LSU fans,

I do not know about you, but I have the bye week blues. Not having a game to look forward to is a bummer.

But the bye week comes at a good time for LSU in that they will be able to return to the field next weekend fully healthy, while also being able to put in a few extra wrinkles and tricks before next weekend’s Florida game.

A question I’ve been getting asked a lot lately is about co-defensive coordinators Doug Mallory and Bradley Dale Peveto.

A lot of fans have expressed concerns with the way these guys are handling their jobs after the LSU defense had a bit of a hiccup this weekend, allowing 24 points to Mississippi State.

But my message to you is to cut these guys some slack.

First and foremost, anytime you replace Glenn Dorsey (who won every major award last year), Ali Highsmith, Luke Sanders, Chevis Jackson, Johnathan Zenon, and Craig Steltz off a defense, you’re bound to have a few hiccups here and there.

That’s 6 starters out of 11 — all of which are in the NFL now, so that’s a lot of talent to lose off a squad.

But with that being said, guys like Jai Eugene, Chris Hawkins, Kelvin Sheppard, Perry Riley, etc… have all stepped up to the plate and played well. The unit just does not have the cohesiveness yet that the 2006 and 07 units had.

You have to remember that guys like Highsmith, Dorsey, Zenon and Jackson all started for 2-3 years. So by the time they were all seniors, they had been playing together for around 30 or so games.

These current guys have only been playing together as a unit for 4 games. So give them time. They will be fine.

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With that being said, let’s continue my progress reports, today with defensive line and linebacker.

Defensive line:

Tyson Jackson, Ricky Jean-Francois, Charles Alexander, Kirston Pittman

Tremaine Johnson, Al Woods, Drake Nevis, Rahim Alem

Marlon Favorite, Lazarious Levingston.

That’s 10. Count ’em, 10 defensive linemen who can all see time in a game and all start for probably 95% of the teams across the country.

The LSU defensive line dominates games week in and week out and this is the strength of the team.

Grade: A

Linebackers:

The LSU linebackers have done a pretty good job this season, despite losing their heart and soul Darry Beckwith to an injury in the North Texas game.

But guys like Riley, Sheppard and most importantly Jacob Cutrera have stepped up to help close the void of Beckwith’s absence.

But make no mistake about it, LSU needs Beckwith if they want to wear rings again at the end of this season, so let’s keep our eyes on how well he will able to play once he returns from his injury.

Grade: B-

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Three baseball game ones are in the books and it was a bad day to be in the NL Central as both the Cubs and the Brew Crew fell in defeat.

The Cubs lost for the exact reason I called their downfall: starting pitching as starter Ryan Dempster was yanked out of the game in the fourth inning after giving up a grand slam home run to James Loney to put the Dodgers ahead for good.

The Dodgers on the other hand, rode Derek Lowe for six innings of two-run baseball with their only blemish coming on a 2-run second inning home run by Mark Derosa.

The Cubs now give the ball to their ‘horse’ Carlos Zambrano today in a must-win game. The problem with that is that Zambrano has been anything but good in his last few outings, giving up 13 runs in his last 6 1/3 innings pitched of the season.

The Phillies took down the Brew Crew 3-1 thanks to 8 dominant innings by Cole Hamels. That series also heads to a Game 2 tomorrow with the best pitcher in the game, CC Sabathia taking the hill against Brett Myers. Again, I do not want to state the obvious, but major must-win for the Brewers. They can not afford to lose anytime Sabathia pitches this postseason, much less when they are down 1-0 in a series.

In the AL, the Bo Sox took a 1-0 lead in their series with the Angels thanks to seven dominant innings from Jon Lester.

This is the beginning of the end for the Angels in my opinion as it’s just too hard to flip the switch ‘on’ after it’s been off for so long. With Dice-K, then Beckett lined up back-to-back now, I am liking my prediction of a sweep in that series.

Like Manny, Jason Bay also hit a dinger in his first postseason game with his new club.

Game two of this series is Friday with Game three being played Sunday. That’s such a huge advantage for the Sox as the extra down-time will neutralize the Angels’ pitching depth, which is their only advantage in this series.

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Pick’em Standings:

Another week is in the books. Here is how we did this week.

Richard: 6-9

Cody: 9-6

Casey: 6-9

Boura: 7-8

Total:

Cody: 33-27

Casey: 32-28

Richard: 31-29

Boura: 22-23

What a tight stretch run this will be.

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Headlines:

Bulls Gordon accepts 1-year tender – It’s a shame the Bulls are mistreating this dude. It really is. It’s their loss, because now he will be unrestricted and will definitely leave this offseason.

Patriots deny tampering with Moss – Patriots? Cheating? Never!

Boise beats La Tech 38-3 – I do not have much to say about this game, because it was a blowout. I just think it’s interesting that La Tech coach Derek Dooley is also the Bulldogs’ Athletic Director. That’s kind of odd. Especially for a guy who is as young as he is.

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