Tag Archives: Tigers

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.

A look at the Tiger’s offense

LSU-Spring-Football

Photo courtesy of The Daily Reveille

Spring practice kicks off Thursday for the LSU Tigers down on the bayou.

LSU begins spring drills having to fill the holes left by 11 players who opted to leave early for the 2013 NFL Draft, plus several other seniors who completed their eligibility.

With the addition of Cam Cameron as the offensive coordinator, Tiger fans wonder how the new changes will impact this season’s outcome, along with the lack of experience leading the helm.

“We can age our team by giving our freshman class a spring, and we will be in more of a groove in summer,” LSU coach Les Miles said Wednesday. “When fall starts, again we will have a much improved group guys.”

Miles is giving senior Zach Mettenberger the starting job at quarterback, with sophomore Stephen Rivers starting the spring as his backup. According to Miles, Mettenberger needs to be more patient with the deep ball and make better choices on the field.

Two juniors, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, along with senior Kadron Boone are returning wide receivers for the Tigers. But newcomers, John Diarse and Avery Peterson could get some great looks during the 15 practices.

“LSU receivers need to make more plays and not have as many drops, and the Tigers also need to do a better job of protecting Mettenberger,” said Chris Low, reporter for ESPN.com. “They gave up 32 sacks in 13 games last season, which was 10th in the league.”

On the offensive line, La’El Collins will get a try at left tackle and senior Josh Williford will experiment at center. Sophmores Trai Turner and Vadal Alexander will continue where they left off at the end of last season at right guard and right tackle, respectively.

Two freshmen, Jerald Hawkins and Ethan Pocic, are quality additions for LSU on the offensive line, while juniors Elliot Porter and Fehoko Fanaika raise the bar of physicality for the Tigers.

According to Miles, bringing back both seniors, J.C. Copeland and Connor Neighbors, will give LSU depth at the fullback position.

All four returning backs for the Tigers, brings more depth at the tailback spot. Sophomore Jeremy Hill leads the way after taking over that starting role last year, followed by junior Kenny Hilliard, senior Alfred Blue, and junior Terrence Magee. LSU hopes their play will give the Tigers a more productive offense, though it probably won’t be up to the running game alone.

“One tweak, it’ll be with more production from backs in the passing game,” said Gary Laney, reporter for GeauxTigerNation. “A year ago LSU running backs accounted for 35 pass receptions and expect that number to go up.”

At the tight end position, sophomore Dillon Gordon and junior college transfer Logan Stokes will add to the offensive productivity. According to ESPN, scouts like Stokes’ agility and ball skills. Also, watch for junior Travis Dickson, who had some good grabs in limited opportunities last season.

Miles closed Wednesday’s news conference by saying, “Certainly, there is a lot to accomplish. We are by no means in position to predict a grand season. This is the style of team that if they work hard and do the things they are capable of doing, they will like other teams that have gone through here, compete for a title.”

 

[colored_box color=”red”]Related News Link[/colored_box]

–   Spring preview: Positions of need

–   Miles Previews Spring at Press Conference

Former Tiger Impresses at the Combine

Former LSU star Barkevious Mingo shined at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The former Bayou Bengal clocked a 4.58 in the 40-yard dash, a 37-inch vertical jump, a 128-inch standing broad jump and flashed his explosiveness in individual drills. Mingo finished in the top five among defensive lineman in all four categories.

According to Bleacher Report, Mingo is in the top 10 of most NFL mock drafts and rightfully so after his impressive performance Monday in Indy.

“He can probably play either defensive end or linebacker at the next level,” said Barrett Sallee, SEC Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. “But wherever he plays, Mingo is going to be a star.”

Mingo left lasting impressions on scouts with his scorching numbers, but his size, speed and athleticism make him a solid fit at the linebacker position at the next level. According to USA Today, Mingo went through several linebacker drills and impressed at every turn.

Many teams are projecting him on the outside in a 3-4 defense, and at the Combine he was flawless. According to NFL.com, Mingo “flashed the talent and projectable skills to be a dominant NFL pass rusher, and a position switch will likely serve him well.”

Gill Brandt, Senior NFL Analyst, initially listed Mingo as the no. 21 overall pick in his 2013 NFL Mock Draft on January 15th. However, since Mingo’s dominant performance he is now listed as no. 6.

“Mingo might be a little bit of a reach here, but he boasts great pass-rush ability and can play in space,” said Brandt. “I don’t know if he’ll ever get big enough to be a defensive end, but I think he can play outside linebacker.”

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Joe Robbins/Getty Images

A record 13 LSU football players attended the Combine with high hopes of playing in the NFL. Mingo’s stellar performance should payoff for him on April 25th when the official 2013 NFL Draft begins. Hopefully, the former Bengal will shine once again.