LSU Tigers: Drew Alleman

The stars of the Alabama-LSU rivalry 

July, 17, 2013
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There have been dozens of All-Americans and first-round picks to come out Alabama and LSU in recent years, talented guys like Courtney Upshaw, Barkevious Mingo, Trent Richardson and Tyrann Mathieu. All told, there have been more than 30 NFL draft picks from both programs since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007.

But with so many players to choose from, how do you determine the best athletes to compete in the rivalry, the ones who have shown up and played their best when the two schools met on the football field each year?

TideNation writer Alex Scarborough and GeauxTigerNation writer Gary Laney did their best to answer that difficult question.
Cam CameronAP Photo/Gail BurtonExpect to see snippets of Cam Cameron's offense at LSU's spring game on Saturday, but nothing that will give anything away.

BATON ROUGE, La. -- For the first time since the disappointing loss to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, LSU will be in action for public consumption Saturday when the Tigers play their annual spring game at Tiger Stadium.

Like many teams in college football, most of the Tigers' preparations are done behind closed doors. For the public, there is no access to practices. For the media, there are a mere 10-15 minutes of open practices most days. For students, there's Thursday's open practice (4 p.m. with student ID).

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BATON ROUGE, La. -- It's only going to look like an all-comer's combine.

LSU's Pro Day on Wednesday will feature a whopping 28 participants, the result of a year where the Tigers sent 13 players to the NFL combine. Among the players will will participate is former LSU player Tyrann Mathieu.

Of the 28, 21 were members of LSU's 2012 team, while seven more participants were members of past LSU teams and are trying to catch the interest of teams as free agents.

Fans can watch the event live on ESPN3 at 1 p.m. ET.

Here are the players who are participating, according to LSU:

2012 team members: DE Chauncey Aghayere, K Drew Alleman, TE Chase Clement, DT Josh Downs, OT Josh Dworaczyk, DE Lavar Edwards, OT Chris Faulk, RB Michael Ford, DT Bennie Logan, C P.J. Lonergan, DB-KR Tyrann Mathieu, DE Barkevious Mingo, LB Kevin Minter, DE Sam Montgomery, S Eric Reid, WR Russell Shepard, CB Tharold Simon, RB Spencer Ware, P Brad Wing, DT Cleveland Davis, TE Tyler Edwards

Past Players (last year at LSU): OG Will Blackwell (2011), LB-DB Karnell Hatcher (2011), OL T-Bob Hebert (2011), QB Jordan Jefferson (2011), QB Jarrett Lee (2011), DS Alex Russian (2011), RB Charles Scott (2009).
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU coach Les Miles took the podium for his pre-spring practice news conference Wednesday with a red left eye he said was the result of a case of pink eye.

It looked, however, like it might have been something else, like a symbolic black eye that came from a jab thrown by Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, or from a hook fired by a couple of surprisingly early departures from his team to the NFL, part of a whopping 13 NFL departures after a 10-3 season.

At any rate, Miles looked ready to put the pink eye, and any symbolic black eye, behind him as LSU begins drills on Thursday.

Here is what we learned from Miles on Wednesday:

[+] EnlargeLa'el Collins
Patrick Green/Icon SMILa'el Collins might see some shuffling along the offensive line this spring.
1. La'el Collins will get first shot at left tackle: Collins was one of the highest-rated offensive tackles in the country coming out of high school in 2011, but he was the Tigers' starting left guard as a sophomore in 2012.

Miles confirmed that Collins, now a junior, will get his chance to slide over to tackle, but added that redshirt freshman Jerald Hawkins will get a look at the position as well. If Hawkins proves to be the better tackle candidate, Collins would move back inside.

Miles said if Collins indeed wins the left tackle spot, senior Josh Williford would be the likely choice to start at left guard. Junior college transfer Fehoko Fanaika came to LSU at 370 pounds, Miles said, and is more likely to play on the right side, where Trai Turner returns as the starting guard, Miles said.

