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Rabalais: What could've been? Four ex-LSU quarterbacks finding success elsewhere

FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2014, file photo, Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel looks to pass against South Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football gamein Cincinnati. Kiel has a year of experience and a deep corps of receivers returning. The Bearcats are picked to win the American Athletic Conference in large measure because of a balanced and experienced offense. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

. Though LSU may have found its quarterback of the present and future with Brandon Harris, the Tigers’ quarterback woes have dragged on for a long time. Makes you wonder if LSU could have ever made something work with one of its former quarterbacks scattered around the country. Two former Tigers quarterbacks and a former… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Miles confirms what we thought: It’s Harris’ team ... for now

Advocate file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU quarterback Brandon Harris

Brandon Harris, it’s your team now. Late Tuesday night at a post-scrimmage news conference, LSU coach Les Miles, perhaps after gleaning the last bit of confirmation he needed from the Tigers’ final major preseason scrimmage, allowed what has seemed increasingly obvious: Harris has the lead in the quarterback derby with Anthony Jennings. Miles didn’t come out… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Why middle-of-pack outlook might not be so bad for LSU football

LSU quarterbacks Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings (Advocate file photo)

It’s hard to say LSU is flying under the radar heading into this football season. Last year’s 8-5 record wasn’t quite as dire as the downturn we’ve seen in the stock markets the past few days. LSU — as evidenced by the quotes on their recent visit from ESPN’s Rece Davis, Danny Kannell (who… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Ben Simmons as an LSU receiver? Crazy. But then again ...

LSU signee Ben Simmons

Imagine this Jim Hawthorne call on a sultry Saturday night in Tiger Stadium … “First-and-goal at the 3 … Tigers come to the line … Brandon Harris lines up in the shotgun … He has Fournette offset to his right, with two wide outs to each side with Ben Simmons on the far left … Here’s the snap,… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: Here's what you should make of Saints' preseason 'loss' to Patriots

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- New Orleans Saints tight end Josh Hill (89) makes a touchdown in the second quarter while New England Patriots strong safety Duron Harmon (30) defends as they play at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome  in New Orleans, La. Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. It was the Saints third touchdown of the game.

Drawing conclusions from the preseason is a perilous exercise. Usually, there are important subtexts at play that outweigh the final score. The shadow game behind the game is the one that’s important. On the face of it, Saturday night’s 26-24 loss to the New England Patriots was for the New Orleans Saints a second straight come-from-ahead defeat. But it… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU's Tommy Casanova glaring omission from anniversary All-American team

The Football Writers Association of America on Thursday unveiled its 75th anniversary All-American team. A panel of sportswriters who cover college football picked 75 players on the first, second and third teams who played over the last three-quarters of a century, dating back to just before the start of World War II. From the start, a list like this has an impossible… Continue reading →

Rabalais: How outcome of trendy debate on cost of college attendance could affect LSU

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Athletic Director Joe Alleva.

And the money kept rolling out in all directions To the poor, to the weak, to the destitute of all complexions Now cynics claim a little of the cash has gone astray But that’s not the point my friends … — From “Evita” The money… Continue reading →

When it comes to LSU’s national titles, what defines a champion?

Apparently, Alabama State Sen. Tom Whatley isn’t too worried about Louisiana transplants living in his voting district. Whatley is reportedly working on a resolution to get Auburn to recognize seven football national championships other than the two it is generally recognized having won in 1957 and 2010. That includes a national title in 1958, the year another… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Leonard Fournette stays grounded

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Sophomore running back Leonard Fournette, left, hands an autographed football to young fan Brookleigh Buford, 7, of Lake Charles during LSU's 2015 Fan Day on campus Sunday.

And on the seventh day, LSU’s Garbo talked. The last anyone heard from Leonard Fournette was at Southeastern Conference Media Day about a month ago. Since then, LSU coach Les Miles had his star running back off limits to the media. Maybe it was the red pants and matching red bow tie Fournette wore… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Pressure leading to different kind of preseason for LSU

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Head coach Les Miles surveys the action, on the first day of practice at fall camp Thursday at LSU 's Charles McClendon Football Practice Facility.

