Chat with Gary Laney
Welcome to GeauxTigerNation! On Tuesday, reporter Gary Laney stops by to chat about the state of LSU football.
Laney joined ESPN.com in 2012 after spending a year and a half as online sports editor of the Baton Rouge Advocate. Before that, he covered LSU sports for the Advocate. He has also been the sports editor at the Beaumont (Texas) Enterprise and covered McNeese State athletics for the Lake Charles (La.) American Press. Laney currently lives in Baton Rouge, La.
Send your questions now and join Laney Tuesday at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET!
Gary Laney (1:58 PM)
Lots to talk about today and questions are coming in fast, so let's get started.
who do you believe has the best group of receivers and running back core in the sec west.
Gary Laney (2:03 PM)
Boy that's a tough one. I hate to keep answering "Alabama" to these questions, but Amari Cooper is a good start. A&M has good players coming back, but loses Swope, but they add RSJ. Ole Miss has talent back, plus Treadwell. LSU has everybody back, plus Leslie. There's balance. I really like LSU's receivers, to be honest, but hesitate to put the Tigers above Bama and A
Gary Laney (2:04 PM)
As for running backs, LSU is best top to bottom. Last year, the Tigers lost their starter in Blue and didn't skip a beat going to Hilliard, then Hill. They have that kind of depth again. Yeldon may be the best back returning, but LSU is deeper.
Gary Laney (2:05 PM)
KeKe Mingo will likely go in the top 10 picks.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will be the first LSU player to be selected in the NFL Draft?
Gary Laney (2:05 PM)
Got my answer ahead of the question there. My apologiess
Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)
I read where LSU dropped on Jabrill Peppers' list after he visited Baton Rouge. Is this true?
Gary Laney (2:07 PM)
Don't know if "drop" is the right word. Michigan was his leader (along with Stanford) when he came to town and the feedback we hear after he left BR is he still likes Michigan more. I would not call that a drop, considering Michigan was already leading. I wouldn't be counting on Peppers if I were an LSU fan, though.
So LSU was inches away from a commit from Deondre Clark this past weekend. dangit, but he's all but said LSU is where he will go. Anthony Jones has also said as much. That being said, it was a big past weekend with Dupre, Fournette, Paris, Peppers, Clark, and other in for the scrimmage. With the Spring game this coming weekend, whats your best guess number wise on commits? A big booms?
Gary Laney (2:10 PM)
I'm a little skeptical right now just because so many LSU targets right now -- the guys in the Tigers' backyard -- are national guys who appear to want the recruiting process to play out. I do think LSU may get at least one commitment on the offensive side of the ball, maybe a couple. But a lot of the big names LSU is targeting are wanting to take visits and/or get through track season right now, so I'm not expecting LSU to get to Texas-type commit numbers in the immediate future. Maybe by mid-summer.
Gary,We have heard before about how much the offense will have improved. Could this REALLY be the year? Will the young D step up and show us some potential eric reed and patrick petersons?
Gary Laney (2:12 PM)
You have plenty of reason to be skeptical until it's proven on Saturdays, given that for the last 4-5 years we've been hearing that things will be better and, for the most part, things have gone sideways. But just from the experience and talent returning, the resume of Cameron and the need perception wise to show an offense that is more wide open (for recruiting), I strongly suspect that the offense will open up some this year.
Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)
LSU is not getting as many commitments as I would like. Is there reason to be worried here?
Gary Laney (2:14 PM)
I touched on this in an earlier question. The good news is while LSU might not be landing all the in-state studs right now, those guys aren't committing elsewhere either and LSU remains at least among the leaders, if not THE leader, for most of them. There's reason to think LSU will land the majority of Louisiana's top players, which this year might be enough to help push the Tigers to the top of the team rankings.
Btw, LSU baseball recently announced they will play in the Astros foundation college classic in 2 years. I'd like to take some personal credit on that for my hassling the program about doing just. Next step FB in Reliant!!
Gary Laney (2:15 PM)
Trent Johnson brought the basketball team to Houston to play Texas A&M back in 08-09 if I recall. So Trent must be your favorite recent LSU coach, right?
Scott (Los Angeles)
Gary, do you know if the program is doing anything differently as far as off-the-field issues? The team has lost players to begin each of the last two seasons because of them and hoping it doesn't happen again is not a solution.
Gary Laney (2:18 PM)
I haven't heard of any fundamental changes of the culture fostered around the team. I do think experience sort of molds future evaluations, both of people (players) and situations. I would suspect that if there are changes, it would be subtle shifts in prospect evaluations and subtle changes in how team rules might be administered. "Subtle" being the operative word.
