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February 19, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Gary Laney

Gary Laney
  (1:53 PM)

Back from a couple of days laid up in bed sick, I'm hear to take your LSU questions. The Tigers hosted about 300 juniors (and a couple of sophomores) at its junior day over the weekend. No commits, but still a productive weekend, I think. And, by the way, LSU also has a new offensive coordinator. Thanks to Vitamin C Gummy Bears and chicken soup, I'm rocking and rolling and ready for your questions...we'll start at 1 p.m. CDT.

Gary Laney
  (2:00 PM)

1 p.m. is here...Let's get started.

Robert (Denver, CO)

gary, now that it's official that cam cameron is now on board as the tigers OC. Do you expect to see zach mettenberger's coming out of his shell to be the leader of this years team or do you expect to see the laid back mettenberger? Also, will Cameron improve mettenberger in terms of pocket awareness, intermediate & deep throws? thanks

Gary Laney
  (2:03 PM)

I would have expected more out of Mettenberger if it was still Studrawa and Kragthorpe handling him and the offense. I think for Cameron, he knows that a lot of the perception on how he's doing as OC will depend on the progress of Mettenberger so that MUST be a priority. And I don't think it's an accident that guys like Brees, Rivers, Flacco and even Gus Frerotte have thrived under Cameron. Having said that, this is OC five in five years for Mettenberger. I don't think he's ever going to be as polished in college as some would like.

Kevin (Houston)

There was a lot of buzz going into the weekend with LSU hosting its National Junior Day! No commits came from it and people will want to know if that is a bad sign?

Gary Laney
  (2:06 PM)

Not necessarily. The feeling I have coming out of junior day is LSU was using it more as an introduction for the masses of good players than it was as an effort to try to "close" the deal on some elite prospects. For example, I'm told the New Orleans trio of Leonard Fournette, Speedy Noil and Gerald Willis were told not to come and to come visit during spring practice for a weekend where they could get more 1-on-1 attention. Some big prospects did come, but I think it was more valuable for LSU and prospects as a meet-and-greet for that second-tier prospect. The next Duke Riley was likely in that crowd of 300. By that I mean, a guy LSU knows about well enough to invite for the junior day, but is not necessarily ready to offer. You still want to cultivate that relationship.

Kevin (Houston)

How scary is it that Mason Katz (Leading HR hitter in the SEC last year) and Raph Rhymes (Leading hitter in the country last year) may not even be the best hitters on this LSU Baseball squad!!!I think Alex Bregman and Chris Sciambra could be absolute studs and are already looking the parts! Tigers in for a good year!P.S. i admit it, Eades looked good.

Gary Laney
  (2:08 PM)

I had heard that Bregman was a steal for LSU in recruiting. Yeah, I know, LSU is too big a name to "steal" anyone, right? Well, when you consider the draft, yes it is. Bregman was a high (money round) draft guy who got hurt, so now LSU gets him for 3 years. LSU certainly needed the extra offense, didn't it? I look forward to seeing the lineup at work when the wind isn't blowing in from the north.

Kevin (Houston)

Which of Tiger Basketball players do you see sticking around? With the top 10 recruiting class and this years team on the rise, next year could produce a really good team!

Gary Laney
  (2:10 PM)

I don't see anybody leaving for the pros right now unless O'Bryant really wants to roll the dice with this thing. There are guys who aren't playing much who might look to leave, but if you are, say, Jalen Courtney, would you want to sit out a year to play one more season somewhere, or play a role in helping what could be a really good 2013-14 LSU team? In other words, I don't see a lot of roster turnover.

Kevin (Houston)

When do you see/think the dominos even beginning to fall (Recruits really starting to commit) for the Tigers 2014 FB class? Do you think Edward Paris commit on March 29th might start a bunch?

