Author Archives: busada

LSU In The NFL

By Jessica Busada

(Photo from Saturday Down South)Former Tigers Tyrann Mathieu, Odell Beckham Jr., Patrick Peterson, Jeremy Hill and Jarvis Landry

(Photo from Saturday Down South)
Former Tigers Tyrann Mathieu, Odell Beckham Jr., Patrick Peterson, Jeremy Hill and Jarvis Landry

At the beginning of this season LSU had 43 former players on NFL rosters. Many of them are making a name for themselves in their rookie season.

Around the NFL tweeted, “Dolphins drafted a keeper in Jarvis Landry. Has been a big difference maker for his offense.”

According to NFL.com, Jarvis Landry currently has 63 receptions, 573 yards and five touchdowns. He is 23rd in the NFL for total receptions.

Odell Beckham Jr. made an amazing catch that caught the attention of all sports fans and is currently the “Best of the Best” on “SportsCenter.” The internet went crazy immediately following the catch.

“That has to be the greatest catch I have ever seen,” NBC’s Chris Collinsworth tweeted.

“There is your play of the year, maybe of the decade, whatever. That is just impossible,” NBC’s Al Michaels said.

“It is spectacular, and it’s truly Odell Beckham. I saw him and Jarvis make catches like that in practice all the time,” LSU coach Les Miles said in response to Beckham’s catch.

On Dec. 7, Beckham had his sixth straight game with at least 90 receiving yards. No other player had an active streak of more than two games entering that Sunday.

Two former LSU players set a NFL record on Nov. 17. Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue became the first rookies from the same college to rush for 150-plus yards on the same day in NFL history.

Former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger set records in his rookie NFL season. With 345 passing yards he became the fifth former LSU football player to throw for 300-plus yards in a NFL game and the first since Matt Flynn in 2012.

Mettenberger became the fourth LSU quarterback to start on Monday Night Football in his game against the Steelers on Nov. 17, according to LSU’s football twitter page.

The rookies are not the only former Tigers catching the attention of fans with their success.

Former Tiger Brandon LaFell is in his fifth season of professional football. He is ranked 34th in the NFL for total receptions with 57. LaFell has 753 yards and seven touchdowns.

Bennie Logan is now in his second season of professional football and is ranked 18th out of all NFL defensive linemen.

It is clear that LSU produces football stars with major talent setting them up for success in the NFL.

 

 

Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette

By Jessica Busada

When news breaks involving LSU football, Michael Bonnette is the contact media outlets need. The news will not be official without the confirmation from the school’s Sports Information Director.

At times this news is negative and other times positive, but either way Bonnette is first to know what is happening.

Michael Bonnette is in his 15th year as LSU’s Sports Information Director. He is currently in his second year as Senior Associate Athletic Director.

Including his time as an Associate Sports Information Director, Bonnette is in his 21st year with the LSU athletic department.

LSUsports.net states that his 2012 LSU Football media guide was named “Best in the Nation” by CoSIDA. This is one of the several awards he has received from the organization and in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association annual writing contests.

Bonnette is also an LSU graduate in the class of 1993. He formerly served as the president of SIDs for the Southeastern Conference and is currently the vice president for SIDs for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

Outside of work, Bonnette is husband to Robin Arnaud Bonnette and father to three sons, Peyton, Grant and Max. Family is a major part of his life.

The most difficult part of his job is, “maintaining good balance between the demands of work with that of being a good parent and husband,” Bonnette explained.

“During football season, this is a seven days a week job and it’s easy to get caught up with your work life and forget about what’s going on at home.

“Being a good parent and husband is very important to me and in order to do both, you have to have a great staff, which I’m fortunate to have,” Bonnette said.

Bonnette is a Lake Charles native who was introduced to the media relations profession at a young age. The profession has found a place in several members of the Bonnette family’s lives.

Retired McNeese State Sports Information Director Louis Bonnette is Michael’s father. Louis is also a member for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame.

The field at Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles was named Louis Bonnette Field after Michael’s father.