Were Winston Churchill covering LSU football, he might have been inspired to opine thusly: “From the railroad tracks near Nicholson Drive, to Tiger Park, an iron curtain has descended across the LSU football program.” OK, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but it has been a curiously quiet week for the team on Skip Bertman Drive. LSU players haven’t… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: ESPN crew says LSU has lots of weapons and, like other college teams, ‘so many unknowns’

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Running back Leonard Fournette carries at fall camp Friday at LSU 's Charles McClendon Football Practice Facility.

Not even recruits get to actually dine in LSU’s new locker room in Tiger Stadium. But there Les Miles was Thursday night, entertaining ESPN’s Rece Davis, Joey Galloway and Danny Kanell at a big round table, football talk and laughter ringing off the gleaming white jerseys arranged neatly in the lockers. As football coaches go, Miles is… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Preseason hype: Are you buying or selling?

August is the month for hot air. We’re talking not about the weather but about college football. You can find a rack of newspapers and magazines and a raft of websites devoted to how the Southeastern Conference will shape up this football season. It comes down to this: Are you buying each… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU’s Brandon Harris may be taking quarterback lead, but jury still out

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  Quarterback Brandon Harris (6) hands off to running back Leonard Fournette (7), as fullback John David Moore (46) moves into position for blocking, at LSU's fall camp Friday at LSU 's Charles McClendon Football Practice Facility.

There’s no white smoke yet coming out of Les Miles’ office when it comes to this quarterback derby between Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris. So we wait and we watch for hints, clues, tells as to what decision is blowing on the hot wind when it comes to this position battle on which so much of… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: LSU defense talks of trying to live up to the standard of the 2011 team

Advocate file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING  -- LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo (49) reaches for Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole in the second half of the LSU-Tennessee game Oct. 15, 2011, at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu is at right. The 2015 LSU defense wants to live up to the 2011 standard.

After he got over the initial shock of being awarded the coveted No. 18 jersey, LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White thought of something that he hopes will make his honor a good luck charm for the entire defense. “The last time we had an 18 in the defensive backfield, LSU did some great things,” White said. That No. 18 was… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: As LSU Tigers report to campus, there are key issues that, gasp, don't involve the quarterback position

Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCouture pressures New Mexico State quarterback Tyler Rogers last season in Tiger Stadium.

If there has been any significant sound generated by the rest of the LSU football team heading into preseason practice, it’s been hard to pick up, drowned out by all the noise concerning the quarterback melodrama starring Mr. Jennings and Mr. Harris. This may come as a shock, but Anthony and Brandon aren’t the only two players on… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Catch your breath, LSU fans — Dylan Moses’ decommitment shouldn’t be a surprise, and he likely still ends up a Tiger

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- University's Dylan Moses forces Brusly's Connor Manola to fumble in September 2013.

What exactly did you expect from Dylan Moses, the highly sought-after University High football star who decommitted Monday from LSU? What did you expect from someone who committed to LSU, at 15, nearly FOUR YEARS before he could sign a national letter of intent? What did you expect from the nation’s No. 1 prospect for 2017, that… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU’s passing game struggles aren’t all on Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris — there’s plenty of room for everyone to improve

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron talks with players during LSU's spring game April 18, 2015.

The numbers translate into criticism, multiplying in a loaves and fishes sort of way. Volumes and truckloads and barges full of words about LSU’s quarterbacks, Messrs. Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris. Little of it positive, other than shouts of “Put in Harris!” directed at the Tigers bench. It’s nice to be wanted. And the ire is mostly justified.… Continue reading →

Rabalais: They won’t face charges, but LSU football trio deserves more than ‘in-house discipline’ from coach Les Miles

LSU coach Les Miles (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

It turned out to be little more than a summertime squall. A little potboiler of an offseason drama that galvanized the attention of the LSU fan base and once again drew into question the discipline (or lack of it) of LSU football players, and whether justice is ever properly served when they are involved. East Baton Rouge… Continue reading →

Rabalais: At No. 13 in preseason, is LSU football similar to 2003 title team? And why Alabama so high?

