By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Ed Orgeron met with the media Monday to discuss the disappointing loss to Texas A&M, Terrace Marshall deciding to opting out with three games left, then answering questions about the team's upcoming matchup with #1 ranked Alabama... GEAUX TIGERS!
BELOW is the video of the press conference...
Article courtesy of The Advocate
By: Brooks Kubena
LSU's troubled offense just lost its best offensive player.
Star wide receiver Terrace Marshall has decided to opt out the rest of the season, a source confirmed with The Advocate, a decision made a day after LSU's offense was nearly shut out in a 20-7 loss at Texas A&M.
The news was first reported by ESPN 104.5's Jordy Culotta.
The NCAA ruled that any player could opt out of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Marshall's decision signals the end of his career in Baton Rouge. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior is expected to enter the NFL draft and is predicted to be selected in the early rounds.
Marshall, who has not made an official announcement yet on his future, would be in the same draft class as former teammate Ja'Marr Chase, LSU's 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner, who opted out before the season began.
Marshall's departure is a surprising development, news that came less than two weeks after Marshall gave a speech in a players-only meeting to bring the team together before its 27-24 win at Arkansas. He had become a leader by example and was starting to use his voice.
Orgeron used Marshall as an example in a weekly news conference as a player with high NFL draft stock who was in a position to help right the ship in a rocky season.
"They want to win," Orgeron said before the Arkansas game. "They want to go out and win, and they represent the purple and gold. And they don't like the results on the field either. But you know what? A lot of them got a lot of things to prove on the field to go into the NFL, and put it on tape."
LSU's offense has been spotty against Arkansas and Texas A&M, but Marshall was at the center of the team's limited success. He led the team in receptions in both games and totaled 17 catches for 191 yards and a touchdown.
Marshall, a former five-star recruit from Parkway High, is expected to finish his final season in Baton Rouge with 48 catches, 731 yards and 10 touchdowns. He'd finish his career with 106 catches, 1,594 yards and 23 touchdowns. The touchdown total ties Marshall with Chase for fourth all-time in LSU history.
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
The Tigers traveled to College Station hoping to take down the #5 ranked Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday night. Instead they would waste the defense's best effort of the season as a lifeless offense and poor special teams would highlight this very ugly loss.
The LSU defense played inspiring football most of the night, controlling the A&M
offense throughout the game only giving up 13 points. They also limited huge offensive plays, only giving up a couple of big running plays.
LSU simply can't establish any kind of a running attack, putting too much pressure on the
shoulders of their young freshman quarterbacks. But perhaps the biggest disappointment so far this season, other then the defense play, has been the poor performance of the offensive line. Each week they loose the battle in the trenches, struggling to open running lanes for the backs and providing protection in the passing game.
This 2020 college football season seems like a horrifying episode of the Twilight Zone..
Below is 'Da Boot Sports' recap of the game....
Both teams would trade punts to start the game. A&M would then drive 41 yards in seven plays, setting up a 41 yard field goal by Aggies' kicker Seth Small. The drive was highlighted by a 26 yard run by Kellen Mond, who would take a late hit out of bounds by JaCoby Stevens tacking on 15 yards before the LSU defense would stiffen up and stop the drive forcing the field goal attempt. 3-0 Aggies with 9:10 to go in the quarter.
For the rest of the quarter, both defenses would keep the other team's offense in check, forcing five straight punts.
With 1:06 to go in the 1st, the Aggies would start their fifth possession of the night from their 46 yard line. On 2nd and eight, Isaiah Spiller would follow his pulling guards and out run the LSU defense to the end zone for a 52 yard touchdown. Small would add the point after and A&M would extend their lead to 10-0 with :16 ticks left on the game clock...
With the rain beginning to steadily fall, LSU would take their next possession into the
second quarter unable to move the football, punting it away.
The Aggies would begin a nice drive into LSU territory, kick started by a 32 yard run by
Isaiah Spiller on the first play of the possession down to the Tigers' 36 yard line. The LSU defense would bend but not break as on a 3rd and 16 from the 21 yard line, Kellen Mond would complete a 15 yard pass to Jalen Wydermyer, setting up 4th and one at the six. Jimbo Fisher would decided to leave the offense on the field and go for it. Mond would try to sneak for it but loose the ball, turning it over on downs to the Tigers with 9:37 left in the half.
Starting 1st and ten at their own 15, T.J. Finley would drop back to throw and find Terrace Marshall Jr. across the middle on the move. Marshall would race 54 yards to the A&M 31 yard line. On the next play, Finley would throw deep to Kayshon Boutte who appeared to come down with the ball in the near front corner of the end zone inside of the pylon for an apparent touchdown. However, the call would be reversed to an incomplete pass after it was reviewed. From there it would go from bad to worse, as Finley would have his pass tipped and intercepted at the Aggies' 21 yard line on the very next play, ending the scoring opportunity.
The LSU defense would force a three-and-out, forcing the Aggies to punt from their own end zone, giving the Tigers great starting field position at the A&M 45 yard line. Finley and the offense would drive 29 yards down to 16 yard line before having to attempt a 34 yard field goal. Cade York would hit the ball badly, pushing it to the right, missing the kick.
Both teams would struggle offensively as they would each trade punts twice, setting up Texas A&M, 1st and ten at their 33 yard line with :43 seconds left in the first half. Mond would drive the Aggies 44 yards in eight plays, setting up a 40 yard field goal attempt on the last play of the half. Seth Small would split the uprights sending the both teams to the locker rooms with Texas A&M leading 13-0.
The contest continued to be a defensive battle as both teams would trade punts deep into the 3rd quarter.
With 4:53 left in the quarter, LSU would find themselves pinned back deep, starting a drive at their nine yard line. On 2nd and ten, T.J. Finley would desperately release a pass while under heavy pressure which ended up in the hands of Aggies' linebacker Buddy Johnson, who would return the interception 15 yards into the end zone for the score, putting A&M up 20-0.
The interception would end Finley's night as Orgeron would pull him for Max Johnson who would finish the game for the Tigers.
The rain would continue to fall into the final quarter and both offenses would continue to struggle as the defenses would keep dominating the contest. Without a running game and an offensive line that would struggle all game long, Max Johnson would fair no better then Finley as the LSU offense would be unable to execute at all on a night when the LSU defense would play perhaps their best game of the season. Both teams would combine for five straight punts, leading us from the beginning of the quarter until LSU would begin the last drive of the game at their own 19 yard line with 5:09 left in the contest.
With Jimbo Fisher inserting second team players into the game, Johnson and the LSU
offense would finally produce their only real drive of the night. With the Aggies defense still brining the heat against the freshman quarterback, Max Johnson would play with poise under constant pressure driving LSU 81 yards in 14 plays, finishing off the drive with a three yard touchdown pass to Terrace Marshall with only 38 seconds remaining to avoid the shutout.
Texas A&M would recover the on-side kick and kneel the final seconds away for a 20-7 victory.
The Texas A&M defense played an outstanding game causing the LSU offense to struggle all game long. LSU's offensive line would be dominated by the A&M defensive front all night, allowing constant pressure on both LSU quarterbacks who struggled under the pressure badly.
T.J. Finley would finish 9-25, 118 yards, with 2 INTs.. Max Johnson would fair no better until facing second team players on the final drive of the game finishing 14-22, 113 yards, with 1 touchdown pass.
The running backs would find no room to run the football as it would be a battle at times just to make it out of the backfield. Ty Davis-Price could only manage 18 yards on 11 carries, while John Emery had only 4 carries for 13 yards. LSU finished the game rushing for only 36 total yards on the ground.
Terrace Marshall lead the team in receiving with 134 yards on 10 catches and a touchdown grab. Other then Marshall, the rest of the receivers would find very few catchable ball thrown their way.
The LSU defense came out and played perhaps their best game of the season, frustrating A&M senior quarterback Kellen Mond all night long. The Tigers would only manage one sack, but put pressure on Mond throughout the game.
