First off, I must admit that I am taking the lazy man’s path to writing this since I spent the preceding night in the swamp catching various creatures and have not had much sleep. There was a large crowd there gathered to watch the Purple-Gold game/baseball doubleheader. They announced a paid crowd of 28,658, with a lot of no-shows, but there were still more people in attendance than I have ever seen. The game was, of course, dominated by the defense with little offense, but that is always expected. Matt Mauck’s Purple squad came away with the victory, 13-10, thanks to a 63-yard pass completion, Mauck to redshirt freshman Guy Harper with 2:39 left in the game where Harper burned Baton Rouge native Joey Gebhart by ten yards. Some of the injuries suffered: Marcus Randall seems to have suffered the most serious injury. He went back to pass on a play and just collapsed. It looked to be either a knee or ankle injury, but he went down without any contact and it did not look good. He was helped off the field with 6:39 left in the second quarter and never returned. I saw Ben Wilkerson on crutches and with a cast on his leg; that did not look good, but reports are he will be ready for fall practice. Let’s hope! Other game injuries included Joseph Addai hobbling off the field at one point, but he returned to the game shortly after. Chad Lavalais had to have some assistance to get off the field at one point, but he was all right. Eric Edwards went down at one point, but he ran off the field without any assistance and I believe he returned to the game. One lineman went down, perhaps Stephen Peterman, and I am not sure if he returned to the game, but he was able to accept an award after the game, so I assume he is OK. Some of my unofficial stats: Mauck finished 19 of 41 passing for 226 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions. I will break this down more in a bit, but Mauck had a horrible first half (7 of 16 for 71 yards and three int’s) but rebounded by going 12 of 25 for 155 yards in the second half with both passes coming on freak tips and not necessarily bad passes. One of Mauck’s first-half interceptions was returned 72 yards for a score by Corey Webster (yes, the receiver!) when he jumped in front of an out route. The interception return marked the White squad’s only touchdown. Other Purple stats include Domanick Davis rushing eight times for 21 yards, Elice Parker rushing six times for 36 yards, Mauck with four carries for negative six yards, Ryan Gilbert rushing one time for three yards, and Shyrone Carey running on a reverse once for negative four yards. Harper was the leading receiver, catching three balls for 82 yards and a TD. Carey caught three passes for 45 yards and should have scored a long TD on one play (a 39-yard pass catch) but fell down trying to juke the last defender. Edwards had three catches for 23 yards; by the way, Edwards looked big and mean out there and very ready to take off as the premier tight end. Gino Giambelluca (my runner-up for best name award—the winner goes to receiver Greg Hercules) caught two passes for 26 yards, a tight end (#81) who was not listed on the roster I had but whose name I think I heard as Marcus Williams caught two passes for 14 yards, Gilbert caught two for six yards, Kory Hebert caught one for 16 yards, Brad Behrnes caught one for eight, Davis caught one for six, and Parker caught one for six. On the White squad, the passing was atrocious. Randall and Rick Clausen combined for 2 of 12 passing for 11 yards in the first half. Randall finished 2 of 7 for 11 yards. Clausen finished 5 of 20 for 45 yards (all completions and yards in the second half) with two interceptions, including a desperation Hail Mary pick to end the game. The leading rusher for the White was Addai with nine rushes for 46 yards. Chris Vincent rushed three times for 20, Jerel Myers ran twice for 11 yards, Jeremy Burnham ran two times for seven, Randall ran three times for three yards, and Clausen was sacked once for negative six yards. The leading receiver was Myers with two catches for 28 yards. Devery Henderson added two catches for six yards, Addai had a catch for 18 yards, Marcus Spears caught one pass for three yards, and Vincent had one catch for one yard. Noticeably absent in these stats is Michael Clayton who was shut down by the Purple defense. The defensive players with interceptions besides Webster’s 72 yard score include Adrian Mayes picking off Mauck in the first quarter, Norman LeJeune grabbing a Mauck pass in the second, linebacker Dorsett Buckels getting an interception off Mauck in the third on a tipped pass, and linebacker Donovan Grayson intercepting a pass at the line of scrimmage on a deflected pass. Clausen was picked off twice late in the game, first by Travis Daniels with less than a minute to play, and finally by Demetrius Hookfin on a really short Hail Mary attempt to end the game. Clausen also fumbled a snap that resulted in a turnover in the third quarter. Safety Kyle Thompson is a name to look out for; he had several hard hits on receivers causing dropped passes and missed no tackles. He comes out to do some damage on the offensive players and I look forward to him getting a lot of playing time and causing some turnovers when he is out there. Both kickers looked good. I really think John Corbello will be as solid for us all season this year as he was late in the season last year. He hit one field goal in the game for the Purple, a 46-yarder. Chuy Gutierrez hit two field goals for the White, the first from 43 yards out and the second from 27 yards out, and missed a 48-yarder wide right late in the game. The list of spring awards with me getting the closest to the award name as I could are as follows: The 4th Quarter Award: Randall Gay, Donnie Jones, Matt Mauck, Marcus Randall, and Corey Webster. The Erik Andolsek Leadership Award: Rodney Reed and Jerel Myers. The Mike Riley (?) Leadership Award: Bradie James and Kenderick Allen. The Spring Performance Award: Norman LeJeune and Chad Lavalais. The Ralph Norwood Spring Performance Award: Domanick Davis and Stephen Peterman. Getting back to the QBs briefly, I know this was the spring game, but it is apparent how much less throwing talent there is form what we have had the last few years. I was watching the QBs warm up before the game, and Mauck and Randall definitely have capable arms, but they made many poor decisions in the game. Clausen’s passes float. Every one of his passes float and I do not expect him to ever be a serious contender for the starting QB while at LSU. Unfortunately, he is the third-string QB right now and may move up to second if Randall has a serious injury. The other QBs who saw limited playing time did not look good at all in drills and were not allowed to pass when they got in the game. Right now I hope Lester Ricard can step up in fall practices as a dominating QB to get up to at least third on the depth chart in case we need him. In all fairness, Mauck and Randall were not allowed to do something they both can do well, run, because the QBs were not allowed to be tackled. Mauck is definitely the top QB going into fall practices. Assuming LaBrandon Toefield will heal in time for the season, we have a monster running game waiting, which will take a lot of pressure off Mauck. Addai is very fast and outran defensive backs to the corner on several occasions. He will be as fun to watch as Kevin Faulk was! Parker looked great in the running back role and probably will get more touches this year at the position. I am confident in our other positions, too. Even thought the receivers did not have great stats, we have a great group in Clayton, Myers, Reggie Robinson (who sat out the spring game), and Webster, with Harper looking like he wants some quality playing time. The line will be much improved. I have to admit, though, that I did not closely watch the line’s play. I tried when I could to write down who was lined up where. The tight end position will slightly downgrade as far as talent is concerned, but I think our tight ends underachieved last year and expect better play out of the core this year. On the defensive side of the ball, I expect the defense to be one of the best in the SEC in both the run defense and pass defense. The defensive backfield is much improved and there is some talent out there. Our biggest loss, Trev Faulk, will be taken care of because I thought the LBs did a great job in the game. I did not take stats on numbers of tackles, but Jason Ledoux’s name was mentioned on at least ten tackles, and I heard Grayson a lot, not to mention his interception. There is nothing I can tell you about special teams since there was a vanilla special teams. Players were only allowed to field punts. Players were allowed to return kicks, but the ball was always placed at the 30 yard line regardless of where the kick was returned. OK, that is all I have for now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.