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron talks with quarterback Anthony Jennings (10) after a series, during LSU's 2015 National L-Club Spring Football Game, Saturday at Tiger Stadium.

First impression of the USA Today coaches’ poll released Thursday, which starts LSU squarely at the tipping point at No. 13: The Tigers draw more respect nationally than they do at home. At home there are concerns aplenty in the wake of an 8-5 season, which ended with a frustrating loss to Notre Dame in the… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Bill Arnsparger restored the roar at LSU

Advocate file photo -- Bill Arnsparger waves to the crowd after a victory over Alabama.

When Nick Saban was considering the LSU job in late 1999, he did so without ever having set foot on the campus. But there was someone’s opinion he wanted to hear. So he called LSU senior associate athletic director Verge Ausberry. He wanted Bill Arnsparger’s number. So they talked football, Saban and Arnsparger, two tough-minded, NFL-hardened, defense-oriented… Continue reading →

Rabalais: 8-5 finish frustrated Les Miles’ LSU Tigers, but continued lack of QB clarity leaves a lot up in the air

LSU coach Les Miles speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Thursday, July 16, 2015, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

HOOVER, Ala. — Eight is not nearly enough. LSU fans know it after the Tigers went 8-5 last season, merely treading water at 4-4 in the SEC, then losing the Music City Bowl to Notre Dame. LSU coach Les Miles and his players know it as well, and they made it a… Continue reading →

Rabalais: New SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey thoughtful, idealistic in first major SEC address

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey speaks during the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Monday, July 13, 2015, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

HOOVER, Ala. — When last we saw Greg Sankey, he was working on his dance moves. It was at the Southeastern Conference spring meeting in Destin, Florida, in late May. Sankey, the SEC Commissioner designate, and outgoing commish Mike Slive, the slightly built retiring legend of college athletics, alternated speaking behind a podium as… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Five items (blow up football scheduling; leave Birmingham) to add to new SEC commissioner Greg Sankey’s to-do list

New SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

HOOVER, Ala. — On his Twitter page, new Southeastern Conference commissioner and fitness devotee Greg Sankey has a photo of himself flipping a tractor tire. It’s perfectly symbolic of the kind of heavy lifting he’ll have to do on the job that is one of the prime leadership roles in all of… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Arrival of media days means football is near, but the SEC could be in for another rough road

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU head coach Les Miles on the sideline, during the first half Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014 in Nashville at the Music City Bowl.

Southeastern Conference Media Days are upon us, and with them the first hint in the humid, searing hot summer air that football is on its way. But as the faithful are called to worship in Hoover, Alabama, a suburb that is cheek by jowl neighbors with Birmingham, once self-billed as the Football Capital of the South, something is… Continue reading →

Rabalais: For three of LSU's suspended foursome, conduct was foolish but not fatal to future with the team

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU offensive tackles Evan Washington (75) and Vadal Alexander (74) block as quarterback Anthony Jennings (10) throws during the second half of the Music City Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn.

As baseball was winding down in the College World Series last week, the police blotter was filling up with the names of four LSU football players arrested for a variety of transgressions. The biggest name, of course, belongs to starting quarterback Anthony Jennings. He, cornerback Dwayne Thomas and defensive lineman Maquedius Bain were arrested for unauthorized entry into… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Should LSU's baseball season be considered a success or failure?

