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charging ahead

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG LSU  Kentucky --- Mike the Tiger mascot runs with the

For the love of Katy Perry, I’ve never understood why people say LSU fans smell like corndogs. If there’s a smell synonymous with LSU football, it’s bourbon and sweat. Or bourbon and cigarettes, depending on whether it’s a warm-weather or cold-weather game. But always bourbon. Definitely. That’s the smell that stays with you the whole… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Soft-spoken Slive carried a big stick

Mike Slive is a unique figure in college athletics. He isn’t physically imposing. He’s never known to raise his voice to make himself heard. And, in an increasingly rare trait in the sports world, never puts himself in a compromising position through his word or deed. In fact, it would be easy to underestimate Slive completely… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Where does LSU go from here? Who knows, but it’ll surely be interesting

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU safety Rickey Jefferson is dragged down by Florida receiver Demarcus Robinson after his interception in the final seconds of the fourth quarter Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014

Dire Straits was somewhere under the stands at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, tuning up to send LSU out of here as a three-time Southeastern Conference loser. Twice. Follow the pinballing Jeff Driskel football from here, if you can: The Tigers trailed 24-20 with 3½ minutes left, facing… Continue reading →

Tattered tigers

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) walks off, after a 41-7 LSU drubbing from Auburn, as fireworks go off behind him in Jordan-Hare Stadium, after the teams' game, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014 in Auburn, Ala.

The LSU Tigers need a hug. And some quick-drying cement. And a fire extinguisher. The smell in the air over the so-called loveliest village on the plain wasn’t corn dogs. (Sorry, Katy Perry.) It wasn’t even from a four-alarm… Continue reading →

The young and the tested

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU coach Les Miles walks the team out before LSU's game against New Mexico State, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Baton Rouge.

It’s a stretch to say the LSU Tigers need to be driven to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday in a fleet of stretch limos because they’re not old enough to drive themselves. Or that they’re going to be asked to show their IDs at the locker-room door. Or that their moms have packed a postgame… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: Is Les Miles really talking change for LSU football?

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU coach Les Miles shouts during warmups before the Sam Houston State game Sept. 6 at Tiger Stadium.

Les Miles has trumpeted change for his LSU team in the wake of last Saturday’s loss to Mississippi State like a politician on the campaign trail. The question for LSU fans is whether it’s change they can believe in. There isn’t much faith in government these days, and frankly there isn’t a lot of faith that Miles is going… Continue reading →

Rabalais: SEC race could be anyone’s to take

Advocate staff photo by Patrick Dennis -- LSU coach Les Miles celebrates with players Saturday after the Tigers' 31-0 win over UL-Monroe in Tiger Stadium. With a wide-open Southeastern Conference, the Tigers are hoping to be in the thick of the chase.

Three weeks into the college football season, virtually everyone in the Southeastern Conference has some reason for optimism if not downright bubbling overconfidence. Everyone except Vanderbilt, that is. After three straight bowl trips, the Commodores look like they’re going to “anchor down” once again to the bottom of the SEC East standings, familiar territory for… Continue reading →

Rabalais: After the Saints’ latest stunning loss, there’s no time like the present to turn this around

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham walks off the field after a 26-24 loss to the Cleveland Browns in an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard) ORG XMIT: CDS127 ORG XMIT: BAT1409141543403671

We interrupt the mudslide of appalling off-the-field NFL storylines to bring you the tale of the New Orleans Saints’ freefalling 0-2 start. And you thought Roger Goodell had problems. The NFL’s embattled commissioner only has issues with his image and with people calling for him to be ousted from his $44 million-a-year… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: Roger Goodell fumbles the ball when faced with crises in NFL

FILE - in this March 26, 2014, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers questions during a news conference in Orlando, Fla. Goodell says the league asked for, but was not given, a just-released video showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancee on an elevator. Goodell says during an interview with CBS aired Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014:

If the Saints’ Bountygate situation were converted to football terms, Roger Goodell would have fumbled the snap. In the mushrooming Ray Rice fiasco, the NFL commissioner has thrown a pick six that may ultimately scuttle his ability to govern sports’ most popular and increasingly most criticized organization. The rest of the world now views Goodell the… Continue reading →

Rabalais: This Saints loss stings, but there’s a whole season left to turn it around

New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) and others walk off the field after overtime of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Atlanta. The Atlanta Falcons won in overtime 37-34. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

When it was over, when 71 points sent sparks shooting from the Georgia Dome scoreboards and the teams combined to melt the artificial turf for 1,040 yards and the lead changed hands like a relay baton five frantic times after halftime, the Atlanta Falcons celebrated victory over their most hated rival by turning the… Continue reading →

In impressive fashion, these young Tigers make it 2-for-2

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings celebrates his second touchdown pass to LSU wide receiver Travin Dural on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, at Tiger Stadium.

