Author Archives: Gregory Renoud

About Gregory Renoud

Greg Renoud is a master’s student at LSU where he also received his B.A. in mass communications. He was the lead producer for WAFB-TV’s “9 News Sunday Morning” program for a year. Renoud plays saxophone as a fifth-year member of LSU’s “Golden Band from Tiger Land.” A native of Long Beach, N.Y., he currently resides in Baton Rouge.

LSU ranked 16 to start 2013 season

ESPN’s way too early to tell poll has the Tigers ranked No. 16.

This comes as no surprise coming off last season’s Chick-Fil-A bowl loss. Everybody knows the early rankings are affected by how the team finished the year before.

ESPN gives Ohio State the No. 1 ranking for now. Defending champion Alabama comes in at No. 2. Oregon, Louisville, and Stanford round out the top 5. There are 5 SEC teams ahead of LSU. No. 2 Alabama, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 7 Georgia, No. 8 South Carolina, and No. 11 Florida.

Tiger fans shouldn’t be worried. Last year, Notre Dame started the season unranked. As long as the Tigers can take care of business, they will move their way back up.

Anybody who follows preseason polls knows they don’t have much merit. That being said, the Tigers have some work to do if they want to compete for another national championship.

Here are the full rankings:

  1. Ohio State
  2. Alabama
  3. Oregon
  4. Louisville
  5. Stanford
  6. Texas A&M
  7. Georgia
  8. South Carolina
  9. Michigan
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Florida
  12. Clemson
  13. Texas
  14. Florida State
  15. Oklahoma State
  16. LSU
  17. Oklahoma
  18. TCU
  19. UCLA
  20. Kansas State
  21. Boise State
  22. Nebraska
  23. USC
  24. Northwestern
  25. Wisconsin

Conflicting Reports About 2014 Opener

Fox 26 in Houston is reporting that the LSU Tigers will take on the Wisconsin Badgers at Reliant stadium to start the 2014 season. However, Nola.com says that LSU is denying the rumors.

This would be the fourth time in five years that LSU would start the season against a team from another BCS conference at a neutral site.

The game would be dubbed the 2nd annual “Texas Kickoff Classic.” Both sites report that Texas Kickoff Classic officials won’t confirm the story.

According to Nola.com, “LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva said in an interview on 104.5 ESPN radio in Baton Rouge that he wants the Tigers to open the 2014 season in Houston, and that Wisconsin is one of the schools in the mix.”

Other out of conference opponents for 2014 on the schedule are UL-Monroe, Georgia Southern, and New Mexico St.

The Tigers are 2-0 in their past two season opening neutral site games. They started the 2010 season by defeating North Carolina 30-24 in Atlanta at the “Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game” and opened the 2011 campaign by beating Oregon at the “Cowboy Classic” in Dallas 40-27. LSU will begin the 2013 season against TCU at the “Cowboy Classic” in Cowboy Stadium.

New SEC Network

Photo by: secdigitalnetwork.com

Photo by: secdigitalnetwork.com

The Southeastern Conference announced the launch of its own 24 hour network on May 2nd. The new SEC Network is slated to hit the airwaves in August 2014.

According to ESPN, the SEC and ESPN agreed to a 20-year deal. The network will feature more than 1,000 live events in the first year.

ESPN says, “included in the programming will be 45 football games, more than 100 men’s and more than 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games and selected events from the other 17 SEC sports. The network will also feature studio shows and coverage of special events such as signing day and football pro days.”

The Big Ten, Pac-12, and the Mountain West conferences already have their own television networks.

According to USA Today, “Some believe the combination of the current contract with CBS and the arrival of the SEC Network will produce in the neighborhood of $400 million in revenue annually — about $28.5 million per conference school.”

AT&T U-verse is the first provider to pick up the rights to the network.

For more information about the SEC Network, including a list of FAQs, visit LSUSports.net.