Gary Laney
  (2:13 PM)

I'm curious on whether Paris is already a silent commit. I'm hearing that may be the case with Tony Brown as well. I've heard that Paris has a lot of work to do to be ready to contribute for an LSU, but the good thing is if LSU has a class with Hootie Jones and Tony Brown, he'll have time to get ready. Certainly, the physical tools are there. Anyway, to get to the question, I think we'll see things pick up in the spring as LSU goes through spring practice and players are able to see practice. There's a junior day associated with the spring game. I'd bet LSU walks away from that with a few more commits. Wouldn't be surprised if they finish the spring approaching double-digit commits.

Louis Griffin (Baton Rouge)

Is Leonard Fournette a lock for LSU?

Gary Laney
  (2:16 PM)

With a player his caliber I wouldn't say he's a lock, but I would say he's a pretty strong LSU lean. I think LSU will try to get him and his two New Orleans buddies from Karr -- Speedy Noil and Gerald Willis (Landon Collins' brother) -- to commit this spring. If they do, that could send the dominoes tumbling. I'm hearing the Monroe threesome -- Cam Robinson, Hootie Jones and Cameron Sims -- all are looking out of state, but if the New Orleans 3 commit to LSU earlier, that could point them to Baton Rouge as their best chance to be part of a "special" class. Indeed, any class with all six of those guys would be special. Add in the Tony Brown factor and LSU has a real shot at a No. 1 class next year, in my opinion.

Riley (LA)

Gary do you think Cam increases LSU's chances of landing big offensive recruits like Leonard Fournette?

Gary Laney
  (2:18 PM)

Yes. I think one could effectively "negative recruit" LSU right now on offense based on its last few years of mediocre offensive numbers. LSU has countered that by hiring an OC who is generally credited with being the architect of those explosive Chargers offenses and was the OC of a team that eventually won the Super Bowl this year. It ups LSU's "NFL prep" reputation on top of negating some of the image problems with offensive production.

William (Houston)

Can Zach Mettenberger develop into an elite SEC quarterback?

Gary Laney
  (2:20 PM)

Yes. I think there is a limit to it based on the constantly changing leadership around Zach in his college career, but I think he can be an all-SEC QB. The improvement has to be across-the-board though. The o-line needs to be better (I think having Studrawa back as on-field O-line coach will help) and the WRs need to be better (all the main ones return, so they should be).

Chris (Pineville, LA)

Did LSU pull ahead with any juniors at junior day?

Gary Laney
  (2:23 PM)

That's a tricky question. Paris is a guy who jumps to mind, but he was already in the lead. Several raved at the experience and seemed to wear it on the sleeve. Is it just the short-term boost from a good weekend that will last until their next junior day, or is it something that will stick? That's hard to say so early in the process.

William (Houston)

This has become glitch valley

Gary Laney
  (2:24 PM)

Anybody else experiencing problems? I haven't noticed any. If so, let me know and I'll alert the right people!

Da Man (Baton Rouge, LA)

Who will be better, Texas A&M or LSU?

Gary Laney
  (2:27 PM)

My (perhaps biased) opinion is LSU. I thought A&M was good, but top-heavy. The two tackles, Manziel and Moore were leaned on quite a bit. Losing Joeckel and Moore will hurt a lot more than any comparable LSU player. Having said that, their success has allowed them to recruit a class that will give it LSU-like quality depth in the future.

Da Man (Baton Rouge, LA)

Will Johnny Manziel be able to smoke our D again this year?

Gary Laney
  (2:28 PM)

He'll smoke a lot of defenses. That's going to be a fun game. Having said that, that left tackle was really good and he'll be missed.

William (Houston)

How will Cam Cameron change the LSU offense next season?

Gary Laney
  (2:30 PM)

I think changes will be pretty subtle. LSU already had a pro-style offense. Formation-wise, things will be pretty consistent. I think play calling tendencies will be tweaked some but the biggest difference to me might be the emphasis in read progressions in the passing game. Cameron teams have valued RBs and TEs as weapons in the passing game. I'd expect that to continue. I don't think it will necessarily take away from the WRs, but it will be there to take pressure off them.

William (Houston)

Would you call LSU basketball a bubble team?

Gary Laney
  (2:32 PM)

I wouldn't go that far yet. Beat Tennessee tonight and maybe.