Sam (New Orleans )
Not a lot of talk about maybe the fastest CB in Louisiana Terrence Alexander ran a 4.45 electronic Nike Sparq?what am I not getting 5'10 177lb
Gary Laney (2:21 PM)
If there is any one thing that gets other players talked about more than Alexander, it's the size issue. LSU's corners in the last few years have generally been close to 6-feet taller or taller. Right now, LSU's main target at the position is Tony Brown. I would think Alexander would be fairly close behind though. The pure speed factor along makes him intriguing.
Gary Laney (2:22 PM)
One sidenote: I did a piece today on Malachi Dupre, the wide receiver who is Alexander's teammate at John Curtis and he talked about how much going against Alexander daily at practice makes him better. Nice compliment.
what do you think about all the people saying LSU is going to drop this season?
Gary Laney (2:26 PM)
If by falling barely being outside the pre-season top 10 in a year where you lose your entire defensive line (3 to the NFL) and seven defensive starters constitutes a "drop" then I'll agree with your premise. To me, when you lose that much and still are almost in the top 10, you're doing just fine and are still an elite program. Remember, LSU has been a power based on dominant defense. Losing all that on defense is going to hurt perception short-term.
Calder @ Lucas (Covington)
What compelling reason would have me at the Spring game?(Is the West wrapped up for the baseball team after five weeks? Seems so...)
Gary Laney (2:28 PM)
To see the offense. And I'm not just talking about individuals, but how they line up, formations, play calls, etc. While I don't think LSU will give away the whole Cam Cameron package by a longshot, I do think that things the Tigers value will be looked at. In other words, if LSU, say, values the running backs in the running back more than a year ago, they won't suppress that in the spring game just to hide it from TCU. They'll incorporate it into the game to work on it because it's becoming part of the offensive culture. Make sense?
Steve (Tierra Verde, Fl.)
Hey Gary, when does Trey Quinn and Dupre committ, and do you think they both land at LSU?
Gary Laney (2:30 PM)
I lean toward a yes. Dupre was at LSU's scrimmage Saturday while Quinn attended Clemson's scrimmage and junior day. Quinn will be at the spring game. I think we'll be on commitment alert with him, but I'm not sure if there isn't more he wants to see in the recruiting process before he decides. Dupre has said he wants to get through track season before ramping up the recruiting process.
Ben (Richmond, KY)
Gary, will the Spring Game be televised on any internet channel? Living in Kentucky, I do not get any of the local Baton Rouge stations. Last year's game wasn't televised at all. I do not think I can go another offseason keeping the bad taste in my mouth from another horrific offensive performance. I must see improvement. I must watch the Spring Game!
Gary Laney (2:33 PM)
I don't think this year's game will have any TV either. You may have to make the drive from Kentucky to see it. Otherwise, we'll let you know if the offense looks better.
Scott (Los Angeles)
How serious were the injuries with Rasco and Mills? I know they both had shoulder surgery, but I never heard what the injuries were. Will they definitely be back in time for TCU?
Gary Laney (2:35 PM)
Miles said the injuries are not serious. I gathered that they could have finished spring with the injuries, but it was decided to have the surgeries to give them more time to be ready for the start of August and he expected them to be fine for the start of camp. The injuries do not appear to be serious. While Miles did not specify either players' injuries, he did say they were similar.
Our quarterbacks of late have had a habit of turning in sub-par performances. Last year, Mettenberger seemed to come alive in the Alabama game, but the receded afterward. How do you think Mettenberger and the receivers will perform this year? Will they have starting trouble?
Gary Laney (2:37 PM)
Sid, Mettenberger played well late in the season, including the Alabama game, but then took a step back in the bowl game and, to some extent, the Arkansas game. I expect across-the-board improvement that should help Mettenberger. Receivers should be better and, unless there's another rash of in-season injuries, the offensive line should be better. Even if Mettenberger does not improve at all, those two factors alone will give him better results.
Steve (Tierra Verde, Fl.)
There will always be pessimists and optimists in college football. Hang with the optimists! The Tigers play a very difficult schedule and with the right attitude and win count, they could end up #1 in BCS!
Gary Laney (2:39 PM)
Very much like 2011. That schedule was difficult and nobody expected LSU to be able to run the table against it. Certainly the schedule is an opportunity for the Tigers, as well as a hurdle.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
How high would you rate the two Louisiana kids that committed to Texas? Will Les Miles pursue either of these guys prior to Signing Day?
