LSU Tigers: LSU

Instant analysis: LSU 41, Ole Miss 35

November, 17, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Regardless of their records, it's never a dull affair when LSU and Ole Miss get together in Tiger Stadium. LSU overcame a seven-point fourth quarter deficit to survive an Ole Miss upset bid and down the Rebels, 41-35. The Tigers' last five home wins against Ole Miss have come by margins of one, three, three, seven and six.

Here's how it happened in Death Valley:

It was over when: LSU running back Jeremy Hill dove over the goal line with 15 seconds remaining to put LSU on top for good. The Tigers bungled the ensuing extra point, which made the dying seconds slightly more tense for the home crowd, but the Rebels' desperation touchdown drive ended in a frantic hook and lateral attempt, which was ultimately stopped on their own 35-yard line.

Game ball goes to: Even in a losing effort it's got to be Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief, who had a career outing in the Rebels' most high-profile game of the season. Moncrief picked on anyone and everyone in the LSU secondary, be it cornerbacks Tharold Simon and Jalen Collins or safety Eric Reid. He hauled in six receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns -- the second of which gave Ole Miss a 35-28 fourth quarter lead.

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DT Rod Crayton narrows list to four 

November, 4, 2012
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Defensive tackle Rod Crayton (Dadeville, Ala./Dadeville) said he's trimmed his list to four schools and hopes to make a decision sometime after taking all of his official visits.

The three-star prospect said his top schools currently include Arkansas, LSU, Penn State and Tennessee.

No. 14 recruit Martin set to announce 

October, 31, 2012
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We didn’t see this one coming. ESPN 100 power forward Jarrell Martin (Baton Rouge, La./Madison Prep), thought to be a spring signee, is set to make his college decision.

According to Jeff Jones, the head coach at Madison Prep, Martin will announce Thursday at 1:30 p.m. CT at the school.

“He’s tired (of recruiting) and he’s ready to decide,” Jones said.

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David Dawson mulls options after UF visit 

October, 24, 2012
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Offensive lineman David Dawson (Detroit/Cass Tech) had been committed to Michigan since February, but recently parted ways with the Wolverines. Dawson promptly set up a visit to Florida for the South Carolina game, since the Gators and Dawson had been in communication for quite some time.

The visit went well for Dawson as he got to take in the game atmosphere, check out Florida's communication department and the athletic facilities. The visit didn't yield the results Florida fans were hoping for, though, as there were rumors Dawson would be committing on the visit.

"I rushed myself into a bad situation at Michigan earlier this year by not weighing my options, so I didn't want to make the same mistake," he said. "I want to look at a few other schools close to home, and that might play a factor in the long run. That's mainly because of all the things my family has been through in the last year, so I feel that maybe I should try to stay close to my support system."

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LSU lands top 100 PG Quarterman 

September, 30, 2012
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Last week ESPN 100 point guard Tim Quarterman (Savannah, Ga./Johnson) expressed his intentions to commit in time for the early signing period. It didn’t take long for that thought to come to fruition. Quarterman committed to LSU today over offers from Alabama and South Carolina, giving LSU coach Johnny Jones his second top 100 commit in the last five days.

"LSU was the best fit and coach Jones has a plan for me. I was very comfortable there," says Quarterman, who will join fellow ESPN 100 standout Jordan Mickey in Baton Rouge.

Quarterman, who is the No. 65 player in the ESPN 100, had a terrific spring and a better summer and should pay immediate dividends for LSU both on and off the floor. Quarterman ran with the nationally renowned Atlanta Celtics AAU squad over the summer and his pledge could open the door for more recruits out of talent rich Georgia to land with a reloaded LSU squad.

Quarterman is a major sleeper among the guards in our ESPN 100, but he is one of the most versatile perimeter players in the class. He's also valuable on defense as he can defend all three perimeter positions.

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Mickey a nightmare for SEC defenders 

September, 28, 2012
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Combo forward Jordan Mickey is a true matchup problem for defenders, and LSU coach Johhny Jones will have the luxury of utilizing his new big in multiple positions on the offensive end of the floor.

In transition Mickey runs the outside lane with long strides, making himself available for easy baskets that include an array of highlight worthy finishes. With his commitment, the LSU break has instantly improved.

In the half court set, Mickey can post and elevate over smaller defenders or drive past less-mobile defenders from the perimeter. He can finish at the rim or pull up for a midrange jumper that is smooth and effortless. In special situations, Jones can involve Mickey in end-of-the-clock situations, where he can be a long and athletic receiver and finish drop off passes at a high percentage.