The Draft Doesn’t End After Round 7

After Mr. Irrelevant is selected on Saturday night and the draft is officially over, most TV stations start doing their final wrap ups and fans start discussing how their teams did.

But for the teams themselves, that’s when the madness begins. The entire pool of players who weren’t drafted is up for grabs on a first come first serve basis.

LSU football tweeted, “Congrats @LSUfball UD free agents: Aghayere @Seahawks; Clement @Giants; Faulk @Browns; Ford + Lonergan @ChicagoBears; Shepard + Wing @Eagles.” For those keeping score, that’s (a school record) 9 Tigers chosen in the draft and 7 signed in the hours following the draft.

According to Nola.com, the Saints have singed 12 undrafted free agents as of 10:30 Sunday night, including Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin and Louisiana-Monroe tight end Keavon Milton. Nola.com reports, “According to sources and Twitter feeds of players and coaches, the Saints have agreed to terms with Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin, Michigan offensive lineman Elliott Mealer, Utah cornerback Ryan Lacy, North Carolina linebacker Kevin Reddick, Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas, Louisiana-Monroe tight end Keavon Milton, Nebraska defensive end Eric Martin, Central Florida linebacker Ray Shipman, West Virginia running back Shawne Alston, Grand Valley State guard Tim Lelito, Idaho State tight end Josh Hill and Georgia Tech cornerback Rod Sweeting.”

Other Louisiana undrafted free agents include Louisiana Lafayette corner back Melvin White to the Carolina Panthers (Reported by NFL.com), Louisiana Tech outside tackle Oscar Johnson to the Tennessee Titans (Reported by NFL.com), Southeastern Louisiana linebacker Devan Walker to the Chargers (Reported by NBCSports.com), Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen to the Patriots (Reported by nepatriotsdraft.com), Lousiana Tech running back/wide reciever Ray Holley to the Baltimore Ravens (Reported by nepatriotsdraft.com), Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron to the Carolina Panthers (Reported by nepatriotsdraft.com), Louisiana Lafayette wide receiver Javone Lawson to the Arizona Cardinals (Reported by nepatriotsdraft.com), Louisiana Tech guard Kevin Saia to the St. Louis Rams (Reported by nepatriotsdraft.com), and Louisiana College outside tackle Jeremy Vujnovich (Reported by nepatriotsdraft.com).

Jordan Jefferson Returns to Louisiana

Photo by: Sportsnola.com

Former LSU starting quarterback will be back under center in New Orleans. The only difference is this time it will be for the Pittsburgh Power (0-3) of the Arena Football League.

Jefferson started all three games for the Power so far this year. He will take the field against the New Orleans Voodoo (1-2) this Friday night at 7:30pm at the New Orleans Arena. The last time Jefferson played in New Orleans was the 21-0 loss to Alabama in the 2012 BCS National Championship game.

Through three games this season, Jefferson completed 49 of his 92 passes (53.3%) for 506 yards and 8 touchdowns with 5 interceptions. He is the league’s second leading rusher with 96 yards on 15 attempts with 1 touchdown. Jefferson is responsible for 4 fumbles, 2 of which were recovered by the opposing team.

Jefferson started 32 games at quarterback for LSU. He went 24-8 as a starter including 2-2 in bowl games.

He left a sour taste in the mouths of many LSU fans after a less then stellar performance at the 2012 BCS National Championship game. Jefferson was always subject to criticism from tiger fans, as he was booed off the field on many occasions.

It will be interesting to see if the Voodoo fans have a reaction when he takes the field on Friday night.

The game will be the last event in the New Orleans arena before it undergoes renovation for the New Orleans Pelicans. The Voodoo will play the rest of their season at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Students Allowed to Attend Spring Practice for Second Year.

Photo by: LSUSports.net

For the second year in a row, the final practice before the National L Club spring football game will be open for LSU students.

According to LSUSports.net, students will watch the team run drills from 4 to 6pm at the football practice facility on Skip Bertman drive. After the practice,  the players and coaches will sign autographs and take pictures. Students must have a valid student ID in order to attend.

