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Sheppard, Moffitt Headline ‘Tiger Talk’ at 11:30 a.m.

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and strength and conditioning coordinator Tommy Moffitt headline Tiger Talk at 11:30 a.m. CT on Wednesday, and fans can watch the show for free live in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live.
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College Football News: SEC Players to Watch in Week 13

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College Football News: SEC Players to Watch in Week 13

Kelvin Sheppard will be in the spotlight, and kind of a chess match with Ryan Mallett and Knile Davis. My compatriots’ Week 12 Review can be found here as well.


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Translating Undefeated At Home CoachSpeak

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You expect THIS guy to make sense?

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Gerald Herbert – AP

You expect THIS guy to make sense?

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As part of our ongoing service to you, the ATVS reader, we once again try to translate a Miles press conference from Milesian to English. 

WHAT HE SAID: “Happy Thanksgiving. We have a lot to be thankful for, all of us. Our football team, our state, and our community have a lot to be thankful for. I have to say finishing a home stand at Tiger Stadium undefeated, I would have to thank the fans. I think those people that come and sit in those seats are rare and they make a great difference to our team. I can tell you that we play with more passion, and it is a wonderful place. I just want to say thanks. How wonderful it is to walk into a stadium where 92,500 fans believe in their hearts that you are supposed to beat the ever living tar out of your opponents just like you are supposed to believe. We set out together to that eventual end, and thanks.”

WHAT HE MEANT: Dear, Poseur.  Thank you for starting the Delusional Optimism campaign.  You’re right.  Positive energy brings positive results.  I know most Tiger fans aren’t as unhinged as the Humanoids.  I kick ass.  Did I mention that we went undefeated at home this year?

 

WHAT HE SAID: “This senior class has accomplished quite a lot. I want to say thanks to them, because as a group they have been outstanding leaders, they have been guys that like to work hard, and they are committed to the team. I believe in my heart they will be great husbands, fathers and people in business. I think we will really enjoy these seniors as they go on. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that they averaged 10 victories for five years, one of the winningest senior cases in school history. They are the sixth straight senior class to win 50 games, they have five straight bowl appearances and they are all on pace to graduate. They take a national title and 16 wins over top 25 teams with them. They are a very quality group of men, and I am fortunate to have worked with them.”

WHAT HE MEANT: Did I mention that this was my first recruiting class?  You can’t give any of the credit to what’s-his-name.  All me.  Again, I rule. Our kids win and also succeed in the classroom.  These seniors are totally awesome.   

WHAT HE SAID: “The Ole Miss game, I think Jeremiah Masoli waited for this game to play his best, and he was just uncanny. I thought he was as talented a quarterback as we have seen, and I have watched every game that he played and he played his best. I give it to coach (Houston) Nutt for having that team ready to play. Certainly we have to tackle better. There are ways to get better. There were a couple places where we missed the line on defense, a couple signals that they just didn’t quite get accomplished on the field and it led to some big plays. These things are definitely correctable, and the issue that I enjoy is I like how our defense plays. They are fast and they are hard-hitting guys that tackle. We will make some corrections and certainly continue to improve, and we will return that defense to playing a style of defense that we are used to seeing play.”

WHAT HE MEANT: Our defense is usually great, but this weekend, they made Jeremiah friggin’ Masoli look good.  I shall reign down terror upon the defensive unit this week in practice for letting that happen.  It was bad enough when Cam Newton ran through us like a knife through butter, but Masoli?  Come on. 

 

WHAT HE SAID: “Offensively we had a big day. I thought Jordan Jefferson had his best day to date, and he is the SEC Offensive Player of the Week. I think Stevan Ridley with three touchdowns, and giving him the ball in tough situations, displays each week with more confidence that he is capable. I would have to say the first game the defense won it for us. If you go on through and you look at how well the teams play, it takes a team. This week it was the offense’s turn. There was a point in time in that game where the defense had a busted coverage that led to a fast score by our opponent. It was told to me that Kelvin Sheppard went to the offensive leaders and told them ‘Guys, right now we need you. You need to come to play. You give us a chance to get back on the field, we blew that drive and we need to play. You have our back.’ Let me tell you something that defense has had that offense’s back a great majority of the season, so it was right. It was their time and they played well.”

