Tag Archives: LSU

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.

The Real MVPs

Equipment Manager Cookmeyer

Equipment Manager Cookmeyer

Every Saturday fans from all over the state of Louisiana travel to Death Valley to cheer on their Fighting Tigers.

One of the biggest highlights of LSU games is when Les Miles releases his team from the locker room onto the field. There is an instant wave of excitement flowing throughout Tiger Stadium as the Tigers run out in their purple and gold.

Every single time, their uniforms look as good as the first time they have ever been worn. The question is, how is it that after a hard game, like the one in Houston against Wisconsin, can these uniforms look amazing the next Saturday against Sam Houston State?

The athletes go to school, practice and play games, so there isn’t any possible way they would have time to fix up or clean a jersey or pants. There had to be someone behind them who makes sure that the team looks good every Saturday.

The team behind the football squad at LSU is known as the equipment management team.

Eric Cookmeyer is a student at LSU and a dedicated equipment manager for the LSU football team for nearly five seasons now.

He said a lot of work, time, and patience goes into being an equipment manager.

“We pretty much do any and everything that the team and coaches need us to do, from washing clothes to setting up the field for practice,” he said.

Cookmeyer said he works alongside 11 other equipment managers, each playing an important role as part of their group.

Cookmeyer has the huge responsibility of being what he termed the “inside guy.”

“I am in charge of our warehouse monitoring of what goes in and out, as well making sure our players have the correct equipment they need for games and practices,” he said.

Cookmeyer said the most intense part of his job is definitely game day, whether it’s home or away.

Those days, he said, are like a “marathon.”

Ever wonder how a player is able to return to a game after getting his jersey ripped or bled on? Well, Cookmeyer is the guy who gets their uniform wearable again.

“I have to scrub the blood out,” he said. “For rips I keep a needle and thread on hand, and I always keep backup jerseys for each player.”

Cookmeyer said he has to be just as instinctive as the players on the field; and be prepared for anything to occur.

His job is nonstop because he is directly in charge of all the uniforms. He has to make sure every pair of pants and every jersey is accounted for every week.

“I start at the beginning of each week working on uniforms, and I do this throughout the entire week,” he said.

While fans sleep in or are setting up to tailgate on game day, Cookmeyer is up at 7 a.m. preparing the locker room.

“I go through and make sure everything is in its place, including gloves and shoes, and that shoulder pads are hung up,” he said.

There’s pressure to take care of the equipment needs of close to 100 players, but Cookmeyer said he enjoys every moment.

“I love the excitement of game day,” he said, “getting to know the players, and the guys that I work with are like family. That makes it all worthwhile.”

Cookmeyer hopes to pursue a professional career as an equipment manager for either a college team or an NFL franchise.

One thing is certain: There would be no college or NFL teams to play games without the team of real MVPs working behind the scenes to get them ready.

 

Football is king

All collegiate spring games have been played and the 2013 NFL Draft has passed, and now the NBA playoffs have begun, but who really pays close attention to the NBA playoffs until the championship?

I mostly certainly do not, especially since Kobe Bryant went down with an Achilles tendon injury and shattered the Laker’s playoff run. My real concern, during the LSU football offseason, is the trouble that has surfaced throughout the past two years for the Tigers.

Yes, football is king, but should it overshadow everything else?

Tyrann Mathieu is the 69th overall draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals after being dismissed from the LSU team for failing a drug test. Mathieu’s success at LSU put him in the running as a Heisman Trophy finalist, but his own choices lead to his time as a Tiger to be cut short.

According to insider.espn.go.com, in 2011 the Honey Badger, Tharold Simon, and Spencer Ware were suspended for the Auburn game after testing positive in a drug test. All three former Tigers were drafted over the weekend, but have they learned from their mistakes?

Apparently not for the Honey Badger or Simon. Mathieu was arrested with three other members of the 2011 LSU team in October 2012. The Badger sealed his own fate with the Tigers.

This past weekend, amidst the Tiger’s historical 2013 draft with nine, Simon still made headlines off the field.

According to Shreveporttimes.com, Simon was arrested on charges of public intimidation of a police officer, resisting an officer, a noise violation and obstruction of a roadway.

LSU sophomore tailback Jeremy Hill followed suit behind Simon. According to lsureveille.com, Hill was arrested and charged with simple battery after allegedly punching another man outside of Reggie’s Bar.

Hill’s college career was delayed a year after he was arrested in early 2011 for an alleged sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was able to enroll at LSU and play football last season.

I understand people make mistakes, but how many second chances should a person be given? Football is most certainly king, but even the king should learn from his mistakes.

Nine drafted, two arrested

Photo courtesy of Espn.go.com

Photo courtesy of Espn.go.com

The 2013 NFL draft wrapped up yesterday in the Big Apple with LSU having a record breaking nine players drafted. In the midst of the most successful LSU draft history, two Tigers were arrested two days apart.

