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December 11, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Gary Laney

Gary Laney
  (1:58 PM)

It's been more than two weeks since LSU last played a football game, yet so much has happened. Recruiting keeps going on. Miles gets a new contract. Post season awards are (and, for LSU, mostly aren't) handed out. So we have plenty to talk about. Let's get this thing started.

Gary Laney
  (2:00 PM)

And one more thing to note before I post the first question: This 1 p.m. Tuesday time is our new time. No more Friday chat, Tuesday's the day.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

How do you think that LSU will do in the Chick Fil A Bowl?

Gary Laney
  (2:02 PM)

The question is motivation. All indications are that the players are excited about the game because it's a good opponent they can sink their teeth into played at a good venue in a fun city. Short of playing in a BCS game, these are the things that matter to players. I don't think fans are motivated, but so far it appears the players are. Given that, I think LSU wins because it's the better team.

Gary Laney
  (2:02 PM)

The question is motivation. All indications are that the players are excited about the game because it's a good opponent they can sink their teeth into played at a good venue in a fun city. Short of playing in a BCS game, these are the things that matter to players. I don't think fans are motivated, but so far it appears the players are. Given that, I think LSU wins because it's the better team.

Mike (Mandeville)

Gary,I'm not a fan of Alleva, the Duke lacrosse fumbling and all. I strong believe Skip would have the SEC office dancing another step right now with regards to football scheduling with Bama & the Aggie playing UK, UT, Mizzou and Vandy, the SEC baseball tournament in Hoover and the pending trip to the ShreveportAtlanta Bowl. Am I off base and this is guy isn't milquetoast? What does LSU need to do for the Birmingham office (remains a sticking point) to take note, rather than take cash?

Gary Laney
  (2:05 PM)

Mike, it's interesting. I actually saw the possibility of LSU ending up in the Chick-fil-A weeks before it happened and it had nothing to do with the league "putting it to" LSU. As for the schedule, it was also predictable given that it was Georgia's turn in the rotation (though the second half of LSU-Kentucky hasn't happened). Again, it was a predictable outcome without the need for any sort of motivating factor aside from, it was what made sense ...

Gary Laney
  (2:08 PM)

Having said that, I do think Alleva should be in position to call a favor here. The SEC likely had to step in and lobby to avoid a South Carolina-Clemson rematch in the Chick-fil-A. LSU had to sort of take one for the team, at least in terms of the bowl pecking order. But to be fair, LSU got a good game, arguably a better game than had it played Michigan. Certainly a better venue. So it's not like they are getting sent to purgatory.

Gary Laney
  (2:08 PM)

Having said that, I do think Alleva should be in position to call a favor here. The SEC likely had to step in and lobby to avoid a South Carolina-Clemson rematch in the Chick-fil-A. LSU had to sort of take one for the team, at least in terms of the bowl pecking order. But to be fair, LSU got a good game, arguably a better game than had it played Michigan. Certainly a better venue. So it's not like they are getting sent to purgatory.

Calder @ Lucas (Covington, LA)

Hey! I grew up outside the "car trading capital of South Texas, read the Enterprise and the Journal (there was President Nixon back then) religiously. Quick question... have folks forgotten Hudson Hallman and his magic act when they start on Les?

Gary Laney
  (2:10 PM)

You probably left before there was a Cheddars and a new ISD stadium on I-10 at the edge of town in Beaumont. And you left before Beaumont moved into the "SEC footprint." Man, you remember French High. ...

Gary Laney
  (2:12 PM)

As for Les, yes, I think LSU fans are spoiled. It's a unique relationship he has with LSU fans. His record speaks for itself, but at the same time, you can see where it comes from when you look at how the BCS game went, the Ole Miss time out debacle, the end of the Tennessee game and a few other head-scratching moments. But at the end of the day, LSU fans need to recognize that, all in all, Miles is one of the best coaches out there. Sure, he may forget to call timeout, but there's a consistency to their performance that the vast majority of coaches in American envy.

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

Is Quantavius Leslie going to be the answer as a big receiver for Mettenberger? I'm concerned after we didn't get Ricky Seals-Jones. I think our biggest weakness on offense was not having that big, Rueben Randle-type to throw downfield to.

Gary Laney
  (2:15 PM)

Leslie did not put up huge pass-catching numbers this year at Hinds, but he did put up huge yards-per-catch numbers for his junior college. I see him as a home run threat, but I also think Mettenberger's leading receivers will continue to be Landry and Beckham. Another thing to keep an eye out for is the use of incoming freshman Desean Smith as a big wide out. He's a tight end, but a versatile guy who is a good enough athlete to split wide and create a mismatch with a smaller corners. In his high school offense, he probably played a WR spot as often as he played at TE.