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU designated hitter Chris Sciambra greets fans upon arrivinving at TD Ameritrade Park on Thursday during the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

When passing judgment on this LSU baseball season just done, a sharp distinction should be drawn between disappointment and failure. There’s nothing wrong with the fan, the player, the coach, being disappointed by the fact the Tigers came up short, well short, of winning this year’s national championship. It is LSU’s perennial quest, to force a repaving of… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Why 'it's a little remarkable' LSU baseball made it this far in Omaha

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Fans watch as LSU right fielder Mark Laird (9) hits the wall after making a leaping catch on a hit by TCU catcher Evan Skoug (9) in the third inning, Thursday, June 18, 2015, during game ten of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

OMAHA, Neb. — After winning 54 games, the Southeastern Conference regular-season title and being ranked No. 1 most of the season, LSU’s season ended far quicker than most people thought it would. Perhaps given the way the Tigers had to parade pitchers to the mound Thursday night against TCU, it’s a little remarkable the Tigers… Continue reading →

Rabalais: It’s all about LSU’s survival instinct as it’s now win-or-go-home season for the Tigers

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU's Andrew Stevenson greets fans as the team arrives to TD Ameritrade Park for their game against Cal State Fullerton in the College World Series

The weather was gray Monday, spitting rain, matching the LSU Tigers’ mood to a meteorological T as they trooped over to Creighton’s rather-blighted ball field for practice Monday afternoon. If rainy days and Mondays always get you down, imagine how getting paved like asphalt in your College World… Continue reading →

Rabalais: In CWS opener, Tigers pick a terrible time for what looked like their worst showing of the season

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU head coach Paul Mainieri, right, and his son Tommy leave the field following game 3 of the 2015 NCAA Men's College World Series between LSU and TCU at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, June 14, 2015. LSU lost 10-3.

It all fell apart with one simple toss. Cody Jones led off the TCU fourth inning by chopping softly back to LSU pitcher Jared Poché. After three straight hitless innings to start their College World Series opener, it looked as though Poché had won another important battle against TCU’s… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Omaha’s not home run heaven again, but improvement could be on the way

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU hitting coach Andy Cannizaro observes batting and infield practice, Friday, June 12, 2015, at TD Ameritrade Park during the College World Series in Omaha, Ne.

Christian Ibarra stood on the field at TD Ameritrade Park, remembering his frustrations in the College World Series two years ago. In at-bat after at-bat during LSU’s brief two-game stay in 2013, Ibarra “barreled up” shot after shot, only to watch the balls he thought he put a… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: LSU’s decision on starting pitcher isn’t as simple as it seems

Associated Press photo by Gerald HerbertLSU pitcher Alex Lange runs off the field during Game 1 of NCAA super regional against Louisiana-Lafayette on June 6.

After his family, his religion and his baseball, Paul Mainieri’s favorite thing may be talking. He lives to talk. Reporters talk about how a person can “fill up a notebook.” With Mainieri, you fill up a notebook and have an emergency notepad in the… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: It’s time to celebrate, not nitpick: These Tigers just find a way to win

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- The LSU baseball team celebrates their 6-3 win over UL-Lafayette in the NCAA Division I Baton Rouge Super Regional, Sunday, June 7, 2015, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. With this win, the Tigers advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

They didn’t celebrate with a dogpile like teams for whom a trip to the College World Series is like the national championship itself. Instead, the Tigers held a convention in center field and jumped for joy, their usual choreography. Or was it relief this time for having survived such a heavyweight bout of a… Continue reading →

Rabalais: There was something Warren Morris-like with Chris Sciambra's walk-off home run in LSU's win vs. UL-Lafayette

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Players swarm LSU designated hitter Chris Sciambra (5) after his solo walk off home run in the ninth inning to beat UL-Lafayette 4-3 during the NCAA Division I Baseball Super Regional, Saturday, June 6, 2015, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field in Baton Rouge, La.

The rain seemed to come out of nowhere. So did the Ragin’ Cajuns. And then, so did Chris Sciambra. LSU wasn’t dominating but was in control of the NCAA tournament’s Baton Rouge super regional opener against Louisiana-Lafayette for seven innings, up 3-1. Not running-away-and-hiding kind of numbers, but it was the same margin by which the Tigers… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU, Louisiana-Lafayette college baseball feud gets super-sized

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- UL-Lafayette takes batting and fielding practice, Friday, June 5, 2015, in preparation of the NCAA Division I Baseball Super Regional between LSU and UL-Lafayette in on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge, La.

