as scheduled, so the Tigers will be ready to play.

We have to remember that LSU has been through this before + much more, going 11-2 the season Katrina ripped through Baton Rouge.

I get asked a lot what I think LSU needs to improve on after seeing the first game, so here it is:

1. Cornerback play – I know you will say “But, dude, LSU shut down Armanti Edwards.” True, but he missed a lot of open receivers and had a lot of drops. LSU’s front 7 dominated Edwards — not their back 4.

2. Mix it up – I know this one will come in time, because LSU did not want to show their full hand with the game in-hand. But LSU ran a very, very, very basic and very watered down offense against the Mountaineers and they need to open it up more as the season goes on.

3. Belly-Ache- I think LSU started sharp and took over the game from the opening kickoff. But I also think they put the car into neutral and eased into the finish. Sure, you can do that with a big lead. But not in league play. That is another area LSU will be focusing on as practice progresses.

The three things I was most pleased with were:

1. Charles Scott – LSU has a legit #1 back. Keiland is lost and Murphy just is not durable enough. Scott will get 15-25 carries a game.

2. Tackling – When LSU wrapped their arms around a Mountaineer, they went straight to the ground. That was a huge part of the Tigers crippling the Appalachian offense.

3. Penalties – The Tigers did not seem to have any of the illegal shift/false start/holding penalties that shot a hole a foot around into their foot last season. If that continues, these guys will be hard to beat.

More on the LSU/Troy game tomorrow and the rest of the week.

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I did not get to grade out all of our picks yet. But when I do, I will post the standings. Just by eye-balling it, it will be very close and we all did very well.

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Lost in the shuffling of people in and out of the state in the past few days was that the LSU women’s basketball team swept through a weekend tournament in Canada with 2 blowout wins.

The trip was similar to the men’s team’s trip to Canada this past season and teams do it because you gain a few extra practice days by taking it.

I know the women’s team lost pretty much the entire stockpile this past season. But I will give you a few names to remember here.

1. Allison Hightower – Hardcore Lady Tiger fans know Hightower because she was the top reserve for LSU each of the past two seasons. But this kid has SUPERSTAR written across her forehead and she is ready to take over the LSU program and make it her own this season.

2. Katherine Graham – She was one of two true freshmen to see playing time this past season for LSU. Graham showed a ton of promise but still was not able to get major minutes, because she was behind Quianna Chaney and Hightower on the depth chart at the 3 position. But with one year under her belt, this kid will surprise folks on the floor for LSU this season.

I am still in Florida, so I will just wrap it up here. If any of you have questions, just shoot me a comment.

God Bless you all and God Bless Louisiana!

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