On Thursday night after defensive end Barkevious Mingo and safety Eric Reid were selected in the first round, junior cornerback Tharold Simon of Eunice spent the night in jail.

According to the Shreveporttimes.com, Simon was arrested on charges of public intimidation of a police officer, resisting an officer, a noise violation and obstruction of a roadway.

On Saturday despite the recent arrest, Simon ended up going fifth in the fifth round to the Seattle Seahawks with the 138th overall pick.

Before the draft concluded Saturday, LSU sophomore tailback Jeremy Hill of Baton Rouge was arrested and jailed earlier that morning for a misdemeanor charge of simple battery after an incident at a bar near the LSU campus.

According to ESPN.com, Hill’s college career was delayed a year after he was arrested in early 2011 for an alleged sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was able to enroll at LSU and play football last season.

Photo courtesy of Sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Photo courtesy of Sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Hill was LSU’s leading rusher with 755 yards on 142 carries. His 12 touchdowns were the most by an LSU freshman since Dalton Hilliard had 11 in 1982.

Teammates to arch-rivals to draft prospects…

Teammates to arch-rivals to draft prospects… this is the story.

Photo courtesy of Dutchtown Quarterbacks Club

Photo courtesy of Dutchtown Quarterbacks Club

 

Eric Reid and Eddie Lacy began a journey together as teammates at Dutchtown High school in Geismar, La., and now they will reunite in the Big Apple for the Draft.

On April 25th, Reid and Lacy awaited their fate in the 2013 NFL Draft. Both Reid and Lacy were in New York City at Radio City Music Hall Thursday night for the draft.

Reid ended up going with the 18th pick in the first round to the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, while Lacy had to wait until Friday when he was taken with the  61st  overall pick in the second round by the Green Bay Packers.

Even though both players have had significant success in their football careers thus far, their stories are substantially different.

Reid, a Baton Rouge native, knew all along that he was destined to be an LSU Tiger. His father, Eric Reid Sr., won a national championship in the 110-meter hurdle in 1987 as a senior at LSU. Reid Sr. is in the schools athletic hall of fame as an All-American hurdler and still works on the LSU campus.

Reid, opted out of his senior season with the Tigers to make himself available for the 2013 NFL Draft. Becoming a professional football player has been a dream of Reid’s since he was a little boy.

“It is my dream, I’m living my dream,” Reid said before the draft to KSLA.com. “It really doesn’t matter what team I go to. I’m doing what a lot of other people aren’t able to do, so I’m very blessed for that.”

In his three years with the Tigers, Reid played on teams that won 10 or more games all three years. In 2011 LSU went 13-1 capturing the Southeastern Conference title and contended against Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.

Reid and the Tigers came up substantially short against Lacy and the dominant Tide, 21-0. Overall, Reid’s three-year record at LSU was 34-6.

In his final season with the Tigers in 2012, Reid started all 13 games and finished third on the team in tackles with 91. He earned First Team All-America as a junior and was named twice to SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2011 and 2012.

Overall in his collegiate career as an aggressive safety, Reid played in 39 games, starting 29 times. He finished with 194 career tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and six interceptions.

On the other side of the ball, ground and pound running back Eddie Lacy endured a harder road to the pros.

In 2005, as a freshman, Lacy earned a spot on the varsity football team at Helen Cox High School in Harvey when disaster struck.

Lacy, a Gretna native, was forced out of his hometown when Hurricane Katrina hit and the Lacy family relocated to Texas. After the storm passed, the Lacy family enrolled in the “Share Your Home” program that landed Lacy in Geismar.

“Because of the hurricane, I didn’t know where I would wind up or what my future would be,” Lacy said to the Advocate.com.

At Dutchtown High school, Lacy took his frustration out on the football field while gaining serious attention as a dominant running back for the Griffins.

Both Reid and Lacy received national attention from colleges all over the country despite both players suffering injuries prior to the start of their collegiate football careers.

Lacy’s desire to play out of state led him to sign with Alabama. During his four years in Tuscaloosa, Lacy redshirted his freshman year and then sat patiently waiting behind Hesiman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, both now in the NFL.

As a junior, Lacy ran for 1,322 yards on 204 carries and 17 touchdowns, earning First Team All-SEC honors. In his final game as a Crimson Tide, Lacy earned MVP honors and scored two touchdowns and collected 140 yards in the BCS National Championship game against Notre Dame.

“He’s faster than you think,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said to ESPN.com. “He has very deceptive speed and very deceptive quickness. … I think Eddie is a very, very complete player. I don’t really see a lot of flaws in his game. I think he’ll be a very, very good player for somebody.”