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LSU lands Texas big Mickey 

September, 27, 2012
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LSU head coach Johnny Jones has his first big-time commitment after power forward Jordan Mickey (Dallas, Texas/Prime Prep) committed to the Tigers over offers from SMU, Oklahoma State and Ohio State.

Mickey, the No. 45 player in the ESPN 100, learned about Jones during the coach’s time at North Texas.

[+] EnlargeJordan Mickey
Courtey of Reggie RankinESPN 100 PF Jordan Mickey committed to LSU.
"The fact that he brought a down in the dumps UNT program to a winning [team] in the last five years, that says a lot about him," Mickey said.

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Beckwith dominates in 2012 debut 

September, 8, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Kendell Beckwith spent his summer getting timed, observed and wooed at various college camps, including LSU's.

It was all as a linebacker/defensive end hybrid, his future positions when he gets to college as arguably Louisiana's top-rated 2013 prep recruit and the No. 15 player nationally in the ESPN150.

On Friday night, however, he was back at the position where, locally, he's best known. At quarterback, he passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more to lead Clinton, La./East Feliciana to a 37-8 win over Baton Rouge, La./Capitol at Memorial Stadium.

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UNT means bad weather in Baton Rouge

August, 29, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Maybe the lesson learned this week for LSU is this: Don't schedule North Texas.

[+] EnlargeKatrina Aftermath
AP Photo/Lynne SladkyHurricane Katrina forced LSU's season opener against North Texas to be postponed in 2005.
LSU will play the Eagles for the fifth time in school history Saturday if Baton Rouge emerges OK from the effects of Hurricane Isaac, which is blowing through Baton Rouge with prolonged tropical storm force Wednesday.

This is all too familiar for LSU and North Texas.

In 2005, LSU's season opener against North Texas was postponed because of Hurricane Katrina and was instead played Oct. 29 (LSU won, 56-3). In 2008, Hurricane Gustav forced LSU to push up the start of its season opener against Appalachian State to a morning start, then postpone its second game against Troy. LSU's first game to go on as originally scheduled was against North Texas in the season's third week (LSU won, 41-3).

"I don't think North Texas has anything to do with it," said LSU coach Les Miles, who was the Tigers' coach in the previous two North Texas games. "But it is an unusual coincidence."

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LSU hopes Mettenberger passes test

August, 24, 2012
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AP Photo/Gerald HerbertLSU QB Zach Mettenberger will look to turn around a passing attack that struggled last season.
With six starters returning on offense and five on defense from a team that reached the BCS National Championship Game, it’s no surprise the LSU Tigers are No. 3 in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25. That’s even with the loss of cornerback Morris Claiborne and defensive tackle Michael Brockers – both NFL first-round picks – and the dismissal of All-America cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who won the 2011 Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player and finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

A major reason for the high expectations is at quarterback, where LSU fans believe it’s a matter of addition by subtraction. Redshirt junior Zach Mettenberger replaces Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee, who shared the starting job last season. Who would’ve guessed that would be the case for a school replacing two players with a combined 50 career starts (32 for Jefferson, 18 for Lee) since 2008 with one who has never started an NCAA game?

With Jefferson and Lee as the primary starters over the last four seasons, the Tigers’ passing attack has struggled mightily. They finished in the bottom half of the SEC in four key passing statistical categories during that span.

In 2011, LSU nearly became the second team to beat four AP top-3 opponents in one season (Notre Dame did it in 1943) since the poll came into existence in 1936. The Tigers beat No. 3 Oregon, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Arkansas before losing to the second-ranked Crimson Tide in their rematch in the BCS National Championship Game. In four of its key games – the season opener against the Ducks, both Alabama matchups and the SEC Championship Game against Georgia – LSU got almost nothing from its passing attack yet managed to win three of those contests.

Enter Mettenberger, a strong-armed, pure pocket passer and the most highly touted quarterback to arrive on the LSU campus since JaMarcus Russell (ranked sixth), the first pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, signed in 2003. Mettenberger, the ninth-ranked quarterback in the 2009 signing class, first signed with Georgia but was dismissed from the team in 2010 before ever playing a down for the Bulldogs after getting into legal trouble.

Mettenberger then transferred to Butler (Kan.) Community College, where he led his team to the national title game in his lone season there and was the top-ranked quarterback in the junior college ranks before signing with LSU in 2011. Last season, Mettenberger completed 8-of-11 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown in five games.

LSU already possesses arguably the best set of running backs in the country and one of the nation’s most ferocious defenses. If Mettenberger can improve LSU’s oft-anemic passing attack, it’s easy to envision the Tigers in South Florida playing for the national championship for the second straight season.

