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Scooter Hobbs Archive
9/17Column: Will The Real LSU Offense Show Up?
 OK, gather around. Grab some popcorn if so inclined. But get comfortable. This is going to be interesting, maybe even telling. This is the week we find out if Les Miles is being sly and coy and Mad Hatter mischievous or if it’s just that incredibly stubborn side of his brain taking over again. This is the week you find out what LSU’s offense really wants to be when it grows up. The Tigers can’t hide behind Sam Houston or Sun Belt Conference hors d’oeuvres any longer. LSU will have to play it straight when Mississippi State comes to Tiger Stadium Saturday night. Maybe even show all their cards on offense. Or have we seen them already?

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9/16Column: It's A Jungle Out There
 BATON ROUGE — Not sure what LSU accomplished with its opponent or its game plan Saturday night, but in the forced glee of the afterglow head coach Les Miles was proclaiming his Tigers rip snorting ready to dive headfirst into the SEC schedule. He’s funny like that, you know, in an odd sort of way. But, uh, coach, have you been paying attention? Are you sure? Did you check the polls Sunday morning? No? Well, it’s worse than usual. The Tigers, though still a bit of mystery in my mind and at best a work in progress, find themselves No. 8 this week. And that’s all fine and good, somewhat encouraging, you might say, for such a young team.

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9/14Tigers Methodical In Final SEC Tune-Up
 BATON ROUGE — Nothing flashy. And LSU wasn’t even particularly sharp for long stretches Saturday night. But if the idea was to get in a final prep for the start of Southeastern Conference play without alarming any future opponents, then it was mission accomplished as the 10th-ranked Tigers yawned out a 31-0 victory over outmanned UL-Monroe. “Basically we were patient and did the things we were supposed to do,” LSU coach Les Miles said. It wasn’t always easy — and many of the fans weren’t quite as patient as their team when the Tigers muddled through the early stages in a semi-stupor. Not that the game was ever in any doubt.

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9/14DULY NOTED: LSU 31, UL-M 0
 PLAY OF THE GAME: LSU faced third-and-22 from the ULM 35 late in a sputtering first quarter when QB Anthony Jennings scrambled away from a rush a lofted a 23-yard pass to John Diarse to pick up the first down at the 12-yard line. PLAYER OF THE GAME: Probably WR Travin Dural again, who had six catches for 79 yards, including two long ones that kept scoring drives alive. But LSU spread the offense out over most of the roster this game.

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9/14LSU Rests Some Wounded Starters
 BATON ROUGE — LSU had two new starters at linebacker Saturday with Deion Jones and Duke Riley at the outside spot, replacing Kwon Alexander and Lamar Louis, both of whom had minor injuries last week. Les Miles had said, however, that both would play. Davon Godchaux also started at defensive tackle in place of Quintin Thomas. Alexander and Louis didn’t play, although Miles said they could have if needed. Riley led LSU with eight tackles.

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9/10Column: LSU Needs To Go All-In With Jennings — For Now
 As much good, family fun as a bona fide quarterback controversy can be, I’m not sure LSU has one right now. Not that the Tigers wouldn’t love one, even if quarterback “controversies” are often cleverly disguised as mere quarterback “competitions.” And it could still develop. The duel between sophomore Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris is, as they say, on-going. They are even still listed on the official depth chart — which often reads like whimsical humor — as “and/or” between the two. And it might even be premature, at this point, to refer to Jennings as “The Man.” The Tigers might even go all-in, throw caution to the wind, and try their hand at the tricky two-quarterback system.

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9/9Column: Hold The Heisman Pose... Please
 BATON ROUGE — Maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world when your “growing pains” shift from the playing field to the end zone. Les Miles can take solace in that, at least. But surely most parents can sympathize with the LSU coach, who these days finds himself running what amounts to a college football nursery school/day care center. Helping matters, Miles does seem to have been assigned to the “gifted” class. There are advantages to that. Maybe it was naive, youthful exuberance that allowed the Tigers to take a Sam Houston State somewhat seriously Saturday night — more veteran teams often don’t, as history has shown over the years. So the Tigers did what they should have done to the Bearkats, and anybody who wanted to leave the stadium early could safely do so. Still, they have their own set of problems, it turns out.

