LSU Tigers: SEC football

CB Watkins discusses newest SEC offer 

March, 26, 2013
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ESPN Watch List defensive back Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne) understands that the SEC has some of the most talented defensive backs in the country. Of his 23 offers, eight come from the conference that has won every BCS national championship game since 2007.

LSU highest-ranked 1-loss team in BCS

October, 14, 2012
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Powered by its best win of the season over South Carolina, LSU checked in at No. 6 in the first BCS rankings released Sunday night -- making it the highest-ranked of the nation's one-loss teams.

The Tigers (6-1), also ranked sixth in both polls released Sunday, got a bump with Saturday's 23-21 win over the Gamecocks in a game LSU statistically dominated.

Fueled by the nation's No. 2-ranked defense (219.6 yards per game), the Tigers are off to a 2-1 start in the SEC despite scoring just 41 points in the three games. But LSU's first five wins before South Carolina was against a light schedule.

LSU's first five wins came against opponents unranked by the BCS, with a combined 10-21 record. That included a lone SEC win over an Auburn team that's now 1-5.

The light schedule has changed in recent weeks. Last week, the Tigers lost to an unbeaten Florida team that's ranked No. 2 in the BCS. On Saturday, the Tigers beat a South Carolina team that checked in at No. 7 in the first BCS rankings.

The good news for the Tigers going forward is that they face a schedule heavy on highly ranked BCS opponents -- a road that is difficult but presents the LSU with a huge opportunity to climb higher in the BCS rankings. Its next three games:
  • At No. 18 Texas A&M
  • Home vs. No. 1 Alabama
  • Home vs. No. 12 Mississippi State.

Of the five teams ranked ahead of LSU, the Tigers control their destiny against two of them. The Nov. 3 game against Alabama in a rematch of last season's BCS national championship game is obviously huge. Florida cannot likely stay ahead of a one-loss LSU team in the rankings without winning the SEC East, meaning LSU could potentially get a rematch with the Gators in the SEC championship game.

That leaves three teams the Tigers are ranked behind that LSU has no control over: No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Kansas State and No. 5 Notre Dame. So long as two of those three teams lose, the Tigers' path back to the BCS title game is somewhat clear, although not easy.

3 Up, 3 Down: LSU 23, South Carolina 21 

October, 14, 2012
10/14/12
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- What we liked and didn't like from LSU in Saturday's 23-21 win over South Carolina:

Three Up

1. Offensive line: Few expected LSU's patchwork offensive line to hold up against a defense like South Carolina's. Not only did the line of (from LT-to-RT) Josh Dworazczyk, La'El Collins, P.J. Lonergan, Trai Turner and Vadal Alexander hold up, they opened holes for a running game that averaged 4.9 yards a carry (led by 124 yards for freshman Jeremy Hill) while quarterback Zach Mettenberger stayed clean, sacked just once.

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Jordan-Hare has been unkind to LSU 

September, 19, 2012
9/19/12
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Cam NewtonPaul Abell/US PresswireCam Newton is one of many Auburn players who has recently had success at LSU's expense at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Jordan-Hare Stadium at Auburn should look familiar to LSU fans.

Like many stadiums around the SEC and around the country, it's a puzzle that's added pieces over time. It began as a modest 7,500-seat venue in 1939 and has skyrocketed over time to the 87,451-seat monstrosity it is now, the result of nine expansions since the original concrete and steel was put down around the same time World War II was beginning.

It's the same story that can be told about numerous SEC venues, including LSU's own Tiger Stadium. Unlike NFL stadiums, which tend to get built from scratch after teams win staredowns with municipalities who have to build them, college stadiums tend to be like old trees -- each layer of the stadium going out (and up) tells a more recent chapter of the arena's history.

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Countdown to kickoff: Three calls 

August, 30, 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, Helman and Laney make three calls about the upcoming season:

GARY LANEY

1. Barkevious Mingo gets 12 sacks: Here's my logic:

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QBs in focus as Tigers report for camp 

August, 1, 2012
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This was supposed to be the LSU August camp where the quarterback spot was finally going to be a settled issue.

[+] EnlargeRob Bolden
Rob Christy/US PresswireFormer Penn State QB Rob Bolden was planning to transfer before scandal hit Happy Valley.
There is no more Jordan Jefferson vs. Jarrett Lee controversy. It's Zach Mettenberger's team and that was supposed to be the extent of the story.

It has not worked out that way.

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Countdown to camp: Stud-ly offense? 

July, 25, 2012
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GeauxTigerNation writers David Helman and Gary Laney break down the competitions, issues and talking points of LSU's August camp. Players report to campus Aug. 1 and we'll have a preview segment every weekday in July leading up to the day the players report:

It was just under a year ago, just at the start of August camp, that the bombshell dropped.

Steve Kragthorpe, LSU's new offensive coordinator, had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, forcing him to relinquish his coordinator duties (while staying quarterbacks coach) to offensive line coach Greg Studrawa. It was part of a tumultuous August for the Tigers, who later lost quarterback Jordan Jefferson to a suspension after he was arrested following a bar fight.

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Mettenberger cool under pressure 

July, 24, 2012
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Last Wednesday, Zach Mettenberger was one cool, confident quarterback facing the pressure.