The defensive line played a great game, pressuring the quarterback and making a few plays behind the line of scrimmage during key moments of the game. Ali Gaye and Glenn Logan both lead the D-Line charge with four tackles each.
The linebackers played well in pass coverage but struggled to stop the run early in the ball game. Micah Baskerville lead the team in tackles with 12 total as he had a great outing. Jabril Cox had a solid game, especially in pass coverage.
The secondary played perhaps their best game of the season as they were able to handle the A&M receivers with tight coverage throughout the contest as well as playing strong against the run in the second half. Overall Bo Pelini's defense did their job to give the Tigers a chance to win the game.
LSU special teams have been special all season, but had a tough night. Cade York missed a 34 yard field goal attempt in the 2nd quarter.. Zach Von Rosenberg would need to punt 11 times and may have injured himself late in the game making a tackle. The Tigers also had poor luck while trying to receive a punt as A&M would recover a live ball after it would hit a LSU player in the leg off the bounce.
Next up, our 3-4 Tigers will host #1 ranked Alabama in Tiger Stadium on Saturday, December 5th. The game will be carried by CBS, kickoff set for 7pm...
Photos By: LSU/SEC
Article courtesy of The Daily Advisor
By: Glenn Guilbeau
BATON ROUGE — Ruffin Rodrigue Jr., a gregarious and popular former LSU football player turned successful restaurateur, died Tuesday of an apparent heart attack. He was 53.
Rodrigue owned Ruffino's restaurant in Baton Rouge and Ruffino's On the River in Lafayette.
"Our whole LSU family is mourning the loss of a great friend and a great Tiger," LSU football coach Ed Orgeron said via Twitter on Wednesday. "Ruffin, you will be sorely missed by us all. Rest in peace."
Friends said they were concerned about Rodrigue in recent weeks because he had not been taking care of himself.
"Ruffino's is saddened to announce that owner and founder, Ruffin Rodrigue Jr., passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack on Tuesday," said Blanche Gallagher, public relations coordinator of Ruffino's, in a statement on Wednesday. "The staff extend their thoughts and prayers to his family during this time."
Rodrigue was an All-Southeastern Conference offensive guard at LSU in the 1988 season when the Tigers won the SEC championship. A native of Thibodaux, he signed with LSU in 1986 out of Thibodaux High School. He played four seasons at LSU from 1986-89. He became LSU's starting left guard as a sophomore in 1987 and was a mainstay of the offensive line for three seasons.
Rodrigue's father, Ruffin Rodrigue Sr. of Thibodaux, played center at LSU from 1962-64.
Ruffino's in Baton Rouge has been a popular spot for national media members as well as LSU fans before and after LSU football, basketball and baseball games for decades.
Rodrigue and former restaurant partner Peter Sclafani were named Louisiana Restaurant Association restaurateurs of the year in 2014.
Rodrigue graduated in marketing from LSU and worked for Mockler Beverage in Baton Rouge before becoming general manager of DiNardo's restaurant, which was at the location of the current Ruffino's in Baton Rouge on Highland Road and opened in 1998.
After DiNardo was fired late in the 1999 season, Rodrigue eventually took over the restaurant and changed its name to Ruffino's in 2000. He then opened Ruffino's On the River in Lafayette in 2013 at what was the location of Cochon restaurant.
"Prior to his death, Ruffin was a vocal advocate for Louisiana restaurants, fighting for grants and relief for restaurants hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic," Gallagher said. "Ruffin began his journey with Ruffino's in 1998 with an understanding that he wanted to create something special, and not just another restaurant. His goal was to develop a place where people could come to celebrate life, regardless of the occasion."
Former LSU center Blake Miller of Alexandria roomed with Rodrigue during summers while at LSU.
"When I first met him, he was just like he would always be - life of the party, friends with everybody," Miller said from his insurance office in Austin, Texas. "Just a great person. I can't say a negative thing about him. Everybody loved Ruffin, and everybody loved being around Ruffin."
Miller is a year younger than Rodrigue and got to LSU in 1987.
"I looked up to him because he played before me and helped me," he said. "He really cared about LSU. It just meant a lot to him - the fact that he was playing where his dad played. He was so proud to be an LSU Tiger. The players loved him. All the coaches loved him because he played so hard."
Miller said he bumped into Rodrigue and his two young children at a Mardi Gras parade in Baton Rouge in 2019.
"He was just like he always was," he said. "Having a great time. He knew so many people. We had lots of great times together."
Funeral arrangements are pending.
LSU Sports Information
By: Michael Bonnette
LSU’S VON ROSENBERG NAMED RAY GUY AWARD PUNTER OF WEEK
BATON ROUGE – LSU senior punter Zach Von Rosenberg has been named the Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week for his performance in the Tigers’ 27-24 win over Arkansas on Saturday.
Von Rosenberg’s punting was critical to LSU’s success against Arkansas as five of his seven punts were downed inside the 10-yard line. In the second half alone, Von Rosenberg had punts downed at the 9, 5, 8 and 7-yard lines. He also had a punted downed at the 8-yard line in the first quarter.
For the game, Von Rosenberg averaged 48.9 yards on seven punts with a long of 61 yards. Arkansas did not return any of his punts and the Tigers had a net punting average of 48.9 yards.
It’s the second time this year Von Rosenberg has claimed the honor. He was also the Ray Guy Punter of the Week for his play against Mississippi State in the season opener.
Von Rosenberg currently ranks No. 2 in the SEC and No. 5 in the nation in punting with a 47.5 average on 29 punts. His 18 punts downed inside the 20-yard line leads the SEC and he’s tied for the league lead in punts of 50 yards or more with 13.
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Coach Orgeron held his weekly "Tell the Truth Monday" press conference to look back on Saturday's 27-24 victory over Arkansas, discuss this week's matchup with the 5-1 Aggies, and answer questions from the media.... Below is not only the video of the press conference, but a transcript also since it's difficult to hear some of the questions asked... Enjoy & Geaux Tigers!!
Coach Ed Orgeron Press Conference
LSU Sports Information
LSU COACH ED ORGERON PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT – Texas A&M game week
Opening Statement:ED ORGERON: Tell-the-truth Monday. It's a good day at the office. Great day to watch the film. So excited for our football players. I gotta give them credit. It started last Monday with an outstanding week of preparation. They had the will to win the whole game. It was a tough, hard-fought battle. Give credit to Arkansas. Excellent game. Here are some of the things that we did very well and we said we had to do well going into the game. Controlled the time of possession. We had the ball for almost 42 minutes. Outstanding job by Coach Ensminger of calling plays and managing the game. We were 12-of-23 on third down; they were 0 of 10. That was a big part of the football game. TJ, I thought, played a good game. He had no turnovers. Had that game-winning throw at the end. Nobody was open. He executed the scramble rules. Jaray Jenkins got open, what a great play by him. Ty Davis-Price had one of his best games, over 100 yards rushing, brought some physicality to the game, exactly what we wanted. We wanted to be able to control the line of scrimmage, and it was a big part of his running. I thought our O Line did a good job. They gave up no sacks. Thought Jaray Jenkins had one of his best games.
On defense we had a good plan versus their hurry-up offense. We deferred; we gave them the ball, we went three and out. That was big for us to get lined up, get had our cleats in the grass. We had a simple game plan and let our guys play. Again, I said they were 0-for-10 on third down. Jabril Cox's interception, obviously a game-winning play there. Andre Anthony had his best game. The young players had to step up with the cornerbacks getting hurt. I thought our young secondary did a lot of good things. Jay Ward's stop on third down was a phenomenal play.
Special teams, Zach had a great game, five punts inside the 10-yard line, the difference in the game was the field position; and, again, the blocked field goal by our special teams at the end.
