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LSU vs. Georgia Southern - Saturday, August 31, 2019 6:30PM, ESPNU
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7/23/19 5:40 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

As we do most Tuesdays, today we’ll turn to our quick-hitting format to cover a baker’s dozen tidbits. Then in tomorrow’s report, we’ll return to the series we began last weekend on a few Tigers who have been glossed over. Pour yourself a cup of joe and let’s get to it. 

TUESDAY TIDBITS: YOUR DAILY DOSE OF TIGER NEWS DELIVERED IN A BAKER’S DOZEN QUICK-HITTERS

1. By unanimous decision, the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame Election Board has approved the jersey retirement of LSU men’s basketball All-American Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, formerly known as Chris Jackson. His No. 35 will join Bob Pettit’s No. 50, Pete Maravich’s No. 23, Rudy Macklin’s No. 40, and Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 33 as the only retired jerseys in the LSU men’s basketball program. I fondly remember telling my late father, who was sitting right beside me at the PMAC, that “Jackson” was the best I’d ever seen after watching him take the ball down court, dribble between his legs and quickly pull up to drop a three-pointer from the top of the key. He made it all look so easy, and to think that he had such success while also dealing with Tourette Syndrome makes it all the more remarkable. Congratulations to Abdul-Rauf for the well-deserved honor.

2. LSU Sports Communications Sr. Associate Director Kent Lowe also has fond memories of No. 35, which he describes eloquently in this piece: Memories Plentiful Of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. To rekindle a few memories of your own, here’s a brief video LSU published with a few of Abdul-Rauf’s highlights.

3. It was great hearing from many of you yesterday about LSU’s newly revealed Football Operations Facility. I look forward to checking it out during tomorrow’s media tour and sharing my thoughts with you on Thursday. In the meantime, here’s a gallery of photos from LSU.

4. As tweeted by LSU’s Emily Villere, one important thing to remember about the new renovations to the LSU Football Operations Facility is that it was completely funded by private donations through the Tiger Athletic Foundation. Also, the nutrition center is open to all student-athletes on campus, not just the football players.

5. One such private donation came from former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu, a.k.a. “The Honey Badger.” Mathieu donated $1 million towards the renovation, and for his generosity the “Mathieu Players’ Lounge” was named in his honor.  Fellow former Tiger standout Patrick Peterson had previously donated $1 million to the football program, as did  local businessman Dave Roberts. LSU’s Peterson-Roberts Weight Room is named in their honor.

6. So how does LSU’s newly revised space differ from other giants in college football? SportsIllustrated sheds some light on that question in this video montage which includes very brief footage of facilities at Clemson, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Alabama, and South Carolina. 

7. Speaking of college football giants and Sports Illustrated, the publication also put out this article titled, “Which Non-Alabama SEC Teams Can Crash the College Football Playoff?” In it, author Michael Shapiro says “The upcoming season marks the Tigers’ best chance at the playoff in the Ed Orgeron era.”

8. Watchlist season continues to roll on and several Tigers were named to lists yesterday. Michael Divinity, Jacob Phillips, Patrick Queen, and K’Lavon Chaisson are nominees for the Butkus Award, which goes to nation’s best LB, and Grant Delpit is a nominee for the Thorpe Award, which goes to the top defensive back.

9. Remember last year when everyone was talking about LSU football having one of the nation’s toughest schedules? Well, college football guru Phil Steele makes a good case that this year’s LSU schedule is even harder. As described in this article by 247Sports, Steele ranks LSU’s schedule as the sixth toughest in America (he had last year’s at No. 8). He ranks six of LSU’s opponents is top 25 teams and three sit in his top 10.

10. Turning to baseball, if you read my Monday Morning Mail Call early yesterday morning, you may have seen a question from Dan asking if he had missed the news of Coach Mainieri adding two new infielders to the signing class. I have since removed that question because I had responded that the names of the two players had not yet been released. Turns out, it was I who missed the news. While I was on vacation, TigerRag reported that the two new infield signees are Zach Arnold and Zack Mathis. We’ll learn more about these signees and the entire signing class next week after Coach Mainieri’s summer media session.

11. In other baseball news, the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee recommended a 20-second pitch clock for next season as an effort to speed up the game. The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel will discuss it on Aug. 14.

12. With 39 days until the start of LSU football,  let’s continue our countdown by recalling a historic LSU game that took place in 1939. As stated in the wonderful book by Herb Vincent entitled “LSU Football Vault - The History of the Fighting Tigers,” LSU’s trip to Boston to take on Holy Cross on October 7, 1939 was the first time a team from the South used air transportation to get to a football game. It took two DC-3s and four stops along the way to get the Tigers to their destination, but once there, superstar Ken Kavanaugh was essentially all the Tigers needed to come away with a 26-7 victory. Kavanaugh scored four touchdowns in the game – three on pass receptions and one on an 80-yard interception return – and went on to earn co-SEC MVP honors that year. After the game, the Tigers took advantage of their newfound means of transportation by stopping at the World’s Fair in New York before returning to Baton Rouge. That’s your Tiger history lesson of the day.

13. Lagniappe: Several of you have asked when I will be launching my newly renovated website design, and the answer is soon. I hope to have it ready to geaux in two or three weeks. The changes will include a sortable Ticket Exchange page that will accept submissions and delete old entries, a new Links section that will help keep you abreast of the latest Tiger news, an enhanced Media Gallery, printable/sharable recipes, and subtle changes to our Commitments and Prospects lists to make them more user-friendly. The site should also be much easier on the eyes for the growing number of you who access it on mobile devices and tablets. Stay tuned.





