LSU Postcard (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday August 21, 2007 12:34PM; Updated: Tuesday August 21, 2007 6:33PM
3. Nick Saban lives on in Baton Rouge. The architect of LSU's 2003 national championship is on his second job since leaving LSU, but he still hangs over the program.
The glistening $17 million football operations building down the street from Tiger Stadium was his brainchild, and in the lobby are pictures of him and his team celebrating their famous win over Oklahoma that brought LSU its first national title since 1958. Saban did not stick around long enough to have an office in the new building, but he did see it when he returned to Tiger Stadium with the Miami Dolphins for a 2005 game against the Saints.
LSU's visit to Tuscaloosa on Nov. 3 is being called "the most anticipated game in decades" by fan publication Tiger Rag, and Miles admits he hears a question about Alabama nearly every time he conducts an interview.
"Certainly the familiarity that we have with Alabama probably makes it more exciting to play them," Miles said.
Hang around any of the LSU media or sports information types, and it does not take long for a Saban story to emerge. The man may be in Tuscaloosa, but he still casts a shadow in Baton Rouge.
Trindon Holliday. The diminutive sophomore can make a solid case for being the fastest player in college football, mostly because he was the second-fastest runner in college track. Holliday finished second in the 100 meters at the NCAA championships in June with a 10.06, and he holds the LSU school record of 10.02.
Holliday will be used in a variety of ways, including kick returner, running back and wide receiver.
"Every time he goes on the field, I think LSU fans hold their breath because they know that there's a chance that no one is going to touch him," Flynn said.
Holliday, who stands just 5-foot-5, put the Arkansas game away last year with a scintillating 92-yard kickoff return. He averaged 12.3 yards on his 14 carries last season. His role should expand this season as LSU tries to figure out how to take advantage of his speed like Florida does with Percy Harvin.
"I think he's a good running back," Crowton said. "He can run inside. And he's good in the pass game, so we'll be able to use him in a lot of places."
Holliday is expected to return kicks, but the punt returning duties may fall to wide receiver Early Doucet.
Keep an eye on ...
Safety Chad Jones. The incoming freshman was the top rated safety by Rivals.com and Scout.com. There was some question as to whether Jones would enroll at LSU after he was drafted in the 13th round by the Houston Astros. When Jones failed to come to a contract agreement with the Astros by Aug. 15, Jones officially became a two-sport Tiger, and Pelini is trying to figure out how to get him on the field.
"We've been moving him around in multiple positions, getting him involved in some nickel and dime besides working him at safety," Pelini said. "He's an athlete and we're going to find the best place to get him on the field. He's a very talented individual."
Jones could also see some action returning kicks and punts.
Factoid that may only interest me
The search for Mike VI is complete. LSU has been looking for a new live Bengal tiger mascot since the May passing of Mike V, who lorded over LSU athletics for 17 years. Mike VI should be soon moving into his plush 15,000-square foot habitat located across the street from the basketball facility and within growling distance of Tiger Stadium. Mike VI will likely not make the first home game as he gets used to his new surroundings, but he should be present for a majority of the Tigers home games.
Guard Will Arnold, who was named as a preseason All-America by some publications, will be limited to 5-15 snaps per game, according to Crowton. Arnold has had several knee and ankle injuries during his career and his legs simply will not hold up in full-time action. ... Miles said Doucet should be a first-round draft choice in April, and the wide receiver showed in practice he is worthy of that status with several quality grabs. ... Two of LSU's walk-on quarterbacks have interesting backgrounds. Andrew Hatch played one season of junior varsity ball at Harvard before going on a Mormon mission. Hatch hurt his knee playing soccer in Chile and cut his mission short. He got in contact with former BYU coach Crowton and decided to walk-on with the Tigers. T.C. McCartney, another walk-on QB, is the grandson of former Colorado coach Bill McCartney and the son of former CU quarterback Sal Aunese, who died from stomach cancer in 1989. ... Pelini said he and USC coach Pete Carroll "had a good laugh" over the flap that arose earlier this summer when Miles stated LSU would have a much tougher road to the national championship than the Trojans. "Of all people, Pete Carroll could care less about stuff like that," Pelini said. Pelini was on Carroll's staff with the New England Patriots from 1997-99. ... Freshman center T-Bob Hebert is the son of former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert. ... Senior fullback Jacob Hester married high school sweetheart Katie Tilley in July. Hester invited former high school teammate and USC quarterback John David Booty to the wedding, but the Heisman Trophy candidate couldn't attend.
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