LSU Tigers: Bear Bryant

LSU’s Tiger Stadium has never been much fun for opposing teams to visit.

Alabama coach Bear Bryant famously once said that it “happens to be the worst place in the world for a visiting team” and that when the home crowd was at its loudest, standing on the field with the sound waves beating down was “like being inside a drum.”

If it’s possible, Tiger Stadium might get even louder this fall, once a nearly completed construction project at the south end zone encloses that end of the stadium.

“I suspect the noise will be a good, quality 10 decibels higher,” cracked Les Miles, who is 57-7 at home since taking over as the Tigers’ coach in 2005.

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AP Photo/Gerald HerbertHow loud will things get at LSU?
That kind of decibel increase is unlikely, but it makes sense that with roughly 100,000 people now able to occupy the stadium and with a completely enclosed south end, it will be more difficult for sound to escape. And that means the nation’s most hostile environment might become just a bit more difficult to endure than it was before.

LSU fans at the April 5 spring game were able to see the project in its finishing stages. What was once an open-ended south end will feature about 60 suites and 3,000 club seats by the time the 2014 season begins, plus 1,500 general public seats and a pair of video boards at the corner of either end zone.

Athletic director Joe Alleva recently wrote in a letter to fans that the expansion will push the stadium’s capacity from 92,542 to beyond 100,000 -- making it one of just seven across the country to surpass the century mark.

“It’s beautiful. It’s just rising up,” Miles said. “You can really see where the [video boards are] going to be. It’s always been magnificent, it’s just going to have more.”

The stadium’s reputation has expanded along with its seating capacity since it opened as 12,000-seat facility in 1924. It was at 78,000 by the time LSU completed its original upper-deck expansion in 1978. It reached its current capacity with the 2006 completion of a $60 million renovation of the west upper deck. Before the south end zone construction project -- which the Tiger Athletic Foundation said would be privately funded -- the most recent major renovation came in 2009, when LSU added a 27-by-80 high-definition scoreboard at the north end zone.

Such renovation projects sometimes have a way of altering the playing conditions within a stadium, particularly when it comes to the wind that affects kicks and punts. A reporter’s question on that subject actually provided Miles with an opportunity to deliver one of his trademark wacky responses after the Tigers’ spring game.

“We’re going to do a dynamic wind-change study. It’s going to have to do with confetti and confetti droppings,” Miles said with a grin. “For instance, you section it off -- and I just want you to know we learned this by how they’re searching for that plane [Malaysia Airlines Flight 370] -- basically you’re going to drop confetti in one area, the pieces are uniformly cut and then you watch where it goes and you film that. And one section over, you drop it. And one section over, you drop it. And you bring it out to the 50 and you map it all the way back.

“Certainly we’ll keep that to ourselves after we find that out. But I’m not certain we’ll do that, either.”

That was Miles’ unique way of saying that he doesn’t think the new addition will have much of an impact on field-goal tries, meaning that stadium aesthetics and game-day decibel level will be the most noticeable changes once the project is complete.

“For us, the 50-yard line has a pretty breezy feel. And then back in to both sides, [the wind] really quiets pretty comfortably, and I think that’s going to be consistent,” Miles said. “It just appears that way.”

SEC lunchtime links

April, 10, 2014
Plenty going on as spring practices continue in the SEC. We have pro days, coaching talk, players adapting to new positions and even reality TV news in today's lunch links:

SEC lunchtime liinks

September, 11, 2013
Today marks legendary coach Bear Bryant's 100th birthday. Considering his ties to Alabama's and Texas A&M programs -- I don't know if you've heard, but they're playing each other this weekend -- it seems fitting that we include one story about Bryant in today's links.

Here's that story and more from around the league as we move toward the third Saturday of the season:

On Bear Bryant's 100th birthday, here are 100 Bryant facts you might not know.

Those at Texas A&M expect a silent Johnny Manziel to shine in Saturday's rematch with Alabama.

With several players returning from suspension, Texas A&M's defense has Alabama coach Nick Saban's attention.

Buy or sell: Is LSU an SEC title contender this season?

To stop Ole Miss' read option, players can't take time to think.

Oregon's up-tempo offense will test Tennessee's defensive rotation on Saturday.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier accepts the blame for loss to Georgia.

Auburn's play cards have a purpose behind their amusing pop-culture references.

Georgia's Todd Gurley II is making a name for his family.

Kentucky decides two quarterbacks are better than one.

Facing an open date this Saturday, Florida must wait an extra week for redemption after a loss to Miami.

Arkansas running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams have been razor sharp so far.

Swagger returns to the Mississippi State defense.

Memorable SEC upsets

March, 29, 2013
In honor of Florida Gulf Coast's stunning run in the NCAA basketball tournament, I started thinking back to some of the biggest SEC football upsets of my lifetime.

The mid- to late-1970s is about as far back as I go, but I’ve gone back and picked out some of the more memorable ones over the past 30 or 35 years.

These are all SEC vs. SEC matchups, and I’ll rank the top 5 as well as five more that just missed the cut. I’ll come back later Thursday with a few more, including some upsets in non-conference and bowl games.

Here goes:

1. Mississippi State 6, Alabama 3 (1980): The No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide had won 28 straight (and an SEC-record 27 straight conference games) and were heavily favored against the unranked Bulldogs. But Mississippi State played suffocating defense that day in Jackson, Miss., and snuffed out a late Alabama drive. The Crimson Tide had moved to the Bulldogs’ 4, but were out of timeouts. Alabama quarterback Don Jacobs took the snap and started down the line of scrimmage to the right side. Mississippi State’s Tyrone Keys shot through and tackled Jacobs, forcing a fumble that Billy Jackson recovered to seal one of the greatest wins in Mississippi State history. Alabama’s wishbone attack, which had been averaging more than 300 yards per game, mustered just 116 rushing yards against the Mississippi State defense. The Crimson Tide lost four fumbles in the game. And in a classy gesture afterward, Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant visited the Mississippi State locker room to congratulate the Bulldogs on the win.

(Read full post)


Marcus Spears reviews LSU Pro Day
Paul Finebaum and ESPN's Marcus Spears discuss LSU Pro Day and players that stood out.