Slow start has Anthony ‘Freak’ Johnson motivated for more

LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson
LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson

For a player not afraid to open his mouth — either to reporters or as a singer — LSU defensive tackle Anthony “Freak” Johnson has had a quiet start to his 2013 campaign.

Coming into the season as a preseason All-Southeastern Conference selection with a chance to parlay a strong showing into a high NFL draft pick next year, Johnson has just six tackles in two games with only one for loss.

Fellow starting defensive tackle Ego Ferguson has so far outshined him with eight tackles (one for loss) with a quarterback hurry.

Johnson suffered a “stinger”-type shoulder injury Saturday and came out early during LSU’s 56-17 victory against UAB.

Otherwise, though, Johnson vows he is eager to come out and play a strong game at 6 p.m. Saturday when the No. 8 Tigers (2-0) host Kent State (1-1) in Tiger Stadium.

“You’ve got to line up and play every play like it’s your last,” Johnson said. “We’re preparing for Kent State like they’re Alabama.”

Morris to sign autographs

Legendary LSU baseball player Warren Morris will sign autographs Saturday morning before the Kent State game at the Andonie Sports Museum on campus.

Morris, who hit the home run that lifted LSU to the title in the 1996 College World Series, will be at the museum at 11 a.m.

The museum is located at 3838 West Lakeshore Drive, between the Lod Cook Alumni Center and the LSU System Building.

Updated parking info

LSU reminds fans driving to the Kent State game that free parking spaces in the Levee and Hayfield lots have been reduced this year because of construction at the University Recreation Fields at River Road and Gourrier Avenue.

To maximize the number of cars that can park in these lots, LSU will have parking attendance on hand to assist drivers with parking either closer to the stadium or the parking lot entrance.

Parking is also available in the new Union Square Parking Garage off East Campus Drive across from the Student Union for $40. Parking is also available for $40 to $80 in Lot 409 at Alex Box stadium by purchasing passes in advance at www.LSUtix.net.

The color purple

LSU will wear purple jerseys Saturday. It’s customary for the Tigers to wear purple for their second nonconference home game each season.

LSU wore purple jerseys for all home games from 1983-94 because of an NCAA rule that required teams to wear their colors at home. Gerry DiNardo got the NCAA to alter the rule when he became LSU’s head coach in 1995 to say that a team may wear white at home with the permission of the visiting team.

Hog ties

In an odd coincidence, LSU is in the midst of playing three straight games against former coordinators at Arkansas.

UAB coach Garrick Magee was offensive coordinator there in 2010-11. Kent State coach Paul Haynes was Arkansas’ defensive coordinator last season, while Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, who brings his team to LSU next Saturday, was Arkansas’ offensive coordinator in 2006.

Back for more

ESPNU will televise the game from LSU for the second straight week. That means a return engagement for its announcing crew of Clay Matvick (play-by-play), Matt Stinchcomb (analyst) and Dawn Davenport (sideline reporter).

Next Saturday’s LSU-Auburn game is scheduled to be on ESPN at 6:45 p.m.

LSU ‘MAC-tion’

This will be the first game between LSU and Kent State.

The Tigers are 4-1 against current members of the Mid-American Conference. The last time LSU played a MAC team was in 2002, when LSU beat Miami (Ohio) and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger 33-7.

Lagniappe

Zach Mettenberger’s 533 yards and six touchdowns passing are the most through two games for any LSU quarterback ever. ... Former LSU coach Nick Saban (2000-04) played cornerback at Kent State. ... The Tigers are looking to extend their FBS record nonconference regular-season winning streak to 44 games.