Gary Laney (2:41 PM)
I don't think either were considered among, say, the top 10 Louisiana players and they very much fit the profile of the profile of the "under-the-radar" player Texas can have success with in Louisiana. I do think both might be guys LSU comes back to, but there's a reason neither are priorities on the board right now. LSU has been after others from the beginning.
Gary Laney (2:42 PM)
Ben, I'm saving your question on Oregon for the Friday mailbag if that's OK with you. Haven't had enough time to get up to speed on the Oregon angle today to answer it...
Chris K. (South Carolina)
Any news on the scheduling in the future in reference to the one rotating and one regular opponent from the other division as opposed to both rotating?
Gary Laney (2:46 PM)
I'll revisit this question Friday as well. Right now, I'd say LSU has been in the minority in opposition of the permanent opponent thing.
What are the chances that you could do me a favor and paint "Head Coaches Office" on the door that enters Mike the Tiger's cage?
Gary Laney (2:47 PM)
Depends how much you are paying. You have to pay me to do it, then have a separate check ready to bail me out of jail. Deal?
Will Q. Leslie come in and start this year for LSU? If so, who will he start over? Also, how many kids do you think commit over the weekend?
Gary Laney (2:49 PM)
Lots of people love Leslie and the talent is obviously there. Sources around Leslie tell me he needs to learn the work ethic needed to excel at a highly competitive level like the SEC. I hear he's a good kid, just not a kid that has learned how to push himself yet. If LSU lights that competitive fire, the tools are there for him to be outstanding.
Henry (Montgomery, AL)
Sorry I'm late. Gary, how close is LSU to landing a big name signee for 2014?
Gary Laney (2:50 PM)
Our ESPN 300 comes out Thursday. I would think by the end of the weekend, LSU will have a new commitment from an ESPN 300 player. How's that?
Ben (Richmond, KY)
No problem at all. I look forward to the Friday mailbag. I heard Kenny Hilliard has been taking a lot of snaps this Spring. Any reason we should believe that Jeremy Hill won't be the #1 RB this year?
Gary Laney (2:52 PM)
None at all. You're right, Hill has taken a lot of snaps in scrimmages and so has Magee. Spring's about getting guys ready. I think they know what they are getting out of Hill. Hilliard looks a little lighter right now and they probably want to get a good idea at what he can do at his weight and in this system. I think all four RBs will find their way to playing meaningful snaps.
barry (los angeles)
do see any coach is the sec west or entire country that will be able to beat nick saban on a consistent basis?
Gary Laney (2:54 PM)
Nick Saban at Alabama is tough for anybody to beat on a consistent basis. That is -- and this is an important distinction -- hugely different from Nick Saban at Michigan State or most other schools. He's a great coach at a school with great resources. The two go together to make it tough. Les Miles has had as much success against Alabama's Saban teams as anybody.
why do you think when they rank coaches in the sec the highest les miles can do is 5th?
Gary Laney (2:56 PM)
Flavor of the month. LSU lost the Chick-fil-A bowl last year and it's a conversation piece to talk about guys who are up-and-coming or the hero of the moment over a guy like Miles who has been consistently good and had a year that, by his standard, is slightly below the curve. Fifth in the SEC is crazy talk for Miles, IMO.
Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)
Give us a hint on who will be in the ESPN 300? Any surprises? Any outliers from the other sites (ESPN is known for this)?
Gary Laney (2:58 PM)
Joe, if I told you, I'd have to shoot you. Seriously, the ESPN 300 comes out Thursday and we'll have our first team rankings, Blue Chip Battles and all the fun stuff that comes out with that. But we won't be leaking anything out about it so you'll have to come back Thursday to see!
Gary Laney (3:00 PM)
A couple of notes today: Brandon Harris tells me he has a Baylor offer. Our Radi Nabulsi tells me LSU has offered DE Lorenzo Carter of Georgia. And Tyrann Mathieu is on the cover of ESPN the Magazine's draft issue.
Gary Laney (3:01 PM)
And, add Ole Miss to 2017 prospect Dylan Moses' list of offers (this was yesterday, but worth repeating). That's my time for the chat. Same time, next week, folks, and we'll talk about what happened in the spring game and LSU's upcoming recruiting events.
Gary Laney (3:02 PM)
And one other note: If you come on late and have a question, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @glaneyespn and I'll get your question in Friday's LSU mailbag.