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LSU edge rusher Arden Key

Bayou Bengal Briefing: LSU football begins its winter workout regimen

Nick Suss

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football, with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today, we discuss the beginning of winter workouts, plus baseball, basketball, Winnie the Pooh and more.

Walking in a Winter Workout-land

Winter workouts have been the subject of quite a few discussions this week, especially with what’s been going on at Oregon.

Well, the LSU football team opened up its winter workout regimen Tuesday and there are no hospitalizations to report. That said, the workouts haven’t been easy either.

Those two tweets are from Grant Delpit and Mannie Netherly, two early enrollees who just got their first exposures to college football workouts. And, as you’d expect, they probably weren’t feeling great.

Another early enrollee, Austin Deculus, came out of his workout feeling a little more confident.

Still, the early enrollees weren’t the only players working out. LSU’s returning stars also had opinions on the day. Spoiler alert: They were happy to be back.

Returning to the gym isn’t the most exciting piece of news in the world. But it’s a step toward a return to the field for spring. And we all need that. It’s only been two-and-a-half weeks and that already feels too long.

Where in the world was Ed Orgeron?

We’re deep in the midst of recruiting season, LSU football fans. Because of that, LSU coach Ed Orgeron and his staff won’t be spending much time in Baton Rouge. They’re on the road.

So where was Orgeron on Tuesday? It looks like he and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes were in Texas.

Per SEC Country’s own Sam Spiegelman, LSU offered 2018 4-star Jarell Cherry while at Dallas Carter. Cherry is a 4-star defensive end with offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and a host of other schools from the SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12.

Where will Orgeron be Wednesday? We’ll see.

Three things: LSU basketball edition

The struggling LSU basketball team takes on Auburn on the road Wednesday night. Having lost three games in a row, the Tigers are 1-4 in SEC play. Here are three things to watch out for in the matchup:

Thing 1: How much will Antonio Blakeney play?

LSU’s leading scorer and second-leading rebounder Antonio Blakeney has been limited all week in practice after injuring his ankle in the final minutes of LSU’s loss to Alabama on Saturday. If Blakeney is unable to go, that’ll be a huge gap in LSU’s offense, but it might give LSU the opportunity to play a more defense-oriented lineup. Expect steadier doses of Brandon Sampson and Kieran Hayward if Blakeney can’t go.

Thing 2: Auburn isn’t great either

Just like LSU, Auburn is 1-4 in SEC play and just like LSU, Auburn’s one SEC win is on the road against Missouri. Still, Auburn has quality nonconference wins against Connecticut and Oklahoma and additional wins against UAB and Texas Tech. Auburn has played two games against ranked opponents this season compared to LSU’s zero.

Thing 3: LSU is Auburn’s in between days

Auburn’s last game was against No. 6 Kentucky. The Tigers lost by 20. After LSU, Auburn’s next game is a home tilt versus rival Alabama. There’s a chance that Auburn is both exhausted from the past and looking ahead to the future. Which bodes well for LSU. Obviously.

Arbitrary Analysis, part 3

We’re talking politics this week in the Bayou Bengal Briefing. Well, not really.

Friday is the last day of Barack Obama’s eight-year run as president of the United States. To commemorate his time in the White House (or celebrate his departure depending on your vantage point), we’re in the Briefing are counting down the five most memorable LSU football wins of the Obama presidency.

Over the past two days, we’ve discussed two upset victories against SEC West foes. Today, we take on a game that is memorable for slightly different reasons.

No. 3: A fake field goal and a big win (2010)

After the No. 4 pick on Tuesday, I’m starting to sense a theme here: Les Miles was insane.

Down three points with less than a minute remaining against Florida, LSU lined up for a 52-yard field goal to tie the score. But, on the fourth-and-3, instead of kicking the ball, Miles opted for a fake. By the skin of its teeth and with the help of a replay review, LSU converted.

About 30 seconds of game time later, quarterback Jarrett Lee tossed a touchdown to Terrence Tolliver on a fade route to secure an LSU victory and improve the Tigers to 6-0 on the season.

Lee was excellent all game, completing 9 of his 11 pass attempts for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. Out of 100 possible points, Lee’s ESPN QBR for the game was 98.4. Fellow quarterback Jordan Jefferson wasn’t bad himself, rushing for 2 touchdowns and throwing for an additional 100 yards.

For as hard as it is to win in the Swamp, Miles had a way of making it seem even harder. But he got it done.

LSU football in the NFL

Former LSU linebacker Deion Jones was named to the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team for 2016.

Deion Jones-LSU-LSU Tigers-lsu football
Former LSU linebacker Deion Jones (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

A standout on the Atlanta Falcons defense, Jones was listed alongside Chicago Bears’ Leonard Floyd and San Diego Chargers’ Jatavis Brown as the first-team linebackers.

In 15 games played in 2016, Jones made 75 tackles and 31 assisted tackles, intercepted 3 passes and scored 2 touchdowns. Jones led all NFL defenders in interceptions returned for touchdowns and interception yardage.

Jones and his Falcons are still alive in the NFL Playoffs. They host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in what will be the final football game hosted at the Georgia Dome.

Is it spring yet?

Baseball season is just around the corner, both college and MLB. And one of LSU baseball’s most famous recent alums looks like he’s going to be ready for Spring Training when pitchers and catchers report next month.

As reported by Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola is expected to be limitation-free when he starts Spring Training. Nola injured his elbow last season and shut down his season early as a result, but his injury didn’t require surgery, so the rehab process was slightly less arduous.

Nola started 20 games for the Phillies last season. Through 13 starts, Nola looked like the future ace the Phils drafted him to be, posting a 2.65 ERA with a .212 batting average against and 85 strikeouts in 78 innings pitched. However, in his last eight starts, the wheels fell off.

The Phillies went 1-7 in those starts, as the youngster posted a 9.82 ERA with as many strikeouts as earned runs (36) and an OPS against of .965. As a frame of reference, only five players had an OPS better than .965 in 2016: David Ortiz, Mike Trout, Daniel Murphy, Joey Votto and Freddie Freeman.

Today in made-up holidays

According to the folks over at NationalDayCalendar.com, Wednesday is “National Winnie the Pooh Day,” a day where we celebrate author A.A. Milne’s birthday by honoring his most iconic creation.

So, in the same way we celebrate all made-up holidays here in the Bayou Bengal Briefing, let’s try to relate this to LSU football.

You guessed it: It’s time to cast LSU football players and coaches as Winnie the Pooh characters. Let’s get to it.

Winnie the Pooh

As Pooh Bear, we need a quiet, friendly, loving character who is motivated by food. To me, that sounds like a lineman. So, I’m going to go with Greg Gilmore. Gilmore has been a nice and thoughtful guy every time I’ve spoken to him, plus he probably could get lost in a pot of honey. But then again, couldn’t we all?

Tigger

As I’ve mentioned before in the Briefing, I’m a big fan of Tigger. And this is an obvious pick for me. Of course, Derrius Guice is LSU football’s Tigger. Who else could be that energetic and positive while still being relentlessly tough? Any other choice would be ridickerous.

Rabbit

For Rabbit, we need a wise yet irritable soul. So, I’m going to give that role to defensive line coach Pete Jenkins. I could see Jenkins getting frustrated when people mess with his garden, but I could also see him dispensing out great advice.

Eeyore

There’s no reason to be mean. No one is Eeyore. It’s hard to simultaneously be a football player and be an Eeyore, too.

Do you have any other LSU football and Winnie the Pooh comparisons? Let us know in the comments below.

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