Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada

LSU football: Watch Matt Canada’s intense coaching style in action

Nick Suss

Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football, with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today, we watch a little bit of practice film, think about some former Tigers, discuss cartoons and much, much more. Enjoy!

Watch and you shall see

At this point, you’ve probably heard that Matt Canada is a pretty intense coach.

The LSU football team’s new offensive coordinator needs no hype man. He’s as energetic as they come, and he’s not afraid to weaponize his volume — or his sarcasm. In short, Canada is defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s foil, and LSU football coach Ed Orgeron’s offensive equal.

But don’t just take my word for it. Check out some raw video I took Tuesday from practice of Matt Canada in his element, coaching up LSU’s quarterbacks and running backs as they work on stick routes and shallow out routes.

And if those videos don’t do it for you, check out this clip that happened a few minutes later while I had my camera down. Luckily, Cody Worsham from TigerRag was standing next to me to catch it on film. Because it’s a gem.

So, yes, Canada has a personality that one practice field can’t contain. How will it translate on the field? We’ll see. But for now, it’s the talk of the town.

And why shouldn’t it be?

The debate that just won’t go away

Until they’re drafted, and probably long after that, pundits won’t stop pitting Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook against one another.

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Leonard Fournette runs his 40-yard dash. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

At this point, it’s pretty clear that, barring injury or extenuating circumstances, Fournette is going to be the first running back off the board. NFL Network’s Charley Casserly shed light on that Tuesday by revealing that 13 of the NFL front offices he polled prefer Fournette over Cook.

But this creates a bigger question to me: What is it about these two backs that creates such a debate? You don’t see these kinds of debates about guys such as Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker, two safeties who are equally as dominant at their positions as Fournette and Cook are at theirs. Nor do you really see these debates about Myles Garrett and Jonathan Allen, two projected top-5 picks who play similar positions.

And it can’t be just because Fournette and Cook are running backs. Because, if you’ll recall two years ago, slam dunk first-round picks Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon couldn’t be more dissimilar in ability but were rarely pitted against one another.

I have two theories:

  1. Fournette and Cook are exceptionally equal and since it’s so hard to pinpoint a true favorite, these discussions are a good way to fill up debate time in the long NFL offseason.
  2. Since there aren’t any great quarterbacks or offensive tackles in this year’s draft, discussion has turned to the only other position that can seemingly make or break an offense. In the absence of a Luck-Griffin or Winston-Mariota battle, Fournette-Cook surfaced as a significant divide.

I’m leaning toward the second one. But if you have thoughts, feel free to share them in the comments section down below.

Speaking of the NFL draft …

For a long while, I’ve been arguing that former LSU wide receiver Malachi Dupre should’ve stuck around one more year for his senior season. Now, it’s starting to look like some NFL personnel might agree with me.

One NFL scout told Gridiron Now on Tuesday that he advised Dupre to stay in college instead of declaring for the NFL draft. But the scout hedged his bet by bringing up the same old tired excuse: LSU wasted Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, so maybe the Tigers wasted Dupre, too.

lsu football-malachi dupre
Auburn defensive back Rudy Ford and LSU wide receiver Malachi Dupre (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Hey. NFL. Stop making this comparison.

Maybe Beckham was underutilized at LSU compared to his usage in the NFL. But to this day, Beckham ranks as LSU’s seventh-leading receiver by yards and ninth-leading receiver by catches. His 2013 season is the fourth-best year any Tiger has ever had for receiving yards.

As for Landry? Same story. Landry’s 2013 season is among the three greatest seasons an LSU receiver ever had, ranking third all time in single-season receiving yards, fourth all time in single-season receptions and fifth all time in single-season touchdown catches.

Dupre does not rank in the top 10 in a single LSU career, single season or single game record. He has 200 fewer career yards than Landry, 731 fewer career yards than Beckham, 39 fewer catches than Landry and 45 fewer catches than Beckham.

So, please, stop saying that Beckham and Landry weren’t good at LSU and that somehow excuses Dupre’s lack of production. Because that’s just flat-out untrue. Beckham and Landry are two of the 10 best receivers ever to play at LSU.

