Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football, with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today, we get ready for a football game on Saturday (!!!), vote in our usual Monday poll, have some fun with poetry and more. Enjoy!
Hey, it’s game week, people!
I don’t care if it’s just a scrimmage, the LSU football team is playing a game in Tiger Stadium this weekend. This should be a cause for celebration. So, let’s treat it like a usual game week and revert to the way we used to organize the Bayou Bengal Briefing back in the fall.
That’s right: It’s Monday; that means it’s time to scout the enemy. And since both teams are LSU and everyone is already familiar with both sides, this might be our easiest scouting report yet. Nevertheless, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly for the LSU football team heading into the spring game:
The good: the defensive backfield
I know it’s a bit of a cop-out to pick the DBs as LSU’s strength, but it’s true every year for a reason. This spring is no different.
Not only does LSU have top-line talent on the edge with former 5-star recruits such as Kevin Toliver and Donte Jackson, but it’s also the team’s deepest unit, with guys such as Kristian Fulton and JaCoby Stevens — former 5-star prospects in their own right — stuck in a logjam as backups.
LSU’s wide receivers are an up-and-coming bunch, and the quarterbacks are going to be a subject of intense scrutiny. But so long as they’re going against the guys in DBU, don’t expect much out of them. At least not this early.
The bad: offensive depth
Don’t get me wrong, LSU fans, I think LSU’s offense is in a better position to succeed than it has been in a good while. But the team is thin this spring. Without Will Clapp and Toby Weathersby on the offensive line, the unit is barely 1-man deep. Same goes at H-back without J.D Moore. And for all the progress Darrel Williams and Nick Brossette have made, Derrius Guice still is the only proven commodity at running back.
Once the second half rolls around, it might be a good idea to have a roster handy if you’re watching at home or in the stands. There’ll be plenty of numbers you don’t recognize. That’s not a bad thing. But it’s going to make it a little harder to command attention.
The ugly: linebacker depth
What’s worse than having unproven backups? Not having any backups.
Donnie Alexander just had surgery. Chances are, he’s not playing through that. Jacob Phillips, Tyler Taylor and Patrick Queen haven’t arrived in Baton Rouge yet. They can’t play either. That leaves only Devin White, a former running back, and Michael Divinity, a former outside linebacker, as the scholarship options at inside backer.
Get to know the name Layton Garnett. He might not be on scholarship, but he’s going to get a ton of reps at inside backer on Saturday. And also keep an eye out for Divinity and White. There’s a chance they’ll be playing deep into the game, even after all the other starters have come out.
Your weekly LSU football poll question
For many, the coolest part of any spring game is getting to see the new faces you’ve never seen in purple and gold. And that’s the subject of the LSU football poll question this week.
Which early enrollee are you the most excited to watch Saturday? Vote in the poll below. We’ll discuss your pick in Bayou Bengal Briefing on Tuesday.
This week in mock drafts
The NFL draft is less than two weeks away. Leonard Fournette and Jamal Adams are locks to go in the first round. Tre’Davious White is a little more on the bubble. For fun, here’s a complete roundup of where the trio is being picked from 6 recent mock drafts, including one from right here on SEC Country by friend-of-the-Briefing Connor Riley.
Your weekly non-revenue LSU sports update
It was another busy weekend for LSU’s spring sports programs. Here’s a recap of all the events from the weekend, with one notable exception. More on that a little later.
- The LSU baseball team won its second straight weekend SEC series, taking 2 out of 3 from Ole Miss. For a complete look at the weekend, make sure to check out my Monday baseball column Out of The Box here on SEC Country at 1 p.m. EST, noon CT.
- LSU’s surprisingly incredible beach volleyball team extended its record win streak to 20 matches with a home sweep of the Battle on the Bayou. The Tigers swept Texas A&M-Kingsville, University of Louisiana Monroe and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in straight sets before squeaking out a 3-2 victory against Georgia State.
- The LSU softball team was swept by Ole Miss over the weekend but lost each game by 1 run, so it’s hard to be too discouraged. With the losses, the Tigers dropped to 32-12 on the season and 8-7 in SEC play.
- LSU’s women’s tennis team dropped 2 SEC matches this past weekend, a Friday match at Georgia and a Sunday match versus Tennessee. The men’s team, by comparison, pulled out a win against New Orleans at home on Saturday.
- LSU’s women’s track team shattered a 28-year-old record for fastest 4X100 race this weekend, the second-fastest relay in collegiate women’s track history.
And now for gymnastics
As you are probably aware if you check this site regularly or follow me on Twitter (sorry), the LSU gymnastics team had an unforgettable weekend, setting some NCAA records, winning a couple of individual national championships and finishing as the national runners-up in the Super Six.
It was an absolute pleasure to watch the team work this season. It’s not often you get to cover the best team in school history, but that’s what we watched in 2017. And it’s something that was obvious from Day 1. It’s a shame that LSU’s best season ever just happened to coincide with an Oklahoma team that has an argument for being the greatest college gymnastics team ever assembled.
But championships aren’t everything. It’d have been nice if LSU could’ve earned the crown. But bigger than that, gymnastics has officially established a foothold in Louisiana. The average attendance for a home meet in Baton Rouge this season was north of 10,000 people, significantly bigger than men’s and women’s basketball and comparable to baseball at this point in the year. Only a handful of gym programs outdrew LSU this season and only UConn’s women’s basketball team outdrew LSU among non-gymnastics female sports.
For the health of the sport, and more importantly, female youth athletics in general, LSU gymnastics’ importance is immeasurable. For the thousands of girls who lined up this season to watch Ashleigh Gnat and Co. gracefully decimate their opponents, second place is no different than first.
Inspiration is inspiration, no matter how you slice it.
Previously on the Bayou Bengal Briefing …
In Briefing last Monday, I pointed out that LSU football players D.J. Chark and Garrett Brumfield have been having some fun on Twitter rehashing the Tupac vs. Biggie debate. Well, one week later, they’re still not done.
Brumfield started things off this time …
— Garrett Brumfield (@thisisbruiser) April 17, 2017
… and Chark fired right back.
@thisisbruiser This proves absolutely nothing
— DJ Chark (@DJChark82) April 17, 2017
Brumfield brought up the impressiveness of Tupac having the first hologram. Chark pointed out that Biggie’s biopic came first. They went back and forth for a little while longer. Then, Rickey Jefferson intervened with a slam dunk retort to both points.
— Rickey Jefferson (@Self_Made8_) April 17, 2017
So, if you’re playing along at home, the LSU football team has not decided the greatest battle in rap history. Not yet, at least.
Today in made-up holidays
According to the folks over at NationalDayCalendar.com, Monday is “National Haiku Poetry Day.” This excites me very much.
I love haikus. I write them all the time. For fun (I’m a nerd. Deal with it.). Today, I have an excuse to drop a couple in the bottom of the Briefing. So, for those of you who had the brains to stick around until the end, here are a handful of LSU football-themed haikus. Enjoy.
Poem 1: Orgeron’s Theme
Ed O’s in charge now
Coaching with a Cajun flare
Poem 2: The Ballad of Leonard and Derrius
One down, next man up
That’s the way it goes ’round here
Protect your ankles
Poem 3: Competition
Someone has to win
“The Apprentice” for QBs
Who will Trump the rest?
Poem 4: The Safety Dance
Practice gun safety:
Make like LSU – Always
Keep your safeties on
Poem 5: Meanwhile, Elsewhere
Who will mow the field
Now that Les is unemployed?
Someone call John Deere.
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