With another injury, should LSU football players even practice in spring?
Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football, with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today, we take a skeptical look at spring practice as a whole, look forward to September, think a little bit about alcohol and much more. Enjoy!
Wide receiver Wednesday
It’s Wednesday. On Wednesday, we talk about wide receivers.
Today’s topic: D.J. Chark’s injury
Senior wide receiver D.J. Chark became the latest LSU football player to sit out practice with an injury Tuesday, missing time with a sprained ankle. Chark showed up to media availability Tuesday afternoon in a walking boot and wasn’t on the field for practice.
In addition to Chark, running back Derrius Guice and offensive lineman Will Clapp were absent on Tuesday as well. In other words, LSU’s three best returning offensive starters all missed spring ball, two of which with injuries sustained during spring.
Which begs the question: Should the LSU football team even have full-contact spring practices?
I’m never going to say that a college team shouldn’t practice during the spring. It’s a great way to get early enrollees and younger players acclimated to increased responsibilities. And if your team’s gone through a coaching change like LSU has, it’s particularly invaluable.
But what does LSU gain from subjecting its players to drills that involve contact or in-game situations that lead to higher risks of non-contact injury. Sure, you can get hurt doing anything on a football field. But that’s even more reason not to practice as much.
Whatever competitive advantage you might gain from a month of spring practice, you completely offset with even one injury that bleeds into summer, fall camp or the season. Shouldn’t coaches be seeking to minimize every issue they can?
If that means less time on the field and more time in the classroom or the film room, I think I’d take it.
Workout warriors: Ed Paris edition
Usually, LSU football strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt tweets out LSU’s weight lifters of the day board. But safety Ed Paris took those reins Tuesday. And for good reason.
— Ed Paris Jr. (@Eddieboh21_) March 29, 2017
Paris, starting at safety opposite John Battle this spring, was listed on LSU’s board for Weight Lifter of the Day and highest intensity spring practicer. If there’s anyone who’s trying to make the most of this spring, it seems to be Paris.
After three years at cornerback and minimal defensive playing time last season, Paris looks poised to be one of the starters, and potentially stars, on LSU’s defense in 2017. He certainly has the coverage skills and the body type. It’s all a matter of if he’ll have the discipline.
Well, the intensity and the physical improvements are there. Bring on the question marks. Paris seems ready.
Opening lines: LSU football edition
It’s still incredibly early in the college football season. Like, nowhere near starting early.
But if you’re confident in the outcome of LSU’s season opener against BYU on Sept. 2, you can already put money down if you desire.
The betting line for LSU vs. BYU opened, with LSU sitting as a 13-point favorite to beat BYU. For those of you who don’t speak gambling-ese, that simply means LSU is projected to win by 13 points.
— Brad Powers (@BradPowers7) March 19, 2017
These lines have been open for a little more than a week now, so who’s to know how many people have flooded in with their bets. But if you’re the kind of person known to place a legal wager or two, feel free to join the party. Getting in now while the line is fresh might be a wise investment. Who knows how much it might move between now and September?
I certainly don’t. So, don’t ask me for gambling advice. I’m just the messenger.
Apparently, the LSU athletic department is considering adding beer sales to Tiger Stadium for football season, if it can get approved by the SEC.
I already wrote a whole column devoted to the topic, so feel free to click here if you want some nuanced, rational thoughts on the situation. But since this is the Bayou Bengal Briefing, let’s get a little more off-topic.
In a broad sense, I’ve always been fascinated with why sports fans like to drink alcohol while watching games. If you’re going to a football game for the social aspect, by all means, drink a safe amount. Have some fun.
But if you seriously care about the outcome of the game you’re watching, drinking something that’ll impair your ability to perceive your surroundings is a counterintuitive idea. I don’t want to come off like a major buzzkill. As an of-age adult, I choose to drink from time to time. But never before something I want to concentrate on.
And I get it. One or two drinks won’t impair your ability to watch football too badly. But seriously, I’ve never understood the appeal of getting drunk before going to a sporting event. You’re just setting yourself up to have to sober up in bright lights around 100,000 screaming people with no place to lay down.
