Twitter Mailbag is a blog series running each Tuesday or Wednesday answering readers’ questions about the LSU football and baseball teams. Readers submit their questions through Twitter each Tuesday, and the best are posted here with answers. Follow us on Twitter at @DellengerAdv to submit a question.
@DellengerAdv Likelihood LSU Florida is a Saturday night game?
— Jaxon Jefferson (@JaxonLsufan99) September 29, 2015
There are a lot of variables here. First off, that weekend’s other SEC games:
- Missouri at Georgia
- Auburn at Kentucky
- Vanderbilt at South Carolina
- Alabama at Texas A&M
Second, the TV selection process:
- First pick: CBS (2:30 p.m.)
- Second pick: ESPN/ESPN2 (6 p.m.)
- Third-Fifth picks: SEC Network (11 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m.)
So, there are two options for night kicks: the second and third best games of the week (ESPN/ESPN2 and SEC Network’s primetime game). Sometimes, it seems, that ESPN2/ESPNU will take a second SEC game so that could provide a third night slot.
The problem: If LSU and Florida both lead their respective divisions, CBS is liable to take the game with the first pick for its afternoon time slot.
TV selections are made a week in advance unless the network asks for more time. LSU hosts Eastern Michigan this week, and Florida hosts Ole Miss. A Florida loss to the Rebels could mean the Tigers-Gators are in store for a night game. CBS could pick Alabama-A&M, but that depends on what happens this week, too (A&M hosts State and Alabama plays at Georgia).
@DellengerAdv Whenever Mills returns and the defense goes into nickel who stays on the field Toliver or Thomas?
— Tiger Nation (@Birdgang850) September 29, 2015
Great question. Before this weekend, I would have said Toliver. Here’s why, right now, I’ll say Thomas. LSU played its 4-3 base defense for the first time all season at Syracuse, and Thomas – not Toliver – was the cornerback opposite Tre White in the base. Toliver was not on the field.
That surprised me a bit. I would have thought the CB pecking order went White, Toliver, Thomas, Donte Jackson. The order really seems to be White, Thomas, Toliver, Jackson.
Thomas, though, struggled at times against the Orange, and Jackson played the most snaps at nickelback that he’s seen all season (about half of the defensive plays). So, who knows?
@DellengerAdv how will LSU handle an 11 am kickoff
— Connor Cape (@Connor_Cape) September 29, 2015
The Tigers didn’t handle it too well last week at Syracuse. LSU came out flat, to use the cliche. They get a second shot at South Carolina. If the past is any indication, look for another flat start, but keep this in mind: After Syracuse, I’m sure coaches will do their best to prevent another sloppy start in an early kick.
@DellengerAdv Does Les Miles take pride in how many NFL's he has produced out of LSU? And why has finding a QB been hard for this program?
— Tracy Cowley (@tcgoldrush) September 29, 2015
He definitely takes pride in it. And don’t think for a second that he doesn’t use it as a recruiting tool – he definitely does.
The second question is much harder to answer and, because of that, I’ll send you to a story we wrote last November on that exact topic: here.
@DellengerAdv what's going to be the bigger hurdle for LSU to clear this season? Ole Miss in Oxford or the Tide in Tuscaloosa?
— Jared C. (@jayctigerfan) September 29, 2015
I know that Alabama is “down” and that Ole Miss won in Tuscaloosa, but … I still think it’s Alabama. Why exactly? I don’t know, but I just do.
@DellengerAdv still early, but it seems like there's a lot more parity in the division this year. Does any team escape with < 2 losses?
— Jared C. (@jayctigerfan) September 29, 2015
Some team in the SEC West will likely be 11-1 (or, 10-1 if it’s LSU). Alabama, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and LSU. One of those four, I believe, finishes the regular season with just one loss.
@DellengerAdv why does LSU's defense seem to dramatically slack off in the second half of games?
— Shae Alzir (@DixieGypsy91) September 29, 2015
Great question. LSU has allowed six combined points in the three first halves. The Tigers have allowed 58 points in second halves. The exact reason isn’t completely clear, but it’s something we’re investigating. May have a story on it later.
One possibility (at least this was the case vs. Mississippi State): The Tigers D looked tired late in the third quarter and into the fourth. LSU isn’t playing very many people. There aren’t a ton of reserves playing huge swaths of time. A tired defense yields points.
That’s a depth issue created, in part, because of early departures for the NFL and normal attrition (dismissals, transfers, etc.).
@DellengerAdv Jalen Mills playing on Saturday?
— Tom Summers (@t_sizzle7494) September 29, 2015
No. And Les Miles indicated Sunday that Mills won’t be ready for at least another two weeks. That could put his return for the home game against Florida.
If were were to lose only 1 , from the two "hardest" games on the road, which one can we lose and make the playoffs? https://t.co/nV5cg91sLg
— kenneth m carabante (@Kenneth_car) September 29, 2015
That all depends on that team’s standing at the end of the season. The two obvious ones are Ole Miss and Alabama. Each of those teams should win at least eight or nine games this season so the loss shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
But losing at South Carolina? Well, that could be an issue. The Gamecocks are a team that might struggle to get to a bowl. Either way, a one-loss LSU team that advances to the SEC championship game and wins will almost certainly find its way into the playoff.
If LSU loses one game and does not advance to the title game, that’s when that one loss will be scrutinized.