504Represent (New Orleans)

Who are we going to lose i the draft?

Gary Laney
  (2:18 PM)

I do think you lose the three defensive linemen: Montgomery, Mingo and Logan. Plus you lose Reid. I'm not as sure as I was before on Minter (LB) and Simon (CB). Minter could improve his draft stock to first-round levels by coming back for a senior year and that might entice him to stay. Simon did not see his stock go up this year and might look at a better senior year. I still think they may go, but I'm not quite as sold on them all leaving.

Mike (Atl)

Potentially losing a lot of players on defense for 2013. Does that unit take a huge step back, or do we reload and stay strong as always?

Gary Laney
  (2:21 PM)

Mike, I'm not sure about a huge step back, but anytime you lose a trio of potentially first-round NFL picks on your defensive line (it's looking like Logan may slip to Round 2), then yes you'll take a hit. But I actually expect the secondary to be improved next year. If Minter's back, the LBs will be fantastic and if he's not back, they'll still be good. And the good news about losing a bunch of guys to the draft on the DL is it seems to be motivating a lot of top-end recruits to look hard at LSU right now. The Tiges could end up with an outstanding DL class.

Tim (Memphis, TN)

How are LSU ticket sales for this game? I would love to see the game, but in Atlanta for anything besides the SEC championship is worthless.

Gary Laney
  (2:23 PM)

Tim, I honestly haven't seen numbers. LSU is in that gap between the regular season and bowl prep and things are pretty quiet out of there (that ends tomorrow with a bowl press conference and the resumption of practice). I don't anticipate sales being that great from the LSU end because LSU's been there a couple of times lately plus there is a bit of disappointment from fans in getting that game instead of the Cotton or one of the Florida games (Capital One, Outback).

Calder @ Lucas (Covington, LA)

I can recall the entire district being BISD & SPISD schools! (SEC footprint, that's still a pretty burnt orange part of the world)Seriously, have folks forgotten the football disaster LSU was in the late '80s-1999?

Gary Laney
  (2:27 PM)

Hey, Beaumont is to the east of College Station, so it's in SEC country now...sort of. I'm wondering how the A&M-Texas fan split is now in Beaumont. Lots of Aggies there too. As far as LSU football, you are right, LSU has come a long way. Of course, things turned the corner with Saban and the expectations changed for better or worse. You can say that with all of the top schools in the SEC now. Florida, Georgia, LSU, Alabama, even South Carolina. With all the money out there, there is too much at stake. All these schools are rolling right now and they are all schools that have the best access to players in the SEC. LSU fans should not take that for granted.

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

Who else, besides Desean Smith, might make an immediate impact next year?

Gary Laney
  (2:31 PM)

We named Leslie earlier. LSU needs a big receiver and he's coming to fill that role. Similarly, LSU needed help at TE and juco transfer Logan Stokes should be able to step right in, along with Desean Smith. LSU will be desperately short in depth there. Also, I'd expect some true freshmen DLs to compete to be on the two-deep, both at tackle and end.

Gary Laney
  (2:31 PM)

We named Leslie earlier. LSU needs a big receiver and he's coming to fill that role. Similarly, LSU needed help at TE and juco transfer Logan Stokes should be able to step right in, along with Desean Smith. LSU will be desperately short in depth there. Also, I'd expect some true freshmen DLs to compete to be on the two-deep, both at tackle and end.

sean (Abbeville, LA)

i heard that Arkansas state at one point might have been interested in coach Stud. Have you heard anything or have they filled the coaches spot

Gary Laney
  (2:34 PM)

Reports I've seen are that Texas OC Brian Harsin will be interviewing for the Arkansas State job. I think Studrawa would be a good fit because he's not a huge name, but he has a solid resume. There has to be fatigue for the big names at ASU because they've gone through a couple of one-year wonders in the last couple of years. Stud seems like a guy who would take a job like that and stick around a few years to build it. He's not the "in" name right now. I might be the only guy in the south who wonders if Petrino to WKU was a great hire for WKU just for that reason. He's a definite short-timer there and after he leaves, will WKU be better off than it was before he arrived?

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Gary, you can't be switching up this at the last minute. :) On a serious note, do you think Tiger fans will be excited or discouraged about having Zach Mettenberger at quarterback next year the bowl game?

