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16 point lead = down the drain

Fabulous start by a true freshman = down the drain

Chances of finishing .500 in the SEC = down the drain

LSU did all of the above and blew a 30-14 2nd half lead yesterday in a one-point loss to the Razorbacks — the 5th loss of LSU’s season.

If you want play-by-play, go to ESPN or CNNSI. I’ll tell you what I think about what went down yesterday.

1. A star was born. Two stars, actually. Jordan Jefferson is as legit as a true freshman can possibly be and Patrick Peterson is a dominant, dominant cornerback.

2. Out with the old and in with the new regarding LSU’s DC situation. LSU is in the bottom half of the SEC in every defensive statistic. A defense does not rot that fast on its own.

3. The game turned on that 3rd and 20+ personal foul penalty. If LSU makes them punt on that play, they would have had a chance to go to work on the Razorbacks and on the clock. That play was the downfall of the game.

And let’s get this straight. I DO NOT blame Tremaine Johnson for that play. Replay confirmed the Arkansas lineman spit in his face. But my opinion stays the same — that that one play ended LSU’s night.

4. Chris Hawkins’ interception that would have ended the game was not pass interference. If that is pass interference, every single passing play is also interference.

5. There was not enough video evidence to overturn the fumble call on that one play. I am growing sick and tired of instant replay. To the point to where I wish they would just rid of it. Firstly, it wastes 4-5 minutes on each review (especially in college). And second, everyone has a different interpretation of the rules, so we don’t have a universal set of rules to go by with it. Yes, it surely did look to the naked eye like Arkansas’s runner’s behind was on the ground before the ball came loose. But we never saw a replay where we actually saw the football, so how do you know for sure? And if the ruling on the field is fumble, then how do you overturn that? Oh, wait. I forgot. Replay officials are local. So this guy was from Little Rock. That explains it. I am not saying Arkansas “cheated” or anything, because the same thing happens at LSU. I am just saying the system sucks and should be changed or done away with.

6. Quinn Johnson is probably the best fullback in the country. But LSU seems to want to give him the ball as a receiver or a ball carrier more than they want to use him as a blocker.

All-in-all, this loss stings more than others, because I really, truly think LSU outplayed Arkansas. The Tigers were outplayed against Florida. Dominated by Georgia. Beaten soundly by Ole Miss. But LSU handed away the Alabama and Arkansas games. And that makes those sting a little more.

More on this one tomorrow!

Enjoy your Saturday! 🙂

Tiger fans,

First and foremost happy belated Thanksgiving.

A disappointing football season aside, we all have many things to be thankful for. For me, it’s my friends, family and faith in God.

And I hope all of you at home have similar things to be thankful for this year, also.

I started a Top 10 list of things LSU needed to do to make 2009 better than 2008 a few days ago. I will preview that first before going into depth about today’s game.

6-10 things LSU needs to do in offseason

6. Playmaker – LSU does not have that big, game-changing playmaker that other dominant teams have. Florida has Harvin. Georgia has Knowshon. Bama has Julio Jones. Who is that guy going to be for LSU? Trindon Holliday? Charles Scott maybe? The point is that LSU has to work too hard to score points. They need a guy to hit home runs.

7. Special teams needs to be special – LSU has been decent covering kicks and terrible returning them. When you add that you’re losing Colt David in the offseason, LSU needs to clean its special teams.

8. Fullback attack – Quinn Johnson has been invaluable for LSU this year. With his departure, who will be the next pancake machine?

9. Passion – I saw it from the Tigers in 2005-07. Not always this year. I think that has a lot to do with #6 in that LSU didn’t have a game changer to turn momentum on a dime. But it’d be nice to see a little more spark from LSU.

10. Start early – LSU falls behind virtually every game. Some weeks they overcome it. Some they don’t. It’d be so much easier to play with a 10-0 lead every once in a while, then to always be coming back from down 10.

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But now for a look at today’s game.

Jordan Jefferson is going to get the start for LSU for the first time in his career.

