Tag Archives: LSU Football

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

LSU vs. Alabama Photo Gallery

Excessive Celebration

LSU fans rush the field after the Tigers upset Ole Miss on Oct. 25.

LSU fans rush the field after the Tigers upset Ole Miss on Oct. 25.

By Lindsay Rabalais

If Tiger fans take their celebrations onto the field Saturday after the game against No. 4 Alabama, LSU will have to pick up a much heftier tab than they did after the Ole Miss game.

After the Tigers upset No. 3 Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium on Oct. 25, hordes of fans triumphantly swarmed the field.

LSU appeared to accept the inevitable.  Police officers did not line the gates at the base of the student section as a preemptive strike against stampeding fans, not even after LSU safety Ronald Martin intercepted the ball with two seconds left in the game.

The Athletic Department also fully accepted the price tag of the celebration: a $5000 fine for violation of the SEC’s access to competition area policy.

Athletic Director Joe Alleva addressed the fine shortly after the Tigers’ triumphant victory.  “I hope I have to spend it again two weeks from now,” he said.

Alleva quickly changed his tune, however.  He released a statement on Oct. 28 instructing fans to not enter the field after the next football game against Alabama.

“I encourage everyone to celebrate great LSU victories within the seating areas of the stadium, and not on the field … We would never endorse the ‘storming of the field’ by our fans – it is a violation of the protocol established by the Southeastern Conference.”

The monetary cost of storming the field for the second time this season is almost certainly a major concern of Alleva’s.

The SEC fined LSU $5000 for its first infraction.  The fine for a second violation would surge to $25,000.  In the event of a third violation, the University would owe a $50,000 fine, according to a CBS Sports report.

LSU’s athletic budget is currently $109 million, according to a report from USA Today.

The $5000 fine for the post-Ole Miss game celebrations represented the first time LSU has been fined for storming the field.  According to CBS Sports, the SEC’s policy against entering the competition area was enacted in 2004.  The last time LSU fans rushed the field was in 2001, after LSU defeated Auburn in Tiger Stadium.

The potential cost of storming the field goes beyond the SEC fine.

It is certainly foreseeable that a fan could be seriously hurt in the rush to the field.

Furthermore, the University would face a host of liability issues if someone became injured, especially if the athletic director encouraged spectators to rush the field.

Rushing the field after a hard-fought victory is a storied component of LSU lore, from the fans who tore down both goal posts after LSU upset No. 1 Florida in 1997 to those who speckled the field in purple and gold on Oct. 25.

However, a $25,000 fine for rushing the field is unprecedented.  The costs – monetary and emotional – of an injured fan would be even higher.

If the Tigers defeat Alabama on Saturday, the Athletic Department will almost certainly take steeper measures to ensure fans keep the festivities in the stands.

College Gameday’s David Pollack talks LSU and Ole Miss (photo gallery)

Video courtesy of Chuck Colin

 

 

Desmond Howard talks to reporters

Desmond Howard talks to reporters

David Pollack talks to reporters

David Pollack talks to reporters

Crowd awaits College Gameday Cast

Crowd awaits College Gameday Cast

David Pollack reads his notes during a commercial break

David Pollack reads his notes during a commercial break

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The hosts of College Gameday discuss the game picks

The hosts of College Gameday discuss the game picks

David Pollack and Kirk Herbstreit on set

David Pollack and Kirk Herbstreit on set

Samantha Ponder and Coach Miles receive make up during a commercial break

Samantha Ponder and Coach Miles receive make up during a commercial break

Samantha Ponder interviews LSU Head Coach Les Miles

Samantha Ponder interviews LSU Head Coach Les Miles

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College Gameday cast interviews special guests "Duck Dynasty"

College Gameday cast interviews special guests “Duck Dynasty”

Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso discuss the game day picks with special guest

Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso discuss the game day picks with special guest

 

 

 

ESPN’s College GameDay at LSU: Photo Gallery

A good (twelfth) man is hard to find

By Lindsay Rabalais

 

“The difference between LSU and Ohio State fans is that Ohio State stays for the entire game.”

I was recently discussing college football with a colleague from the Buckeye State when he made this bold – yet astute – observation.

It doesn’t matter whether the Tigers are up or down, whether they’re blowing out the opponent or up against the wall, whether they’re playing a powerhouse conference opponent or a “rent-a-win” team.

The fans will not stay in the stadium. And there is no common denominator to explain what the issue is.

The beginning of the third quarter has signaled a mass exodus throughout this season. LSU’s famed student section is always virtually deserted by the time Tiger Band plays the “Alma Mater” at the end of every game.

At the beginning of the third quarter on Saturday night, the LSU fans are going ...

At the beginning of the third quarter on Saturday night, the LSU fans are going …

Death Valley is consistently ranked as one of the best stadium atmospheres in college football. Paul “Bear” Bryant, legendary coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, once remarked that playing in Tiger Stadium is “like being inside a drum.”

In February 2014, ESPN.com crowned the LSU student section as one of its top five SEC student sections.

“The roar from the students after those three most intimidating notes … in college sports play from the Golden Band from Tigerland will send shivers down your spine,” wrote ESPN.com’s Edward Aschoff. “LSU students … create the SEC’s most electric environment when the lights come on and the sun goes down.”

LSU’s students are not only some of the country’s loudest, but frequently also the most colorful. The student section is notorious for concocting cheers with – to put it delicately – rather adult language.