Gary Laney
  (2:38 PM)

Mettenberger is better received than his predecessor, but he still gets mixed reviews. I think a lot of fans actually think Hayden Rettig and Anthony Jennings will come in and compete with him to start right away. If that happens anywhere, it would be LSU, where Miles famously says he doesn't bring in freshmen to redshirt. But I do think more reasonable LSU fans can take Mettenberger's numbers from the last third of the season after the training wheels came off and project those numbers over an entire season and know that he would be a top 3-4 QB in the SEC if those numbers can project over 12 games. That should be exciting.

Nic (Memphis, Tn)

Did you get nervous in the Ole Miss vs LSU game?

Gary Laney
  (2:40 PM)

I had too much work to do to be nervous. Actually, it was pretty expected. With 2011 being a glaring exception, Ole Miss always plays LSU hard and well. Plus, after the Alabama game, a little air seemed to come out of LSU's balloon.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Did "drama queen" Saban rear his ugly head again this week? The Tide don't have a game so I guess he had to find a way to get in the news. Must be lobbying early for another big raise and bonus if Alabama repeats.

Gary Laney
  (2:43 PM)

Honestly, Tony, I don't know if this is coming from Saban. I doubt if Saban takes an NFL job because all indications are he never really wanted the Dolphins job and really wanted to be back in college. Now, a third national title in four years would legitimately have to make one consider if it's time to try something different. But I do think Saban sees college football as the right place for him. Doesn't mean he won't listen and won't ultimately take an NFL job.

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

Does Russell Shepard finally throw a pass in Atlanta?

Gary Laney
  (2:45 PM)

It seems odd that such a highly-regarded prep QB would go four years in college without ever throwing a pass, doesn't it? Heck, Brad Wing's thrown a pass. They just just line him up in the Wildcat on the first play in Atlanta and let him air one out to Beckham. Just let him chunk one.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Will Miles be able to lock down the state recruiting wise? Or will Beckwith and/or Williams choose to get away from mom and dad?

Gary Laney
  (2:47 PM)

I like LSU's chances with Beckwith, not as much with Williams.

Tyson (Leesville)

Will Michael Ford ever get a chance to shine?

Gary Laney
  (2:50 PM)

Ford has a role in the running backs and it apparently will be as a feature back. I can see LSU putting most of its RBs, including Ford, in the NFL somewhere. I can see Ford having a nice career and people looking back and noticing he never ran for more than 700-something yards in college. Comes with playing at a school so stocked with RBs.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Bigger disappointment, Shepherd or Perrilloux?

Gary Laney
  (2:53 PM)

Perrilloux, without a doubt. Shepard's talents just didn't translate. He didn't throw well enough to play QB, he wasn't quite physical enough to be an RB and he didn't catch it well enough to be a WR. He was stuck somewhere in between and now and then you saw flashes of brilliance. But you always saw effort and you saw a guy who, instead of sulking, hustled on special teams. Perrilloux had character issues that caused him to be kicked off a team. Otherwise, he might have been a much better player. That will always be more disappointing than a guy who simply was overhyped.

Shaq (TNT)

How long will it take Johnnie Johnson to make LSU basketball relevent again?

Gary Laney
  (2:54 PM)

Don't know about Johnny Johnson, but Johnny Jones is well on his way. He had his first serious hurdle this week having to suspend his starting point guard and the nation's leader in steals, Anthony Hickey. Let's see how that goes. But he's recruiting well and his current team is outperforming expectations. People are starting to take notice.

Phil (Baton Rouge)

How did Gunner Kiel enjoy his freshman season in South Bend? Hope he found a nice spot on the sidelines for his rear with the emergence of Golson.

Gary Laney
  (2:57 PM)

Still bitter about that? LSU is fine with where they are at QB going forward with Rettig and Jennings coming in. Kiel has a chance for a ring as a freshman. I'm sure he's fine with that right now. In a couple of years, maybe he won't be content any more.

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

Who's going to play tight end next year?

Gary Laney
  (3:02 PM)

Sorry about the delay. Had an internet snag...Joe, I'm wondering if Nic Jacobs will ever see the field again. If he's done, then I'd say Dickson, Stokes and Smith are still a nice trio. Wouldn't be shocked to see LSU sign one more. Cethan Carter at Rummel is a name to keep an eye on.

Gary Laney
  (3:02 PM)

That'll do it folks. Out of time here. Been a nice first Tuesday chat. Come see me again next week, same time, same place.