Satya (Phoenix, AZ)

Gary, what additional steps are being taken to provide depth and replenishments at the O-Line which lost some key players, so Zach Mettenberger can get his required protection? And, what about on the defensive side especially on the areas that are needed to prevent the opposing opponent's inside runs?

Gary Laney
  (2:36 PM)

Satya, offensive line depth is always an issue because it's harder to get an o-lineman game ready than any other position. I think the addition of Fanaika gives them instant depth because it makes it easy to move La'el Collins to left tackle if you want. Right now you are four deep with quality guards in Turner, Collins, Williford and Fanaika. You can easily move Collins and still have Williford as a "swing" guy between both guard positions or train Fanaika to be a swing guy. I think there are plenty of young tackles coming up where LSU can feel that it is two deep, at least, at each position. I'll be curious to see who the No. 2 center is.

Gary Laney
  (2:37 PM)

As for the defensive side, Anthony Johnson will have to step up his game. The same is true of Ego Ferguson. The talented true freshman class, led by Greg Gilmore, will push them for playing time. For Johnson, if he's consistent with his technique and doesn't get upfield and out of position too often, I think he can be an all-SEC, all-American type.

Ben (Richmond, KY)

LSU kicks off next season with TCU as their marquee out-of-conference opponent. In 2015-16, they have the home-home series with Arizona State as the big OOC opponent. LSU currently doesn't have a notable OOC opponent for 2014. Are we looking at another Chick-fil-A or Cotton Bowl opener for that season?

Gary Laney
  (2:39 PM)

I think that's a safe bet. LSU is angling to get more games in areas where it has large alumni bases, hence the neutral-site games in Atlanta and DFW. I think it would be up LSU's alley to have a similar game in Houston. Right now, I'm not 100 percent sure on where they stand with the 2014 opener.

Gary Laney
  (2:41 PM)

As a follow, I found a 2012 interview where Verge Ausberry stated they were looking at neutral-site games for that 2014 opener...we'll see where it goes...

Riley (LA)

what are LSU's chances on Leonard Fournette now that FSU is making a late push. and that bama has around 8 RB's

Gary Laney
  (2:43 PM)

Riley, let me start by saying any pitch made during February of a prospects junior year is not a "late" push. I still like LSU's chances, a lot. Having said that, if I'm any national power that feels it has a big budget, I'm going after Fournette. He's that good. I'd expect to hear more big names. But LSU makes so much sense for Fournette.

George (Baton Rouge)

With all the losses on defense (particularly D-Line), a new OC for the offense, and a tough schedule next year (Georgia, Bama on the road and Florida, A&M @ home), how do you see LSU's W-L record next year ?

Gary Laney
  (2:45 PM)

I can see LSU being better than this year and still being the same 10-3. That can go a little up or a little down, of course. I think the offense improves. If the defense finds playmakers up front, it can be very good.

Gary Laney
  (2:45 PM)

I can see LSU being better than this year and still being the same 10-3. That can go a little up or a little down, of course. I think the offense improves. If the defense finds playmakers up front, it can be very good.

Riley (LA)

do you believe Anthony Johnson will break out this year and help fill the hole on the DL now that hell be a starter and have more playing time?

Gary Laney
  (2:45 PM)

I can see LSU being better than this year and still being the same 10-3. That can go a little up or a little down, of course. I think the offense improves. If the defense finds playmakers up front, it can be very good.

Gary Laney
  (2:47 PM)

I addressed it earlier, but the answer is yes. I base it on his expectations for himself, his talent level, the increased snaps he'll see and Brick Haley's ability to develop talent. I wouldn't be surpised to see 7-8 sacks and 15 or more TFLs and those numbers not reflecting just how valuable he is.

Chris o (Kent, Washington)

Did we as lsu fans make those names on last years d line more than they really were?(Sam Montgomery, keke Mingo, Bennie Logan)No doubt they were very talented but have we ourselves made them irreplaceable? What I'm getting at is, with such a strong recruiting class in the trenches, will the tigers even miss those faces or will we pick up where we left off?