Texas A&M, real good football team. Going on the road. Well-coached team. Kellen Mond is a good player. They got a strong offensive line. Kenyon Green is a guy we recruited, probably one of the best guards in the SEC, if not the country. They have the number one defense in the SEC. I think they're twelfth in the country in rushing defense; very tough, very solid football team. But we're going to be ready for the challenge. It's going to be kind of a short week. Our players are going to go home for Thanksgiving. We had an early practice on Thursday morning; then come back on Friday and get ready to go to Texas A&M. Any questions.
Q. How often this year, I mean in comparison to last year do offenses try and run those rub routes, picking your secondary? It seems like you all got better at that against Arkansas. Is that something people have kind of honed in on this year?
ED ORGERON: Yeah. Sure. When you're playing man coverage, you're going to get that. And Bo has worked very hard. Some of our defenses are part man, part zone. It all depends on the formation. But when you get a slot like that and you get two guys rubbing you, it's going to be hard. We got better at it. We gave the first one was a touchdown, it was a rub route. You gotta put them on different levels and you gotta make adjustments and maybe help with the safety on top.
Q. And it seems like Micah Baskerville played well in those situations, too. I mean week to week has he kind of earned his spot there? What did you see from him in Arkansas?
ED ORGERON: You know, he was able to key and diagnose. Micah was the 5A Player of the Year at Evangel High School. That's why I recruited him. Excellent player in high school. When he first came here, was having a good year. As a freshman, showed us that he can key and diagnose. He fits in well in Coach Pelini's scheme. He gets to the football. He's a tremendous young man.
Q. We always hear the expression that losing hurts worse than winning feels good. But I imagine after three weeks winning felt pretty good on Saturday?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, it did. I was excited for the coaching staff. I was excited for the players, our team, the LSU fans. And, again, it took everything we had to beat Arkansas, and we did it. Hopefully it's a springboard for us to have a great end to the season starting with Texas A&M.
Q. Coach, you said before the season you thought Andre Anthony would be more of a natural fit playing in a 4-3 end. Now he's up there in the D line lead in sacks and tackles. What's sort of been key for him to settle in and now play like he's playing?
ED ORGERON: You know, playing on the edge, you want your best pass rusher at the right end. Him and BJ play that right end position. He gets a lot of one-on-ones with the offensive tackle coming on the blind side. He's got a nice what he calls a double-hand swipe. You know, one of the tackles for loss, we had a nice stunt on. It was a triple. He was coming around. We ran right into the mesh point of the quarterback. So I think the attacking defensive line is what you're seeing instead of sitting back and reading getting to the back field and making plays. He's perfect for that.
Q. We've seen it years past, and even this year as well, in Texas A&M's game where there is defensive pressure on Kellen Mond. He's struggled in the pocket. How important is it for this team to develop a good pass rush on Monday to make Mond feel uncomfortable?
ED ORGERON: Hey, makes sense. What you're saying makes a lot of sense. Last year we put some pressure on them. And we're going to have to, just like any game. But you know what, the good part about this team is that we can put pressure on a four-man rush. I feel comfortable rushing four and playing coverage. That's your best defense. Now, if we have to blitz them, we have to put some pressure on them, Bo has a bunch of blitzes. But I think the first thing that we need to do is be able to rush with four.
Q. Just going back to that pass rush, A&M comes into the game allowing only two sacks this year. Is this a game where you lean heavily on that pass rush and get more pressure from different angles, try to get more pressure on Kellen Mond?
ED ORGERON: We have to. He gets rid of the ball quick. A lot of play action pass. But you know what, I don't know much about them only giving up two sacks. I know that already. I don't know why I didn't study them that much. But I do believe we can put pressure on them. Now, Kellen is a dual-threat quarterback. He can avoid a rush and run the football, much like Feleipe Franks did last week. We have to be able to contain him.
Q. Do you now have an update on Derek Stingley? How is he doing? What's his status?
ED ORGERON: Derek's going to practice today. He's going to be in a gold jersey. He looks like he's going to be okay. He's not cleared totally yet, but he looks like he's going to be fine.
Q. Do you have an update on Racey as well? Looks like he pulled up a little bit in the game.
ED ORGERON: He's out. He's very doubtful for the game.
Q. Coach, with it being Texas A&M and your first trip back there since that 74-72 game a couple of years ago --
ED ORGERON: You didn't have to remind me.
Q. Sorry, man. I kind of had to. That and it being your first ranked opponent, is there any added emotions to this game this weekend?
ED ORGERON: You know, I think that you could internally -- I thought about it this morning, to be honest with you, when I saw the film and I saw the stadium, some thoughts came by. But you know what, it's my job to be able to prevent problems this week, have a great practice and not allow those things to happen that happened to us last time. And we're going to have to go and play our best game. I think Texas A&M is a much better team when they're playing at home than when they're playing on the road, at least our series. They're going to play their best football. They're going to have a great crowd. Probably the first time, but -- I imagine they're going to have a great crowd. Probably the first time this year that the crowd noise will be a factor. We're going to have to be able to handle it, be able to handle our emotions. They're going to be sky high; they haven't played in a while, but so will we.
Q. Coach, how much do you think the defense has improved? And do you think that Bo Pelini has steadied that unit, and are you pleased with what you see on that side of the ball recently?
ED ORGERON: Yeah. I'm pleased with the way we played most of the game against Arkansas. I thought that we had our cleats in the grass. We had a great plan for the hurry-up offense. But still not pleased with the deep balls, still not pleased with the rub routes. Still not pleased with the explosive plays, and definitely not pleased by the way we played most of the season. We need to improve to be a championship defense, and everybody knows that.
Q. Obviously Texas A&M comes in with a pretty high-powered run, rushing attack, and you guys showed some strides last weekend against Arkansas in that area. Through watching film, what were some of the things that you guys noticed that you did a little bit better in stopping the run?
ED ORGERON: I thought our guys dominated their offensive line. That's the first time I can tell you that. I think we had some little run stunts in there that we did very well. We played with good technique. We didn't let the ball run inside the tackles, and we tackled well. Now, Texas A&M has a great running attack. Spiller is an outstanding player; they have some speed back there. They put different guys back there to run. Tommie Robinson, who coached with us, coaches the running backs, does a great job. You're going to see 21 personnel; you're going to see 12 personnel. They're a lot of pro-style stuff. Jimbo is a very good coach. They use their tight end well. They throw to their tight end. Very balanced offense, but their run game starts with their offensive line. I think that's one of the better offensive lines that we have faced this year.
Q. Coach, a couple of quick questions for you. Number one, how many scholarship players did you have available for this game? Do you have any kind of idea? And, second, in the second half Gilbert appeared to be running down the seam open and T.J. just didn't quite hit him. Are those the kind of plays that he is going to make moving forward?
ED ORGERON: Well, when I saw him in the hall today, I said, "Throw to No. 2." Okay? If all else fails, throw to No. 2. And I don't know the amount that we had. I don't check that. We traveled with 69, and that's what we had on the plane. We can travel with 70, but we were at 69 when we travel.
Q. Coach, you mentioned sending the guys home for Thanksgiving, and I was wondering if you had to preach any extra precautions because of the pandemic and telling them to be a little more careful this year or anything like that?
ED ORGERON: Yeah. Definitely. Go home and have it with your family only, know who's there. Obviously don't attend any parties or no big gatherings, but I think going home with your family, it's Thanksgiving. I think it will be fine. We test our guys. They're going to follow all the precautions. Shelly is going to talk to them about leaving, going home, what they should and they shouldn't do. I think we'll be fine.
Q. Coach, I wanted to get your thoughts on reviewing the film of Eli Ricks' targeting call; and, second, who replaces him for the first half on Saturday?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, he did hit him with the head. He hit with the shoulder first, but the head hit. I thought it was targeting, so I got no beef with that. I think it was a good call. We haven't decided who is going to start for him yet. We have to make a decision between Cordale and Jay Ward and see who's available, and we'll make that decision toward the end of the week.
Q. The SEC did not release any TV times for next week's games. Obviously looks like there could be some shuffling of the schedule. How much are you involved or being looped in on any of those decisions? How do you prepare knowing your opponent could change from week to week?
