With the LSU athletic season officially in the book, it is summer time and we set our gaze on the dawn of another football season. But before we shift into high gear breaking down Les Miles' depth chart, there is some housekeeping to be done. In this edition of Tiger Rag's Where We Stand, we will touch on some of the folks making headlines over the past few weeks.

Miles has been making his way around the state wooing fans all the way from Shreveport to Slidell. On the home front, LSU baseball coach Smoke Laval has been fending off a firestorm of criticism due to the premature end of the baseball season.


Speaking of fire – or heat that is – Skip Bertman and Gen. Ron Richard have been taking plenty of it over the construction of the west upper deck. Richard says it will be "habitable," but eyebrows remain raised.

Not only did LSU fail to get out of a regional for the first time in 10 years, the Tigers failed to lead the Southeastern Conference in attendance this season.


Three LSU greats were elected into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame while Tiger fans mourn the loss of another. David Toms actually led the U.S. Open during the second round, but a disastrous double-bogey, triple-bogey finish last Friday put an end to his bid for his second major. Too bad he didn't finish with a "birdie."



To new football coach Les Miles and his recent tour around the state of Louisiana. Miles wrapped up his statewide excursion with "Lunch on the 50," a chance for fans to enjoy lunch with the coach. While the event was a success, chowing down on burgers and sandwiches under a tent in the mid June at noon on the 50-yard line of Tiger Stadium wasn't the most comfortable of settings. However, thanks to four huge misty fans and plenty of bottle water, over 200 fans gathered to here a 45-minute pep talk from the new ball coach. Gen. Ron Richard of Tiger Athletic Foundation gave an update on the various construction projects and announced the west upper deck "would not be finished," but it would be habitable. Miles' rousing words got the mob fired up and ready for action in Death Valley. He remained for almost 30 minutes afterwards signing autographs and chatting with fans.


To the LSU baseball team and its early exit from the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers, preseason national No. 2 behind rival Tulane, finished the season 40-22, the fewest amount of wins since the Tigers went 39-21 in 1988. LSU monumentally underachieved and impatient baseball fans let the team and (most especially) coach Smoke Laval know they disapproved. LSU loses a the bulk of its lineup, including all-everything Ryan Patterson, as well as two top relief pitchers in Jordan Faircloth and Jason Determann. Laval is going to need a strong showing next season to sway fan approval back in his favor. However, with an almost entirely new lineup, winning enough games to at least muffle his critics could be tough.


LSU boasts the greatest fans in college athletics. Most everyone is familiar with the aura surrounding Tiger football tailgating, but the hidden treasure was the passion of LSU baseball fans. While the Tigers will again lead the nation in attendance for the 10th straight year after selling over 270,000, Arkansas surpassed LSU in actual attendance drawing 146,902 fans. The Tigers managed 141,199 fans this season, an average of 3,922 fans per game, down from 4,724 a year ago. Granted the product on the field was somewhat disappointing this season, but it is clear the terms loyalty and fans no longer go together at Alex Box Stadium.


To former Lady Tiger coach Sue Gunter, baseball slugger Albert "Joey" Belle and basketball all-American Durand "Rudy" Macklin, The trio will be elected into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame this weekend in Natchitoches.


To Sports Illustrated for an excellent article on former LSU all-American and NFL Hall of Famer Jimmy Taylor. In the most recent edition of SI, the ex-Green Bay Packer fullback was spotlighting after suffering a recent stroke. Taylor, 69, still lives in Baton Rouge and works out daily.


To Sports Illustrated. Former LSU offensive lineman and SI contributor John Ed Bradley wrote an in-depth, five-page article on ex-Evangel Christian and current USC backup quarterback John David Booty. The story detailed Booty's career as a bench-warmer behind Heisman winner Matt Leinart and his abrupt departure from the Shreveport-based, Christian school. The national media's obsessions with the Booty family continue. Also, in the same article, Gene Menez spotlighted in a sidebar some outstanding freshman who will likely ride the pine this fall. Incoming LSU freshman quarterback Ryan Perrilloux was included and was again quoted with the controversial statement that got the former East St. John signal caller in hot water last spring. Also, Menez stated that although Perrilloux is "the most talented" of LSU's three quarterbacks, he will likely play a reserve role behind JaMarcus Russell. Not saying Perrilloux isn't talented, but Russell and Matt Flynn might have some objection to the statement. Also, Perrilloux's sizeable ego needs no more stroking.


To David Toms' collapse at the U.S. Open. After leading the field on Friday, the ex-LSU all-American dropped five strokes on the final two holes of the second round falling four strokes back. He finished tied fro 15th and 9-under par. It was the second time in three weeks Tom melted down. After entering Sunday's final round at The Memorial in the lead, Toms faded down the stretch ands lost his cool when he flipped the bird at a critical fan, all in living color on NBC. However, Toms remains 9th in the world rankings.


Editor's Note: Tiger Rag wishes to extend condolences to the family, friends and former teammates of LSU baseball player Johnnie Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux died last Friday morning in a one vehicle car accident just after midnight south of Lake Charles. Thibodeaux was a member of two national championship teams (1997, 2000) and is the second member of the 2000 squad to pass away. Wally Pontiff died in 2002 from heart abnormalities. "Johnnie was a first-class young man and everyone at LSU has been touched by this tragedy." Thibodeaux, 28, had a career batting average of .267 and enjoyed his best season with the Tigers batting .312 in 2000. He was laid to rest Monday in Lake Charles.

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