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9/7All LSU From Start To Finish
 BATON ROUGE — Maybe McNeese gave LSU a Southland Conference wakeup call all the way from Nebraska Saturday. Something surely got LSU’s attention as the Tigers took their own dip into the Southland Conference after McNeese scared the corn out of Nebraska earlier in the day. Maybe it put them on full upset alert. But the Tigers dominated from absolute start to inevitable finish against Sam Houston State in rolling to a 56-0 victory. For a while it looked like Tiger Stadium added its new south end zone upper deck just to hold all the extra points.

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9/7Hits & Misses: LSU 56, Sam Houston 0
 PLAY OF THE GAME: It didn’t take long. On LSU’s first offensive play of the game following Dwayne Thomas’ interception, the Tigers’ Travin Dural streaked past the Sam Houston secondary and took a perfect pass from Anthony Jennings in stride en route to a 94-yard touchdown reception. It was the longest touchdown pass in LSU history. It broke the previous school record of 82 yards, which came in 1978 when Steve Ensminger connected with Carlos Carson. Ensminger is now LSU’s tight ends coach.

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9/6Sam Houston Brings Up-Tempo Style For Tigers' Tune Up
 BATON ROUGE — When LSU’s Les Miles looks at Sam Houston State, he doesn’t necessarily see a Southland Conference team that might be overwhelmed coming into newly expanded Tiger Stadium tonight for the No. 12 Tigers’ home opener. “We see a TCU receiver that’s very ... was one of the best receivers that TCU had last year (when LSU opened the season against the Frogs) and is now with this club.” The Bearkats’ LaDarius Brown, a 6-2, 220-pound receiving specimen, isn’t alone. Sam Houston might be a on a bigger stage than usual for an SLC team, but Tiger Stadium is the kind of environment many of them envisioned coming out of high school. The Bearkats, who went to the FCS national championship game in 2011 and 2012, feature 23 transfers from a total of 17 different FBS schools, including the likes of Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Missouri, Oklahoma State. “There’s not going to be a lot of underdog stories and stuff in the locker room,” first-year Sam Houston coach K.C. Keeler said. “LSU is a good football team, but we think we’re a good team, too. We just need to line up and play.”

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9/6Column: Slim Pickings In The SEC This Week
 May Day! May Day! Alert the SEC Network. This was never supposed to happen. Not now. Not with 24/7 programming to fill. Or maybe, other than finding work for Tim Tebow, this is why the SEC Network was founded. After a opening week of pretty good games, who in their right mind would want to televise any of this week’s SEC schedule? Expect an angry memo from the SECN to be on commissioner Mike Slive’s desk bright and early Monday morning. I know you have to take a deep breath every now and then, but ... really. Then again we don’t judge them, we just pick them.

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9/4Miles Pleased With Freshmen, Expects More To Play
 In all his born days as a coach, LSU’s Les Miles had only had it happen to him once before. Oh, but kids do the darnedest things. So, after a sloppy first half Saturday in the season opener against Wisconsin, LSU couldn’t even get the kick off out of the way before being assessed a 5-yard penalty ... for delay of game. Miles had decided it was time to see Cameron Gamble’s strong leg to kick off the half, but as the true freshman was taking in the moment, soaking in the sights and sounds of his first appearance on a college football field, the yellow flag came a cropper. Miles pleaded his case to the officials, whom he thought had started the clock a hair too soon.

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9/3Column: Come On, Let's Overreact To Week 1
 Finally, we have some actual games to talk about. So let’s jump right in, figure out the rest of the season right now. Sure, it’s dangerous. Even ESPN proclaimed last weekend to be Overreaction Saturday, probably as a warning against fast-forwarding through the schedule and assigning W’s and L’s based on a debut weekend. And you know the old standard — a team will show its most improvement between Week 1 and Week 2. Now I personally have found that to be an old wives’ tale, never scientifically documented. Just as often, it seems, that biggest improvement comes between Week 6 and Week 7, and it can just as easily come between Week 4 and Week 5. Week 8 to Week 9 always bears watching. And sometimes the first game is as good as it’s going to get.