ED ORGERON: You know, the good thing is we knew this season was going to be very fluid. We focus in on Texas A&M, but I sure hope that the rescheduled Alabama game, we want to play Alabama. That's a great rivalry, and we look forward to playing them. So if they can fit it in to where we can play Alabama, I'm sure they're going to do it. We have Alabama; we have Florida; we have Ole Miss left, and those are awesome great games, and we're ready to play every one of them.
Q. Knowing you've prepared ahead of time, is this something you have your analysts involved in doing?
ED ORGERON: Yeah. We're scheduled for Ole Miss next week. So we have analysts breaking down Ole Miss. We have already broken down Alabama. We were going to play them at the beginning, so that's done. And then we have already broken down Florida. So that's done. So as far as the analytical work, most of it's been done. Now, the last couple games haven't been done, but we have enough information that if we need to start new next week with anybody else, we're going to be ready to go.
Q. Scott kind of asked my question, but I'll follow up on it. What do you think is the hangup, it seems like a pretty simple solution to get the Alabama game rescheduled. What do you think they're waiting on?
ED ORGERON: You know, Scooter, that's out of my wheelhouse. I have no clue. But I know that my gut feeling is that it's going to be rescheduled, and I hope it is. And look forward to playing them.
Q. Coach, do you think that your team is maybe starting to grow up a little bit? Can you see that? Because on Saturday it looked like in a lot of respects the old LSU?
ED ORGERON: Yeah.
Q. Better defense, running the ball. Do you think this team is maybe starting to get it, whatever that is?
ED ORGERON: Yeah. It sure looked like it, Ed. It felt like it. You know, it not only felt like it during the game, it felt like it in those three weeks of practice. We were embarrassed by our performance at Auburn. I took the blame. We gotta get better. We gotta practice better. We gotta have better leadership. We gotta coach better. And we were not playing like LSU should play. Did we play like an LSU football team? We looked at it. At some time we looked like an LSU football team, but we still have a ways to go, but we have some young players that are believing, and hopefully making the last play of the game gave our guys some belief and some confidence to fight through it and they can win.
Q. Going back for a second whenever you talked about crowd noise being a factor maybe for the first time all year, how do you specifically help prepare T.J. for that atmosphere on Saturday?
ED ORGERON: As far as snap count for number one, how we're going to handle the snap count. That's huge on the road. We know we play music, Doug has a John Deere with a big speaker right behind it. And we play some music as loud as we possibly can. We get tired of hearing it on Tuesday and Wednesday. And then just give him the situation to where he's going to be calm and he can make the right calls.
Q. With Texas A&M being out a couple of weeks and really what you've seen out of what they've put on film, I'm wondering, especially offensively, how this team, you think, has grown from last year to this year?
ED ORGERON: Well, I think it starts with the physicality. I mean their offensive line is a lot better offensive line than we played last year. Their run game is a lot better. Kellen Mond is playing better; they're protecting him, only two sacks. Then you gotta look at their defense. They got the number one defense in the SEC. That's very impressive. They're tough against the run. Their defensive coordinator could dial up blitzes. They could play a 4-3; they could play a 3-4. The defensive line is playing very well. I just think they're playing overall good football and they've improved in almost every area since last year.
Q. Following up on a question from earlier, how will things kind of form behind Racey? Who fills in for him, and where do you all see that in the lineup?
ED ORGERON: Hopefully we can get Trey Palmer back. I don't know if he's going to be back this week. We have a lot of receivers that can go out there. Kayshon Boutte is a good young receiver, he can get out there. Koy Moore, another receiver. Jontre Kirklin, another receiver we can put out there. So we have a lot of choices.
Q. And I don't know if you saw yesterday. I'm wondering just your thoughts after Joe Burrow's injury and what you saw from that, what you think.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, it was tough. It was tough to watch. We all watched it and we felt bad for him. Joe's a competitor, I texted him today. I know he's going to come back. I know his attitude. He's probably working out today, getting onto next season. I thought he was having maybe Rookie of the Year season. We were very proud of him. We follow Joe, we follow everything he does, like we do all the players in the NFL.
Q. Coach, since it is Thanksgiving, I was wondering what you were most thankful for and maybe a side dish or two that is your favorite.
ED ORGERON: Well, I'm most thankful for my family and thankful for being the head coach of Louisiana State University. That's been a blessing in my life. And there's no question that oyster dressing is my favorite for Thanksgiving.
Q. Coach, what's the latest on Myles Brennan? What's he going through and what might the future be for him and his recovery?
ED ORGERON: We still haven't made a decision. It doesn't look like he's going to play. We still haven't made a decision on the operation if it's best to do it now. Jack is handling that with his parents and the doctors, and it's just not clearcut right now. So it's still probably status quo, but he's definitely not playing this week.
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
After two long weeks off LSU would venture into Fayetteville on Saturday and scratch and claw their way to a 27-24 victory. The Tigers continued their inconsistent play on both sides of the ball as a short handed Arkansas football team, which had been hit with a COVID outbreak this week, would give them all they could handle. It was an ugly win. But a win is a win and the Tigers, now 3-3, needed this win in the worse way.
Below is the game break down.....
The game would begin with Arkansas taking the opening kickoff and going three-and-out. Both teams would then trade punts before LSU would mount the first scoring drive of the game. Starting 1st and 10 from their own 19, T.J. Finley would open the drive with a 18 yard completion to Jaray Jenkins. A couple of plays later Terrace Marshall would pull in a Finley pass for a 20 yard gain at the Hogs' 37. The drive would stall and Cade York would hit a 49 yard field goal to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead with 7:37 to go in the quarter.
Once again both teams would struggle to move the ball and trade punts. Feleipe Franks and the Hogs would begin the next drive 1st and 10 at their own 8 yard line. Three plays later the Razorbacks would find themselves facing a 2nd and 1 from their own 35 yard line. Franks would drop back to throw and air it out down field finding Treylon Burks for a 65 yard touchdown. With 3:40 to go in the 1st quarter, Arkansas would take the lead, 7-3.
The Tigers would take their next possession into the 2nd quarter, picking up their drive going for it on 4th and three from the Arkansas 35 yard line after driving 40 yards in seven plays to get there. Finley would buy himself time before finding Arik Gilbert for a five yard gain and a huge first down to keep the drive alive. Two plays later, T.J. Finley would complete a beautiful rainbow pass to Racey McMath for a 30 yard touchdown putting the Tigers back up, 10-7.
The LSU defense would continue to surprisingly play well forcing a quick three-and-out to give the ball right back to the LSU offense. The Tigers would begin a nice drive into Arkansas territory, but on a 1st and 10 from the Hogs' 49, Finley would complete a pass for a 20 yard gain to Terrace Marshall who would cough up the ball on the play. Arkansas would recover the fumble at their own 29 yard line ending LSU's scoring threat.
The teams would then trade punts, setting up the Hogs 1st and 10 at their own 26 yard line. On second down Jabril Cox would step in front of a Franks pass and return it 37 yards down to the one yard line. On the next play, Ty Davis-Price would punch it in for the one yard touchdown run increasing the Tigers' lead to 17-7 with 4:21 to go in the first half.
Right as it looked like LSU was beginning to dominate the game, Franks and the Hogs offense
would respond quickly as on 1st down from their own 25 yard line, Franks would hit Mike Woods on a deep 50 yard completion down to the LSU 25. Two plays later, Feleipe Franks would take the ball into the end zone from 10 yards out, ending a three play, 75 yard scoring drive, putting the contest at 17-14 with 4:21 to go until halftime.
The Tigers would manage the clock well on the final drive of the first half as they would go 69 yards in 14 plays, setting up a Cade York field goal attempt. York would split the uprights with no time left giving LSU a 20-14 halftime lead.
LSU would hold on to their 20-17 lead until late in the 3rd quarter as both teams would struggle to move the football throughout the period. With 2:34 left on the clock, Zach Von Rosenberg would pin the Razorbacks deep into their own territory at the five yard line.