So why is it that a fan base known across the country for being raucous and rowdy can’t stay for the entire football game?

photo 2 (1)

… going …

Could it be that folks become bored when LSU is clearly blowing its opponent out of the water?

Consider the Mississippi State game on Sept. 20. The game wound up as anything but a blowout, at least from LSU’s vantage point. The Bulldogs routed the Tigers for the overwhelming majority of the game, yes. Still, the Tigers could have conceivably won the game, thanks to a late rally in the fourth quarter.

Despite the thrilling drama unfolding on the field, the stands were largely empty.

LSU is famous (slash infamous) for its gripping fourth quarters. Fans who leave early risk missing historic plays, like the touchdown LSU scored after time ran out to defeat Tennessee in 2010 (in case you left that game early, the Volunteers were flagged for having an extra player on the field).

Maybe the problem is that this is a “rebuilding year,” and it’s tough to get fired up about a team that isn’t doing well.

First, let’s get something straight: LSU is having, by most schools’ standards, a fine season. Plenty of teams – and fan bases – would be thrilled to only have two losses at this point in the season, both to highly ranked SEC opponents.

Moreover, I give you the Sam Houston State, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State and Kentucky games. The Tigers pulverized all their non-conference opponents at home, defeating Sam Houston State 56-0, Louisiana-Monroe 31-0 and New Mexico State 63-7. Finally, they dominated Kentucky on Saturday night 41-3.

If the problem is fans who don’t like to watch a losing team, there is no reason for them to disappear from the stadium when the Tigers are giving them exactly what they want – a shellacking of the opponent.

...gone before the end of the game.

…gone before the end of the game.

Finally, I submit to you that the LSU Tigers – for better or worse – help form Louisianans’ identity about themselves.

“There is no other state university more important to their state than LSU is to Louisiana,” political strategist and devout Tigers fan James Carville once said. I would wager that that statement includes the LSU football team.

Speaking as a lifelong Louisianan and LSU fan, when the Tigers are doing well, it just feels like order has been restored to the universe and everything is OK.

In Louisiana, LSU football is like the weather. Stuck in an elevator with that coworker whose name you can’t remember? Just bring up last week’s LSU game. Instant icebreaker.

Ours is a fan base that loves to talk about how steeped in tradition we are, how die-hard we are – we bleed purple and gold.

So let’s back up that talk.

I’m a realist. I get that sometimes your pregame activities catch up with you, and your headache is forcing you out of the stadium. I can certainly understand needing to get on the road to get back to Beaumont, Biloxi or Bunkie – especially if you have sleepy/cranky/antsy children to contend with.

But if it’s the third quarter and you have nowhere to be, consider staying put. Resist the peer pressure of those around you who are bolting from the stadium. Half of the stadium begins to file out during halftime, so you really aren’t beating traffic by leaving now.

Do it for yourself – by leaving early, you potentially cheat yourself out of some truly theatrical football from this “fourth-quarter team.” Stick around after the game and let Tiger Band’s a capella version of the “Alma Mater” give you goosebumps.

Do it for the team – the young men on the field truly feed off of the crowd’s energy. They showed up, and so should you.

Do it to show the nation what I know to be true: this is a passionate fan base that loves their team and loves football. And, yes, we are certainly that vocal fan base during pregame while we’re watching hype videos and singing along to “Calling Baton Rouge.”

But we are just as loud and just as present by the time the clock runs out at the end of the game – no matter the outcome.

Tigers’ defense rebounds against Aggies

By Chucky Colin

 

Baton Rouge – After giving up the most yards allowed during Les Miles’ tenure as head coach in its last outing, the LSU Tigers defense played much better Saturday night against the New Mexico State Aggies.

The Tigers only surrendered seven points, while giving up a total of 274 yards.

They forced four turnovers, with the biggest being a 29-yard interception returned for a touchdown by linebacker Kendell Beckwith late in the first quarter. It was the 14th defensive touchdown for the Tigers under defensive coordinator John Chavis.

“We left a lot of doubt out there last week, we really wanted to come in and play dominate LSU defense all night,” Beckwith said.

The defense set the tone early as Tre’Davious White intercepted the Aggies starting quarterback, sophomore Tyler Rodgers, on the opening drive.

“Everybody had a sour taste in their mouth after last week and we just wanted to execute,” White said.

Despite LSU committing four turnovers in the first quarter, the Aggies were held scoreless during that time.

The Tiger defense was able to force three and outs on two of the four turnovers which helped to minimize the damage.

The only defensive breakdown came in the second quarter as Aggies backup quarterback, Andrew Allen, ran for a 79-yard touchdown, but by that time it was too little, too late as the Tigers had already built a 28-point lead.

The second half consisted of much of the same as the Tigers’ defense forced a turnover on the Aggies’ opening drive. From that point on the defense stifled the Aggies while LSU scored touchdowns on each of its third quarter possessions.

The Tigers held the Aggies to 102 total passing yards and 13 first downs, while allowing only 4 of 17 third down conversions.

Head coach Les Miles believes that this effort is one that the Tigers can build on going forward.

“I felt like we played defense like we’re supposed to, minus one play, and we’re improved and looking forward to resuming conference play,” Miles said.

The Tigers will need similar success against the spread offense next week as they travel to play their SEC West rival, the Auburn Tigers.