What should we expect? LSU will try to run, run and run it some more. IF they can control the trenches, Jefferson will not be relied upon to do a whole lot. But if Arkansas bogs down the run, then LSU will have to put the ball in the true freshman’s hands and let him make plays.

Can Jefferson make them? Yeah, he probably can. But he is also fully capable of making freshman mistakes, too. LSU fans just have to be willing to take the good with the bad.

For Arkansas, they are just as strapped as LSU is. Nathan Dick will be making just the 2nd start of his career for his brother Casey and junior halfback Michael Smith is out of action for Arkansas.

So, I think both teams will spend a quarter or two feeling each other out.

I think the Razorbacks will have success chucking the ball around. But I think LSU will also be able to bully the Hogs on the ground. And for that reason, I give the boot back to LSU.

My Pick:

LSU 28

Arkansas 17

Player of the Game:

Charles Scott.

Have a good one! Enjoy the game!

I think by a unanimous vote, you all at home would consider this year of LSU football to be a down year.

Today’s post is the beginning of a Top 10 list of things that need to get better for that trend to be bucked.

1. Co-Coordinator no more – That needs to go. Period. I’d say probably 35-45% of LSU’s TD’s allowed this year could have been simply because of communication issues between the players and the DC’s. A good example was Ole Miss’s passing touchdown that went down the seam on Saturday. Half the defense was in man coverage. Half in zone. Hard to believe that 6 players on defense don’t know the playbook. So that means someone told them the play wrong.

2. Quarterback play – This is a given. LSU’s QB’s have given the other team 49 points just on pick six’s. With a batch of freshmen ready to be sophomores, I think we will see vast improvement.

3. Hands – LSU can have Joe Namath at QB and it wouldn’t matter if the receivers don’t catch the ball. And frankly, LSU’s receivers have not always caught the ball this year.

4. Secondary – LSU’s secondary is a mess. Each guy plays well individually. But none of them ever collectively play a good game together and that leads to bad things.

5. Play calling – I love Gary Crowton. But I do not love using shotgun as your base formation when you have 2 freshmen at QB. That’s what LSU did against Ole Miss. Watch Ohio State play. How do they hide Pryor being a true freshman? By only letting him throw it 10-12 times a game. LSU should pound, pound, pound.

I will have the other 5 tomorrow!

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Despite all the whining about the year, there is still one more game to go — Friday against Arkansas.

I can tell you LSU is practicing very well this week and the team seems to be in high spirits — almost moreso than they were last week.

The general feeling is that the team will be playing with a sense of freedom, because for once, they don’t have the giant bulls-eye on them. For once, they can do the hunting, instead of being the hunted.

On the injury front, I’d say Jarrett Lee will be available only in an emergency role on Friday, so expect Jordan Jefferson to go bell-to-bell for the first time.

With that being said, expect LSU to see 8 and 9 man fronts until Jefferson forces them out if it. Can he do that?

I guess we’ll have to wait to find out.

LSU got a break in that Michael Smith will not play on Friday.

Smith is the Razorbacks’ leading rusher with 1,000+ yards and he is 2nd in the SEC in rushing. Arkansas’s replacements for Smith are all young’ins and none of them have more than 75 carries in their career.

So we’ll see how that shapes up.

More on this one tomorrow!

Have a good Thanksgiving’s Eve — if there is such a thing.

So as you all know, LSU isn’t ranked.

As you all know, LSU is below .500 in the SEC.

And LSU goes into the last weekend of the season having lost 4 of their past 7 games.

But seriously, should we have seen this coming?

Answer: No.

LSU’s play has been inexcusable this season.

And I emphasize the LSU in that statement. It’s easy to blame Jarrett Lee. It’s easy to blame Andrew Hatch, or maybe even Ryan Perrilloux if you wish. But those guys don’t blow assignments on fake field goals. Those guys don’t let Ole Miss receivers streak down the field on third and long plays, resulting in a touchdown. Those guys don’t show no effort in blocking the Ole Miss D-LIne.

The problem right now is . . . EVERYONE.