On the first play of the drive, Franks would hit Mike Woods for a 29 yard gain to give the Arkansas offense some breathing room. Three plays later the LSU secondary would give up another huge play as Franks would again find Woods deep down the middle of the field for a 50 yard completion down to the LSU two yard line setting up a 1st and goal. Two plays later, Trelon Smith would score on a 1 yard touchdown plunge. The PAT would give the Hogs the lead 21-20 with only 1:04 left to go in the 3rd. The drive covered 95 yards on only six plays.
LSU would quickly go three-and-out, using up only :58 off of the game clock. Once again Zach Von Rosenberg would pin the Hogs deep in their own territory at the 8 yard line with six ticks left in the 3rd quarter. Arkansas would end the period with Feleipe Franks dropping back to his goal line to throw. Once again, Franks would burn the LSU secondary throwing deep and completing a 51 yard pass to T.J. Hammonds at the LSU 41 yard line.
As the rain would begin to fall, the Hogs would continue their drive to start the final quarter and drive to the LSU two yard line. The Tigers' defense would stand tall, keeping the Arkansas offense out of the end zone, forcing the home team to settle for a 22 yard field goal and a 24-20 lead with 12:42 to go in the ball game.
Both teams would trade punts setting up LSU's big drive of the game. Starting from their own 33 yard line, Finley would find Kayshon Boutte for a 15 yard gain across the middle. Boutte would draw a personal foul penalty when Razorbacks DB Jalen Catalon would deliver a huge blow to Boutte's head on the tackle. The personal foul would set the Tigers up 1st and ten at the Arkansas 36. After two nice runs by Ty Davis-Price, T.J. Finley would then make a beautiful throw to Davis-Price who would run a nice wheel route up the near sidelines. Price would make the catch take two steps with control and dive into the end zone for an apparent 25 yard touchdown. However, the official would rule the play an incomplete pass. LSU would need to call a timeout to have the play reviewed, but the play would stand. Two plays later on 3rd and nine, Finley would find Arik Gilbert for a 16 yard gain down to the Razorbacks' eight yard line. Two plays later the officials would make their second horrible call of the drive, calling Finley for intentional grounding with a LSU receiver in the area. With it now 3rd and goal from the 13, Finley would take the snap, buy himself some time, and find Jaray Jenkins in the end zone for the 13 yard touchdown. York would convert the point after to give LSU a 27-24 lead with 3:59 to go in the ball game. The drive covered 67 yards on ten plays.
Feleipe Franks and the Arkansas offense would start their drive at their own 25 yard line and
slowly begin to drive down the field. Franks would convert two 4th and three plays on the drive as the Razorbacks would go 48 yards in 11 plays before stalling at the LSU 27 yard line. Hogs kicker AJ Reed would attempt a 44 yard field goal to try and tie the contest, but LSU's Jay Ward would rush from the outside and get a hand on the ball, causing the kick to fall short.
The Tigers would kneel out the final 1:20 for the 27-24 victory.
The Tigers did just enough to pull out the win against an Arkansas team that played hard for 60 minutes. T.J. Finley had a career day going 27-42, 271 yards, 2-TD passes. After an up and down three quarters of play, Finley stepped up late in the game, playing with confidence and poise as he would make the big throws when needed.
The offensive line rebounded after a horrible game against Auburn with decent run blocking and giving Finley nice protection throughout the ball game. Dare Rosenthal who was reinstated to the team this week, stepped in and contributed nicely.
The running game started slow, but ended up totaling 148 tough yards. Ty Davis-Price was this week's top rusher gaining 104 yards on 24 carries and a rushing touchdown. John Emery would add 33 yards on 12 attempts.
Terrace Marshall Jr. would lead the team in receiving with 7 catches for 57 yards. Arik Gilbert had a big day with 5 huge catches during key moments in the game for 55 yards. Racey McMath finished with 48 yards on 3 grabs incuding a nice touchdown catch. Jaray Jenkins would grab the winning score late in the game, as he would total 43 yards on 3 catches. Jontre Kirkland would make a couple of big catches throughout the game as this group of young men continue to step up and play at a high level.
LSU would win the time of possession 41:43 to the Razorbacks' 18;17. LSU ran 91 offensive plays compared to the Hogs' 53...
Overall it was pleasing to see the offense battle through inconsistent play, making the plays when needed to earn the victory.
The LSU defense actually played a decent game. The secondary simply continues to make
mistakes allowing the opposing offense to make huge plays to stay in the game. Especially after losing Eli Ricks to targeting disqualification and then Derek Stingley to an apparent concussion. However, they had their moments when they would bend but not break, keeping the Razorbacks out of the end zone a couple of times, forcing Arkansas to attempt field goals. But the big pass plays that they surrender are very painful to watch and continues to happen too often.
Andre Anthony had a great game with four tackles and a couple of sacks. Ali Gaye and BJ Ojulari helped put constant pressure on Feleipe Franks. Micah Baskerville had a solid outing, as well as Jabril Cox, who had a huge interception to set up a touchdown for the Tigers.
The defense gave up 443 total yards, but only 24 points which is a nice improvement against a team that plays well at home and has played everyone on their schedule close except for Georgia and Florida.
What can you say about the LSU special teams? Cade York was 3 for 3 on his PATs and 2 for 2 on field goal attempts hitting from 49 and 24 yards out. Zach Von Rosenberg punted 7 times for a total of 342 yards. That's a 48.9 average. He had a long of 61 yards, had four of 50 yards or more, and downed five punts deep inside the 20. What a weapon.
Next up for the Tigers is a trip to College Station to battle the (5-1) Texas A&M Aggies. The game will be televised on ESPN, kickoff at 6pm....
Photos by LSU/SEC
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Ed Orgeron opened up his "Tell the Truth Monday" press conference reading a statement on the USA Today article that was just released about the rape allegations against former LSU football players. Next he would discuss with the media the situation and conditioning of his team after being off for two weeks as they prepare to travel to Arkansas this Saturday to battle a very tough Razorbacks team.
Below is a video of the press conference courtesy of LSU...
USA Today Article
By: Kenny Jacoby, Nancy Armour and Jessica Luther
For more than a year, people at the highest levels of the Louisiana State University athletic department fielded complaints about their prized running back, Derrius Guice.
Early in the spring 2016 semester, a member of the LSU diving team told her coach and an athletic department administrator that Guice raped her friend after she’d passed out drunk at a party.
That summer, a female student told two senior athletics administrators that Guice took a partially nude photograph of her without her permission, and then shared it with a team equipment manager and possibly others.
Then, in April 2017, the athletic department received reports of a second rape allegation against Guice, this time by a women’s tennis player.
Federal laws and LSU’s own policies require university officials to take such allegations seriously and report them to the Title IX office for investigation, as well as to campus police if the incidents occurred on school property.
Yet at each step of the way, LSU officials either doubted the women’s stories, didn’t investigate, or didn’t call the police, allowing Guice to continue his football career.
LSU’s failure to adequately address sexual misconduct goes beyond one star running back, a USA TODAY investigation found. Officials in the university’s athletic department and broader administration repeatedly have ignored complaints against abusers, denied victims’ requests for protections and subjected them to further harm by known perpetrators.
At least seven LSU officials had direct knowledge that wide receiver Drake Davis was physically abusing his girlfriend, a different LSU women’s tennis player, but they sat on the information for months, while Davis continued to assault and strangle her. In another case, the school determined that a fraternity member had sexually assaulted two women, but it refused to move him out of classes he shared with one of them and altogether ignored an allegation against him by a third female student.
USA TODAY also found three cases in which, rather than expelling or suspending male students found responsible for sexual assault, LSU allowed them to stay on campus. The men, non-athletes, received "deferred suspensions," a probationary period during which they must stay out of trouble.
“I just think that honestly they don’t care,” one of the women told USA TODAY. “The whole system is on the side of the accused.”