2. Lamin Barrow gets first shot at MLB: Miles also indicated that Barrow would get the first shot at the vacant starting middle linebacker role, a spot vacated by Kevin Minter's early NFL departure.

Miles said Barrow " can do the job outside," where he excelled with 107 tackles at weak-side linebacker last season. If one of LSU's six Class of 2012 linebacker recruits or another veteran -- Miles mentioned junior D.J. Welter -- steps up at middle linebacker, Barrow can easily move back to his weak side spot.

3. Bolden, Maclin out: Miles said quarterback Rob Bolden, who made news when he transferred from Penn State to LSU last summer following the NCAA fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal, will not participate in spring practice after undergoing knee surgery in the off-season.

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Tiger Tale: Drew Alleman

December, 28, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Leading up to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, we'll take a daily look at a key LSU player and examine how he has done and what his challenges are for the Clemson game.

Drew Alleman, K, Senior

Accomplishments: One of the most accurate kickers in LSU history, Alleman overcame a mid-season slump to finish 20-for-28 on field goals for the Tigers, including a 3-for-3 outing in the Tigers' late win over Mississippi State. He's 36-for-46 on field goals in his two seasons as LSU's starting kicker and he has made all 42 of his PAT attempts.

Shortcomings: Bothered by nagging injuries, Alleman was not as consistent this season as he was last year when he was 16-for-18 on field goals. He had some big misses, notably a missed 46-yarder that set up Alabama's game-winning touchdown drive. He relinquished kickoff duties to James Hairston last season.

Against Clemson: If the game turns out to be as close as a matchup of No. 8 and No. 14 suggests it might, there might be a pressure-packed field goal awaiting Alleman in Atlanta in what will be his last college game. If he is to attempt a big field goal, he'll do it without holder Brad Wing, who is suspended for the bowl game for violating team rules.

Top 5 moments: The Drive

December, 14, 2012
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It's hard to say about a 10-2 season, but LSU's 2012 campaign is going to be remembered for missed opportunities. The Tigers were top contenders for a national championship and instead finished second in the SEC West and were relegated to the Chick fil-A Bowl. It's not necessarily fair, but that's the level LSU football has reached during the tenure of Les Miles.

So it's only fitting that the most memorable moment of 2012 was a disappointment -- one in which the Tigers let one of the biggest wins of Miles' tenure slip away in just less than a minute of gameplay.

A Herculean, 298-yard night from Zach Mettenberger, coupled with a defensive performance that limited Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron to 1-of-7 passing in the second half, had lifted LSU to a 17-14 lead against the No. 1 Crimson Tide with 1:34 remaining in regulation. McCarron wasn't the only member of the Alabama offense to suffer in the second half of a classic, as freshman tailback T.J. Yeldon fumbled at the end of the third quarter to set LSU up to take the lead on a 90-yard touchdown drive.

None of that mattered when McCarron took over at his own 28-yard line after a missed LSU field goal. The junior, who burned the Tigers in the 2011 BCS Championship Game, guided the Crimson Tide effortlessly compared to his struggles from earlier in the game. McCarron found junior receiver Kevin Norwood three times in a row for gains of 18, 15 and 11, respectively. LSU fans will forever bemoan defensive coordinator John Chavis' conservative defensive gameplan to allow such easy completions, especially given the way the Tigers had limited McCarron to just 93 passing yards before the final drive.

The completions to Norwood set Alabama up on the Tigers' 28-yard line, and the rest is history. LSU freshman cornerback Jalen Mills tore in from the near sideline on a 2nd-and-10 blitz. McCarron fired a short screen pass to Yeldon right in the gap created by the blitz, and after the freshman dodged a tackle by linebacker Kevin Minter, he was off to the end zone and a 21-17 Alabama lead.