The team is playing with no energy. No passion. No football intelligence and frankly, it’s a good thing the year has just 2 games left, or the ship could possibly sink farther than it already has.

But despite my “sky is falling” outlook, the future is still very bright.

1. LSU has found a gem in Jordan Jefferson. Between his progression, Jarrett Lee’s progression and true freshman Russell Shepard, LSU will have much better QB play this year.

2. 20 seniors – Just 20. I know it’s an oxy-moron to say “JUST” 20. But out of the 20, 10 or so are walk-ons. Look at the LSU depth chart. If no one goes pro, LSU is not losing much. (just 2 linemen and a WR on offense and a few D line guys and a LB on defense).

There is so much more to talk about on this topic, so I will spread it out across the week.

Tomorrow, I will give a list of 10 things I think LSU needs to do to get back to the top.

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So the Saints returned home with a bang and crushed the Packers.

I do not know what was more extreme — how good the Saints looked, or how bad the Packers looked.

Giving up 50+, most of those in the passing game, against a secondary that is supposed to be so great is not good news for Green Bay.

Also, getting picked off by Jason David twice? Not so hot.

Think that’d have happened to Brett Favre? I don’t.

A win is a win and I am certain everyone will take it, but it will just be such an uphill climb to get into the playoffs.

At 6-5, the Saints have to surpass 3 of the following teams to get a wild card bid: Washington, Dallas, Tampa, Atlanta.

That will be a hard act, considering a lot of those teams have cupcake schedules the rest of the way.

My pick? Dallas and Tampa in the wild card.

Although if the Saints do very much control their destiny as they play huge games with Carolina, Tampa and Atlanta down the stretch — all of which are must wins.

That will certainly be interesting to see how it plays out.

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More on the LSU debacle tomorrow.

Have a good one!

Houston Nutt was the Grinch who Stole Senior Day last year.

He’s coaching a different team this year, but he has a similar opportunity tomorrow when LSU takes on Ole Miss at 2:30 in Tiger Stadium.

These two teams are evenly matched in the standings. And will be very evenly matched on the field, too.

Here are the keys to victory for both sides.

Keys for LSU:

1. 4 quarters – If LSU gets down 31-3 to Ole Miss, or hell, even 17-3, it will be incredibly difficult to come from behind. If LSU plays 4 quarters of football, however, they will be fine.

2. T. Toliver – When someone other than Brandon LaFell is stretching the field and making plays for LSU, it has been a big help to the offense. Toliver has sort of emerged as that threat as of late. Let’s see if he can get by the Ole Miss defense a couple of times.

3. Pass rush – Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead can make plays if given time. When he is rushed, he makes a lot of mistakes. If LSU puts 2-3 of those big, nasties in his face, expect an interception or two for the Tigers defense.

Keys for Ole Miss:

1. Wild Rebel – Houston Nutt owned LSU with this formation at Arkansas. He doesn’t have McFadden, Jones and Hillis anymore. But he does have some speed on the edges.

2. Stop the run – Make Jarrett Lee beat you by forcing LSU into 3rd and 6 situations by plugging up Sweet Chuck on 1st and 2nd downs.

3. Special Teams – Ole Miss won against Florida because of a big fake punt. They lost to Wake because of a key missed field goal. Ole Miss has marginal talent, so they have to do small things to get wins. If they win special teams, they have a real shot.

MY PICK: LSU comes out a little bit flat, but recovers from the 2nd-3rd quarters to steal a close, relatively higher-scoring game.

LSU 31

Ole Miss 24

Player to look out for: Chris Hawkins. Jevan Snead is not afraid to throw into coverage. I think Hawkins will get his hands wrapped around one tonight.

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The LSU men’s team played a few nights ago against Alcorn State and won a convincing win.

I was skeptical about this team after the opener, but I am a little more convinced about their chances, primarily because of their depth.

I think LSU has 9-10 guys who can play legit minutes this season and when you combine that with probably one of the best 2-3 starting lineups in the SEC, I think LSU can make a run in the West.