Last year, the 400 students that attended experienced what it was like being on the football team. As the team set up for their meet and greet session, coach miles called all of the spectators into a huddle. He then let a few lucky students take part in drills such as a passing contest, catching punts, and an obstacle course.

Click here for pictures from the 2012 student appreciation day.

This is one of the few chances for students to see how the football program works outside of Tiger Stadium.

The Grass is Always Green at Tiger Stadium

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Saturday nights in Tiger Stadium are legendary. It is consistently ranked as one of the loudest and feared places for visiting teams to play.

None of this could happen without the more then 120 yards of Celebration Bermuda grass that makes up the stage for LSU football.

As LSU football coach Les Miles once said, “the grass in Tiger Stadium tastes best.”

Wardell Antoine has been part of the team that paints the field since 1981. “I still get a rush when we are painting for the big games,” Antoine said. “I got butterflies painting the yard lines for the Alabama game this year.”

Antoine’s main job is to paint all of the white that you see on the field, from the yard lines, to the hash marks, media areas, etc. He says his favorite part is painting the long yard lines every five yards.

The field at Tiger Stadium is one of the only stadiums in college football to use “H” style goal posts, instead of the “Y” or “slingshot” style goal posts.

LSU received special permission from the NCAA before the 1993 game against Tulane to use the “H” posts.  The team uses the opening under the north end zone goal posts to run out of the tunnel and onto the field.

Another unique aspect is how Tiger Stadium labels every five yards. Traditionally, football stadiums only label the yard lines that end in “0.”

Eric Fasbender is in charge of making sure all eight football fields on campus are maintained. Six of the fields (Tiger Stadium, three practice fields, U-High, and the Tiger Marching Band field) have to be painted every week. The other two are turf.

“Taking care of Tiger Stadium is surprisingly easy compared to other fields,” Fasbender said. “We are only out there 4-6 hours at a time. All we have to do is mow it and paint it. It’s not like Alex Box Stadium where we have to deal with clay and artificial turf on the same field as real grass.”

The crew does the majority of their painting on Wednesdays, and then repaints it on Fridays. Overall, the field uses between 120 and 130 gallons of paint per week.

“We used to only paint it on Fridays, but a couple of years ago we decided to paint twice. It makes the colors pop more on game day. I’m sure that fans can see a difference from a few years ago,” said Fasbender.

Fasbender believes that Tiger Stadium would consistently be in contention for the field of the year award were it not for the Bayou Country Superfest.

The Superfest pays for Tiger Stadium to get a new field every year, due to the 100,000-ton stage destroying the grass. In order to be eligible for the award, the field has to be in place for two years.

Probably the most impressive part about Fasbender’s job is the eye of the tiger on the 50-yard line. “The way the eye is going to look depends on how much Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew I’ve had that day,” Fasbender said.

Fasbender draws the eye every week free hand.

It is the only part of the field that does not use a stencil. “Logos need to look the same,” Fasbender said. “We always make sure the LSU and SEC logos are correct.

“But the eye is not a logo, it’s a symbol of the Tigers.”

Every few years, the field makes a minor adjustment. For example, the 150th anniversary logo of LSU was on the field for the 2010 season.

The most recent major change was in 2005 when LSU changed the end zones from the large block letters to the “geaux” font.

Ronnie Haliburton, senior associate athletic director for facilities and grounds, was the one who asked Miles if they could make the change. He works with athletics to approve any aesthetic changes made to the field.

“The playing surface has to be superb,” Haliburton said. “Your resume is on center stage every week. “This isn’t something that nobody will notice on an old TV watching CBS. Today with HDTV and 3D televisions, we can’t afford to make a mistake.”

Haliburton played tight end for LSU from 1986-89.

Currently, Haliburton and Fasbender are looking forward to the spring game on April 20. Fasbender said the spring game is their chance to experiment with new techniques.

