Updated: Mar 15
LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
After three practice days with our 2020 Tigers, plenty of new info and excitement is ny at hand despite a world-wide jolt of fear and consequences keeping all mass gatherings in a state of morbid uncertainty.
May the 2020 season begin in November?
Will college football go ahead....just with significant ticket / attendance caps?
Could LSU and Joe Burrow's Reign of Terror become the first two-year college football champion?
They definitely deserve another year of praise and analysis, that much is for sure...
Hopefully, if we all take precautions, stay home as much as we can for the next little while, try not to hoard supplies to the point of that scene in the store from Jingle All The Way meets...well, every scene from The Walking Dead...we'll be fine if we take care of one another...we can contain this if we chill.
With our aims on an optimistic weathering of this biological storm, we feel the season will go ahead as planned...so...LSU in the Ides of March...how are we feeling?
While it's a college football custom for defending champions to either:
A) stay silent, proud, and authoritative while simultaneously remaining complacent or
B) act loud, brash, and full of "LOOK at ME", always a sign of an empty shell of past swagger, whilst maintaining this faux bravado until the big wake up collapse happens during the season...
After our well-deserved, unapologetic / flamboyant as hell / straight up legendary post-title celebrations, many expected, hoped, and believed Orgeron's "flukey" LSU were about to get a huge slap in the face from reality.
Instead, Coach O continues his rise as one of the elite college football coaches in the country, pushing all the right buttons in the hiring department, elevating his team thanks to his obsessive, contagious (no pun intended) ignorance of what they just accomplished only two months ago, and demanding cold, hard work ethic.
In only a few months, former Tigers Kelvin Sheppard, Kevin Faulk, Eddie Kennison, Christian LaCoutoure, Dwayne Thomas and now Bennie Logan have all joined an illustrious staff decorated with NFL & National Championship-winning pedigree:
Former Tiger Corey Raymond (my man), Bo Pelini "The Ultimate Dawg", "The Bayou Gandalf" himself Mr. Steve Ensminger, another Tiger great working his magic on our heavy metal offense; Passing Game Coordinator Scott Linehan has come aboard the U.S.S.L.S.U Orgeron and, just as we predicted, has broken out the Randy Moss / Megatron tape for his top dawgs in the WRs room...aka the best collection of wide receiving talent in the nation....three years running.
There's gritty, innovative offensive / defensive line coaches James Cregg and Bill Johnson leading their trenchmen on a siege into the theater of Death Valley's sunset-kissed, Saturday night fever;
We have a duo of expert new analysts, Carter Sheridan and Russ Callaway, both appearing to me like high quality, ultimate experience hires prone to unbridled intensity, alongside their blind fury for success.
The staff were in the LSU Football Operations Command Center working at 9am to midnight on a Sunday in the ides of March...do we need further proof this is a group of coaches who are tireless?
Example: Kevin Faulk.
Coach Orgeron already declared "I think...no, I know Kevin Faulk will be a head coach one day..."
Now, witness Coach O's motivation, the obvious public backing of Kevin Faulk, the brilliant manner in which LSU Creative and the University's Public Relations department fanned the flames of his arrival, manifesting itself in Faulk's brilliant coaching discipline within a mere few days on the practice field:
We're talking complete admiration and respect from these LSU running backs, not only as the mythical "Kevin Faulk football player", but as Kevin Faulk The Human Being...he's ready to whoop some A&M ass...just like us.
This collection of former Tigers are returning to pay it forward, lending their experience to these young guns, and contributing to the frothy-mouthed anticipation or outright bloodlust from an already riotous / winning-crazed fan-base...and yet, even after 15 games of Joe Burrow wizardry, to the point they nearly renamed Death Valley "Hogwarts", we all still feel as if college football aren't ready for us again.
Throughout the blogs, podcasts, ESPN, Dan Patrick, whomever you want to name-check, they're not betting on LSU in 2020...whatsoever.
And I'm glad...you should be, too.
For many, motivation can be hard to find in our world of ease and fake positivity:
The first thing we all wanted after our national title was for the respect to finally come our way; still, the last thing Tigers fans or our players should've demanded after the 2020 National Championship referendum of Clemson's face?
An off-season of ass-kissing.
We're good....we need to wipe the slate clean...and what better way than to have the whole world say we'll be 8-4?
One oft-forgotten architect of Louisiana State's high octane success under Orgeron?
Strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt receives little attention, but deserves the lion's share of the credit for LSU physically imposing, dominating, and crucifying the entirety of college football last year.
Moffitt has done an impeccable job transforming many of these guys into beasts of the SEC's burden, our fleet of specimen creeping Saban out worse than Billy Crystal doing a Tampax commercial.
Not only is Todd Harris lit up in the muscle shreddage department, Myles Brennan also packed on 20-25 lbs in raw muscular weight. His chest, shoulders, and calves appear much thicker than years' past when you watch his movement from 2017-2019 compared to right now:
He's pumping those legs, hopefully beginning to learn how to think with his limbs in order to extend the play, gutting his way loose to the outside in search for something downfield.