Gary Laney
  (2:48 PM)

That's a good question. I think NFL scouts made those names more than anybody, to be honest. Their reputations were largely based on their potential draft positions. If there was no NFL, Mingo would have just been a very fast and marginally productive DE, right?

Gary Laney
  (2:50 PM)

To your point, will LSU miss these guys? It depends how players step up. Montgomery was productive. Logan was a consistent run stopper. If a young end steps up and gives LSU 10 sacks, then everybody will forget Montgomery. If LSU is struggling to get to the QB, LSU fans will miss Montgomery and Mingo that much more.

Mike (Atl)

Critisicms of Mettenberger are usually fair, but the guy also went 10-3 his first season as a starter in the SEC. Not horrible.

Gary Laney
  (2:51 PM)

Indeed Mike. Modest numbers, but 10-3. He mostly protected the ball. I think he had lofty expectations from many and that painted perceptions.

Kishore (Denver,CO)

Do you think JOB realized that we will be very effective with the kick outs instead of forcing a shot? Is he going to be center of our offense in the last 6 games?

Gary Laney
  (2:53 PM)

I think Johnny struggles with what a lot of talented young players, especially bigs go through. As young players, there are able to use their talent and force of will to score regardless of double or triple teams. That's a tough habit to break and certainly one O'Bryant's had to adjust to. The tricky part is you don't want to coach that aggressive confidence out of a player. There's a fine line between playing "smart" and playing "passive." I thinkg Johnny and them have done a good job walking that line with Johnny.

Gary Laney
  (2:54 PM)

That last sentence was confusing...I think Johnny JONES and his staff have done a good them walking that line with Johnny O'Bryant...

victor (Monroe)

do you think Lsu can win a national championship in college baseball?

Gary Laney
  (2:55 PM)

After one weekend? Let's see how the offense develops over the course of 25-30 games and we'll talk. I think this has the makings of a much improved offense and offense is what they lacked last spring, wouldn't you say?

Josh (GA)

Gary, who do you believe is going to push for the backup QB position with the two highly rated freshman coming in?

Gary Laney
  (2:58 PM)

I think it'll be a very competitive spring. It's sort of make or break for Bolden and Rivers. If Rettig and Jennings compete well in the spring, one would expect their learning curve to be greater and the gap to close more come August. By that, I mean if Jennings and Rettig are close in the spring, I'd expect they would gain ground in August after their first full off-season. Sort of law of diminishing returns. I'd expect they'll gain more if their first off-season than veterans will in the third or fourth off-season.

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

Do you think Cameron helps LSU land a top-notch QB in 2014?

Gary Laney
  (3:01 PM)

I think LSU will be in play for some big names, indeed. Steve Kragthorpe also remains a resource for future LSU QBs and QB prospects (one QB who came to junior day mentioned meeting with both Cameron and Kragthorpe). There's a lot of QB brainpower in that building now. Of course, a big season by Mettenberger would go a long way to making it happen.

Chris (Kent, Washington)

Also, is Jamie Kheen as talented as brad wing?

Gary Laney
  (3:04 PM)

Keehn (that's the correct spelling, BTW) may have a stronger leg and be a better overall athlete than Wing, but one thing he may struggle with is matching Wing's knack for killing punts inside the 20. He seemed to struggle with that a bit where Wing made it look easy.

Gary Laney
  (3:04 PM)

Hey guys, 2 p.m. is here. I see where some of you guys may have had some issues with a slow server (lots or repeat asks of the same questions). Let me know if you had problems and I'll pass the issue down the line. Good chat though. See you guys same time, same place next week!

Riley (LA)

do you believe Jarvis 'JUICE' Landry will enter the draft after this year or stay for his senior season?

Gary Laney
  (3:06 PM)

Riley, you snuck this one in before I signed off...With a good enough junior season, I can see him going pro. Right now, I'd say 50/50. Which means i think he'll be much improved. I think he's got a great chance to be a 1,000-yard guy next year and if he does get there, I think he'll go pro.