Some of the women in this story are not being named because it is USA TODAY’s policy not to identify individuals who allege sexual crimes and domestic violence without their permission. Two chose to use their full names.
As part of a broader crackdown on universities for mishandling sexual violence, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights launched a sex-discrimination investigation into LSU in August 2015, after a woman filed a complaint saying that no one informed her of her Title IX options when she reported her sexual assault to campus police. Title IX is the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education.
Three years later, in July 2018, investigators dropped the case, saying the victim had stopped communicating with them, records show. Yet when it came to Guice and Davis, LSU officials made similar errors, failing to get the Title IX office or police involved when federal laws and school policies required it, USA TODAY’s investigation found.
LSU declined to make 10 coaches and administrators available for interviews. Citing the privacy interests of those involved, school officials did not answer nearly four dozen questions that USA TODAY submitted Nov. 4 about their handling of specific allegations and Title IX cases more generally.
In a statement, LSU said it does not tolerate sexual violence of any form.
“We are unwavering in our commitment to respond promptly to any reports of misconduct, to investigate these reports in a manner that is fair and equitable, to support victims of sexual assault, and to protect the privacy of our students according to the law,” the statement said. “Putting an end to sexual assault is an institutional priority, and we are constantly working to achieve that goal.”
Guice and Davis included, at least nine LSU football players have been reported to police for sexual misconduct and dating violence since coach Ed Orgeron took over the team four years ago, records show. But the details of how LSU handled complaints against the other seven, including two who played key roles on its 2020 national championship team, remain largely secret.
For three months, LSU refused to release full campus police reports involving four players to reporters. Although such reports often are public, university officials said the cases could still be prosecuted and releasing documents could harm the cases – even though, years later, it has only shared one of them with the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office, the office said.
USA TODAY sued LSU in mid-October for access to four of the reports, arguing that its failure to produce them violated state public records laws. On Nov. 13, the university provided three of them. But it redacted the names of the suspects, victims and witnesses, citing not a public records exemption but rather Louisiana's constitutional right to privacy.
LSU continues to withhold police and Title IX records from at least two women who've requested copies of their own files. Samantha Brennan, the woman who said Guice photographed her without her consent, said she never wanted to press charges against him. But LSU told her she’d have to wait to access her police report until the statute of limitations ends – six years from the time of the incident.
USA TODAY and Brennan sued LSU for access to her full police report. The lawsuit is ongoing.
“LSU didn’t do the right thing back in 2016, but I was hoping they would do the right thing now,” Brennan said. “Unfortunately that was not the case, and the harder they fought to keep me from my police report, the harder I fought to obtain it.”
LSU has acknowledged formally disciplining two of the nine athletes: Davis and Peter Parrish, a quarterback accused of raping a woman in a car outside a bar earlier this year. LSU suspended Parrish for one year. The university expelled Davis, but not until July 2019 – four months after his criminal conviction, and 10 months after he’d already left the school.
Guice’s attorney has said he was never disciplined, and LSU attorney Johanna Posada confirmed in response to a public records request that four other athletes were not disciplined, either. They include running back Tae Provens, linebacker Jacob Phillips, tight end Zach Sheffer, all accused of rape; and safety Grant Delpit, who was accused of recording a woman during sex without her knowledge and sharing the video with others. Provens was arrested; his case remains open, the district attorney's office said. The others have not been criminally charged.
The school would not confirm or deny if it disciplined two other players accused of dating violence – defensive linemen Davon Godchaux and Ray Parker – citing privacy interests. Both were arrested. Godchaux was not charged in court; Parker’s case is pending, the DA's office said.
USA TODAY reached out to all of the players directly or through attorneys or team spokesmen. Provens, Phillips and Davis declined to comment. Sheffer hung up when contacted by a reporter and did not return messages. Delpit denied the allegations through his attorney.
“Until being recently advised in connection with this USA TODAY investigation, Mr. Delpit was unaware of any police report or Title IX complaint having been lodged against him in 2017,” his attorney, Shawn Holley, said in a statement. “To date, he has not seen any report identifying him in connection with this alleged incident.”
Parrish sued the school alleging unfair treatment but withdrew the lawsuit in September, after a judge declined to temporarily lift his suspension. Parrish, who transferred to the University of Memphis in August, denied the allegation through his attorney.
The other athletes did not respond, including Guice, whose attorney previously denied the rape allegations against his client.
In a separate statement, Orgeron said his football program “takes any allegation very seriously” and that he has followed Title IX reporting protocols.
“We are committed to a culture of safety, equity and accountability for all students and staff. We provide education, training and resources to combat violence, sexual misconduct, and inequality,” Orgeron said in his statement. “When we become aware of accusations, we have an obligation to immediately report every allegation to the University’s Title IX office so that appropriate due process can be implemented.”
Elizabeth Taylor, a Temple University professor who studies sexual assault and harassment within athletics organizations, said LSU exhibits the same "pattern of continually mishandling these types of incidents” that was seen at Baylor, Penn State and Michigan State.
“I don’t assume that any of these coaches don’t understand that what’s happening is wrong,” Taylor said. “I think they’re making decisions that are best for the success of the program, and they’re making the decision to put the safety and well-being of other students behind a player’s ability to play on a Saturday afternoon.”
On July 9, 2016, Brennan, a student who worked part-time in LSU’s football recruiting office, met Guice at Bogie’s bar in Tigerland, an area about a mile from campus popular with students for socializing and drinking. Her friend, Luke Dudley, a student equipment manager on the football team, introduced them.
Brennan drank “way too much,” she told USA TODAY. At the end of the night, Dudley dropped her off at her apartment, which was in the same complex where Guice lived. “That’s kind of all I remember,” she said.
The next day, Brennan said, she woke up naked and alone in her bed. Later that morning, she got a text from Guice, asking if she had his wallet.
“I came back to your apartment last night,” Guice told her, according to the text exchange Brennan shared with USA TODAY.
“Really?” she responded. “I must have passed out.”
Brennan told USA TODAY she doesn’t remember Guice coming to her apartment or giving him permission to be there. But she recalled her living room being disheveled the next morning with Guice’s wallet in her couch cushions.
A few days later, Brennan said, a co-worker told her a nude photo of her was circulating around the football team. Dudley later told Brennan that Guice had sent it to him, according to text messages she shared with USA TODAY.
Brennan said the photo showed her shirtless in her bedroom, walking into her bathroom while facing away from the camera.
“I wasn’t posing for it. He just snapped it,” she said. “Without my permission.”
Sharon Lewis, LSU’s head of football recruiting and Brennan’s boss, heard about the photo and called Brennan into her office on July 22, 2016. Lewis also brought in senior associate athletic director Miriam Segar, who was introduced to Brennan as a “victim’s advocate,” Brennan recalled.
“I was a mess,” she said. “I was so embarrassed that all of these people knew.”
The same day, Segar accompanied Brennan to the campus police department to file a report, which Brennan did. Brennan declined to press charges against Guice, saying she didn’t want to ruin his life.
Lewis and Segar weren't the only ones aware of the photo. "All the higher-ups at LSU" knew about it, Dudley told Brennan in a text message, adding that he was called into a meeting about it.
When contacted by a reporter, Dudley said he would call back later. He did not, nor did he return a subsequent voicemail.
LSU policies required campus officials to report the allegation to the Title IX office to conduct an initial investigation. But the Title IX office never reached out to Brennan, she said.
When football practice for the 2016 season began in early August, Guice was a full participant. He went on to have a breakout, record-setting sophomore season.
Brennan said she left LSU after the fall semester.
“I remember thinking, this guy isn’t going away. He’s a baby. He’s going to be here the next couple of years,” she said. “So yeah, I can’t be here.”
This year, USA TODAY reporters investigating two rape allegations against Guice – one by a woman’s tennis player, the other by a student who was not an athlete – filed a public records request with LSU seeking all campus police reports involving him. In response, LSU provided reports for two non-criminal incidents involving Guice but did not provide Brennan’s report nor mention its existence, in violation of the state public records law.