It’s D-Day, in more ways than one. It’s the LSU Fighting Tigers and the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns in the NCAA tournament’s Baton Rouge super regional. It’s meaningful. It’s personal. It’s may be borderline delusional, given the passion that runs like hot sauce over both of these simmering rivals. But this weekend is about everything that… Continue reading →

Rabalais: How LSU's teddy bear, UL-Lafayette's facial scruff became their baseball superstitions

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Members of the LSU dugout watch in dejection as they drop the final game in the weekend series to Texas A&M. Not Even "Lil' Brown Suga," held by LSU pitcher Zac Person (49), could help the Tigers' beat Texas A&M for the sweep, Saturday, Apr. 25, 2015 at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field in Baton Rouge, La.

Baseball is a funny game. Funny strange. And funny ha ha. You can hit the ball like it’s been launched out of battleship turret, and it finds a glove for an out. You can just barely tick a piece of the ball, and it goes for a triple.… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Dream putt seals LSU’s national golf title

Photo by Tim Cowie -- LSU's Ben Taylor holds the trophy after the Tigers defeated Southern California  to win the NCAA men's national golf championship Wednesday at  The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.

Every day at the end of their practice sessions, LSU’s golfers would gather for a putting competition on their practice green at the University Club. It’s the kind of game every youngster who comes up in golf plays at some time or another: (golf whisper) “If he makes this putt, he becomes the youngest Masters… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Defense never rests for this LSU baseball squad, and that made all the difference in the Baton Rouge regional

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU shortstop Alex Bregman throws to first for an attempted double play after tagging Lehigh left fielder James Bleming out at second during the NCAA Baton Rouge regional Friday at Alex Box Stadium.

Alex Bregman shifted to his left, then shifted into a higher gear to run down Corey Dick’s grounder before turning and spinning to nip him at first base. Andrew Stevenson laid flat out in right-center field to rob Luke Dunlap of extra bases, setting into motion a lunar eclipse-rare 8-4-3 double play. “He looks like… Continue reading →

Rabalais: ‘A ridiculous decision,’ in Joe Alleva’s words, makes LSU baseball's regional even weirder

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Tulane's J.P. France acts out 'upside-down man' as the Green Wave jokes around with the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks to pass the time in a rain delay during the NCAA Division I Baton Rouge Baseball Regional, Sunday, May 31, 2015, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

Notes from a soggy baseball scorebook at the NCAA tournament’s Baton Rouge regional (note to self: buy indelible pens for next year’s regional) … -- We’ll start with a vote for a slogan for this year’s regional at Alex Box Stadium: 1. Home of the 3-hour, 15-minute rain delay. 2. Welcome to Alex Box Stadium,… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Late, late show with Alex Lange gave LSU baseball fans plenty to stick around for

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Fans give a standing ovation to all active duty and veteran military personal during the LSU / UNC-Wilmington baseball game during the NCAA Division I Baton Rouge Baseball Regional, Saturday, May 30, 2015, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

Jared Foster cracked a towering fly ball deep to the warning track in right-center field, a blast that looked like two bases rode on its contrail — maybe three. At the last moment, UNC-Wilmington right fielder Zach Shields dived flat out and skidded across the dirt to make the grab, holding the ball up for second-base umpire… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Mike Slive leaves the SEC on his terms — on top

Mike Slive (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Mike Slive could have been forgiven if he had stepped onto the deck of the Sandestin Hilton after wrapping up this year’s Southeastern Conference Spring Meeting, pulled out a cigar and a $100 bill and struck a match while looking out over the Gulf of Mexico. He’s run the race. He’s fought the fight. And he’s going… Continue reading →