Sunday, April 6, 2008

Spring Game - Women's Basketball - New Commitment

There is just too much to talk about today.  There's no way to get to all of it.  We have the aftermath of the Spring Game.  We have the LSU Lady Tigers (I hate that name.  They're just the Tigers, dammit!) heading to the Final Four for tonight's matchup against Tennessee.  We have the commitment of middle linebacker Kevin Minter.  We had a baseball double-header against Bama yesterday, which was split.

We just won't get to all of them.  I'll talk about Minter more extensively later this week, but for now I'll just say Minter is our first linebacker commitment.  He's another kid out of Georgia to go along with Drayton Calhoun.  He is by all accounts on track to qualify, and he looks pretty good.  More on this later.

The Spring Game

The Spring Game was the Richard Murphy - Demetrius Byrd show.  Murphy had an eye-popping 145 yards rushing plus a 53 yard touchdown catch.  If the Spring Game is any indication, the redshirt sophomore may well be our feature back this Fall, passing the likes of Keiland Williams and Charles Scott on the depth chart.  This is pretty amazing because Keiland and Charles are both pretty darn good.  If Murphy is significantly better than them, then our running game will be outstanding next year.

It is rare, in my limited knowledge, for a single player to shine so much in spring.  Usually, players get shuffled in and out so much that it is hard for one person to really stand out.  Murphy took advantage of Keiland getting benched for a fumble, however, and he ran with it.  Literally.

The quarterbacks received mixed reviews.  Neither played flawlessly, but most people are saying that both of them looked like they belonged.  I don't think there is any doubt, however, that Ryan Perrilloux is the best quarterback on the team by a mile at this point.  Andrew Hatch had a pretty nice stat line, going 13 for 17 with 187 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception.  Lee had a more modest day at 7 for 13 with 67 yards and 2 touchdowns, but didn't throw an interception.

They had some long pass plays.  There was Murphy's 53 yard touchdown catch-and-run, and Byrd's 57 yard touchdown catch plus his 60 yard catch.  He had over 130 yards on 4 catches, which averages out to "awesome".

If we have these kinds of big plays on a regular basis during the season, look out for us having a real shot to win the SEC and maybe even get to another BCS National Championship Game. The media is focusing on Florida and Georgia during this offseason, and they both appear to be very good teams, I see no reason to think they are any better than we are.  I like the position of being overlooked, however.

On to Women's Basketball

The LSU women's basketball team tries to change its Final Four fortunes around tonight at 8:00 Central.  We have, as most people know, been to five straight Final Fours.  In our first four, we failed to win a game.  Tonight, with 5 seniors starting, we hope that the experience will pay off for us.  

We draw a team that is very familiar to us.  This team has played the Tennessee Volunteers probably 10 times in their careers.  They know the roster.  They know the players.  They know the strategies.  There will be no surprises.  Of course, that is also true of the Tennessee players, who know our players just as well.  

This year, LSU is 1-1 against Tennessee, having beaten in the regular season before losing to them in the conference tournament.  If you are looking for and advantage, Tennessee's best player Candace Parker suffered a dislocated shoulder in the Elite Eight.  She returned to the game, and will be playing tonight, but it remains to be seen if there are any lingering effects.  I don't think Tennessee can beat LSU if Parker cannot be effective.

I'm looking forward to watching it.  If we lose tonight, a great group of seniors finishes out its careers on a down note, but in any event they should be remembered for their accomplishments rather than their inability to win it all.

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