The Tigers will take on Northwestern State on Sunday and try to go 3-0.

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That’s it for now!

Take care and have fun at the game!

Two days remain before second place in the SEC Western Division will be decided when LSU takes on Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium.

People are sleeping on the Rebels, but they are a very, very good football team.

Gone is the stupidity of Ed Orgeron and the unprepared Rebels. But in is Houston Nutt and his great ability to gameplan and to get his teams ready to play in big games.

I think the emphasis this week for LSU will be the first quarter. Outside of the Alabama game, LSU has played terribly in the first quarters of their big games and if they want to have a chance this weekend, they’d better jump out 7-0, or at least 7-7.

Being down 21-7, or 31-3 like last weekend will end up in a big, fat “L”.

It’s cliche and it can be said about any football game, but the biggest key for LSU will be turnovers. LSU is at its best when their defense is flying to the football and forcing turnovers like in the second halves against Troy and South Carolina.

They’re at their worst when their quarterbacks are throwing the football to the wrong team and when they are going three and out, like in the first quarter against Florida and the first half against Troy.

This team just is not as consistent as LSU teams of years past, and depending on which LSU team shows up, we’ll see how the outcome plays out.

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Men’s basketball has looked at the film of Saturday’s win against Jackson State and are ready to make adjustments tonight against Alcorn State.

LSU played “OK” in the season opener. Nothing special, but nothing terrible, either.

Here is what I think fans should hope to see tonight against a woeful Alcorn State squad.

1. Better point guard play – I do not care how many points Bo Spencer had. He had ZERO assists. That will not cut it in the SEC. Look for Bo to try to get everyone involved tonight.

2. Defense – LSU gave up 39 points in the first half against Jackson State before righting the ship in the second half. That type of defensive effort would have sent former coach John Brady into a stroke, probably, so look for LSU to try to dominate on defense tonight.

3. Outside shooting. LSU was 4-of-14 against Jackson from deep. I know the Tigers will not be an amazing three-point team. But if they can get up to a 35-37% clip, they can be a dangerous team this year.

Alcorn is terrible (lost to Houston by 50+ points and lost to MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE), so LSU will win this game big.

It’s just a matter of getting better, and I think you’ll see LSU do that tonight.

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That’s it for me!

Have a good one!

They’ve never been able to stop it before.

But this weekend, LSU gets a chance to try its luck against the “Wild-Cat” formation without Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis in the backfield, when the Tigers take on Ole Miss.

When Houston Nutt ran the show at Arkansas, the Wild-Cat was a base offense for the Hogs. McFadden was able to run it and throw it, or he could hand it off to Jones.

Defenses had no idea what was going on. And the Razorbacks’ supreme athleticism in the backfield was able to slice and dice defenses (including LSU’s).

But this Ole Miss version is not the same.

1. They can’t throw. McFadden was a legit dual threat. Dexter McCluster has one completion on the season and Ole Miss halfbacks have a pair of interceptions in 2008.

2. Star power – With all due respect, Dexter McCluster, you’re no Darren McFadden. McCluster is a very nice athlete and is a legitimate first-team player on most SEC teams. But “Run DMC” was an All-Time All SEC player. That makes a big difference.

With those two things being said, I think you will see the Wildcat 5-6 times. But it will not yield anything special.

What I am most interested in is the “Wild-Tiger”.

LSU’s version of the formation pits Richard Murphy behind center.

The Tigers have only tinkered with it so far. But I’ve been told they are working more on it this week and we might see a few passes from Richard Murphy.

Call it oversimplification if you want, but you have to think that a major key to this game will be who’s Wild-Cat performs better on Saturday afternoon.

More on this game later in the week!

Have a good one!

LSU has a 48-hour rule when they lose a game.

The rule dictates that after 2 days of 2nd guessing and “what if” scenarios, the team will put the game behind them and focus on its next opponent.

LSU did not lose Saturday against Troy, but I suspect the same rule to be in effect with this weekend’s matchup against Ole Miss on the horizon.