After Mathieu, LSU slips to No. 3

August, 18, 2012
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The Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll came out 16 days after the USA Today coaches' poll.

That means the media members who voted for the poll that came out Saturday morning had one piece of information the USA Today voters did not: Tyrann Mathieu, Heisman Trophy finalist and Bednarik Award winner, is off LSU's team.

With that fact in mind, AP voters voted LSU No. 3 in their preseason poll. The coaches voted the Tigers No. 1 on Aug. 2, before Mathieu was dismissed from the team Aug. 10.

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Countdown to kickoff: Hello, Texas A&M 

August, 15, 2012
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GeauxTigerNation writers Gary Laney and David Helman get you ready for the season with a daily breakdown throughout August of what LSU is facing in the fall, from its opponents, to its road trips to who it's recruiting. Today, Gary Laney asked the questions in a Q&A with Sam Khan of ESPN.com's GigEmNation, which covers all things Texas A&M:

Q: Among Aggies fans, what's there more anticipation for, jumping to the SEC or starting the Kevin Sumlin era?

The sense that I get is that the most excitement surrounds the transition to the SEC. There are billboards welcoming visitors that travel up Highway 6 to College Station and any time there has been an event involving Aggies fans, you see the "This is SEC Country" signs out. That's not to say that there isn't excitement about the beginning of the Kevin Sumlin era, because there is. The job that he and his staff have done on the recruiting trail (the Aggies have 27 commitments already for 2013) really has the fan base fired up.

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Countdown to kickoff: Hello, Florida 

August, 13, 2012
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GeauxTigerNation writers Gary Laney and David Helman get you ready for the season with a daily breakdown throughout August of what LSU is facing in the fall, from its opponents, to its road trips to who it's recruiting. Today, Gary Laney asked the questions in a Q&A with Mike Dirocco of ESPN.com's GatorNation, which covers all things Florida:

[+] EnlargeWill Muschamp
Kim Klement/US PresswireWill Muschamp and Florida will host the LSU Tigers on Oct. 6 in Gainesville.
Q: How much patience do Florida fans have for Will Muschamp? Is the early recruiting success buying him some mulligans for the on-the-field results?

He certainly is cleaning up in recruiting (19 of the 21 commits for 2013 are four-star players and 11 are ranked in the ESPN 300) and the fans are excited about that, but it’s also a double-edged sword. When you bring in that much talent, you have to produce on the field. I think the fans are smart enough to know Muschamp inherited a program that had discipline and entitlement issues and was bereft of offensive talent. He’ll be OK this season as long as the Gators can win eight games in the regular season. But UF better challenge for the Eastern Division title in 2013 or his fans will really start grumbling.

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Countdown to kickoff: Hello, Towson 

August, 9, 2012
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GeauxTigerNation writers Gary Laney and David Helman get you ready for the season with a daily breakdown throught August of what LSU is facing in the fall, from its opponents, to its road trips to who it's recruiting. Today, Gary Laney has a Q&A with Everett Cook of the Baltimore Sun, who covers LSU's Sept. 29 opponent, Towson:

Q: Towson was the most improved team in Division I last season, going 9-3, winning the Colonial Athletic Association for the first time in school history and making the FCS playoffs. Have the Tigers scraped out a niche in the Baltimore sports market? If not, can they?

Yes. Head coach Rob Ambrose arrived as head coach of his alma mater in 2009, and Towson has increased its attendance every year since then — even when the Tigers won three combined games in 2009 and 2010. Their first-ever sellout came during the FCS playoffs last year, and 11 out of the 20 biggest crowds in Towson football history have come in Ambrose’s three years as head coach. Ambrose made it a priority to not just rebuild the team, but to also rebuild the atmosphere around the program when he became head coach — which included getting alumni and current students out to the games. Towson’s market will only continue to grow.

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HOOVER, Ala. -- After LSU thoroughly dominated college football's secondary positions last year (How many schools can you name can equal LSU's feat of having one cornerback finish as a Heisman Trophy finalist and another finish as the Thorpe Award winner in the same season?), the NFL did a thorough job of raiding the Tigers' DB cupboard.

The Tigers lost three defensive backs to the NFL draft's first four rounds, including Thorpe Award winner Morris Claiborne in the first round to the Dallas Cowboys. To make it complete, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired away position coach Ron Cooper to coach the same position.

So where does this leave the Tigers' secondary? Depleted? Rebuilding? On life support?

None of the above, it would seem.

"It's 'DBU,' " free safety Eric Reid said Wednesday at SEC media days. "That's what we break (DB position huddles) with."

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