Dupre isn’t.

Alex Bregman can’t take the Odor

Former LSU and Houston Astros shortstop Alex Bregman is representing the United States out in the World Baseball Classic this month. And while he’s wearing U.S.A. on his chest, he’s still thinking like an Astro.

Bregman called out Venezuelan infielder and rival Texas Ranger Rougned Odor for an ill-advised bat flip in Venezuela’s recent game against Italy. In a (sub)tweet that has since been deleted, Bregman criticized his fellow infielder, saying he should “act like you’ve done it before.”

There’s a little bit of hypocrisy in the 22-year-old Bregman calling out the 23-year-old Odor, especially since Odor has been playing in the big leagues far longer than Bregman. Bregman might’ve been the higher draft pick, but Odor has more career Major League home runs (58) than Bregman has hits (53).

Still, it’s interesting to know that Bregman’s not afraid to get down and dirty with a division rival. Especially a division rival who’s not afraid to throw fists.

Speaking of LSU baseball …

I expect significantly fewer fists to fly Wednesday night when the LSU baseball team next takes the field. The Tigers host Blake Dean’s University of New Orleans squad, a team that defeated LSU, 11-8, back in February to hand the Tigers their first loss of the season.

The timing and presentation of this game make things difficult for the Tigers this time around, too. LSU begins SEC play on Friday with a home series against Georgia, and coach Paul Mainieri doesn’t want to treat that series lightly. Therefore, he’ll likely be saving many of his most reliable bullpen arms for Friday through Sunday.

Still, LSU doesn’t have a starting pitcher to spare for Wednesday night. So, freshman relief pitcher Todd Peterson will be the first of many Tigers to throw, though it certainly won’t be LSU’s “A” squad of relievers such as Hunter Newman, Caleb Gilbert or Austin Bain. If ever there were a night to get looks for pitchers who don’t see much action, Wednesday is the one.

And if that’s the sort of thing you’re interested in watching, the game is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be streamed on WatchESPN.

An LSU football player with an opinion

LSU wide receiver D.J. Chark has some strong takes on adult animation. And I’m here to validate them.

Of those four TV shows, I’ve gotta side with Chark on American Dad! being the best. Sure, Family Guy is more recognizable and Bob’s Burgers earns more of the critical acclaim. But American Dad! is Seth MacFarlane’s funniest cartoon. The show balances the absurd with topical satire better than any animated show not helmed by Matt Groening.

Which is why I’m glad Chark didn’t try to compare any of these four shows to The Simpsons or Futurama. If you didn’t notice last week when I referenced 20-25 different episodes of The Simpsons, I’m a pretty big Groening fan. If Chark tried to put anything ahead of those shows, we’d have fighting words.

But for now, we’re cool. Keep up your good taste in cartoons, D.J.

Today in made-up holidays

According to the fine folks over at NationalDayCalendar.com, Wednesday is “Everything You Think Is Wrong Day.” Which seems like a pretty good tagline for this column, eh?

Apparently, you’re supposed to spend Wednesday doubting all of your opinions. I don’t necessarily think I understand how this is supposed to be productive, but I’m game. Let’s walk back every opinion in this column. If everything I think is wrong, all I’ve gotta do is change my mind a couple of times. Here I go:

  • Scouts are enamored with the Fournette and Cook debate because it really, really, really matters which running back is picked first. Who cares how they actually perform? All people remember is where players get drafted anyway.
  • Dupre will be a great NFL player because Beckham Jr. and Landry weren’t great at LSU. That makes logical sense.
  • It was smart of Bregman to subtweet someone who likes to resolve conflicts by punching people. That’s bound to turn out well.
  • American Dad! is Family Guy without cutaway gags and relies on science fiction tropes and absurdist humor too heavily to be talked about in the same discussion as a down-to-earth modern classic like Bob’s Burgers.

So, how does this work? Are those opinions now wrong, too? I’m confused.

Either way, just remember that everything you think today will inevitably be wrong. Hope you don’t have any important decisions to make.

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