Saturday, Aug. 24
In seven days, the 2013 season will arrive with a bang as the LSU football team heads to Cowboys Stadium to take on TCU.
Where did the past eight months go?
Spring and fall camps are in the books, and I know Tiger fans across the country are ready for this season to get underway. As a part of the football staff, I feel the same way. Our players and coaches put a tremendous amount of time and effort into this year’s fall camp, and they appear as ready as ever to let the hard work show.
Like any offseason, it’s always interesting to see how a team gels and comes together, because each 85-man roster is always different.
I’m excited to see the offense under first-year coordinator Cam Cameron, and equally ready to see how The Chief (defensive coordinator John Chavis) fills the open spots on a defense that suffered a mass exodus of names from last year’s roster – names that are now on multiple NFL rosters. And with the buzz coming out of camp surrounding the 2013 signing class, I’m looking forward to seeing which true freshmen break onto the SEC scene right away.
Maybe more than anything, I’m just curious to see which Les Miles soundbite will go viral this time around.
On Saturday, the Tigers practiced for a final time before school starts. Classes begin Monday, as does the team’s typical gameweek preparation. Get ready, because for the next 15 weeks, LSU football is on tap.
I’ve been a part of some unforgettable seasons with LSU, and I’m expecting this year to be no different.
Be sure to keep coming back to LSUsports.net throughout the fall for articles, updates, interviews and everything you could possibly want to get you through football season.
Thanks for reading and GEAUX TIGERS!
Tuesday, Aug. 20
If there’s one debate that the LSU staff doesn’t need fall camp to settle, it’s that Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr., are the teams top two wide receivers.
After two years in purple-and-gold, the juniors have cemented themselves as fixtures in the Tigers’ offense, especially after a full season of working with returning quarteback Zach Mettenberger.
But no matter how comfortable they might seem at the top, Beckham said he puts out the constant reminder that competition at the receiver position is always present.
“We’re always battling for our spot,” Beckham said. “Each and every day you have to come out and give your best, because at any given moment, any of the other receivers can step up and take your spot.”
After spending the spring season in new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s system, Beckham said he’s ready for what’s in store on Saturday nights.
“(Cameron’s) very vocal and he brings a spark to this offense,” Beckham said. “I’m just really excited to play with him this year.
“The biggest thing for me has just been focus. Just focusing on details, small details, you know, the top end of your route. It’s something that I have worked on all summer.”
Every year expectations grow for the Tigers, and with a majority of the starters back on offense, this year is no different.
When asked what he expects from LSU’s 2013 campaign, the New Orleans native sets the bar high.
“To the sky,” Beckham said. “The sky is the limit for this team. We are going to be as good as we want to be.”
For more from Beckham, check out the interview below from Sunday’s LSU Media Day.
Monday, Aug. 19
Fall camp can best be defined as a challenge, and the continuous days of practice - now with a full squad two-a-days - are not easy.
But after electing to forgo the NFL Draft and return for his senior season, safety Craig Loston is enjoying every minute of it.
“This is a moment I didn’t want to miss,” Loston said. “That is the reason I returned to LSU.
“I love this place. I’m looking forward to this last year and this environment and the fans and the coaches and my whole team.”
Loston said one of his main focuses has been to take on a leadership role in the secondary, with a central focus on helping bring along the young names on the roster so the defensive backs will be prepared once Loston leaves campus.
And after two weeks of fall camp, Loston said he can already predict the future will be bright in Baton Rouge.
“Tre'Davious White reminds me of Mo (Claiborne) when we first got here,” Loston said. “He makes great plays on the field.”
“Rickey Jefferson is going to be a special person,” Loston said. “Once those guys get settled and get comfortable with the way we do things around here, I think they will be really special for this team.”
With a history of producing NFL defensive backs, Loston said he’s confident in what it takes to continue the legacy of D-B-U.
“Coming to LSU, you know, they wouldn’t recruit you unless they think you can get the job done,” Loston said. “Being able to play with those guys and know how they did things, I know I have to keep things up and work hard.”
In the video below, Loston talks in depth about what he has worked on in the offseason, as well as his expectations for the 2013 season.
Saturday, Aug. 17
It’s been a rough year for Alfred Blue, but now back to full-health, the senior running back and leader of the LSU backfield is eager to get back on the field in Death Valley for the 2013 season.