WHAT HE MEANT: Jefferson.  Ridley.  Let those names sink in.  Those are the guys all y’all said I was stupid for starting.  Who’s stupid now?  Huh?  Oh, and Kelvin Sheppard is a bad ass.  In case you didn’t already know.

 

WHAT HE SAID: “Again, it takes a team. Josh Jasper may be the finest field goal kicker in the country. He is tied for the lead nationally with 23, and he adds three more just when we need him. I ask him to go kick three and he does. Like our quarterback he is also the SEC Player of the Week. We are 10-1 and 6-1 in the conference, and ranked fifth in the country. I like the position we are in. I recognize the enjoyment to come over here and see you all, and that the quickness to which the season goes by really predicts how much fun you are having. I go to work every day with guys that have a smile on their face all the time, and I go to work with guys that fight like hell for victory. As we get to the back end of the season we have a lot to play for and that is a wonderful thing.”

WHAT HE MEANT: Yes, Jasper is awesome.  But let me once again mention that we’re 10-1 and in the top 5.  Everyone can kiss my ass.  Don’t think I don’t know who was calling for me to get canned. 

On how important the secondary will be against Arkansas …
WHAT HE SAID: “Our secondary play is certainly going to be tested as is our pass rush and our underneath coverage, because we are going to have to stop a very quality running game. That secondary has to play big in this game, but it is a different challenge and certainly something that I think they will forward to.”

WHAT HE MEANT: Ryan Mallett throws for about 300 yards a game.  What do you think? 

On Offensive Coordinator Gary Crowton re-inventing himself on offense …
WHAT HE SAID: “I don’t know if there is really a re-inventing, but I can tell you that the things that we need to have happen. There are different facets of calling a game on offense. Finishing a game like he did, and having the opportunity to make third down plays and calls and getting our playmakers the ball, all of those things need to take place for a quality offensive performance. I think he did a very strong job in that last game.”

WHAT HE MEANT: I’ll give him a reference as he looks for a new job this offseason.

On Jordan Jefferson‘s progression as the season has gone on …
WHAT HE SAID: “It is interesting. The thing that you have to allow is for our guys to get better. The observation of where they are at now and where they are going to be is always going to be different. I think you look at Jordan Jefferson, and certainly he has continued to improve. If you look at the style of throws and the things that we are doing, it is the same. It is the comfort of the offense and the taking the steps and strides that a college student athlete takes to get better. I think both he and (Jarrett) Lee have done that, and again if you go back to key contests this year you will find that Lee has made some very big plays for us as well.”

WHAT HE MEANT: Believe it or not, we actually coach people around here.  He got better because we worked with him.  I don’t sit around all week and think of new ways to mess up clock management.  Jefferson got better because some of us actually believed in him. 

On why the wildcat offense has given the LSU defense so many problems …
WHAT HE SAID: “I don’t think it is necessarily the wildcat quarterback, because I think if you look at wildcat formations nationally and certainly in our league it has kind of had a difficult time because that wildcat quarterback is virtually a non-throwing quarterback. He is more of a running back, so the passing game is all ground to a halt. It is that quarterback that has the ability to throw it and the ability to run it that gives the defense, and every defense, not just ours, its biggest headaches. We are challenged best by the guy who is most talented, and by the guy that runs fast, is strong, breaks tackles, and can sit in the pocket and make the read and deliver the ball. When the guy who has the ball is both a running threat, a play action passing threat, and a wide and inside threat every time he takes the ball, that is a tremendous challenge to defense. I think our defense is equipped with the speed we have on the field as any for that attack, but we have run into two very good quarterbacks.”

WHAT HE MEANT: Please tell me the defense who has stopped Cam Newton this season. 

