LSU football’s 3 biggest storylines with 3 weeks until spring practice begins
LSU football is in the news every day, and the Bayou Bengal Briefing is here to keep you updated with the latest headlines five mornings a week. Join us every Monday through Friday for the biggest news on Tigers football, recruiting, baseball and more. Enjoy!
LSU football: Spring is coming
We’re officially three weeks away from the start of LSU football’s spring practice period, which begins on March 11 and ends on April 24 with the annual spring game. With spring creeping closer and closer, let’s take a look at the three storylines LSU football fans should be excited about heading into the 2018 preseason:
1. Is LSU a passing team now?
Every move LSU made this offseason made it look that way. The competition between Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse at quarterback should be a fun one, especially with all the toys they have to play with at receiver.
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Jonathan Giles and Terrace Marshall Jr. will join a group that already includes returning contributors Stephen Sullivan, Drake Davis, Dee Anderson and Derrick Dillon. If Steve Ensminger’s offense doesn’t include some downfield shots, that’d be a shock.
2. What’s the deal with Kristian Fulton?
A former 5-star cornerback recruit, Fulton didn’t play in 2017. With Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver II gone for the NFL draft, LSU needs a second outside cornerback opposite Greedy Williams. Can Fulton be that guy or is LSU going to be a little thin in the defensive backfield?
3. Which early enrollees will step up?
Nine members of LSU’s 2018 recruiting class enrolled early this season: Marshall, defensive end Travez Moore, inside linebacker Micah Baskerville, defensive end Davin Cotton, tackle Badara Traore, center Cole Smith, tight end Zach Sheffer, guard Damien Lewis and running back Tae Provens. Marshall and Traore should be strong contenders to start Year 1, and guys such as Baskerville and Lewis can compete, too. It shall be interesting to see how this core group of nine guys develops in their first spring.
NFL draft watch
The NFL combine begins in about a week, where 10 former LSU football players will have a chance to improve their stock for the 2018 NFL Draft. But until then, there’s plenty of draft news to go around. Here’s a smattering:
- NFL Network’s Mike Mayock grades Derrius Guice as the No. 2 running back in the class
- Bleacher Report projects Arden Key as a late first-round pick
- Donte Jackson really can break John Ross’ 40-yard dash record
- Guice is a ‘baller’ that NFL Network’s Good Morning Football is all in on
In LSU baseball news
The 2018 LSU baseball season opened to a disappointing start this past weekend with the Tigers dropping two out of three games against the visiting Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Starting pitchers Caleb Gilbert, Zack Hess and Todd Peterson all stumbled with none of the three completing 5 innings of work.
That said, there were a few bright spots. Bullpen arms Matthew Beck, Austin Bain, Trent Vietmeier and Ma’Khail Hilliard threw 10.1 innings and twin brothers Bryce and Beau Jordan combined to hit 3 home runs. But the weekend was marred more by the mistakes than the successes.
For a fuller look at the weekend that was, be sure to check out Out of The Box, SEC Country’s weekly LSU baseball column, live online at 11 a.m. CT every Monday.
Credit where it’s due
Bryce Jordan’s welcome-back grand slam Friday night was an awesome sight. After missing all of 2017 rehabbing from an ACL injury, Jordan cleared the bases and touched them all in the sixth inning of his 2018 debut.
Unfortunately, Jordan’s big fly hit a young fan in the mouth, knocking out a few of her teeth. So, naturally, Jordan went and visited the girl on Sunday night to check in on her.
Bryce Jordan went visit the little girl today, that got hit in the mouth by his Home Run ball on Friday night at The Box. pic.twitter.com/YJKui2jIfM
— Lori Jordan (@blbbb21) February 19, 2018
In case you missed the home run, you can watch that below:
Would you look at that moonshot by @brycejordan200! What a beaut! LSU is within two in the bottom of the sixth at The Box!
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) February 17, 2018
Your weekly non-revenue LSU sports update
Baseball didn’t fare too well this past weekend, but LSU’s other winter and spring sports did. Here’s a recap of what went on this past weekend:
- The No. 4 LSU gymnastics team won’t be No. 4 for much longer. The Tigers put up back-to-back 198+ scores on Friday and Sunday, including the best score any team has scored in 2018, to earn four wins.
- Women’s basketball edged Arkansas on Sunday to earn its third straight win and improve to 10-4 in SEC play. The Tigers are tied for third in the SEC and can finish as high as second with a strong end to the season.
- Men’s basketball pulled off a miracle last-second victory over Missouri on Saturday, defeating the visiting Tigers to improve to 6-8 in SEC competition. LSU hosts Vanderbilt on Tuesday to attempt to inch closer to .500 in conference play.
- Softball swept the Purple & Gold Challenge this past weekend, defeating Central Arkansas, Louisiana Tech, Southern Utah and Oregon State twice to improve to 10-0 on the young season. LSU has outscored its opponents 55-6 so far.
Checking in with Ben Simmons
With the NBA season at its midpoint, it seems like a reasonable time to check in with former LSU basketball player Ben Simmons and see how his rookie season is going. Turns out, the answer is pretty darn good.
The former No. 1 NBA draft pick is averaging 16.4 points, 7.3 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2017-18. He’s posted 6 triple-doubles, joining Hall of Fame superstars Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only players to do so in their rookie seasons. Robertson and Johnson also are the only NBA rookies to average 16/7/7 for a full season, doing so in 1960-61 and 1979-80 respectively.
That’s not bad company to keep.
Today in made-up holidays
It’s the third Monday in February, meaning we celebrate President’s Day here in the United States. While this isn’t technically a made-up holiday, it is federally written into law, so let’s face it, it kind of is.
We’re celebrating a point between George Washington’s birthday and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday as a way to honor all of our presidents? That seems like a bit of a stretch. Washington and Lincoln were both great presidents. Beloved. We can celebrate their individual birthdays without having to lump Millard Fillmore and Franklin Pierce and Chester A. Arthur in there. You’re just diluting the product if you celebrate all of them.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m sure Rutherford B. Hayes and William Henry Harrison were great men. But we don’t need a day to remember them. Give me Washington, Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson and I should be good.
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