Brennan’s report might have stayed buried had she not read USA TODAY’s August investigation about the rape allegations against Guice and contacted the reporters, alerting them that she, too, had had an incident with him. On Aug. 19, Brennan herself requested a copy of her police report.
After several delays, LSU sent her a one-page, four-sentence “initial report.” It lacked numerous details, including Guice’s name and her claim that he’d shared the photo with others, which is a felony under Louisiana law.
When Brennan asked for the rest of the file, two LSU officials told her she could not have it because the statute of limitations in the case had not expired, she said. This, despite the fact that Brennan never pressed charges – nor does she intend to – and the campus police had never shared the case with prosecutors, the DA’s office said.
LSU also refused to provide records to the tennis player who said Guice raped her. The woman and her attorney have called and written LSU repeatedly over the past three months, but the school has yet to produce a single document, they said.
Meanwhile, Guice is facing criminal charges in Virginia after a former girlfriend accused him of physically assaulting her multiple times and strangling her until she lost consciousness earlier this year. The Washington Football Team, which drafted Guice in the 2018 NFL draft’s second round, released him shortly after his arrest on Aug. 7.
Guice is out on bond. No NFL team has picked him up.
EARLY WARNIGS ABOUT DRAKE DAVIS
Davis was a highly recruited, multisport athlete who, like Guice, was raised in Baton Rouge. He turned down offers from Alabama, Ohio State and other top universities to play as a wide receiver for the Tigers, who described him as “one of the most athletic players perhaps to ever wear an LSU football uniform.”
In January 2017, the second semester of his freshman year, Davis began dating an LSU women’s tennis player – not the same one who said Guice raped her. The relationship soon turned violent, the woman told police and USA TODAY, with Davis leaving the woman bruised or bleeding on at least six occasions over the course of just over one year.
Ultimately Davis pleaded guilty to two assaults; prosecutors dropped other charges against him in exchange.
Interviews with the woman, her father and several teammates, as well as a detailed LSU Police Department arrest report released after the case closed, demonstrate how LSU officials who were told of the abuse – including by the woman and Davis directly – repeatedly failed to act on the information, each time leaving her vulnerable to Davis’ increasingly violent attacks.
“All I wanted was for someone to sit him down and tell him, ‘Hey, this is not acceptable, don’t do this again,’ ” the woman told USA TODAY. “But no one did anything, and it escalated and just went from 0 to 100 really fast.”
The woman said she told a team athletic trainer, Donavon White, that Davis punched her in the stomach in May 2017 during an argument. The woman’s father said he also reported it to Mike Sell, his daughter’s coach at LSU who serves as women’s tennis co-head coach alongside wife Julia Sell.
The woman’s father told USA TODAY he spoke to Mike Sell twice in the summer of 2017 about his daughter’s toxic relationship with Davis. In their second call, the father said he specifically stated that Davis had punched her. According to the father, Mike Sell responded, “Couldn’t be possible, wouldn’t be possible.”
Phone records the father shared with USA TODAY corroborate his calls to Mike Sell on two days during that time. The father shared the same information with an LSU police detective in August 2018, a police report shows.
LSU policy requires employees who witness or are told about possible sexual misconduct or dating violence to notify the school’s Title IX coordinator, who conducts an initial investigation. But USA TODAY found no evidence that White, Mike Sell or Julia Sell informed anyone. They later told police that they did not learn of the abuse until a year later – White in April 2018, and the Sells in June 2018, police records show.
A former tennis player disputed that, saying she personally reported Davis' abuse to Julia Sell “six to seven months before that, at least.”
“I’m sure they knew, because I talked to her,” the former player said of Julia Sell. “They just didn’t care, or they didn’t believe her.”
LSU declined to make the Sells available for an interview and did not answer questions about them or White. When contacted by a reporter, White hung up the phone after a question about protocols for reporting abuse.
The father said he never spoke to Mike Sell again. “They made their decision,” he said. “After that, we knew (our daughter) would be beaten up, and we knew LSU would cover it up.”
The first time LSU staff followed the law and school policies in reporting Davis was the following year, in April 2018, when he punched the woman again, this time in the ribs. Still in pain three weeks later, the woman went to LSU athletic trainers to get examined.
On April 25, the woman told White, senior athletic trainer Micki Collins and senior associate athletic director Segar that Davis had punched her for the second time in the past year, prompting Segar to file a Title IX report, a police report shows. The woman said the same to LSU’s lead Title IX investigator, Jeffrey Scott, in a May 21 interview, according to the report.
Because the incident happened in her on-campus apartment, university officials were required under a federal law known as the Clery Act to report it to campus police, which must determine if Davis posed a serious or ongoing threat and whether to notify others. University officials would not say if that happened, but the incident does not appear in LSU’s public Clery crime log.
Additionally, LSU investigators did not interview Davis for more than two months, records show. By then, he’d assaulted the tennis player at least three more times, including strangling her twice, the woman told police and USA TODAY.
According to police reports, in the early hours of June 18, 2018, an intoxicated Davis entered the woman’s apartment using a key she had given him, jumped on her in her bed, strangled her, hit her and ripped her earring out in the process. The woman’s roommate called police around 2 a.m., when she woke up to the woman screaming, the reports show.
LSU police officers separated Davis and the woman but made no arrests. Both told officers it was a verbal argument that had not turned physical. She told an LSU police detective the full version two months later, records show.
“I was scared,” the woman said. “Obviously football has the power. I thought LSU would kick me out, or that something would happen to my scholarship.”
The incident caught the attention of LSU officials. After months of mounting evidence of Davis’ violence, Jonathan Sanders, who runs LSU’s student judicial affairs, called Davis in for an interview on July 11.
The interview focused only on the June 18 incident, even though the woman had reported other assaults by Davis months earlier. Davis again claimed the argument had not turned physical. The woman said the same when Sanders interviewed her two weeks later, though she acknowledged that Davis had punched her previously, records show.
At least three other athletes, however, told Sanders that the woman was covering for Davis, records show. The woman’s roommate, a volleyball player, said that Davis had, in fact, strangled the woman that night. A fellow tennis player said she helped cover bruises on the woman’s neck with makeup the next day. A football player and roommate of Davis’ said he knew of the violence and that assistant football coach Mickey Joseph would call him each week asking if the woman was at his and Davis’ apartment.
Joseph had also accompanied Davis to his July 11 interview with Sanders, records show.
LSU declined to make Joseph available for an interview and did not answer questions about his involvement in the case, or whether it is appropriate for coaches to attend interviews in Title IX cases. LSU noted that students are permitted to bring an adviser of their choosing to interviews “for support.”
Despite the woman’s and the witnesses’ statements, LSU appears to have taken no formal disciplinary action against Davis. According to the woman, the coaching staff banned Davis from the weight room that summer but reinstated him once practices for the 2018 season began. Davis participated in the team’s first practice on Aug. 4, according to news reports.
Segar finally called campus police on Aug. 16, when the woman showed her photos of bruises and scratches that she said Davis had given her, as well as text messages in which he had threatened to kill her and encouraged her to kill herself. LSU police officers arrested and charged Davis the next day with felony dating violence.
Orgeron indefinitely suspended Davis from football. A reporter for The Advocate, a newspaper in Baton Rouge, asked Orgeron at a post-scrimmage press conference if he or anyone at LSU knew about the allegations before the arrest. Orgeron declined to answer.
In fact, a top LSU athletics administrator had been sitting on a confession from Davis for four months.
On April 14, 2018, Davis admitted to punching the woman in a text message conversation with deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry, police records show. The conversation was not revealed until late August, when police found it after obtaining a search warrant for Davis’ phones.
LSU declined to make Ausberry available for an interview and declined to answer questions about him, including whether he shared the information with the Title IX office or police. LSU last year promoted him to executive director of external relations for the university, in addition to executive deputy athletic director.