Yes, the comeback was great.

Yes, LSU finally clicked and looked great on offense.

Yes, the defense took over the game and dominated Troy’s offense.

But no, none of this matters to Ole Miss.

We have to remember the Rebels are coming off a 59-0 win against a ULM team that also beat Troy.

59-0 > 40-31.

So LSU will now turn their attention away from Saturday and more on this weekend’s opponent — who is probably the most underrated team in the SEC. The Rebels are 6-4 on the year and 3-3 in the league. That’s just one step off LSU’s 7-3 and 3-3 mark.

Ole Miss has beaten Florida and Auburn and lost to Alabama, Wake Forest and South Carolina by a combined 13 points with their other loss (to Vandy) being just a six point setback.

So Ole Miss is notoriously a team who plays to the level of their competition.

For the first time in years, they are well coached. Ed Orgeron did a fabulous job getting the talent into the locker room. He just had no clue what to do with that talent once he got it, so it got wasted. But now that Houston Nutt has taken over, Ole Miss I think will be a SEC Western Division player for a while.

More on the specifics of this game as the next week unfolds.

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LSU basketball kicked off (or tipped off) this weekend.

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MEN:

The men ushered in the Trent Johnson era on Saturday with a 79-65 win against Jackson State.

LSU got off to a very sluggish start as you would expect in the first game of a season with a new coach. But LSU’s talent prevailed in the end and they scored a relatively drama-free win.

The bright spot of the game was obvious — Bo Spencer.

On a team that was maligned for the past 3-4 seasons for not having a “true” point guard, Spencer stepped up huge for LSU and led the team with 21 points.

But my question with that is: “Is it fool’s gold?”

Is it a good thing that your point guard hit 3-of-5 from deep? Yes. It is.

But is it a good thing that in 34 minutes of play against lowly Jackson State that he had no assists? No, it’s not.

But this team is very much a work in progress. And I suspect we’ll see them get better as the season marches on — starting with their next game against Alcorn State on Thursday.

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WOMEN:

The women were not quite as fortunate and opened their season with a 62-53 loss against No. 14 Notre Dame.

LSU struggled on offense for the better part of the game and just didn’t have any offensive rhythm as the Lady Tigers’ new faces are trying to find their roles in the LSU offense.

But one thing was made clear — LSU’s freshmen are young. They are inexperienced. They will make mistakes. But they can flat-out play.

To only lose to a quality opponent like Notre Dame by 9 points when you frankly play like hell, shows just how good this team can and will be once they progress.

I went into the season with not-so-high hopes for LSU.

But after watching their young’ins play, I am much more optimistic.

Their next game is next Monday against Tulane in the PMAC.

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SAINTS:

Usually when LSU wins, the Saints lose. And vice-versa. But the Saints pulled off the weekend-double and beat the Chiefs 30-20 in Kansas City.

It wasn’t always pretty. And it wasn’t always dominant. But a win is a win and the Saints are now back at .500.

And to be honest, the Saints scored major victories away from at Arrowhead on Sunday as the Falcons, Redskins, Vikings and Bears all lost, while the Eagles tied, which gives the Saints a boost in the standings as they head to the stretch run of the season.

Call me a hater. Call me whatever you want. But I just still don’t see it in this team.

They are like the “Anti-Playoff” Team.

Playoff teams:

1. Run the football

2. Play good defense

The Saints do neither.

So even if they get in, they won’t be in very long.

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That’s it for me.

Have a good Monday! 🙂

For 40 or so minutes, it wasn’t pretty.

Check that, it was godawful ugly.

But LSU flipped on the switch in time and the result? A 30-point fourth quarter to overcome a 31-3 deficit and earn a 40-31 win.

What a game.

What a comeback.

No one say it coming.

And I mean that literally. No one saw it coming, because some 55,000 or so of the 90,000 in attendance for the game left sometime either at halftime or when Troy struck first in the 2nd half, leaving LSU playing before a ghost town in the 2nd half.

You folks didn’t deserve to see the ending anyway!