Michael’s brother Matthew Bonnette followed their father in the position of Sports Information Director at McNeese State in 2012.

It is easy to see that working in sports media relations is a profession the entire Bonnette family has grown to love.

Michael Bonnette serves as the chief contact for LSU’s nationally ranked football team as well as overseeing all publicity activities for the 21 sports sponsored by the LSU athletic department.

Bonnette explained his position as, “I serve as the media liaison between Coach (Les) Miles, our players and the media. LSU’s image and brand is one of the biggest in college football, so everything we do has to keep that in mind.”

“We prepare the coaches and athletes on what to say and try to give them pointers on what not to say. We basically help manage image and the brand of LSU football,” he said.

The most rewarding part of his position is, “the relationships that you make with players, coaches, media and fans. It is fun when LSU wins because it makes so many people happy and it’s exciting to be part of that,” he said.

Being the LSU Sports Information Director for 15 years has given Bonnette the chance to experience some of LSU Football’s most exciting moments.

“Winning two national titles is obviously a great memory. And being able to go to the Heisman Trophy ceremony with Coach Miles and Tyrann Mathieu was a once in a lifetime memory,” Bonnette said.

“LSU football gave me the opportunity to go the White House twice, the NFL Draft six or seven times and travel the country,” he said.

“I am very fortunate to have been to some of the places that I have gone and it is all because of LSU football and the success that we’ve had here. I am very lucky.”

Bonnette has worked with multiple student workers and full time workers and they will basically all tell you how wonderful he is at his job and to have as a boss.

He has worked to take what could be an overwhelming and stressful job and turned it into an enjoyable one.

“Michael has made a strong impact on me since the day I started working in his department. I have always said he has one of the toughest jobs in the country as the media contact for LSU football and it has been incredible getting to see it first hand,” third-year student worker Brandon Berrio said.

“Going to work every day does not feel like a job because of our office dynamic. He has created a fun environment but still expects the best out of everyone in our office. That balance is something I will take away once I graduate,” Berrio said.

“Michael is the best boss I have ever had because he did not micromanage people and he cared about you as a person,” said former Associate Sports Information Director Bill Martin, now SID at Mississippi State. “Working with a program like LSU that is on the national media spotlight every day of the year is a tremendous challenge but fun at the same time.

“And he made the job fun because none of us took ourselves too seriously, especially when you are around each other more than you are around family and work seven days a week in season.

“Les Miles has spent 10 seasons at LSU and Michael has crafted a likeable image of Les where the national media gravitate to him,” Martin said.

Working with the media is extremely important and the smallest mistake can cause major problems for an entire athletic department and possibly the university as a whole. Bonnette has been very successful as the LSU Sports Information Director, and LSU athletics is lucky to have him.

Photo by Chris Parent Michael Bonnette and Les Miles with the media

Photo by Chris Parent
Michael Bonnette and Les Miles with the media

Coach Les Miles, Odell Beckham Jr and Michael Bonnette at the 2014 NFL Draft

Coach Les Miles, Odell Beckham Jr and Michael Bonnette at the 2014 NFL Draft

Tigers Headed to Nashville

By Jessica Busada

The LSU Tigers will play Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. on ESPN. This will be the first time the Tigers appear in the Music City Bowl.

The Music City Bowl was established in 1998 and this year will mark the 17th annual bowl game. Last years game resulted in a victory for Ole Miss over Georgia Tech.

Before the announcement, LSU athletic ticket manager Brian Broussard said, “We receive 8,000 tickets for the bowl games and currently have requests for 2,500-3,000 total tickets for the game.”

The Tigers and Fighting Irish will meet for the 11th time overall and the fifth time in a bowl game.  Norte Dame finished the season 7-5 and LSU finished 8-4.

The bowl game will be the 15th straight bowl game appearance for LSU.

Senior running back Terrence Magee said, “We are excited about the match up.” Overall reaction to the bowl matchup has been positive from LSU fans and players.