USA TODAY requested copies of all text messages sent and received by Ausberry over a weeklong period at that time. LSU policies require employees to retain records of all correspondence for at least five years, but the university said Ausberry checked his phone and found no messages.
LSU police arrested Davis a second time on Sept. 16, 2018, after detectives learned he was continuing to see and physically assault his girlfriend, against court orders. Davis withdrew from the university a day later, school directory information shows.
Davis in March 2019 pleaded guilty to two batteries and violating a protective order. Four months later, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office arrested him again for battery of a different dating partner. That case has been delayed because of the coronavirus, a court official said.
LSU in July 2019 expelled Davis for violating its student conduct code and Title IX policy “on multiple occasions during the summer and fall of 2018,” disciplinary records obtained by USA TODAY show. His expulsion came as news to the woman, who said LSU never told her about it.
It’s not only athlete cases that have stalled in LSU’s Title IX process. Delays, missteps and inaction have also plagued cases involving ordinary students, according to interviews with five women who’ve gone through the process, as well as corroborating documents they provided USA TODAY.
In spring 2019, Elisabeth Andries, an LSU industrial engineering major, encountered a familiar face in one of her classes: the fraternity member who she said sexually assaulted her two years earlier, when she was a freshman.
It happened on a fraternity bus trip to New Orleans, Andries said. The frat member, who was a friend, had invited her as his date. They drank heavily, to the point that she was vomiting, she said. Although her memory of the night is fuzzy, she recalled her date moving her to the back of the bus, ripping open her shirt and touching her without her consent.
“I remember repeatedly saying ‘stop’ and ‘no,’ ” Andries said. “I think I just kind of blacked out after that.”
Andries said she tried to ignore him in the class they had together two years later, but couldn’t. She started to suffer chronic panic attacks, she said, so she reported the incident to the school.
As it turned out, another female student had already reported the same man for sexually assaulting her in almost the exact same way, the same night, on the same bus trip.
Both women decided to move forward with a Title IX case. They did not file police reports.
USA TODAY is not naming the fraternity member at the request of the women, who fear retaliation from him. He did not return phone and social media messages from a reporter.
The Title IX case dragged on for more than six months, during which LSU rarely gave the women updates, twice extended the frat member’s deadlines to appeal without notifying them, and denied their requests for protection from him during the case, according to the women and their emails with school officials.
Andries requested to swap out of the class she shared with him, or take it online, she said, but LSU refused.
“They told me I had to sit and stay in it,” said Andries, who is still at LSU. “They kept saying there was nothing they could do.”
Andries said she asked the school to notify her professor about the case, to explain her absences. It didn’t.
LSU also declined to issue a no-contact order between her and the frat member; because they hadn’t been talking, “there isn’t any communication to cease,” a Title IX employee said in an email to Andries. Instead, LSU gave her a template for a letter that she could send him directly, instructing him not to contact her.
“For obvious reasons, I did not do that,” Andries said.
LSU in June 2019 found the frat member responsible for sexually assaulting both women, case records the women shared with USA TODAY show. At every stage of the appeal process, LSU upheld the guilty verdict.
Yet even after finding him responsible twice, LSU refused to switch him out of the classes that he and Andries were set to share during the upcoming, fall 2019 semester, emails show. Instead, Andries said she was told that she would have to be the one to switch, because she was “the uncomfortable one,” and he had the same rights as her.
In early September, Sanders – who had served as the school’s Greek life director before becoming student advocacy and accountability director in 2016 – issued sanctions against the frat member: a meeting on anger management and healthy relationships, a course on ethics and decision-making, and a deferred suspension for four semesters.
Deferred suspension, under LSU policy, is a period in which the student must stay out of trouble. The suspension kicks in only if the student commits a second offense, and the school finds him responsible again.
This time, the other woman in the case appealed, feeling the sanctions were inadequate. The case went before a university hearing panel of faculty and student representatives.
Before the hearing panel, Sanders asked the women if they had additional evidence to present. They said they did – a new sexual assault allegation against the frat member by a third female student, who had confided in Andries and offered to speak to investigators. They gave Sanders her name and also suggested he speak to the fraternity president from the time.
No one from LSU ever contacted the third woman about the allegation, the woman told USA TODAY – a violation of federal and university Title IX policies. And Sanders called the wrong fraternity president, the women said.
LSU declined to make Sanders available for an interview and did not answer any questions about its handling of the case.
Despite Sanders’ missteps, the panel in late September 2019 voted to increase the sanctions against the frat member, suspending him for two semesters and banning him from campus. His five-business-day appeal deadline came and went, and the women thought the ordeal was over.
But at a football game two weeks after the ruling, Andries saw the frat member in the student section, she said. When the women told LSU, they said, the school informed them that it had granted the frat member another extension, and that he was allowed to remain on campus.
LSU denied the frat member’s final appeal that October.
LSU’s lengthy and cumbersome Title IX process is intentional, the other woman in the case believes. The school, she said, fears lawsuits and knows perpetrators are more likely than survivors to sue.
“If we get worn down enough, we’re just going to give up at some point,” she said. “I think it’s all designed so that everybody just gives up and goes home.”
Many universities operate from a fear of being sued in Title IX cases, said Sarah Nesbitt, a policy and advocacy organizer for the nonprofit, Know Your IX, citing a huge uptick in lawsuits filed by disciplined male students against their universities in the past five years.
“Schools are not oblivious to the fact that even if they can defeat a lawsuit, it’s still a drain on resources,” Nesbitt said.
Such an approach may explain why LSU’s punishments for sexual offenders have often amounted to a slap on the wrist. Two other, current female students separately told USA TODAY that LSU issued deferred suspensions to the men who raped them.
In one such case, Sanders initially sentenced the male student to a yearlong suspension, according to records the woman shared with USA TODAY. But the hearing panel postponed it upon the student’s appeal, instead allowing him to graduate before the suspension would take effect.
“They told me, ‘It’s best to just let him graduate and then you never have to see them again,’” the woman said. “I said, ‘That’s not the point. The point isn’t that I have to see him again; the point is that he did this and nothing happened.’”
The woman could have appealed the decision, she said, but by that time the case had already dragged on for five months. She decided to let it go.
“It had been so long and already taken so much of my time and energy and stress, that I just kind of gave up,” the woman said.
“I just wanted it to be over with.”
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
This Saturday's LSU vs. #1 Alabama game has been postponed by the SEC due to a COVID
breakout through the Fighting Tigers roster. Apparently, word has leaked that several LSU football players attended a Halloween party after returning from the Auburn game.
"Multiple players, including starters, will be unavailable". coach Ed Orgeron said on Monday. Some players have tested positive while the majority are out as a result of contact tracing requiring quarantine. Sources report that LSU has only T.J. Finley available at quarterback, no tight ends, no deep snappers, and are very thin at defensive back. It has been mentioned that the SEC will look into trying to reschedule the game, but I think it's highly unlikely with all bye week options for the season used up. Expect the game to be ruled a no contest leaving both LSU (2-3) and the Crimson Tide (6-0) with only a nine game schedule.
Coach O speaks to the media on "Tell the Truth Monday".. Reports of some LSU players infected with COVID, causing others to quarantine.. Bama game in jeopardy...
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Ed Orgeron held his weekly "Tell the Truth Monday" press conference with the media today. The LSU head coach would not give names or details, but did announce that a few of his players have tested positive for COVID-19, causing several others into quarantine.. He also stated that as of now, they are still planning to host Alabama Saturday in Tiger Stadium.. Many feel that the game may end up being canceled by the SEC. If so the game would be ruled a no contest and would not be rescheduled. We will keep you informed if or when any announcement is made about the game's status...
Below is video of today's, Monday, November 9th, press conference,,,
**BREAKING NEWS: Sources have told The Athletic, that the LSU football team has had a small outbreak with four positives but many more players are out in quarantine. LSU is down to one scholarship quarterback, -- T.J. Finley, -- and has no tight ends or long snappers...**