Coaches name Craig Loston, Anthony Johnson to All-SEC first team

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU safety Craig Loston  moves in on an Auburn runner during last year's game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Loston was named to the coaches' preseason All-Southeastern Conference first team Thursday. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU safety Craig Loston moves in on an Auburn runner during last year's game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Loston was named to the coaches' preseason All-Southeastern Conference first team Thursday.

Safety Craig Loston and defensive tackle Anthony Johnson of LSU were named to the Coaches’ Preseason All-Southeastern Conference first team released Thursday.

Linebacker Lamin Barrow was named to the second-team defense, but no Tigers were named to either of the first two offensive teams.

“I’m thankful to be chosen, but you can’t let that affect you,” Loston said Thursday night. “You still have to play the season.”

Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was on the third-team offense, was named to the first team as a return specialist and the second team as an all-purpose player. Beckham was joined on the third-team offense by running back Alfred Blue and tackle La’el Collins.

Beckham said it was nice to be recognized for in three different roles, considering how much talent there is in the coinference.

“But at the end of the day,” he said, “I hope to do enough to be there at the end of the year.”

Loston was asked if he thought the Tigers offense was being overlooked.

“I think we’re being underestimated as a team,” Loston said. “But if we keep working the way we have been and take care of business, we’ll be fine.”

LSU tied Alabama and Florida for the most first-team defensive selections, and the Crimson Tide tied Georgia for the most first-team offensive picks (three).

One of the Bulldogs’ first-team picks was quarterback Aaron Murray, who beat out reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, who was named to the second team. Bama’s AJ McCarron was the third-team quarterback.

The Tide led the league with 16 total selections, followed by LSU and Georgia with eight each and Florida and Tennessee with seven.

Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.

‘All downhill’ for Rasco

Defensive end Jermauria Rasco got his most extensive work of the preseason when he fully participated in Tuesday’s final scrimmage. His contact had been limited because he had offseason shoulder surgery.

“It’s all downhill now,” Rasco said after practice Thursday. “They’d been holding me back, saving me for this time so I’d be fresh and ready to go.”

Coach Les Miles said Rasco will start in the opener against TCU on Aug. 31 in Arlington, Texas.

Focusing on Horned Frogs

The Tigers started full preparation for TCU in Thursday’s practice, including running scout teams.

“We were totally focused on TCU,” Rasco said. “We’re watching all the film that we can and we’re paying close attention to all the plays that they run.”

LSU is essentially in game-week mode, having concluded two-a-day practices Monday.

“Those two-a-days are long; I’m glad those are over,” cornerback Derrick Raymond said. “We’re focused on the season now. It’s getting closer and closer.”

Tickets in demand

LSU’s average ticket price on the secondary market is the ninth-most expensive in college football at an average cost of $184, according to the ticket marketplace VividSeats.com.

Three of the eight schools with more expensive tickets than the Tigers are in the SEC — No. 3 Alabama ($237), No. 4 Texas A&M ($198) and No. 7 Georgia ($190). Notre Dame is No. 1 with an average price of $313.

No LSU home game ranks in the top-25 most expensive matchups of the season, but the Tigers’ visit to Alabama on Nov. 9 is the second-most expensive matchup in college football ($538). The most expensive matchup is the Alabama-Texas A&M game in College Station, Texas ($704).