In his four years with the Tide, Lacy has been a part of a program that went 50-5 winning three BCS National Championships and two SEC Championships. Needless to say, Lacy has been a part of a national powerhouse with Coach  Saban and the Crimson Tide.

Lacy faced a national disaster at the start of his football career but it seems like nothing will detour him on his path to success.

“I can get through anything, any obstacle after you know, everything that I’ve been through,” Lacy said to ESPN.com. “I just know that nothing can stop me.”

LSU Spring Game: What did we learn?

Spring football means a lot of things to a lot of people. To the fans, especially LSU fans, it means there’s more football, and that’s usually all they need to hear to throw a party.

Zach Mettenberger, 8 and Stephen Rivers, 17, watch the LSU Spring Game from the sidelines.

Zach Mettenberger, 8 and Stephen Rivers, 17, watch the LSU Spring Game from the sidelines.

To the players, it’s an opportunity to make a statement to coaches and their teammates. It’s a time to showcase the work they’ve put in during offseason workouts. To the coaches, it’s a time to evaluate the talent they have on their roster and begin to look ahead to the upcoming regular season.

At the end of every spring football schedule, everyone should know a little bit more about their football team. So the question is, following spring practice, what do we know about the 2013 LSU football team that we didn’t know before?

One of the major issues going in was how would LSU go about replacing the majority of its starting defense from the previous season. LSU’s spring game performance may have quieted some of  those concerns.

To put it simply, LSU’s defense looks fast. Really fast. Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson, both tasked with manning the starting defensive tackle positions this upcoming season, both ran down smaller and faster players during the game.

Ferguson seemed to take the concerns about the position to heart. “A lot of people said that we couldn’t do it and that we were a lot thinner of a defensive line since we lost a few people,” Ferguson said. “I had the mindset that I wanted to prove a lot (Saturday). Ferguson and the presumed starters faced a number of LSU’s second-teamers on offense but still turned in an impressive performance.

Eric Reid’s departure to the NFL left a void in the LSU secondary, but rising senior Craig Loston and rising sophomore Corey Thompson looked strong in the spring game. Loston seemed intent on making a statement early on in the game, bulldozing running back Kenny Hilliard for a big hit in the first quarter and eventually intercepting a Brad Kragthorpe pass early in the fourth. Loston is one of the lone returning starters to LSU’s defense from the 2012 season and seemed to be around the ball on every play during the spring game.

Offensively, the spring game marked the  first time fans could get a glimpse of what new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s offense will look like in the fall.

Many were probably wondering what Zach Mettenberger would look like under Cameron’s tutelage and he certainly had his moments during the spring game. Mettenberger, given the freedom to call his own plays, appeared to favor receivers Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry when looking to pass.

It certainly showed on the stat sheet as Beckham caught six passes for 202 yards and two  touchdowns, and Landry tallying six catches for 132 yards. At times though, you could still see a bit of hesitance in Mettenberger’s decision making, and there were a few errant throws for him on the day. These are issues Mettenberger’s worked to improve on since he arrived in Baton Rouge and over the course of the 2012 season, he certainly made strides. It looks like he still has work to do though.

One thing you can’t deny is that the man does have an arm, and he’s not afraid to throw it deep. The Georgia native tested the Purple team’s secondary multiple times, punctuating his efforts with a 79 yard bomb to Beckham in the second quarter. Mettenberger’s development over the summer and heading into the fall under Cameron should be a major factor in LSU’s success in 2013.

Luckily for LSU, if Mettenberger falters at all during the season, it seems like running back Jeremy Hill will be there to stabilize the Tiger offense. Hill was impressive during the Spring Game, amassing over 100 yards on the ground and seemed to cut effortlessly through the Purple team’s defense, never going to the ground on the first hit. He’ll definitely be a player of interest in the fall.

One lesser known name who really seemed to shine in the spring game was Terrence Magee. The rising junior chipped in at running back, caught passes and on one play, sprung freshman  quarterback Anthony Jennings for a scramble resulting in a first down. Magee may not be the most recognized of LSU’s offensive players, but he has the confidence of Les Miles, who said he won’t  be afraid to play Magee in big games this upcoming season.

So what can we expect to see in the fall when LSU resumes practice?

Well, first of all, more from Cam Cameron and the offense. LSU seemed to run their offense out of a limited number of formations, hinting at the fact that Cameron’s offense will be installed and implemented over the course of the summer and into fall practice. Fortunately for LSU’s defense it seems like more of the same. The defense, while lacking some of the big names from previous seasons, appears to be quick, physical, and hungry to prove to concerned individuals that the Tiger’s defense won’t lose a step in 2013.

Even with strong performances from new defensive starters and players like Mettenberger and Hill, LSU will probably be faced with the same questions during the offseason that they’ve had to answer since their disappoint loss to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl this past season. The Tigers certainly aren’t where they hope to be when they square off Aug. 31 against TCU in the Cowboys Classic to start the 2013 season, but this year’s Spring Game showed that the team is getting there, and they’ve got a chance to make some serious noise this fall if they do.

