Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - LSU traveled to Fayetteville hoping to build on their first win of the season last week against Missouri in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, but the Lady Tigers dropped another close one, falling to the Arkansas Razorbacks, 197.475 - 197.250
The Tigers held a slight lead after the first three rotations, but faltered on the beam allowing the
Lady Hogs to escape with the victory.
Haleigh Bryant recorded her fifth straight all around title, finishing the night with 39.575
“We’re continuing to get better. We hit 24 routines, but we allowed the environment to get to us at the end,” said head coach Jay Clark. “It’s a decent road score that improves our average, but it was short of what we wanted to accomplish today. Now we have to get back in the gym and get better.”
Really Jay Clark? You inherited a gymnastics program loaded with talent and in each of your first three seasons the program has declined each year under your leadership.
Clark is known as a great recruiter but may simply not be head coach material, as he fizzled out in
similar fashion after his first season as the Georgia Bulldogs head coach.
This group of incredibly talented young ladies are now sitting at 1-4 due to a coaching staff's inability to coach up their mental toughness. This has lead to costly concentration mistakes. Mistakes that are costing them wins.
Since the great Dee Dee Breaux stepped down after the 2020 season, you can see the mental part of
the ladies performances slip, especially on the vault and beam.
The 2021 team had a great season and the beginning of the Jay Clark era looked promising.
The squad dropped three regular season meets that season, but finished in 2nd place at the SEC Championships meet. They would go on to finish 2nd at the Utah Regional advancing to Forth Worth, where the Tigers would place 4th in the semifinals
In 2022 the team dropped three meets during a roller coaster ride type regular season before struggling in the postseason, finishing with a disappointing 5th place in the SEC Championships meet. The struggles continued into the NCAA Raleigh, NC Regional where they would place 3rd ending their season.
Now, with a roster oozing with talent, the Tigers are sitting at 1-4.
One of LSU's strongest events, the vault, has sputtered, especially in 2022 since Clark's decision to
force longtime LSU assistant coach Bob Moore into retirement, replacing the legendary vault coach with Garrett Griffeth. Though, we have witnessed improvement in that area in 2023.
Also since Clark has taken over the program the beam event has struggled, as several
"lack of focus" performances have cost the Tigers on several occasions.
Are we witnessing the LSU gymnastics program steadily fall from elite status?
If so, when will Scott Woodward decide to step in and stop the slide?
If the Lady Tigers lose two or three more meets this season and fall short of or in postseason play, will
Jay Clark be forced to make staff changes at season's end or will he be forced to resign so the program can move in another direction? Only time will tell.....