On increasing the amount of passing plays on first down against Ole Miss…
WHAT HE SAID: “I think what we’ve tried to do is to be 50-50 (percentage) on first down when the game is in question or that the situation does not suggest that we need to run it like the back end of the Ole Miss game. We wanted to make sure that we ran the football, so we got some first downs there and followed with the run yet again. If you would have eliminated those with the game in question and where the situation didn’t absolutely predict us, I think we’re 50-50 on first down in that game certainly.”

WHAT HE MEANT:  The run worked, so we kept running.  They didn’t seem to be able to stop it, did they? 

On Kelvin Sheppard and Stevan Ridley participating on the final kickoff…
WHAT HE SAID: “Those are guys that have played in it for years. They are as trained as they can be. They said, ‘Hey, listen. I want in on this one. This may be the last play of the game. I want in.’”

WHAT HE MEANT: Because fuck Ole Miss, that’s why.

On what the ‘Boot’ trophy means to him…
WHAT HE SAID: “I can tell you that since I’ve been here, the Arkansas-LSU game has been tremendously contested. Every game has always come down to the back end. Every game has had big plays, and I can’t imagine it will be any different (this year). I promise you when it comes to the challenge of keeping that trophy, that’s something that we want to have happen. I can also tell you that the ‘Boot’ kind of reminds me of the shape of our state. I can tell you that a boot is also a piece of clothing worn on the foot. The key is to not be given the boot.”

WHAT HE MEANT: This stupid trophy could not mean less to me.  So instead, I’m not going to ramble on about boots for 30 seconds and hope you don’t ask a follow up question.

On RB Michael Ford‘s performance…
WHAT HE SAID: “Again, as you would review our quarterback, our guys are improving, and Michael Ford certainly is as well. He’s much more comfortable in the offense. He’s much more comfortable with the checks. We put him in every situation. He’s much improved, and he’s taking coaching. Again, when I tell you that this team is filled with a group of men that have character, want, ambition and commitment to team. It really is a special group. It’s a lot of fun to work with guys that are saying, ‘Take me where I can’t take myself. I need to know. Give me the information.’ Then, they want to play it big on Saturdays. I’m fortunate that way.”

WHAT HE MEANT: Patience, people.  He’s gonna be a great one.

On if he has noticed any change in QB Jordan Jefferson‘s demeanor or body language…
WHAT HE SAID: “I’m not necessarily following demeanor and body language. I can tell you at practice he has continued to want to improve. There is an understanding that he’s got to get this, and he understands that. He’s maybe a little bit more selfish with the reps, making sure that the reps that he takes and when he steps onto the field with that practice rep or that game rep, that he fully understands what’s coming. I just think he’s improved and has a desire to get it right and be excellent, not just be the guy but be an excellent quarterback. I just think there is a fine line between executing and just being somewhat less, and I just think he has stepped up and continues to call himself to a higher level.”

WHAT HE MEANT: Jefferswag. 


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An ATVS Salute to the 2010 LSU Senior Class

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Lest we not forget, 15 seniors will say goodbye to Tiger Stadium on Saturday. Ten scholarship players and five walk-ons. I can’t claim to know much about guys like Jonathan Nixon, Paul Felio, Zach Elkins, Jordan Newell and Richard Dugas (aside from Dugas’ brief time as the starting fullback), outside of the fact that they’ve basically paid to get their asses kicked by football players for the last few years (though they definitely deserve their props for that). But I know that the progress of a lot of the young talent on this roster is due, in part, to some outstanding senior leaders, and there are a few all-time great Tigers among this group as well.

And here’s a tribute to them.

Drake Nevis

Maybe I’m the only one who likes this meme, but that’s good enough for me.

What more can I say about our beloved Cookie Monster? From the second he stepped on campus we all knew Drake Nevis had a lot of talent. As a true freshman he cracked the defensive tackle rotation next to the legendary Glenn Dorsey (who later endorsed Nevis as a future star) and even earned a start late in that season. Short, stocky and hell for an offensive lineman, Nevis fits the prototype of an LSU defensive tackle (like Dorsey, Kyle Williams, Chad Lavalais and Henry Thomas before him).