It just seems like a bad plan to me. Maybe I’m too rational. Or maybe I care way too much about sports. But I don’t think you should drink before trying to keep up with complex games of strategy and ritualistic precision.
Is it just me? Voice your opinions in the comments below to keep the conversation going.
The best team on LSU’s campus — the No. 2-ranked LSU gymnastics squad — celebrated a huge day worth of honors Tuesday.
Seven Tigers earned 11 All-America nods Tuesday by finishing among the top 16 RQS competitors in individual events or in the all-around. They were as follows:
- Ashleigh Gnat: Vault, beam and floor
- Myia Hambrick: All-Around, vault, floor
- McKenna Kelley: Floor
- Sarah Finnegan: Beam
- Lexie Priessman: Bars
- Kennedi Edney: Vault
- Sydney Ewing: Vault
The Tigers rank second in the nation heading into the NCAA Regionals this weekend in Lincoln, Neb. LSU’s main competition at the meet will be No. 11 Boise State and No. 14 Nebraska, the host school. Behind Gnat’s No. 1 ranking and Hambrick, Edney and Ewing’s additional dominance, LSU ranks as the No. 1 team in the nation on vault with an RQS of 49.540. The Tigers rank second or third in every other apparatus, behind No. 1 Oklahoma in every instance.
Regionals take place this Saturday. Follow along on SECCountry.com/LSU for updates. I’ll be following the action pretty closely, so feel free to give me a follow on Twitter @nicksuss as well.
More shameless self-promo
Did you know that we at SEC Country have an LSU-specific Facebook page? Well, if you don’t by now, you must be new to the Briefing. So, welcome.
On the off chance you don’t follow us on Facebook, here’s a link to get to the page. Give it a like for access to all of our article posts, Facebook exclusives such as photos and caption contests and our bi-weekly Facebook Live chats where we answer questions straight from you, the readers.
I did one such Facebook Live on Tuesday. Check it out below, and be sure to keep an eye out on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the rest of spring football practice to get updates on the latest LSU football has to offer.
Yesterday in LSU baseball
Baseball season is long and there’s never much reason to get nervous about a program like LSU’s, but LSU’s loss to Tulane on Tuesday was bizarre and somewhat off-putting for a couple of reasons.
Let’s give it the three things treatment for a breakdown:
Thing 1: The top of the order is regressing
When Kramer Robertson, Cole Freeman and Antoine Duplantis all jumped out to starts with batting averages hovering around .400, it was natural to expect it to last forever. They didn’t show any signs of slowing down, and Duplantis was getting better every week.
But Tuesday night was another example of the trio’s regression back to their usual averages. The top three batters in LSU’s order went a combined 2 for 14 with 1 run scored and 1 walk. The only player to record more than one hit was batting eighth. Pitchers are working around, or through, the top of LSU’s lineup now. And that’s really stunted the team’s offense. Partially because …
Thing 2: Teams are taking Greg Deichmann out of games
Opponents aren’t giving Greg Deichmann pitches to hit. Deichmann was walked four more times Tuesday night, and with freshman Zach Watson hitting behind him with very little threat to move him around the bases, teams aren’t afraid to put him on base.
LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri is going to have to either reconfigure the lineup to give Deichmann more protection behind him or move Deichmann up to ensure he gets better pitches. Because as of now, opponents are pitching around him and getting the rest of the lineup out.
Thing 3: The short men in LSU’s bullpen aren’t super predictable
Other than Matthew Beck and Austin Bain, who have been pretty spectacular in recent weeks, the middle relievers in LSU’s bullpen are pretty hard to predict. Russell Reynolds struggled Tuesday night after looking pretty good against the three Southeastern batters he faced last week. Nick Bush gave up a run in a crucial situation Tuesday night. And you never know what to expect out of guys such as Hunter Kiel and Collin Strall, who have both allowed plenty of runs this season.
The good news is Beck and Caleb Gilbert are forming a pretty good stable of middle-inning guys for big games, and closer Hunter Newman seems like he’s getting pretty close to coming back. But in the meantime, LSU is going to need its starters to pitch long and well in big games.
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