While watching former and current LSU players come down Victory Hill two weeks ago before the Missouri game I spotted a couple of middle-aged guys jockeying for position to get a better view. Eager as they were, they were not making much headway toward the guardrails that separate the fans and players. I noticed their Mizzou shirts, and motioned for them to join my friend and I and sit on the wall near the journalism building, explaining we could stand and see everything—and everybody—when the players and band approached.
LSU football, and the whole game-day experience, is special. Tiger brethren sometimes take it for granted. One of the Missouri fans looked at me and said, “a game in Tiger
Stadium has been on my bucket list for a long time”. A lifelong sports fan with lingering bucket list items, his comment hit me right in my Tiger ticker. Very appreciative of my gesture, we engaged in some friendly SEC banter before parting ways after the band passed. He was genuinely amazed at the number of people who gathered for the pre-game ritual.
With the Tiger being their mascot also (in name only), I asked him if he had been by Mike the Tiger’s cage. He said no, but thanked me for pointing it out (I described how our mascots generally rode around the stadium before games with cheerleaders on top of the cage, but our current mascot had been balky the last few years and had recently been diagnosed with cancer). Little did I know then Tiger faithful would be hit with the news of Mike VI’s deteriorating health and ultimate euthanization before they would watch another pre-game walk down.
Today’s game will mark Coach Ed Orgeron’s second game as interim coach, the school’s first game in nine years without their latest beloved mascot, and probably the
second straight game that star running back Leonard Fournette will stand along the sideline.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone was recalled because it might catch fire. Tiger fans can enjoy the Southern Mississippi matchup, and hope that LSU’s No. 7 (Leonard Fournette) does catch fire when he is recalled against Ole Miss next week.
Derrius Guice showed he was more than capable when he ran for 163 yards in only 17 carries against Missouri. The talented sophomore out of Baton Rouge Catholic does not run with the power of Fournette, but he is more elusive. Guice and hard-running Darrell Williams should be plenty enough to handle the visitors from Hattiesburg, who gave up 55 points last week to University of Texas-San Antonio. Repeat. Not UT-Austin, UT-San Antonio.
Coach O and newly named offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, no doubt, enjoyed the downtime caused by last week’s cancellation of the Florida game. Fournette was
not forced to return before fully healing, and it gave them time to put together some special Fournette/Guice tandem packages for the SEC gauntlet the Tigers will have to run to finish the regular season.
The extra snaps quarterback Danny Etling was able to take over the two-week period should help him in his reads and his connections with Malachi Dupre and other receivers.
Kudos to athletic director Joe Aleva for standing his ground (did not want the Tigers to play three road games in twelve days). The Tigers will have to go to Gainesville in 2017 and 2018, but Aleva’s firm stance resulted in LSU now having three of those final five SEC games at home.
The university may have lost its beloved mascot this week, but it appears it gained an AD that finally realizes that wishy-washy actions like those of his late last season (Miles’ firing, not fired fiasco) will not satisfy the fans of LSU very long.
Southern Miss, better strap it on. There is now a crazy Cajun at the helm of LSU, the school has lost its Tiger (Mike VI decals will be on the back of helmets). The fans are restless, and pissed more than usual. Purple and Gold clad rowdies will be auditioning their loud cheers to see what decibel level they can reach.
Hope you enjoyed the trip down I-59 and I-12, and got to scratch Tiger Stadium off your bucket list, but LSU has to get ready for the Big Boys. Tonight’s game will not be pretty.
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