“The bowl took great strides this year to improve our selection process, and I think this year’s match-up proves that it was worth it,” said Toby Wilt, bowl selection committee chairman for the Music City Bowl. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said, “We’re thrilled with the opportunity to face LSU –one of the preeminent programs in all of college football.”

LSU coach Les Miles reacted to the matchup announcement saying, “We are very excited to bring our football program and the great LSU fan base to Nashville to play Notre Dame in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

“Notre Dame is a traditional football power and we are looking forward to renewing what has been a tremendous rivalry between the two programs through the years. Nashville is a great city and the opportunity to play in an NFL venue makes this a very attractive bowl destination for us.”

LSU will be the designated home team of the Music City Bowl game. LSU is 5-5 all-time against Notre Dame, including a 2-0 bowl record versus the Fighting Irish.

 

LSU vs. Notre Dame

Classless

By Jessica Busada

Tiger Stadium is known as one of the greatest stadiums to play and watch college football. The experience of a game in Tiger Stadium is one that is hard to forget.

The student section has always been one of the best in college sports but that opinion may change soon. In the Tigers final home game of the season against Alabama the student section was classless.

Close to the end of a tough game, the students began chanting “F*** You Saban” loud and clear for not only those in attendance to hear but also everyone watching on CBS. This is completely classless and embarrassing for multiple reasons.

During this vulgar chant the students failed to notice one of our own players was down on the field hurt.

When a player, especially from your team, is hurt fans should be quiet and the music should stop. Our students decided it was more important to chant about a coach that has been gone from our school for ten years.

The injured player during that time deserves an apology from the student section. The amount of disrespect shown at that moment was disturbing.

Everyone knows LSU fans do not like Saban, but it is time to get over it and move on. The chant only made us look bitter and classless.

At a point in the game where our players needed the fans more than ever this chant started and it hyped up the Alabama players not ours. We should be cheering on our team and coach and motivating them.

The majority of the students chanting probably have no idea why they hate Saban.  They were kids when he coached at LSU and most probably paid no attention at that time.

The students are hurting the brand of LSU as a whole. It is incredibly embarrassing and has absolutely no benefit.

The chant was an insult to our players, coaches and staff. They are working hard to make the fans happy and get the win but their own student section is cheering about the opponent’s coach.

Those chanting are not true LSU football fans and are ruining the experience in Tiger Stadium that has been known as the best for years. Families attend and watch the games and children are hearing these loud obscene chants. Parents did not pay for their kids to hear this and should not have to listen to it.

Players want their fans cheering for them, helping them gain energy and motivation throughout the game. This disgusting chant is not what that want to hear, it does not help the players at all.

The Saban chant was a gift to the Alabama players because it gave them a boost of energy and more motivation to win. Look who came away with the win in overtime, not LSU.

Congratulations students you have successfully embarrassed the university you claim to love, disrespected your team especially the player who was down with an injury and the entire coaching staff.

2014-15 LSU Football Home Games

By Jessica Busada

How are Tiger fans feeling?

 

The younger generation of Karam boys setting up "The Party Box" tailgate.

The younger generation of Karam boys setting up “The Party Box” tailgate.

By Jessica Busada

With the 2014 season off to a rocky start, LSU fans seem to have mixed feelings about the team and how the season will play out.

The Tigers have only lost two games, both to top-10 teams, but the toughest stretch of the season is just beginning.

As usual, you can find a mixture of negative fans and positive fans that both believe they are still “true Tiger fans.”

Friday nights before home games, you will find dedicated, long-time Tiger fans setting up their tailgates for the big game Saturdaynight.

53-year-old Hab Karam, an alum of LSU and life-long LSU fan, has been setting up his tailgate known as the “Party Box” in the same spot since 1987! If you are ever on campus for a home game you have seen this famous tailgate that displays a ceiling fan in front of the RV.

His tailgate has become a family event, passing on the setup rituals to his son Ben Karam, a current LSU student.

Hab Karam has seen many LSU games and watched many different teams, and has his own opinion of this season and the 2014 team.