It took LSU the better part of a half of football to overcome a 14-3 halftime deficit. Even worse, the Tigers had two chances to seal the deal on a crucial victory, but they were stuffed on a 4th-and-1 attempt, and Drew Alleman's 45-yard field goal attempt missed just before McCarron took the field.

In just five plays, McCarron and the Tide erased all of that progress. LSU's last-minute drive fell well short, and Alabama earned the win. Had LSU held on, it would have grabbed a second consecutive SEC West championship and been alive in the national title discussion.

Which is why all conversations about LSU's missed opportunities in 2012 will begin and end with "The Drive."

3 up, 3 down: LSU 20, Arkansas 13 

November, 25, 2012
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Three things we liked, and didn't like, from LSU's 20-13 win over Arkansas Friday:

Three up

1. Jarvis Landry: If you haven't seen Landry's spectacular 22-yard touchdown catch from Zach Mettenberger in the second quarter, you should take a look. The twisting, one-handed grab while staying inbounds in the back of the end zone was not only the catch of the weekend, it was possibly the catch of the year in college football.

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Instant analysis: LSU 20, Arkansas 13

November, 23, 2012
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Jarvis Landry's highlight-reel, one-handed 22-yard touchdown catch from Zach Mettenberger looked like a big play in what was going to lead to a blowout.

Not so much.

No. 7 LSU ended up fighting for its BCS-bowl life in what was likely John L. Smith's final game at Arkansas, holding on for a 20-13 win at Razorback Stadium.

It will be argued that Smith was too conservative in this one. Down 17-10 and facing fourth-and-goal inside the 1-yard line, Smith opted to kick an 18-yard field goal rather than go for it.

But the Razorbacks still had a chance later on. The last play was a throw from Tyler Wilson to Mekale McKay into the end zone, but the throw was high and into tight coverage. It fell incomplete after Arkansas (4-8) had driven to the LSU 18.

It was over when: It looked over when Odell Beckham caught a 47-yard pass from Mettenberger with less than two minutes remaining, which converted a third-and-11 at the LSU 36.

Beckham, who had 112 receiving yards on four receptions, broke a tackle and streaked down the right sideline for the biggest gain of the day for the Tigers.

That led to a field goal by Drew Alleman with 1:24 left, but Arkansas had one more drive from Wilson, who finished 31-for-52 for 359 yards, the most thrown against LSU this year.

Game ball goes to: Landry, whose twisting catch in the back of the end zone was likely the play of the year for LSU.

He caught eight passes for 75 yards. Mettenberger completed 16 of 29 pass attempts for 217 yards.

Key play: The key decision. Arkansas (4-8), playing with nothing to lose, stayed conservative on the John Henson 18-yard field goal.

It seemed everybody in the stadium was begging for the Razorbacks to try for the tying touchdown. Smith played it conservative, and lost.

Key stat: 462-306, Arkansas' edge on total offense. Yet, the Tigers found a way to win, much like it did in last week's 41-35 win over Ole Miss.

What it means for LSU: The Tigers finish 10-2 and await Saturday's Iron Bowl result to see if they get a chance to play for the SEC championship. That's unlikely, considering it would require an Auburn upset of Alabama.

Short of that, LSU must hope for a BCS bowl berth, probably to the Sugar Bowl.

What it means for Arkansas: It's time to move to the next chapter. Arkansas went 4-8 just months after they opened the season a Top-10 team.

3 Up, 3 Down: LSU 37, Miss. State 17 

November, 11, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- What we liked, and didn't like, in LSU's 37-17 win against Mississippi State Saturday.

Three Up

1. Landry, the pass catcher: LSU has had a balanced receiving corps this season, but lately, Jarvis Landry is emerging as a go-to guy. He had his best game as a Tiger, catching nine passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.

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3 Up, 3 Down: Alabama 21, LSU 17 

November, 4, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- What we liked, and didn't like, in LSU's 21-17 loss to Alabama Saturday.