“It feels great to be out there practicing with my team,” Blue said.
After suffering a knee injury in week three against Idaho last fall, Blue sat on the sidelines for the remainder of the year as the Tigers turned in a 10-3 season.
“It’s hard to watch everyone go out there and play,” Blue said. “You want to contribute and help the team win.”
There is no doubt Blue will be able to contribute this year, and he’s been named the team’s starter after just two weeks of fall camp. With Kenny Hilliard returning to the mix, as well as sophomore Jeremy Hill, the LSU running backs should be a big part of LSU’s offense under first-year coordinator Cam Cameron.
“I say we expect a lot,” Blue said. “It’s no different from the past when we had Mike (Ford) and Spencer (Ware) back there. Everybody is going to contribute. Everybody’s going to get their carries.
“It’s just when you get in, you’ve got to seize the moment.”
The former Hahnville High product has shined in practice so far this August, and he was able to go full-contact in the opening scrimmage, which gives the Tigers plenty of hope that Blue’s toughest times are in the rearview.
In the interview below, Blue talks to me about getting back in the groove of August two-a-days, and he shares the team’s thoughts on how the running backs have big expectations for this year.
Friday, Aug. 16
Freshman Jeryl Brazil was LSU’s first commitment in the 2013 class, and after competing in his first two weeks of fall camp, he has now made his journey to becoming a Tiger complete.
Brazil, who was recruited as an athlete, played all over the field at Loranger High School. After watching practices this month, the LSU staff plans to use him in the same capacity as they have already tested him on both sides of the ball.
In Wednesday’s scrimmage, Brazil worked out at running back, cornerback and returned punts.
“I’m used to it coming from high school playing quarterback and defense and rotating on other spots on offense,” Brazil said. “I like to display myself as an athlete and know how to play different positions on the field.”
One of the biggest challenges for most freshmen is learning the playbook, and for Brazil, that means multiple versions.
“It takes time and takes focus to get adjusted,” he said.
With the season approaching, the Louisiana product said the reality of playing in Death Valley is hard to describe.
“Just the thought of playing in Tiger Stadium is a big honor,” Brazil said. “I was smiling ear-to-ear when I saw the jersey in my locker this morning.”
Hear more from Brazil in my interview with him from Media Day in the video below.
Wednesday, Aug. 14
With a handful of new names to choose from, it might be difficult to get noticed on coach Brick Haley’s defensive line, especially for the newcomers.
But following his early-enrollment this past January, freshman defensive lineman Christian LaCouture has done just that.
I was able to catch up with LaCouture during Sunday’s LSU Media Day, and he told me enrolling in the spring was a huge advantage for him, in large part because it gave him the chance to adjust to the speed of the college game. Going up against LSU’s new-look offense, as LaCouture put it, is one of the best ways to adjust to SEC football.
Thanks to his performances in the spring and summer, LaCouture has made a big impression on the coaches and staff, and that continued after the team’s Wednesday scrimmage. Following a 70-snap, indoor scrimmage, Miles had even more compliments for the freshman, and said LaCouture stood out above the other young defensive tackles.
From my time talking with Lacouture, I could tell he’s ready to help the Tigers out wherever he can, a journey that began at defensive end but will move forward at defensive tackle.
“At LSU, you have to be the best at all times,” LaCouture said when asked about playing multiple spots on the defensive line.
The transition from high school to college can be a challenge for most, but LaCouture is already making big strides during his short time in Baton Rouge.
“I feel like we have the best coaching staff in the country,” LaCouture said.
For more, check out the full video with Christian LaCouture below.
Tuesday, Aug. 13
LSU Media Day, held each August, is the one day of the year freshmen are brought to interviews - a longstanding rule from head coach Les Miles.
After hearing from Miles and assistant coaches about the impact the 2013 guys might have, I made sure to catch up with some top names to see how they were adjusting to college football.
First up is quarterback Anthony Jennings. There is do doubt this freshman is on coaches’ and fans’ radars after his play in the spring.
Jennings enrolled in January, and already has a college spring and summer under his belt. He played in the spring game and has garnered praise from not only offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, but also Miles.
During his press conference on Sunday, Miles said Jennings has the edge at the backup spot behind starter Zach Mettenberger.
In the video below, the young signal caller talks to me about using the spring to his advantage, what he has learned from Mettenberger and backup Stephen Rivers, and how this is all a dream come true.