CenterAlign.30Our cultural obsession with youth has found quite a happy home with this LSU football program. The Tigers came into this 2014 season heavily dependent on the young, the restless and the completely unproven. They had no choice, particularly at critical spots like quarterback, wide receiver and defensive tackle. Even 90-year-old Tiger Stadium got in on the… Continue reading →

LSU’s Tiger Stadium now looms larger than ever

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Tiger Stadium's new south end zone expansion, top, ready for Saturday's home opener against Sam Houston State.

Tiger Stadium turns 90 this season, and the old gray lady on Nicholson Drive never looked grander. She certainly has never loomed larger. Years of renovations have recoated her exterior walls, replaced rusting dormitory windows, added dramatic lighting, improved the gates, fencing and walkways around the structure and beefed up the sound system within. The… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Win over Wisconsin — the weird, the wild, the thrilling — was vintage LSU under Les Miles

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen congratulates LSU's Les Miles after the Tigers completed their 28-24 comeback victory Saturday at NRG Stadium in Houston.

HOUSTON — You can say what you want about this LSU football program. All the good. All the bad. All the head-scratching insanity. A delay-of-game penalty on the second half-opening kickoff? That doesn’t happen in Pop Warner football. This only happens with Les Miles football, baby. Welcome to his world. Welcome… Continue reading →

Numbers add up for Les Miles

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU head coach Les Miles pumps his fist on the way to Tiger Stadium for LSU's home opener in this September 2013 Advocate file photo.

Impressive numbers have accumulated as part of the Les Miles coaching story the way some people collect matchbooks or cars or, as in his case, a fresh white LSU baseball cap to wear to each and every game. Numbers like 95. That’s how many games he’s won at LSU since arriving in 2005, the most for any Southeastern Conference… Continue reading →

Saints look like confident, talented team

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Baltimore Ravens defensive back Brynden Trawick can't stop a long reception by Saints receiver Robert Meachem in a preseason game Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.

The final chapter of the New Orleans Saints preseason schedule was written Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens. The 22-13 loss to the Ravens was more epilogue than page-turning climax — maybe even just the index. That’s the way of it by the time the blessed final exhibition game rolls round. By week four of the… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Seeking white smoke as LSU’s lack of QB clarity drags on

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Quarterback Anthony Jennings throws downfield at LSU's spring game.

If it wasn’t so vital, and if it wasn’t obvious how much he really wants to unearth one primary quarterback, you’d think Les Miles was enjoying all this quarterback chatter. Here’s the CliffsNotes version of what the LSU coach had to say at Monday’s season-opening news conference about his quarterbacks, Messrs. Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris:… Continue reading →

Rabalais: 10 topics facing LSU football before the season opener

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU defensive tackle Quentin Thomas (95) run from under the canvas as defensive end Danielle Hunter (94) waits his turn during drills as LSU's veterans practice.

Ranking the top 10 topics facing LSU football with less than two weeks to go before the Tigers’ season opener: 1. THE POLLS: LSU opens at No. 13 in both the USA Today coaches’ and now The Associated Press preseason polls, the latter being released Sunday. That’s one notch higher than where the Tigers finished in… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Jalen Mills thankful for second chance after troubling off-field incident

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU junior safety Jalen Mills answers questions Sunday at the Anderson-Feazel Indoor Field.

At the far end of the LSU indoor practice facility Sunday, well away from the maddening media day hordes surrounding Leonard Fournette and Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings, Jalen Mills sat hunched over a folding chair alone with his thoughts. More than once he must have appreciated the simple fact he was still sitting there on a… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Repaired shoulders have Jermauria Rasco ready to go

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Asst. coach Bradley Dale Peveto, left, shouts encouragement as LSU defensive end Jermauria Rasco (59) does a drill at LSU's practice.

For Jermauria Rasco, every play there was pain. This is nothing unusual for a football player. The anomaly is to tackle or be tackled to the ground and get up with out something hurting or stinging or aching. For Rasco, LSU’s senior defensive end, playing the game meant years of dealing a different level of discomfort.… Continue reading →

Rabalais: QBs beating Father Time

Associated Press photo by MICHAEL CONROY In this Sept. 6, 2007, file photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, right, and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees meet after the Colts won 41-10 Colts in an NFL football game in Indianapolis.

It’s said that age is just a number. That’s never more true than when you become that number. When I was a lad — we’re talking pre-cable TV, 8-track, death to disco days — quarterbacks were done by their mid-30s. Well done. It wasn’t uncommon to see Joe… Continue reading →