So what went wrong for LSU early on?

1. LSU handcuffed its quarterbacks. Troy lined up 8 and 9 guys in the box and dared LSU to throw on 1st and 2nd downs. They didn’t do it. Then on 3rd and 10, when they knew LSU had to throw, they dropped back and took advantage of the situation.

2. Defense- The LSU defense was pitiful for 40 minutes of this game. They couldn’t guard the Troy receivers or generate a pass rush on their QB. Troy threw the ball SEVENTY+ times. SEVENTY. There is no reason an unbalanced offense like that should move the ball on this LSU defense.

But that’s the bad.

Here was the good.

1. Jarrett Lee – When LSU fell behind and was in a major hole, the Tigers went to no-huddle. And Lee responded in a big way and had some 200+ yards in the 2nd half. This kid is a victim of himself. When he is out there and is thrown into the fire with no time to think (like in Auburn) (like tonight), he plays with reckless abandon and lights up the scoreboard. When he is the ‘only guy’, he plays real tight. I think LSU should look into a no-huddle set in the final two games of the season.

2. Turnovers- Whether a muffed punt or a big INT, the LSU defense was ball-hawking in the 2nd half. I do not know if it was desperation or not, but whatever triggered that aggression was much needed.

3. Coaching – A lot of teams would call it a day when they were down 31-3 with just a few minutes to play in the third quarter. Not this team. Les Miles may be this and that, according to some hater fans, but he is not a quitter and that is always engrained into his teams’ DNA.

Next up is Ole Miss and we’ll break that one down throughout the week.

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Here is my new CFB Top 10.

1. Texas Tech

2. Florida – (I put Florida over Bama. I know Bama is unbeaten. Florida 1-loss. But they play one another. So I have no problems putting UF above them. If Bama is really better, then they can prove me wrong later. But it won’t happen.

3. Alabama

4. Texas

5. Oklahoma

6. USC

7. Utah

8. Ohio State

9. Boise

10. Penn State

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Here are a few NFL picks for tomorrow.

Denver 31

Atlanta 20

New Orleans 35

Kansas City 17

Baltimore 10

NYG 20

Tennessee 21

Jacksonville 17

San Diego 24

Pittsburgh 28

Dallas 28

Washington 20

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That’s it for me!

Have a good Sunday!

P.S. You should watch the Lady Tigers on the tube!

Three losses.

No hope of an SEC title.

And a struggling freshman quarterback.

That’s virtually the three-sentence summary of LSU’s entire season to this point. But the next chapter of the season will play out tonight when LSU takes on an upset-minded Troy team.

Troy is a good, solid opponent — exactly the type of opponent you should schedule if you are scheduling a non BCS conference team.

They’ve had near misses in the past (one being in Tiger Stadium) and they’ve proven they will not be afraid of anyone.

But let’s not kid ourselves. LSU is a far superior team talent-wise and if they play to their ability, they should win easily.

Here are my keys for each team.

KEYS FOR LSU:

1. Take care of the ball – One of the only ways Troy should be able to score is if LSU gives points to them. If LSU commits one turnover or less, there should be no problems in this game.

2. Emotion – LSU is playing for nothing but pride in this game. Will the team have a hangover after a crushing loss 7 days ago? Or will they play with fire on this homecoming night?

3. White flag? – With LSU out of it in the standings, will Les Miles play guys like Terrance Toliver more? Will we see more of Jordan Jefferson? Ridley? We’ll find out.

KEYS FOR TROY:

1. Start fast – I expect a somber crowd by LSU standards early on. Don’t give them an excuse to get rowdy.

2. Get to halftime – Troy should treat this like two separate games. Just get to halftime with a chance to win and you should be fine.

3. Defensive/Offensive lines – Troy does not give up very many sacks. But they get a lot of them on their own. If they pressure Jarrett Lee, we know how that story might play out.

PREDICTION: On a very windy night, LSU plays ground and pound and gets 250+ on the ground in a sound win.

LSU 34

Troy 10

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That’s all for me.

Take care!

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