THREE UP

1. The passing game: Not just quarterback Zach Mettenberger, but also his receivers. The Tigers quarterback completed 24 of 35 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown. After a shaky start, the junior played his best game, by far, and the receivers made tough catches. Jarvis Landry (8 receptions, 76 yards, one touchdown) was outstanding.

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Instant analysis: Alabama 21, LSU 17

November, 4, 2012
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Top-ranked Alabama (9-0, 6-0) and No. 5 LSU (7-2, 3-2) saved the best for Game 3. It came right down to the final drive, as Alabama squeaked out its 21-17 win with a 28-yard screen play from quarterback AJ McCarron to running back T.J. Yeldon with 51 seconds remaining.

After struggling mightily for most of the second half, McCarron connected on four of his final five passes for 72 yards and that touchdown.

While McCarron played his best at the end, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger played the best game of his career, completing 24 of 35 passes for a career-high 298 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.

LSU actually outgained Alabama 435 yards to 331.

Alabama is clearly in the driver's seat for a trip to Atlanta for the SEC title game, but it also controls its destiny for the Discover BCS National Championship in Miami.

It was over when: McCarron and Yeldon orchestrated a beautiful screen call that went 28 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-17 with 51 seconds left. LSU got the ball back, but Mettenberger was sacked on the third play of the drive as time ran out.

Game ball goes to: Outside of that costly fumble that led to LSU's final scoring drive, Yeldon was a beast for the Tide. He scored the game-winning touchdown and finished with 76 yards on 11 carries. He averaged 6.9 yards per carry and had a long of 23 yards.

Stat of the game: LSU did a very good job of extending drives against Alabama's vaunted defense, converting 10 of 20 third downs, while Alabama converted just 1 of 9 third downs.

Stat of the game II: McCarron completed 4 of 5 pass attempts on Alabama's final drive for 72 yards and a touchdown. Before that, he completed 1 of 7 second-half passes.

Second-guessing: LSU fullback J.C. Copeland's penalty took away all the momentum the Tigers gained from Jeremy Hill's 19-yard run to Alabama's 13-yard line. He foolishly knocked an Alabama player to the ground after the play was over and well away from where the play ended. It pushed the Tigers back, and they eventually failed to execute a fake field goal that took crucial points off the board.

Second-guessing II: Les Miles' decision to go for a fake field goal on a 47-yard attempt and then actually go for a 54-yarder in the second quarter will haunt him. Both decisions didn't work out, and that left the Tigers without a crucial second score before halftime. Alabama drove down the field 63 yards and scored a touchdown to make it 14-3 after Drew Alleman's 54-yard miss. Miles also decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 at Alabama's 24 with just under 9 minutes left and LSU leading 17-14.

What it means for Alabama: The SEC title is still in sight and so is the national championship. A win over Texas A&M next week and Alabama is guaranteed a trip to Atlanta for the first time since 2009. If Alabama wins out, it will play for its second national title in as many years.

What it means for LSU: The Tigers' BCS national title hopes are all but gone, but there's still some hope in Baton Rouge that LSU can still sneak into the Sugar Bowl. If the Tigers win out, they could still be in position to play in New Orleans in January. This was also a big step for Mettenberger, who came into the game as one of the SEC's most scrutinized quarterbacks but grew tremendously against the nation's No. 1 defense.

Five storylines: Alabama at LSU 

November, 1, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU has the longest home winning streak in college football. Nobody competes with Nick Saban better than Les Miles. And it's a night game at Tiger Stadium.

Yet, there is an air of pessimism that sort of envelops the excitement around LSU with No. 1 Alabama coming to town.

The Crimson Tide are favored by 9-1/2 points over the Tigers and few are expecting an LSU team that is young to be able to compete. Here are five storylines to watch:

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LSU 10: Big performances needed 

October, 29, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- With LSU going through its bye week, updating the LSU 10 isn't necessary. So we altered it, looking at 10 players who need to have big games for LSU to beat Alabama.

