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After a couple of weeks off, the LSU football team starts bowl practice Tuesday in preparation for the Citrus Bowl versus Notre Dame. This game isn’t meaningless. There’s plenty to follow, both in how the team prepares in the present and how these practices set up the future of the program.
Here are three things to look out for in the coming weeks of practice:
1. Who gets backup QB reps?
As far as we’re concerned, bowl practice is the beginning of spring. And the biggest battle this spring will be who will replace Danny Etling as LSU’s starting quarterback. Expect freshmen Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse to battle for reps behind Etling as both attempt to assert supremacy over the other.
Spring will be the true test to be named starting quarterback. But bowl practice is the beginning.
2. How active will Arden Key be?
There’s no doubt running back Derrius Guice will play in LSU’s bowl game. But the Tigers’ other projected first-round pick is a different story. How much will we see from linebacker Arden Key, coming off knee and finger injuries? He hasn’t played since LSU’s win over Arkansas and might not want to risk reinjuring himself leading into the draft cycle.
Then again, his lower level of performance in 2017 makes the bowl a huge priority. If he can practice, expect him to be full-go to try to have a great game against Notre Dame.
3. Will the future start to step up?
Forget the QBs for a second. Bowl practice is a chance to see the future at nearly every position. Will lesser-used freshmen such as JaCoby Stevens and Austin Deculus start to step up? How about redshirted players such as Tyler Shelvin? Or transfers such as Breiden Fehoko and Jonathan Giles? This is the time to start looking for the future. Even if it won’t show up on bowl game tape.
The big what if
Heading into bowl practices, one of the biggest question marks revolves around the future of LSU’s secondary. Will juniors Donte Jackson, Kevin Toliver II and John Battle declare for the NFL draft with one year of eligibility left? What will LSU do if it loses all three or even just a combination of the three?
SEC Country LSU reporter Alex Hickey pondered this very idea in his question of the day Monday. Click here to see how he replies. And if you have a question you want answered, be sure to tweet it to him at @bigahickey on Twitter.
Is he good?
Hickey also asked another interesting question Monday: Is LSU athletic director Joe Alleva doing a good job?
His stance is a different one. Compared to the debacles at Tennessee, Arkansas, Auburn and Ole Miss, he said, LSU fans should be confident in Alleva. Based off the sheer incompetence at other schools in the SEC, run-of-the-mill issues should be glorified as being good enough or even above average.
Still, there’s the tenet of LSU fans who will never forgive Alleva for the way he handled the Les Miles firing. There are even more people who’ll never give the guy a chance because of how he handled the lacrosse scandal while he was the athletic director at Duke. Both are fair beliefs.
But there’s probably a point in the middle here. Alleva shouldn’t be praised for being average. But he shouldn’t be criticized either. He’s done an average job. Revenue is up and smaller sports such as gymnastics, softball and volleyball are seeing their best eras in school history. But football and basketball have taken turns for the worse in recent years.
As a result, there’s no reason to love or hate him. Being an athletic director for a Power 5 sports university might be the toughest job in sports. Alleva isn’t a legend at it. But he hasn’t done enough to justify getting fired either. He’s in the middle.
Speaking of gymnastics
LSU gymnastics held its annual “Gym 101” meet Monday night, showcasing the talent of the 2018 squad. For a full recap, you can read my overview of the night and catch up on some highlights by clicking here.
If you just want to see the best 2 minutes of LSU athletics of the day, you can watch a video of Myia Hambrick’s floor routine below. It’s pretty spectacular.
— Nick Suss (@nicksuss) December 12, 2017
Beating Tom Brady
The Miami Dolphins upset the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football this week. Former Tigers Jarvis Landry and Davon Godchaux made their presences felt in the game.
Landry mocked Patriots QB Tom Brady and his, shall we say “history,” with the NFL infractions committee by pretending to inflate the football after a touchdown reception.
Jarvis Landry TD celebration pic.twitter.com/b0fuih8wjL
— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) December 12, 2017
And Godchaux beat much more directly around the bush, tweeting out photos of him hitting Brady. Hard.
— Davon Godchaux (@dgodch1) December 12, 2017
Today in made-up holidays
According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Dec. 12 is “ National Ding-A-Ling Day.” Apparently we’re supposed to use this holiday to call old friends, co-workers or neighbors you haven’t interacted with in a long time. Which is a noble pursuit.
But this is an awful name for this holiday. Why not “National Reconnect With Old Friends Day?” Or better yet, just “National Facebook Day?” It’s 2017. Almost 2018. We don’t connect with acquaintances over the phone. A simple text is usually enough. Cold calling someone you haven’t spoken to in years is just weird. It’s a quick way to be labeled a freak.
Don’t be labeled a freak. Use text. Or Facebook. Not a cold call. I urge you.
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