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8/13Column: SEC Network Figures To Be A Channel Changer
 Having done due diligence in studying up on the SEC Network for you, I can safely report to you that much of it is mind-boggling, particularly the cash money involved.

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8/12Foster Back Where He Started At LSU
 BATON ROUGE — LSU’s third-string quarterback is best known for the circus catch he made in the Texas A&M outfield. It was a game-saver for the Tigers — the clutch catch of the season — in baseball. Now the multi-sport Tiger is back where he started at LSU on the football field. He’s not likely to start at quarterback this year — freshman Brandon Harris and sophomore Anthony Jennings have a spirited competition in place for that honor — but he’s happy to be back in helmet and pads. “It started off a little slow, I’m just knocking the rust off and throwing the ball again,” said Foster, who hasn’t played in a live football game since his senior year at Barbe in 2010, and hasn’t even practiced the sport since the following fall of 2011.

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8/11Column: Young Tigers At Least Look The Part
 BATON ROUGE — LSU threw open the ceremonial doors on its 2014 football season Sunday and, frankly, I was expecting to find a day care center inside. There were no practices Sunday, just the controlled frivolity and cell phone photo bombs of the annual Media Day, but several of us veterans worried that we might catch the Tiger varsity involved in designated nap time after cookies and milk and a quick bedtime story. The media had already talked to Les Miles and both coordinators, so I was looking for the equipment manager and the designated diaper changer, or maybe the Kool Aid czar would have the real scoop on these newest Tigers. That’s what we’d been led to believe. Ravaged and ransacked by the NFL for two years running — you probably heard many of the innocents were kidnapped by the lure or pro money — this is the year Miles’ “next man up” theory will really be put to the test.

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8/6Column: Don't Read Too Much Into Quarterback Race
 Last weekend I was approached by a very courteous LSU fan with the following: “Have you heard who LSU’s quarterback is going to be this year?” This was a day before the Tigers even reported for preseason practice, two days before the first workout. So I thought maybe he had some inside information. But it turned out he was picking my brain, wanting to know if I’d uncovered anything yet. Well, sad to say, that’s not quite the way it works.

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7/30Column: Playoff Committee Has Small Shoes To Fill
 It was Nick Saban, back in his LSU days, who noted that maybe a playoff to replace the hated 2-team BCS system might not be the be-all, end-all. Even then, of course, the BCS was the sports world’s designated root of all evil. I never quite understood that. Though far from perfect, it at least attempted to get the two best teams in a national championship game — a big improvement on leaving it to the luck of the bowl pairings and their automatic tie-ins. Anyway, Saban was addressing the playoff-centrists’ hot topic of the day, notably the suggestion of going to a genuine 4- or 8- or 16- or — who knows? — maybe a 324-team playoff. Saban wasn’t so sure that any number in a playoff would end all the chronic bickering.

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7/21Column: Ranking The SEC Coaches On Entertainment Value
 There is such a thing as “winning the press conference.” Face it, SEC Media Days is over and it’s still almost a month and half until an actual kickoff, and for the life of me I can’t get excited about wondering how Georgia’s offensive line is going to pan out. It’s not that time yet. What it is, as South Carolina’s Steve Spurrer as usual said best, is “the talking season.” It doesn’t mean jack about who’s going to win or lose games, but fans must have something to tide them over until the real taunting begins. So coaches talk. Some better than others.

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7/18Column: This Can't Really Be Part Of "The Process"
 HOOVER, Ala. — Maybe this is what a two-game losing streak at Alabama does to you. Thursday was “Nick Saban Day” at SEC Media Days and, as usual, it was quite a circus down in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency. But in contrast to recent years, the crowd was merely jam-packed, anxious and gleeful — as opposed to breaking all fire codes, near-riotous in its celebration of all things Bama and a pretty good psychological case-study in fan adoration gone horribly haywire.

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