1. QB Zach Mettenberger: LSU's deep stable of running backs gives LSU an offensive threat, but for the Tigers to have any chance at putting up points against the nation's best defense, Mettenberger, 12th in the SEC in pass efficiency, is going to have to be better than he's been this season.

2. DT: Bennie Logan: There will be a lot of discussion of quarterbacks and skill players, but any LSU-Alabama game will be won in the trenches. Logan and the LSU defensive line will have their toughest test of the season and need to step up.

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LSU Awards Tracker, Week 8

October, 23, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Here's how LSU's awards candidates are doing:

DE Sam Montgomery (Bednarik, Nagurski, Rotary Lombardi): The best defensive lineman on perhaps the nation's best defensive line, Montgomery is LSU's leader in sacks (4) and is second in tackles for loss (9).

DE Barkevious Mingo (Bednarik, Nagurski, Rotary Lombardi): He has three sacks, four tackles for loss and nine quarterback hurries. He's been effective, but probably needs numbers to stay in the race.

FS Eric Reid (Bednarik, Nagurski): He's had 50 tackles, two interceptions and four passes broken up and has led a young secondary that has leaned on his experience.

C P.J. Lonergan (Rimington): With LSU's offensive line enjoying a resurgence, it could benefit his candidacy.

K Drew Alleman (Lou Groza): At 12-for-17, Alleman already has more misses than a season ago, when a 16-for-18 season got him on this season's watch list.

P Brad Wing (Ray Guy): He's averaging 44.1 yards per punt, a good average, but LSU has not had the dominant season in punt coverage it had last season. He's had seven touchbacks and 13 punts inside the 20. Last year, it was five touchbacks and 27 punts inside the 20.

DT Bennie Logan (Outland): With two sacks, five tackles for loss and 21 total tackles, Logan has been his usual solid self, with more production this season.

LB Kevin Minter (Butkus): The team's leader in tackles (75) has a team-high 9.5 tackles for loss to go with 3.5 sacks, an interception, four passes broken up and three quarterback hurries. He was named a semifinalist earlier this week.

LSU Awards Tracker: Week 7

October, 16, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- How LSU players on awards watch lists have fared through seven games:

DE Sam Montgomery (Bednarik, Nagurski, Rotary Lombardi): Leads one of the nation's best defenses in both sacks (4) and tackles for loss (8.5), making him a viable candidate with big games coming up where he can make a national splash.

DE Barkevious Mingo (Bednarik, Nagurski, Rotary Lombardi): Has just two sacks, but is always applying pressure with eight quarterback hurries. With a couple of big performances in upcoming big games, he could get back into the picture.

FS Eric Reid (Bednarik, Nagurski): A crucial interception against South Carolina adds to his big-play resume. Has two interceptions and is third on the team with 39 tackles.

C P.J. Lonergan (Rimington): LSU rushed for 258 yards against South Carolina, a departure from recent O-line troubles. If the line continues to excel in the second half, Lonergan could climb into the picture.

TE Chase Clement (Mackey): A great blocker, his lack of production in the passing game (four receptions) will likely keep him on the outside looking in.

K Drew Alleman (Lou Groza): He's 11-for-15 on field goal but has four misses from less than 40 yards, too many for a national award.

P Brad Wing (Ray Guy): His 43.8-yard average is good, but he's coming off the worst game of his career and is looking like more of a longshot.

T Alex Hurst (Outland, Rotary Lombardi): Missed the South Carolina game for personal reasons and his status going forward is unclear.

DT Bennie Logan (Outland): Continues to be good without racking up statistics. He has one sack and 3.5 tackles for loss and is more of a candidate to be drafted high than to get national awards.

LB Kevin Minter (Butkus): LSU's leader in tackles (63) and tackles for loss (8.5) has become a dark-horse candidate for awards.

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