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LSU fans line up outside of Tiger Stadium.

Bayou Bengal Briefing: LSU community gives back after congressional shooting

Nick Suss

Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football with beat writer Nick Suss. Today, we pull optimism out of tragedy, take a trip to Alex Box North, check in with NFLSU and much more. Enjoy!

LSU gives back

Tragedy turned to teamwork in our nation’s capital Wednesday when Louisiana congressman and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot and put in critical condition by a lone gunman while he was practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game.

To honor Scalise, members of Congress from both sides have decided to wear LSU gear in their game on Thursday. The LSU athletic department is aiding in this endeavor, donating official LSU baseball hats and T-shirts for congressmen and congresswomen to wear in the competition.

Obviously, the actions of the shooter should not be rewarded. This was a tragic decision with a tragic outcome and should be treated as such, regardless of where you stand politically. But the fact that Scalise’s co-workers and family and friends can rally around LSU shows once more the power that this university and its athletic department wields.

In times of great distress, sports help to make things better. Whether you support Scalise’s politics or disagree with his stances, you’re unified by the team you love. And, more than anything, that’s the value of sports: They bring people together.

May we all wish Rep. Scalise a speedy and healthy recovery.

On the LSU baseball front

The LSU baseball team (and yours truly) is set to travel to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series on Thursday. Practices begin Friday and LSU will play its first game Saturday at 7 p.m. CT versus Florida State.

To commemorate the occasion, I’ve written and performed a song. So, for your listening pleasures, here is Omaha Bound, sung to the tune of the Simon and Garfunkel classic Homeward Bound. Hope you love it.

Yep. There that was. Share it to anyone who might be going to Omaha, or just likes college baseball and folk music.

In other baseball-related video …

In case you haven’t gotten enough of my face yet, Alex Hickey and I went on Facebook Live on Wednesday night and chatted for half an hour about what the LSU baseball team has ahead of it in Omaha. We touched on every topic, from pitching depth to offensive heat, to which coaches in the tournament are the most legendary.

Watch the video in the box below. And be sure to like LSU Insiders on Facebook for more videos from Omaha all week.

Catching up with Debo

The MMBQ’s Tim Rohan wrote a profile of former LSU linebacker Deion Jones this week, declaring him ‘The Ideal Modern Linebacker.’

It’s not a surprise to see Jones receive praise for his success as a rookie. Jones led all rookies in tackles and interceptions a year ago, a rare feat, and helped lead a young Atlanta Falcons defense to the Super Bowl. We all know what happened in that game and you can make whatever jokes you want about it.

But, as Rohan pointed out, Jones was a star in that game, forcing a fumble that ignited Atlanta’s early rally. With his impressive blend of speed and instincts, Jones is one of the faces of the new breed of linebackers, a group that includes Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David and Washington Redskins backer Zach Brown, among others.

The group also includes Jones’ once and current teammate Duke Riley, a fellow LSU football alum who joins Jones in Atlanta this year. Pairing the two undersized and inexperienced but quick and instinctive linebackers together could prove powerful for Atlanta in the coming years, especially as this team tries to mount another Super Bowl run in 2017.

If that comes to pass, Jones and Riley are bound to be a significant part of it.

In non-revenue LSU sports news

LSU hired its new men’s tennis coaches this week, and they’re men from a storied coaching lineage.

The Tigers hired father-and-son combo Andy and Chris Brandi to run the men’s tennis program. Andy Brandi is a three-time national championship-winning coach in women’s tennis from his tenure at Florida, which lasted from 1985-2001. He’s a five-time SEC Coach of the Year and a two-time National Coach of the Year.

Chris Brandi, his son, played tennis at TCU and Florida, then competed in the Davis Cup and served as an assistant tennis coach at both Wake Forest and Baylor.

The LSU men’s tennis team went 10-17 in 2017 with a 3-9 record in SEC play and a 1-7 record on the road.

Tweet of the day

LSU quarterback Justin McMillan used Wednesday to school some Twitter users on manners.

Friends, we’ve found Justin McMillan’s pet peeve. So, if you ever see McMillan in public, be sure to walk behind him. That way, if he opens a door and keeps it open for you, you’ll have the opportunity to say thank you.

Then you’ll do it. And he’ll like you for it.

Just don’t go out of your way looking for him to open doors for you. That’s stalking. And the Bayou Bengal Briefing does not condone stalking. Good that we’ve made that clear.

Today in made-up holidays

Now, to directly contradict McMillan’s point.

According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Thursday is “National Smile Power Day,” a day where you can show kindness simply through the power of a big ol’ smile.

Smiles communicate a lot. So much, in fact, that there are entire episodes of television devoted to trying to teach a man how to smile. Check it out.

So take a cue from Joey. Look down. Look down. Keep looking down. Then look up and smile. It’ll go a long way.

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