Highlighting LSU football’s most notable ‘Irish’ players on St. Patty’s Day
Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football, with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in LSU style, look ahead to a busy weekend, recap Thursday’s contest and much more. Enjoy!
Today in real-life holidays
As you probably already know and hopefully haven’t begun celebrating yet, Friday is St. Patrick’s Day, a day we in the United States have taken to honor all things Irish.
So, I figured I’d start off Bayou Bengal Briefing today by highlighting some of the most notable players with Irish surnames on the LSU football team and breaking down what to expect from them this spring. Let’s get to it.
The LSU player with the most directly Irish name is perhaps the least leprechaun-like of any Tiger.
A 6-foot-6 wide receiver competing with Dee Anderson for the role of D.J. Chark’s backup, Sullivan is one of the redshirt freshman receivers expected to push for playing time this spring. Sullivan’s frame makes him a dangerous target on the outside and a lethal option on jump balls in the red zone.
K.J. Malone (which is Irish, meaning a disciple of St. John) returns as LSU’s starting left tackle this season. And his output this spring is as important as it will ever be.
As the lone returning veteran on a banged-up offensive line, Malone’s steadying influence is important for the core of LSU’s patchwork unit. Malone’s presence on the outside — and also on the interior with Will Clapp injured — may be the only constant LSU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes has this spring.
Depending on what region you’re from, Gilmore can either mean “servant of the Virgin Mary” or “son of the spirited lad.” Either way, it’s Irish.
Rarely discussed because of how consistent he is in the middle, Gilmore is the only true returning starter on the LSU defensive line this season. He is expected to rotate at nose tackle with sophomore Ed Alexander (Scottish, not Irish) and stabilize a unit made up of inexperienced players such as Frank Herron (English, Irish and Spanish) and Rashard Lawrence (Scottish), as well as Christian LaCouture (as French as they come) and his return from injury.
Names that sound Irish that aren’t:
- Justin McMillan (Scottish)
- JaCoby Stevens (English)
- Drake Davis (Welsh)
- Eric Monroe (Scottish)
- J.D. Moore (English/Scottish)
- Blake Ferguson (Scottish)
Highlights from LSU football practice on Thursday
The LSU football team took the practice field in full pads for the first time this spring on Thursday. I was there and slapped together a highlight reel of some of the more interesting moments from practice. Enjoy it:
Your weekly non-revenue sports preview
Sure, there’ll be plenty of football content to monitor this weekend. But football isn’t the only LSU sport going down right now. Here’s a schedule of all the happening going on this weekend elsewhere in LSU sports:
- The No. 8 seed LSU women’s basketball team opens NCAA Tournament play on Saturday with its first-round matchup versus California. The game begins at 8 p.m. CT from Waco, Texas. Were LSU to win, the Tigers will likely face No. 1 seed Baylor in the second round.
- Your No. 2 LSU gymnastics team is set to compete for the school’s first postseason SEC championship since 1981 on Saturday. The Tigers enter the meet as the conference’s No. 1 seed and are favored to win. The Tigers will be in the late group, beginning competition around 5 p.m. CT.
- The LSU baseball team opens SEC play this weekend with a three-game home series versus Georgia. The first game is scheduled to begin tonight at 7, followed by a game Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
- LSU’s softball team heads to Kansas this weekend for the Rock Chalk Challenge. Competition begins Friday night with games versus Omaha and Kansas, followed by action Saturday versus Tulsa and Southeast Missouri.
- The women’s tennis team hosts Alabama on Friday and Auburn on Sunday, while the men’s tennis team visits Alabama for a Sunday match.
- In a rare home meet, the LSU beach volleyball team hosts Tulane, South Carolina, Florida International and North Florida this weekend in the Tiger Beach Invitational.
- Men’s golf kicks off the Valspar Collegiate Invitational on Sunday.
What else can I do this weekend?
If watching LSU sports and obsessing over your March Madness bracket doesn’t sound appealing to you, there’s still plenty you can do in the Baton Rouge area this weekend. Here’s a quick selection of some of the things I would do if I wasn’t watching sports:
- The 32nd annual Baton Rouge St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Saturday. Festivities run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. More than 70 floats and the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile are expected to mark the roads.
- If you’re looking for some interesting live music, Moon Taxi is playing at the Varsity Theatre on Friday night. A band with a sound that borders between Indie and progressive rock, Moon Taxi is a must-see to brag to if you want to brag to your hipster friends about how cool you are. You can also catch country singer and former Pure Prairie League frontman Vince Gill at L’auberge this weekend, if that’s more your speed.
- Did you like/see the movie Hidden Figures? Well, LSU school of engineering is hosting a panel discussion of the movie Friday night led by female scientists, engineers and educators.
- Sunday afternoon, the Tin Roof brewery is rereleasing its Juke Joint IPA brew in a free event at the brewery. If you like beer, you really don’t have an excuse not to go.
For a full list of events going down within 50 miles of Baton Rouge this weekend, check out this handy calendar courtesy of The Advocate.
For your voting pleasure
We at SEC Country are spending this week voting on a bracket to decide who is the best athlete in SEC history. And LSU’s most legendary son needs your help today.
“Pistol” Pete Maravich caught an unbelievably difficult draw in the quarterfinals. After dispatching Kentucky’s “Wah Wah” Jones in the first round, the fifth-seeded Maravich drew Florida football legend Tim Tebow in the quarterfinals.
If it were up to me, Tebow would be the No. 1 overall seed in this bracket and Maravich wouldn’t have seen him until the semifinals. But this isn’t my bracket.
Anyway, follow this link to voice your support for Maravich and keep him alive in one of the more competitive brackets you’ll see. A win in this round will send the Pistol to the semifinals versus either Georgia running back Herschel Walker or Arkansas running back Darren McFadden.
One of the best DBs ever to wear an LSU uniform looks like he’s found a new home.
Jim Thorpe Award winner and former top 10 NFL draft pick Morris Claiborne’s time with the Dallas Cowboys is up. And Claiborne seems to be headed east. Per a report from ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, Claiborne is expected to sign with the New York Jets.
The Jets, who are parting ways with veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis, ranked in the bottom 10 in the NFL is pass defense last season and didn’t have a player record more than 2 interceptions. New York would be a fresh start for Claiborne, who spent most of last season on the bench with injuries. Despite only playing seven games, Claiborne had his best season since his rookie year in 2016, creating 2 turnovers, defensing 5 passes and making 24 tackles in his seven games.
Caption Contest recap
In Bayou Bengal Briefing on Thursday, I gave you a photograph and asked you to put a caption on it. Here are your best handful of answers:
Nearly all of our comments that weren’t unsolicited anger at Paul Mainieri related to the good ol’ Rally Possum. Examples:
“Where’s the dang possum?” — Tim Smith
“LSU promised a rally possum, not a rally dork!” — Pam Anderson
Lynette French Morris wants to know where the other halves of LSU’s hats went. James Twilbeck thinks UNO stole them.
Sadly, no one commented on my favorite part of the photo: One of the Jordan twins leaning against the wall in the bottom left corner. While everyone else seems to be enjoying the rally, Jordan looks fed up with the shenanigans.
Either that, or he’s in a classic “paint me like one of your French girls” pose.
That’s what I would’ve gone with. But I like the way y’all thought, too. Anyway, be sure to like us on Facebook for more LSU caption contests.
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