Mad Hatter Magic

 

Photo Courtesy of Bouche's Snapshot

Photo Courtesy of Chessa Bouche

LSU coach Les Miles leads his Tigers into Death Valley, eats grass on occasion, takes part in the “LSU Football Harlem Shake” video, and now the Mad Hatter has done it again. Coach Miles will take part in the NFL Network’s draft coverage that begins this Thursday night.

LSU’s Les Miles, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Standford’s David Shaw, and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly will all participate in the 2013 NFL Draft coverage.

According to draft producer Charlie Yook, Miles, Shaw, and Kelly are expected to be with the coverage team during the draft and Sumlin will work pre-draft coverage.

Apparently, Coach Miles left a lasting impression from his appearance last year as an NFL draft analyst, and the NFL Network wants him back. Coach Miles is known for his sense of humor, of course off of the gridiron, and he should provide great entertainment value to the network.

One of Coach Miles former Bengals, Barkevious Mingo, is projected to go early on in the first round. LSU has a total of 11 NFL prospects this year so Coach Miles should have plenty of things to say.

Together again…

Reid-lacyPhoto Courtesy of ESPNgo.com

Being a Northern Louisiana native, I get a lot of criticism from Cajuns here in Baton Rouge. Over and over again I have been called a “Yankee” or a “Texan”. I will never embrace either of the nicknames but I will do my best to learn more about this red stick land and the football culture that I am surrounded by.

So when I heard about Dutchtown High School having two former players entering the 2013 NFL Draft I had to do some investigating.

First, I googled Dutchtown high to find that it is located in Geismar, which is right outside of South Baton Rouge.

Second, Dutchtown high has close to 2,000 students from eighth grade to twelfth grade.

Third, Dutchtown high has never won a football state championship.

So how does a high school such as Dutchtown, which is not a powerhouse football program, produce two outstanding football stars?

Well when you have players such as Eddie Lacy and Eric Reid in your program, it seems simple.

Eddie Lacy, a former Alabama running back, and Eric Reid, a former LSU safety, are the first two players to be drafted from the Geismer School. And both players decided to forgo their senior season and be available for the 2013 NFL Draft.

More to come on their upcoming journeys to the NFL… stay tuned.

LSU defense tries to pick up after losing so many pieces

With LSU experiencing a major turnover on defense with the early departure of six key players, the Spring Game was the perfect preview to gauge what we can expect from the newly formed Tiger defense in the fall.

Delivering big for the White team were returning defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Anthony “Freak” Johnson. Ferguson completed for a total of seven tackles with one tackle for loss, and both players received outstanding player awards for their top performances during the award ceremony immediately after the game. The two paired up as the ultimate defensive duo helping lead the White team to a 37-0 victory over the Purple team.

Even with losing players central to the team’s defense- including defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, defensive backs Eric Reid and Tharold Simon, defensive tackle Bennie Logan and linebacker Kevin Minter, Ferguson remained confident that he and the rest of the squad would not come up short in 2013. “A lot of people said that we couldn’t do it and that we were a lot thinner of a defensive line since we lost a few people. I had the mindset that I wanted to prove a lot today,” Ferguson said.

In regard to his partnership with Johnson, Ferguson said, “I feel like we are going to be the best duo in the country this year. I feel like if we keep pushing each other, then the sky is the limit.”

Making an immense contribution defensively was sophomore Danielle Hunter, who finished the game with a game-high eight total tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss. Seniors Lamin Barrow and Craig Loston also stepped up on defense with Barrow recording seven total tackles and Loston six.

Loston explained that the key to a successful season is for each player to take accountability and carry out their individual roles.

“You have about three seconds to get the ball out and that’s what we try to accomplish. We make sure to take care of our jobs. If each of us does our job individually, then we will get the play we want,” Loston said.

Coach Les Miles was pleased with the defensive performance from the White team. “Defense played well,” Miles said. “We played one front and one coverage and tackled well and played how they’re supposed to. Danielle Hunter had a nice day. Anthony Johnson, Lamin Barrow and Craig Loston looked like the first team defense.”

While the purple team was unable to put any points on the board, sophomores Kwon Alexander and Tommy LeBeau proved they could potentially be assets to the Tiger defense during the regular season. Though unable to make crucial stops against Mettenberger and the white team offense, Alexander was able to complete for a total of seven tackles and one tackle for loss while LeBeau finished with six total tackles.

The Tiger’s defensive line couldn’t be much more new, but Ferguson assures that the newer players are capable of handling the job if needed.

He said, “We have a lot of speed and young guys stepping in and picking it up for us.”