7/22/19 5:50 am CT
Good Morning, Tiger Fans,
DANDYDON.COM’S MONDAY MORNING MAIL CALL
From David: Can you do an update again on what needs remain for this recruiting class and who are the most likely candidates to fill them? Thanks and appreciate the site. Glad you and your family had an amazing vacation in France.
My Response: Merci, David. An in-depth answer to your question will be the topic of a future full day’s report, but for now I’ll give you the quick version. Biggest “needs,” in my opinion, are to add at least one more offensive lineman and to land the state’s top targets. Both of these needs could be addressed by finishing strong in-state with the addition of center Sedrick Van Pran, defensive tackles Jacobian Guillory and Jaquelin Roy, and wide receiver Koy Moore. LSU currently has 21 players committed, which means those four would fill the class if all 21 current commits stick. However, I’ve been following recruiting long enough to know that it highly unlikely to happen. There are always players who de-commit, do not have the grades, or get left out for one reason or another. Assuming that happens again this year and that LSU will ultimately have more than just these four spots to fill, I could see LSU adding an elite running back like Zachary Evans, a linebacker like Phillip Webb, and/or another offensive tackle. And it should be noted that with five months before the early signing period, several other names will likely emerge.
From Tyler: Do you expect LSU to keep the streak going and have another 1,000 yard rusher this year?
My Response: That’s a great question, Tyler. Nick Brossette tallied 1,039 yards last season to extend LSU’s streak of 1,000 yard rushers to six seasons, which is now the longest in the SEC. (Auburn held the record before failing to reach that mark last year for the first time since 2009.) This year, LSU is moving to more of a spread attack and Joe Burrow will probably run the ball out of the RPO offense more than we’re used to seeing from an LSU quarterback. That, combined with the lack of a returning featured back and the addition of two highly talented true freshmen running backs who will likely both see action, makes me think that the streak could be in jeopardy simply because of the way the load will be shared. Whether any single rusher eclipses 1,000 yards, I do think that LSU will remain a physical football team that runs the ball effectively.
From Erik: We have had a lot of talk about our players and coaches, and how much better we’re going to be this year. I do believe this. What worries me is, are we going to do better penalty-wise? Tell me if am wrong: last season we had a couple of games where there were 15 yd penalties combined that ended up being 30 yards and 45 yards in one play. This has to be a top priority this year to do better. Love your site, Scott. Gets me started every morning. Keep it up.
My Response: Thanks, Erik. LSU was 12th in the league in penalty yards per game last year, so yes, I agree that the Tigers need to be better in that regard. You’re right about there being instances when multiple penalties added up to big losses on single plays. One time that comes to mind was when officials called the bogus targeting penalty against Devin White for his hit on Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. On that same play, Kristian Fulton and John Battle were penalized 15 yards each for unsportsmanlike conduct when they knelt and pretended to take a photo near the goal line. (I still don’t understand why the penalties were accessed individually instead of calling one unsportsmanlike penalty. But I digress.) It would take more time than I have at the moment to confirm this, but I seem to remember a large number of LSU’s penalties being of the pre-snap variety, which would make sense considering LSU used six different O-line combinations in the first six games alone. This year, LSU returns four of its five starters on the offensive line. If the Tigers can settle into a stable O-line combination early on, and stay healthy, and play with greater discipline than they did at times last year, they should be able to improve considerably in this statistic.
From David: Who is our backup center?
My Response: On our unofficial depth chart, we had redshirt freshman Cole Smith as Lloyd Cushenburry’s back-up until Smith entered his name in the transfer portal. Without Smith, the only backup center I currently know of would be true freshman Charles Turner. Surely LSU will look at others there in preseason practice. I heard some unofficial chatter about Chasen Hines being a good candidate to move to center, but that was before hearing Ed Orgeron say that Hines, Adrian Magee, and Kardell Thomas will battle for the left guard spot. So, to answer your question: I don’t know, but it will be one of the big things to watch for when things get underway in a couple of weeks.
From Ron: You mentioned in your countdown on Eric Martin, that he played under OC Mack Brown in 1982. I had not remembered that Mack Brown was our OC, so I researched it, and found on Wikipedia, that Mack Brown was listed as QB coach in 1982, his only year as an LSU coach. I could not find on the LSU sports site, who was the OC in 1982.
My Response: Good catch, Ron. Another reader actually caught my mistake too and supplied the following (thanks, Mike M!): “Mack Brown was actually the QB coach in 1983, and George Belu was the OC. I always thought it was a bit strange that a QB coach had that much influence, but LSU football fell off the map the following year after Mac Brown left, and Coach Stovall was released. I guess everyone could see his abilities even then. I think the current situation with Joe Brady is very similar to what we had with Mac Brown in 1982!”
From Richard: Kole Taylor says he will be an Early Enrollee (EE) and has a GPA of 3.7. How many are going to be EEs?
My Response: The only other LSU commitments who I’ve heard will be early enrollees in the spring of 2020 are quarterbacks Max Johnson and TJ Finley, but I’m sure there will be others. It’s a big advantage for these kids to get in that extra time, and it’s particularly beneficial for quarterbacks to enroll early, especially since LSU will be without Joe Burrow. Those QBs will benefit from the extra reps and the team will benefit from having extra QBs for drills.
Thanks to all who chimed in!
• With today being the 40-day mark in our Countdown to GameDay, it’s only appropriate that we should give a big shout out to the greatest LSU linebacker in school history, No. 40 Devin White. As most of you know, White is the school’s only Butkus Award winner and was the fifth overall selection of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which also makes him the highest drafted linebacker in school history. White ran an official 4.4 at the NFL combine, which helped secure his future as a top draft pick, and since then he’s continued to turn heads at Tampa Bay. In a recent interview with JoeBucsFan.com, head coach Bruce Arians acknowledged something that Tiger fans know well – that White is a “once in a lifetime” player. It was reported this weekend that Tampa Bay and White have reached a multi-year contract, though the details have yet to be published. As soon as they are, we’ll share them. Until then, enjoy these video highlights of one of LSU football’s greatest living legends.
• Sadly, White tweeted last night that his beloved horse, Daisy Mae, which he famously rode through Tiger Stadium, has passed away. “Never thought that I would be posting something like this so soon, been in tears for over 10 plus hours, everybody knows the love that I have for Daisy Mae and the passion that I take care of her with," he wrote. I can only imagine the emotional rollercoaster White must be going through in light of the last few days.
• Last but not least, LSU unveiled its new Football Operations Center last night and man is it world class! Here are a few videos that were tweeted by LSU – one showing the mind-blowing locker room, another of the players’ first reaction when they saw it, and one of the guys enjoying their first meal in their state of the art nutrition center. We’ll have more on the new facilities in our Thursday morning report after the media is treated to a tour on Wednesday.
Enjoy your Monday, folks. It’s a great time to be a Tiger!