“I am optimistically worried. We have a chance to have a very good year with a very young team. Our two losses are by the No. 1 and No. 8 teams with the No. 8 team only losing to No. 1. Our freshmen will have to mature quickly and learn how to play listening to a lot of boo-birds, and I will cheer they can be successful,” Karam said.

Recent graduate and 24-year-old Baton Rouge native Ashton Piland has been attending games for the past 20 years and is a loyal Tiger fan.

“I’m optimistic that we’ll continue to improve, but I’m worried it won’t be enough to win the majority of our remaining games this season,” Piland said.

Dixon McMakin, a 28-year-old Baton Rouge native, has been going to LSU football games his whole life and tailgating has always been a tradition.

“The love and passion for LSU is always present weather it is an early or late game or if it is hot or cold. We adjust the food and drink accordingly,” McMakin said.

“I think we have a very determined yet young team that expects great things from themselves. I think we will go 2-2 in our remaining four SEC games and most likely end up in a lower level bowl game that we will win.”

The Party Box tailgate logo.

The Party Box tailgate logo.

Dixon McMakin, also known as LSU Elvis.

Dixon McMakin, also known as LSU Elvis.

 

Where’s Mike?

http://www1.vetmed.lsu.edu/SVM/AboutSVM/News/2013/item63659.html

http://www1.vetmed.lsu.edu/SVM/AboutSVM/News/2013/item63659.html

LSU is known for its traditions carried on year after year.

Football is a major part of that tradition. From the tailgates to the Golden Band from Tigerland, LSU football has become a landmark event and continues to draw in thousands of fans from around the country.

Mike VI, LSU’s live Bengal tiger mascot, plays a huge role in the overall game day experience. Over the years, Mike’s habitat, across North Stadium Drive from Tiger Stadium, has grown into a spectacle of its own and draws thousands of people annually.

Before home games, Mike rides down Victory Hill on his way to Tiger Stadium in a travel trailer.

As teams are warming up, he enters the southeast end of the stadium and is stationed right next to the opponent’s locker room. Before reaching the field, the opposing team is forced to make its way past Mike.

Mike has a front-row view of the pregame festivities as they begin and takes a trip around the field in the travel trailer with the LSU cheerleaders riding above cheering for the Tigers.

As one LSU alum told his kids Saturday outside Mike’s habitat, he remembers former players saying coming out of the locker room and seeing that live tiger on the field is quite intimidating.

Some loyal LSU fans will stand in the hot sun or pouring rain before a game, waiting to see if Mike will load onto his trailer. When Mike decides he would rather stay in his habitat for the day, as was the case for Saturday’s home opener against Sam Houston State, the disappointment on their faces is noticeable.

Fans have often expressed how they miss having Mike travel around the field for every game. Older fans don’t seem to understand why he is not loaded every week and believe there has to be some way to make that happen.

Mike would have to disagree, because he decides completely whether he will load or not.

Times have changed since the first Mike I debuted as LSU’s mascot in the 1930s, and the methods to load the tiger have as well. It is completely up to Mike whether he loads or not on a game day, and he is not forced in any way.

Current veterinary student and handler Trevor Davis explained that Mike’s team practices loading as if it were a game day before the actual game in hopes of eliminating the tiger’s dislike of change.

Davis said Mike VI showed interest before the Sam Houston game, and his handlers hope that means he will load for future games this season.

LSU veterinarian Dr. David Baker said in an interview for the Veterinary School website, “His veterinary student caretakers have been loading Mike VI into his trailer this summer to get him ready for the LSU home games; however, he doesn’t always cooperate.

“We know how important it is to the fans that he be in the stadium, but we can’t force him to do so, and we absolutely would never do that even if we could. Mike’s safety and well-being are most important to us, and we know that these are important to the fans as well.”

There’s little debate that the tradition of having Mike the Tiger roll around the field in Tiger Stadium adds that extra spark to LSU game days. After attending only three games last season and missing the 2014 home opener, it’s hoped that Mike will decide to attend the remainder of this season’s home games.