So far in Spring practice, Brennan has shown vocal leadership, adjusting protections at the line, taking complete and utter ownership of the offense under the watchful eyes of Ensminger, Linehan, Callaway, and Joe Brady's wingman D.J Mangus.
His legs and evident muscle mass now improves his already vast passing range, taking Myles to a place where only boys fear to tread.
Myles has taken all of the first team reps...interestingly, so did Chris Curry.
Sophomore running back Chris Curry, definitely considered the front-runner among the Tigers' coaching staff due to his gritty work ethic and Highlander-esque performance in the Peach Bowl, received all first team reps with Myles in the first four practices.
T.J Finley and Max Johnson appeared to share the second team reps, but a story coming out of Baton Rouge in Spring practices is the exile of QB Peter Parrish.
Parrish, another dual-threat freshman QB like Johnson, was dismissed from LSU's football team for "unspecified violations of team rules," Coach Orgeron revealed on Tuesday, refusing to add any more details.
This is now the 3rd LSU player who's been suspended or left the team in the wake of our national title: linebacker Donte Starks saw suspension before all the confetti had been swept up, critical left tackle Dare Rosenthal left school for unknown reasons, and now Parrish finds himself on the outside looking in...a very sad story, but we hope each young man will rebound and return.
"We aren't sure when or if he'll return to campus," was the most definitive answer Coach O could give us regarding Parrish's return.
As for offensive line, converted D-lineman Joe Evans has been pushing Chasen Hines to the brink at center, proving once again how key Coach O's constant quest for competition will be to the future of the program.
We've been excited to witness Bennie Logan hanging around LaCoutoure, Orgeron, and Bill Johnson's defensive line:
Logan's knowledge is perfect for a group of guys that includes such versatile juggernauts as Phillip Webb, Tyler Shelvin, Jacobian Guillory, Jaquelin Roy, T.K McClendon, and one of the most interesting:
We've tried to refrain from over-hyping Ojulari's immediate impact along the defensive front, although we cannot contain ourselves any longer:
After witnessing stark footage of the Georgia-native's bruising insistence on becoming the best D-lineman in the nation, we can't hold that tiger anymore...
Under the guidance of Coach Orgeron, Bennie Logan, Christian LaCoutoure, and Bill Johnson, LSU's future 2020 sack-leader takes his place on the edge, in the process most likely sending Webb or Glen Logan to the bench, and while a different position than Logan's interior-destroying nuisance, Ojulari possesses the same motor, drive, and burst off the line that made Bennie an LSU #18.
Get ready for Ojulari to amass more sacks than the entire 2019 defensive front accomplished in the season's entirety (8.5 along the front, only counting pure defensive linemen), somewhere in the teens we believe.
Who knows what other news will come down the pipeline for LSU's Spring preparations:
BREAKING NEWS LSU HIRES MATT FLYNN AS CONCESSIONS ANALYST...
THIS JUST IN! LSU HIRES JAMARCUS RUSSELL AS "HEALING" ANALYST?!?
The good news:
Elias Ricks is here at school, his shoulder is responsive to treatments, he's been flying up in the air to pull down high octane catches, and has generally looked fantastic for someone coming back from a shoulder operation; Arik Gilbert's shoulder surgery was successful as well.
Myles Brennan looks fortified in his place as LSU's starter, his confidence rising...no matter what Ryan Clark may say about him...
Chris Curry seems to have won over Kevin Faulk and Coach Orgeron, staking his claim to the #1 RB position;
Bo Pelini's defense pinned back their ears and lowered their pads only a few practices in, big names such as Ojulari, Ricks, Damone Clark, and Derek Stingley digging in deep, just as the likes of Jordan Toles, T.K McClendon, Cordale Flott (as well as Pelini's teacher's pet Micha Baskerville) force their way on to the football field thanks to good old competition.
Things are looking great at LSU...but while many in the media or around the national college football orbit are damning the Tigers, projecting nothing more than a savage, fire-encrusted collapse at the steps of Cajun-Valhalla, wondering aloud "HOW WILL THEY REPLACE BURROW, CLYDE EDWARDS-HELAIRE, JUSTIN JEFFERSON!??! GRANT DELPIT!? JACOB PHILLIPS?! THEY CAN'T REPLACE THEM!!!!"
For those of that mindset, you have it all wrong:
2020 isn't about Orgeron replacing Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Justin Jefferson: It's about our offense replacing their combined value in yards, big plays, or mentality in our squad...
2020 isn't about replacing Grant Delpit, Jacob Phillips, K'Lavon Chaisson, and Patrick Queen's 323 tackles and 12.5 sacks, we know this defense will arrive raising hell & fire in their bellies to equal or crush those 4 players' totals....what 2020 is really about is making up for their leadership, their steely mentality, and brute force in the face of doubt.
We must geaux forward...there is no other way.
And while the entire world begs on its knees for our collective lying governments & panic-stricken populations to get their heads out of their ass, football may be set by the wayside, following the NBA, world futbol, and the gathering of most major concert attractions. While the world may be shutting down to hibernate and wait this out, we're geauxing nowhere:
If LSU news grinds to a halt, all we've got is mounds of stories about LSU's past and present, more than enough to keep (those interested) wildly entertained.
How else could LSU fans get through this insanity?
LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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