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7/23/19 5:40 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

As we do most Tuesdays, today we’ll turn to our quick-hitting format to cover a baker’s dozen tidbits. Then in tomorrow’s report, we’ll return to the series we began last weekend on a few Tigers who have been glossed over. Pour yourself a cup of joe and let’s get to it. 

TUESDAY TIDBITS: YOUR DAILY DOSE OF TIGER NEWS DELIVERED IN A BAKER’S DOZEN QUICK-HITTERS

1. By unanimous decision, the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame Election Board has approved the jersey retirement of LSU men’s basketball All-American Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, formerly known as Chris Jackson. His No. 35 will join Bob Pettit’s No. 50, Pete Maravich’s No. 23, Rudy Macklin’s No. 40, and Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 33 as the only retired jerseys in the LSU men’s basketball program. I fondly remember telling my late father, who was sitting right beside me at the PMAC, that “Jackson” was the best I’d ever seen after watching him take the ball down court, dribble between his legs and quickly pull up to drop a three-pointer from the top of the key. He made it all look so easy, and to think that he had such success while also dealing with Tourette Syndrome makes it all the more remarkable. Congratulations to Abdul-Rauf for the well-deserved honor.

2. LSU Sports Communications Sr. Associate Director Kent Lowe also has fond memories of No. 35, which he describes eloquently in this piece: Memories Plentiful Of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. To rekindle a few memories of your own, here’s a brief video LSU published with a few of Abdul-Rauf’s highlights.

3. It was great hearing from many of you yesterday about LSU’s newly revealed Football Operations Facility. I look forward to checking it out during tomorrow’s media tour and sharing my thoughts with you on Thursday. In the meantime, here’s a gallery of photos from LSU.

4. As tweeted by LSU’s Emily Villere, one important thing to remember about the new renovations to the LSU Football Operations Facility is that it was completely funded by private donations through the Tiger Athletic Foundation. Also, the nutrition center is open to all student-athletes on campus, not just the football players.

5. One such private donation came from former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu, a.k.a. “The Honey Badger.” Mathieu donated $1 million towards the renovation, and for his generosity the “Mathieu Players’ Lounge” was named in his honor.  Fellow former Tiger standout Patrick Peterson had previously donated $1 million to the football program, as did  local businessman Dave Roberts. LSU’s Peterson-Roberts Weight Room is named in their honor.

6. So how does LSU’s newly revised space differ from other giants in college football? SportsIllustrated sheds some light on that question in this video montage which includes very brief footage of facilities at Clemson, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Alabama, and South Carolina. 

7. Speaking of college football giants and Sports Illustrated, the publication also put out this article titled, “Which Non-Alabama SEC Teams Can Crash the College Football Playoff?” In it, author Michael Shapiro says “The upcoming season marks the Tigers’ best chance at the playoff in the Ed Orgeron era.”

8. Watchlist season continues to roll on and several Tigers were named to lists yesterday. Michael Divinity, Jacob Phillips, Patrick Queen, and K’Lavon Chaisson are nominees for the Butkus Award, which goes to nation’s best LB, and Grant Delpit is a nominee for the Thorpe Award, which goes to the top defensive back.

9. Remember last year when everyone was talking about LSU football having one of the nation’s toughest schedules? Well, college football guru Phil Steele makes a good case that this year’s LSU schedule is even harder. As described in this article by 247Sports, Steele ranks LSU’s schedule as the sixth toughest in America (he had last year’s at No. 8). He ranks six of LSU’s opponents is top 25 teams and three sit in his top 10.

10. Turning to baseball, if you read my Monday Morning Mail Call early yesterday morning, you may have seen a question from Dan asking if he had missed the news of Coach Mainieri adding two new infielders to the signing class. I have since removed that question because I had responded that the names of the two players had not yet been released. Turns out, it was I who missed the news. While I was on vacation, TigerRag reported that the two new infield signees are Zach Arnold and Zack Mathis. We’ll learn more about these signees and the entire signing class next week after Coach Mainieri’s summer media session.

11. In other baseball news, the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee recommended a 20-second pitch clock for next season as an effort to speed up the game. The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel will discuss it on Aug. 14.

12. With 39 days until the start of LSU football,  let’s continue our countdown by recalling a historic LSU game that took place in 1939. As stated in the wonderful book by Herb Vincent entitled “LSU Football Vault - The History of the Fighting Tigers,” LSU’s trip to Boston to take on Holy Cross on October 7, 1939 was the first time a team from the South used air transportation to get to a football game. It took two DC-3s and four stops along the way to get the Tigers to their destination, but once there, superstar Ken Kavanaugh was essentially all the Tigers needed to come away with a 26-7 victory. Kavanaugh scored four touchdowns in the game – three on pass receptions and one on an 80-yard interception return – and went on to earn co-SEC MVP honors that year. After the game, the Tigers took advantage of their newfound means of transportation by stopping at the World’s Fair in New York before returning to Baton Rouge. That’s your Tiger history lesson of the day.

13. Lagniappe: Several of you have asked when I will be launching my newly renovated website design, and the answer is soon. I hope to have it ready to geaux in two or three weeks. The changes will include a sortable Ticket Exchange page that will accept submissions and delete old entries, a new Links section that will help keep you abreast of the latest Tiger news, an enhanced Media Gallery, printable/sharable recipes, and subtle changes to our Commitments and Prospects lists to make them more user-friendly. The site should also be much easier on the eyes for the growing number of you who access it on mobile devices and tablets. Stay tuned.

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!

Closing Tidbits:

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!



 

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