Haliburton says typically they will try to put the logo of a national championship or an SEC championship on the field for the spring game. This year, he says they are just giving them a field to play on.

LSU Spring Football: Spotlight on the Defense

Spring football on the bayou has returned.

LSU’s defense will take center stage as the Tigers try to replace seven starting positions as a result of the mass exodus of underclassmen to the NFL draft. Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, Eric Reid, Tharold Simon, and Kevin Minter are among those that will have to be replaced.

Senior safety, Craig Loston, will be one of the players to watch out for this spring. Last season, he recorded 55 tackles with three interceptions. After a rough first few years at LSU, he will be expected to pick up a majority of the workload left by Eric Reid.

Ronnie Feist and Lamin Barrow will looking to replace Kevin Minter at the middle linebacker spot. Barrow started all 13 games last year at linebacker and recorded 104 tackles and recovered two fumbles. Feist didn’t see much action last year but is someone the coaches will have their eye on as a potential starter in 2013.

Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco are names to watch to take the places of Mingo and Montgomery. Also look out for Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson on defensive tackle to make more of an impact this season.

Hopefully this spring will provide the Tigers an opportunity to go through their growing pains on the new look defense before opening Aug. 31 in the Cowboys Classic against TCU.

Bayou Bash draws thousands

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The start of the national signing period is just another indicator that football season is never over in Louisiana. Thousands of fans made their way to  the River Center this past Wednesday to take part in the Bayou Bash Recruiting Party.

Gordy Rush, Vice-president/Market Manager of Guaranty Broadcasting Company, is in charge of finding companies to take part in the event. Most know Rush as the sideline reporter for the LSU Sports Radio Network or as an LSU defensive back from 1988-90. He says it is like football season in February.

“It’s amazing to see grown men storm the stage to get close to the Tiger band when they come marching in. That’s when you really get that Tiger Stadium feel, hearing those four notes being played live again,” Rush said.

According to Rush, the event caters to about 4,500 people every year and grosses roughly $200,000 for the Gridiron Club.

The alcohol consumption is the main reason why the Bayou Bash is held in downtown Baton Rouge at the River Center instead of on the LSU campus. Also, no recruits or signees are allowed to attend the Bash in accordance with NCAA rules.

The Bash is one of the first national signing day parties of its kind. The event was started by former LSU football coach Gerry DiNardo in conjunction with the Gridiron Club to help cover costs of recruiting trips and other various expenses of the football team.

The Gridiron Club still hosts the Bash every year. It is a group of boosters aimed at raising funds to help the football team.

Throughout the room were business selling jewelry, food, and of course LSU paraphernalia. The price of admission included all you can eat and drink, including (of course) the beer. Projection screens showing ESPNU or names of the already signed players also decorated the River Center.

Kelly DeLaune has been going to the event for 10 years. “It’s a great to around other Tiger fans when we finally see which recruits are coming to play for the Tigers,” DeLaune said.

Carl “da Cat” Dunn also made an appearance at the Bash. Carl is known for being a super fan and received media attention when he got married at Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar before the LSU-Towson game last season. “It’s not quite game day, but it’s a good feeling to be able to check out the recruits and meet up with friends,” Dunn said. “It’s like tailgating for a game in February. What could be better?”

Many showed up to the bash when the doors opened at 8:30 a.m. disappointed to find out ESPN’s No. 1 prospect, Robert Nkemdiche, announced that he chose Ole Miss over LSU. Dunn said, “We won’t let that get us down. We still have another top-10 recruiting class.”

Yahoo! Sports ranks the Tigers’ 2013 signing class No. 6 in the country. ESPN ranked the class No. 7.

DeLaune also looked passed the day’s events and towards the future. “I can’t wait to finally see these recruits against SEC talent,” DeLaune said. “Today is the type of day that really gets me excited for next season.”

His first chance to do that will be at the LSU Spring Game on April 20.