[+] EnlargeZach Mettenberger
AP Photo/Butch DillZach Mettenberger should provide a huge boost to the LSU passing game this season.
With a blitz of reporters -- a "microphone graveyard," he called it -- in his face as one of the headline players at SEC media days, he fired well-thought out, calm answers like a quarterback delivering strikes against a constant pass-rush.

Asked about the pressure put on him this season to perform as LSU's new starting quarterback, Mettenberger calmly shrugged, "I just have to take care of my one-eleventh of the offense. I have to minimize turnovers and get the ball to the playmakers on our team."

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Countdown to camp: kicking it around 

July, 23, 2012
7/23/12
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GeauxTigerNation writers David Helman and Gary Laney break down the competitions, issues and talking points of LSU's August camp. Players report to campus Aug. 1 and we'll have a preview segment every weekday in July leading up to the day the players report:

Of all the battles LSU dominated en route to one of the remarkable regular seasons in college football history, there was one that stood out against the rest.

On November 5, 2011 kicker Drew Alleman was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals, including a game-winning, 25-yarder in overtime that gave the Tigers a 9-6 win over Alabama in what was LSU's only down-to-the wire regular season game and a game, at the time, that appeared to give the Tigers the inside track to the national championship.

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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."

(Read full post)

SEC media days: Talking LSU

July, 18, 2012
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[+] EnlargeWill Muschamp
Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesGators coach Will Muschamp believes the LSU-UF game is good for the SEC.
Here are some quotes by SEC coaches and players about LSU at SEC Media Days this morning.

Florida coach Will Muschamp on LSU as a permanent cross-division opponent: "I think that Florida-LSU is good for our game. Les has done a tremendoux job at LSU. Urban did a great job at Florida. You really look at from '03 to know, your'e looking at teams that have won three national championships and LSU played for another one last year. Both programs are operating at a high level."

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen on last year's LSU game: "I look back, last year, LSU, NMo. 1 team in the country, wins the SEC championship, it was 14-9 in the fourth quarter. We took some shots down the field, 0-for-3 for those shots. We catch one of those, make a touchdown, that becomes 16-14 at home. On a Thursday night with our defense going out on the field that have played pretty well, you're in the opportunity now to win that game. It's those one big plays that can make difference in the games."

Mullen on Tyrann Mathieu: "I think Mathieu at LSU is one heck of a football player. He makes plays, does an amazing job in utilizing his ability. He's always around the ball making big plays."

(Read full post)

Present, future LSU QBs hit spotlight 

July, 18, 2012
7/18/12
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For a day, at least, the present and the future of the LSU quarterback position will be on disply.

Anthony Jennings
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSMarietta (Ga.) junior Anthony Jennings was named MVP of the Atlanta Elite 11 regional.
Current Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger will have his day in front of the cameras and hundreds of reporters at LSU's day at SEC media days at the Winfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala. in the afternoon. Later in the evening, Class of 2013 LSU commit Anthony Jennings of Marietta Ga./Marietta begins competition in the Elite 11 Finals in Redondo Beach, Calif.

Mettenberger, who will join head coach Les Miles and Tigers teammates Eric Reid and Odell Beckham, Jr., in Hoover, will likely be the most anticipated player at SEC Media Days who has yet to start a game. Mettenberger, who, like Jennings, is a Georgia native, started his career at Georgia, was kicked of the team, then landed at LSU last year after a year at Blinn Junior College in Texas.

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Five things to know: Special teams 

July, 3, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. – If you're looking for reasons why LSU could be so dominant last season despite being occasionally anemic on offense, chew on these numbers:

[+] EnlargeRonald Powell
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireLSU's Alfred Blue is looking to make a big impact on special teams in 2012.
LSU was plus-7 yards in net punting (41-34), plus-2 in net kickoffs, kicked 11 more touchbacks than its opponents, had three kick returns for touchdowns to none for its opponents and made 89 percent of its field goals compared to 68 percent by its opponents.

It short, the Tigers absolutely dominated on special teams. If you are around the program, that is no shock, given the emphasis placed on it by Les Miles and his staff. Here are five things to know:

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Countdown to camp: Rush to the draft 

July, 3, 2012
7/03/12
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GeauxTigerNation writers David Helman and Gary Laney break down the competitions, issues and talking points of LSU's August camp. Players report to campus Aug. 1 and we'll have a preview segment every weekday in July leading up to the day the players report:

When defensive tackle Michael Brockers went No. 14 overall in the NFL draft to the St. Louis Rams, the natural question for LSU fans became, "Can our defensive line be as good without him?"

ESPN's Mel Kiper put some of those fears to rest within a day when he came out with his first Big Board for the 2013 draft and LSU defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo were two of his top five picks

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Countdown to camp: Shepard's chance 

July, 2, 2012
7/02/12
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GeauxTigerNation writers David Helman and Gary Laney break down the competitions, issues and talking points of LSU's August camp. Players report to campus Aug. 1 and we'll have a preview segment every weekday in July leading up to the day the players report:

[+] EnlargeRussell Shepard
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireRussell Shepard is looking to be a go-to threat in 2012.
Remember Russell Shepard?

He came to LSU in 2009 as one of the nation's most coveted dual-threat quarterbacks, an athlete so dynamic that if the position of quarterback ultimately did not prove to be his calling, he'd move somewhere -- wide receiver maybe, running back perhaps-- and become one of the multi-talented stars of college football.

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