Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda

LSU football: Meet the Tigers’ newest defensive assistant coach

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 meet a new face on LSU’s coaching staff, compare Derrius Guice to the world, put basketball in context and much, much more. Enjoy!

Who’s the new guy?

The LSU football team made an addition to its coaching staff Wednesday, bringing in Mike Caputo as a defensive assistant to work under Dave Aranda.

Caputo played safety at Wisconsin from 2011-15, spending his senior season under Aranda. As a senior, Caputo made 65 tackles, one for loss, with eight pass breakups, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Partially thanks to Caputo, but more thanks to Aranda, Wisconsin posted the best scoring defense in the nation in 2015, averaging 13.7 points allowed per game.

There’s an off chance that you’re familiar with Caputo if you’re a die-hard New Orleans Saints fan. The former safety made a brief interlude in Saints camp as an undrafted free agent last season, before being released in mid-May.

Prior to his time with the Saints, Caputo was the defensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Game.

Watching his tape, it’s easy to see why he’s the type of player Aranda loved to coach. He was always around the ball, relied on instincts and reads over raw ability, and seemed to have a firm grasp on what was going on around him.

How will he work as a football coach as opposed to a player? It’s hard to say. But if Dave Aranda is vouching for you, it’s pretty hard to argue against you.

Another day, another Derrius Guice compliment

If postseason awards were given out based on how many preseason awards you’re nominated for, Derrius Guice wouldn’t have to play next season.

ESPN named Guice as one of the leaders for its Way-Too-Early Top 25 Workout Warriors yesterday, alongside names like Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and former national No. 1 recruit Rashan Gary. But the most notable name on the list beside Guice is Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, Guice’s chief competition for the mantle of best running back in America heading into 2017.

Barkley’s achievements sounds like a list of attributes given to a made-up player on Madden. He runs a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, holds the Penn State record with a 390-pound power clean and finished second in the Big 10 last year with 1,496 rushing yards.

It’s sort of unfair to compare Barkley’s 2016 to Guice’s, since Barkley carried nearly 100 more times than Guice and was a known commodity after rushing for more than 1,000 yards in 2015, so defenses treated them differently. But, just for fun, let’s put the two backs side by side and see just how similar they are.

Player Attempts Yards YPC TDs Rec Yards Rec TDs
Derrius Guice 183 1387 7.50 15 106 1
Saquon Barkley 272 1496 5.50 18 402 4

There’s no sense in making a judgment. Obviously they’re good backs. Barkley is probably a bit stronger. Guice is definitely better in open space. They’re Heisman Trophy contenders with plenty of pressure on them heading into 2017.

And that’s all we need to say about that. Until August.

Speaking of Guice…

Guice snagged a photo with an LSU football legend Wednesday, tweeting out a picture of him and former Tigers star Charles Alexander.

Since this picture is providing me with #content for the column, I’ll leave Guice’s misuse of the term “goat” alone and just move on to the comparison. Guice’s 2016 season was the fourth-best single season any LSU player has ever had by rushing yards, ranking behind only Leonard Fournette in 2015, Jeremy Hill in 2013 and Alexander in 1977.

The third-leading rusher in LSU football history, Alexander was one of the first true modern workhorse backs LSU ever had, along with Terry Robiskie. Before Fournette in 2015, Alexander’s 1,686-yard, 17-touchdown junior campaign in 1977 might’ve been the best single season any LSU running back has ever had.

If Guice can emulate Alexander’s production as a junior 40 years later, I’m sure Alexander won’t be the only happy LSU football fan.

Top 50 ain’t bad

The Associated Press released a comprehensive list of its top 100 college basketball programs of all-time Wednesday. The rankings were compiled using two factors: number of weeks spent in the AP Top 25 and number of weeks spent at No. 1 in the poll.

And, using its not-so-complicated formula, the AP ranked LSU as the 47th best college basketball program in history. That ranks LSU eighth among current SEC schools, behind No. 1 Kentucky, as well as Florida, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. All 14 SEC schools are ranked in the top 100, with Ole Miss barely making the cut at 100th.

LSU was last ranked during the 2015-16 season, starting the year as the preseason No. 21 team and remaining ranked in the 20s for two weeks before three straight losses booted the team from the polls. The Tigers last finished a season ranked in 2008-09 at No. 21. That year’s team lost in the Round of 32 to UNC, the eventual national champions.

The official list

The LSU football team released its official list of Pro Day competitors Wednesday. Pretty much every name you’d expect to be on the list made it, plus track star Cyril Grayson. In case you’re curious, here’s the full list of names:

  • Safety Jamal Adams
  • Inside linebacker Kendell Beckwith
  • Offensive guard Josh Boutte
  • Outside linebacker Tashawn Bower
  • Kicker Colby Delahoussaye
  • Wide receiver Malachi Dupre
  • Wide receiver Travin Dural
  • Running back Leonard Fournette
  • Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux
  • Athlete Cyril Grayson
  • Safety Rickey Jefferson
  • Tight end Colin Jeter
  • Defensive end Lewis Neal
  • Offensive lineman Ethan Pocic
  • Linebacker Duke Riley
  • Tight end DeSean Smith
  • Cornerback Dwayne Thomas
  • Cornerback Tre’Davious White

LSU’s Pro Day is next Wednesday, April 5. The event is set to be streamed live on WatchESPN beginning at 10 a.m. CT.

Programming note

The LSU baseball team begins a three-game series versus Texas A&M at Alex Box Stadium Thursday. The game on Thursday will begin at 6 p.m. CT and be broadcast on the SEC Network.

Alex Lange (3-2, 4.09 ERA) will start for LSU and Brigham Hill (4-2, 3.16 ERA) will toe the rubber for A&M. The LSU-versus-A&M rivalry is about as close as you can get. All-time, A&M owns the advantage, 20-19-1, and since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2013, the two teams have split their 12 games.

SEC Country will be on hand and have updates from the park, so be sure to follow @SECCountryLSU and @nicksuss on Twitter for all the updates you need.

LSU football workout warriors

LSU football strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt tweeted out another Weight Lifter of the Day big board Wednesday. The names were familiar, but a nice jumble of big and small. Check it out.

A few thoughts:

  1. As I addressed in Wednesday’s Bayou Bengal Briefing, Ed Paris had a phenomenal day on the board Tuesday. It looks like he continued that Wednesday, with an all-caps YEAH ED only able to mean one guy.
  2. I will never not laugh at the running joke calling Rashard Lawrence “Uncle Phil.” It’s too perfect.
  3. If there are any NFL scouts out there reading the Briefing, don’t sleep on Ethan Pocic. He’s working hard to improve his draft stock, apparently.
  4. Moffitt had taken nearly two weeks off since last using a motivational hashtag to describe the board. As generic as #TigerPower might be, it’s great to see him getting back in the groove of hashtagging the moment.

Thursday is a practice day for LSU, so hopefully heavy squat and bench won’t cause too much soreness on the field. I’ll keep an eye out, but I don’t expect it to be the case.

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