The sophomore and junior years were sporadic with some conditioning issues, but Nevis has made his final one in Baton Rouge count. He was a midseason All-American and seems a lock for the same honor at the end of the year. Nick Fairley probably has conference defensive player of the year locked up, but you can bet LSU’s four-time SEC Defensive Linemen of the Week will get a few votes.  He’s really blossomed under the teaching of defensive line coach Brick Haley, and has learned to combine his explosive strength (a school-record 374-pound power clean!) with excellent technique and hands. Size will be a negative against him come draft-time, but teams that are looking for a true 3-technique DT (think teams that use the Tampa-2 type of defense) will have their eyes on him, and he won’t last long.

Kelvin Sheppard

Here’s a guy I’m personally going to miss. He’s the emotional leader of this football team, his development the last two seasons has just been plain fun to watch.

KShepp came to LSU in 2006 with high school teammate (and current Washington Redskin) Perry Riley, with both cracking the starting lineup in the ill-fated 2008 Maleveto year. Like most of the LSU defense he looked totally lost at times, but all that changed once LSU hired John Chavis as defensive coordinator. And the Chief’s earned his paycheck with his work with Sheppard. He’s blossomed into one of the top middle linebackers in the conference, a classic run stuffer with the size to shed blocks and the speed to run backs down in the flats. He turned in 110 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss last year and will surpass those totals in 2010 (he already has 9.5 tackles for loss). He’s saved his best performances for the biggest games this season, with at least a half a TFL in every conference game, plus an interception and a fumble recovery against Alabama.

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via image.cdnl3.xosnetwork.com

But more importantly, the thing I’ll always remember about Kelvin Sheppard is his emotion, and the way he pours it into this team before every game. This guy loves being a Tiger. And that means something.

 Joseph Barksdale

He was a surprise recruit in the 2007 class out of Detroit, but Barksdale didn’t take long to crack the o-line two deep and never left. He’s in this third year starting, and handled the transition from right to left tackle well. Outside of a few penalty problems, Barksdale has consistently graded out high and solidified the left side of the Tiger o-line with Josh Dworaczyk.

Jai Eugene

He’ll always have Urban Meyer’s hair!

Richard Murphy

Some will remember the what-could-have-been with Murphy, who lost two seasons to knee surgeries at LSU, but always managed to show some flashes of talent. Even in a limited role this season, Murphy’s been an outstanding pass-blocker at times, and deserves a lot of credit for helping get younger backs like Michael Ford and Spencer Ware ready to contribute.

Josh Jasper

Jasper may very well be the greatest kicker in LSU history. His career percentage of 84.8 ranks first in LSU and second in SEC history, and he also set a school record for field goals in a single game this season with five. He’s 10-13 from beyond 40 yards, including 4-6 beyond 50. And if nothing else, few kickers can match this for a memorable moment.

Terrance Toliver

I’ve been rough at times on this former five-star recruit, but we’ll never know if his issues had as much to do with the quarterbacking problems of the last two seasons or just his own inconsistency. Still, Terrance Toliver has had his moments this season, like the two huge touchdowns versus Florida, and deserves credit for never letting the offense’s struggles get him too down (he’s also been a diligent run blocker). He’ll have a better chance at impressing scouts once the season ends, and perhaps the NFL will provide him with a better canvas (and a better quarterback) to work with.

Lazarius Levingston

“Pep” won’t go down on any all-time lists, but he’s been a consistent contributor for three seasons now.

Daniel Graff

Ah, the walk-on made good. Graff earned a scholarship last year with seven special teams tackles and a blocked punt. He’s actually one of the faster players on the team (and the cream in the Oreo of Explosion) — and like I said earlier this season — some NFL special teams coach is going to watch his tape and really want him.

Derek Helton

Helton’s been knocked at times for not always having great averages, but he’s consistently been a strong directional punter, and is a big reason LSU has had just 23 of 109 punts (75 from Helton) returned for a total of 108 yards the last two seasons (75 from Helton).


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