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August 10, 2010

Receivers, Inc. - LSU's Receiving Crew

LSU has both:  one of the best groups of receivers and one of the best groups of defensive backs in the country. That fact should make the next few weeks of scrimmaging an opportunity to fine tune both groups and allow LSU's receivers and defensive backs to really stand out this year.  

While the defensive backs, particularly Patrick Peterson, have gotten a lot of national notice in the press, the receiving crew at LSU has yet to prove themselves at LSU outside of practice.  Only three wide receivers, Terrence Toliver, Rueben Randle, and Russell Shepard have received press recognition among the media following LSU.  The lack of recognition so far is fair.  Terrence Toliver came to LSU from Hempstead, Texas ranked as the #1 WR by and the #2 WR by but, has not recorded a single 1000 yard receiving year and he is entering his senior year.  Last year Rueben Randle  joined the LSU team ranked as the #1 wide receiver by both Scout and Rivals but, finished his freshman season with only 11 catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns, both in a losing effort to Ole Miss.  Russell Shepard also joined the LSU team last year ranked #1 by Rivals and #2 by Scout but as a quarterback, not a wide receiver.  Shepard caught a couple of passes last year but did not focus exclusively on the wide receiver position until this year.  Toliver, Randle, and Shepard are the only headliners that have been more than mentioned when people talk about LSU's receiving corp.  Lack of production may have some teams discounting LSU's receivers but, underestimating this year's receiving crew would be a big mistake.  

Toliver is a senior, it is his last year to audition for the NFL and he should be the main target for LSU this year.  Toliver has shown signs of brilliance (see LSU highlights vs. Washington last year) but, this year he knows that consistency is the name of the game. This year Terrence Toliver (TNT) should explode like dynamite.  Like TNT, Chris Tolliver is also an upperclassman receiver who was ranked as the 11th best receiver out of high school by Rivals.  LSU linebacker Kelvin Shepard specifically named Chris Tolliver (with two "L s") as a wide receiver that might surprise some people this year. At media days Tuesday Gary Crowton, LSU's offensive coordinator, also mention Chris as a potential go to guy this year.  

From watching/reading all the interviews of Rueben Randle, he strikes me as the sort of person that might need a year to make adjustments necessary to work at his peak.  Last year was that year.  Randle was not as familiar of a target for first year starting QB Jordan Jefferson as departed WR Brandon LaFell or Terrence Toliver which gave Randle the opportunity to figure out SEC defensive backs.  Randle knows that he will be a go to guy this year and seems eager  and more importantly prepared for that to happen.  We have not scratched the surface of Randle's upside.  Randle has elusive speed, great hands and when defensive backs get between R.R. and the goal line, they will know what it is like to be run over by the "Train."  

Russell Shepard could be the most interesting player on the field this year and LSU fans will be overjoyed just to see him on the field regularly this year.  He was way underutilized last year. I am convinced that LSU's passing coordinator, Billy Gonzales, was acquired from Florida at the end of last year largely to develop Shepard as Percy Harvin, Jr.  Percy Harvin seemed to be a unique "superman" talent when he played for the Florida Gators but in this superman story LSU fans are hoping for "Superman II: the Russell Shepard Story." Shepard has the build, talent, and skills of Percy Harvin and we may get to see him unleashed this year.

Make no mistake, there are more than three potential game breakers in the LSU receiving corp. that make up "Receivers, Inc."  I have already mentioned Chris Tolliver who is no relation to Terrance Toliver but, like "TNT" has talents that have yet to be maximized.  Two true freshmen, Kadron Boone and Armand Williams, worked out with LSU's veterans during split sessions and really impressed all.  And while these two freshmen are more likely to make more contributions in years to come, tight end Deangelo Peterson contributed some last year to the Tiger's offense and should be a key to LSU's receiving plan this year.  Two other honorable mentions in "Receivers, Inc." are running backs Richard Murphy and Jakhari Gore.  Murphy is a senior running back with great hands and Gore is a true freshman that has been working out some with the wide receivers.  Both running backs could really add to LSU's air game.  And of course there would not be a "Receivers, Inc." without head coach Miles' creation of the position of passing coordinator and the hiring of Coach Billy Gonzales.  If "Receivers, Inc." shows its stuff this year, Gonzales and Miles will look brilliant. 

Disclaimer:  "Receivers, Inc." cannot be held liable for any failure to perform based on poor offensive line and/or poor quarterback play this year.  (I am just kidding.  I think that the offensive line will be much improved and have said so in more than one article this year. I also have been told by several good observant sources that Jordan Jefferson will be a much better quarterback this year.)


Anonymous said...

Nice article on the receivers. Disclaimer is amazing though. Never thought of the angle of blaming the O-line for receivers problems.

We've blamed the O-line for play calling, for qb's interceptions, for running backs fumbling, and for backs missing holes. We've blamed them for receivers running routes exclusively in the flat, game after game.

But wow, now we can even blame them for receivers woes as well. What a concept. Talk about the qb getting too much blame if a team loses. LSU, not a problem, we blame the O-line. A receiver drops passes, or miss runs a route and an int. occurs... well, thats a young guy doin' his best.. But lets throw the o-line under the bus just for clarity sake.

When we start blaming the qb for int's and sacks, receivers for dropped passes, and coaches for calling running plays against 9 man lines, when all that happens, then the O-line can also take its share.

For four years, heard all about how the O-line was to blame. No wonder half those guys quit. What BS. So, our O-line cant run block, thats why we lost, ... and by the way, will lose next week too, cause guess what ??? We're not gonna change, we'll take that crummy bunch of guys we blamed the game on last week, and, yep, we'll run the same game plan and, you got it, we'll blame the failure on them again...

Work with our talent, naah, thats for the other guy, we ascribe to the 'pound your head against the wall long enough' theory at LSU

Anonymous said...

If the o-line does not give the QB enough time to throw the ball, receivers can't perform.

Anonymous said...

I guess people, who are looking for instant gratification, at the expense of some gifted college football players,and are always going to use the game as a simple means to a end, for the weak minded fans, watching college football games for that purpose...Even if you think these college football players are sem-pro,they are not pros yet...They need time to learn,the ropes of the sport they play...You say Miles is not teaching they.
How would you teach a good football player how to get better?
cut off a part of his body, when he makes a mistake,Scream loud enough to make him feel worst,rag him, until he does better.
Talk is cheep,and I am reading a lot of blow hart talk, in this blog, about how some people think they have all the answers, that most of America simply live with,like Les Miles, and go on to do the best they can..So go blow that sour note, somewhere else,this is getting old.

Anonymous said...

Right... and if the coach calls a 32 dive on 3rd and 3 against an 8 man front.. well thats the O-lines fault too. Oh, and when its 3rd and 9 because the same coach called that play on 1st down, and a swing pass for minus 2 on second, and Saban's Defense is facing you with 9 guys coming, well, thats the O-lines fault too, isnt it.

When LSU wouldnt pass against Auburn in 06, that was the O-lines fault. When we passed on ND though in the sugar bowl, well, that was good pass routes and qb'ing.

What is it about the fact that whenever a skill player fails, and we dont want to call them out for it, heaven forbid, we hurt their feelings, its the O-lines fault.

The placebo, the golden ticket, the suppository of life, the turd in the punchbowl, you name it. Whenever a skill player fails, especially the wide outs or qb... Well, lets not find the elephant in the living room... the qb stinks, or the coach is son of Curley, no... we're deep, we're intuitive, we're... informed... we know that when JJ stinks, its deeper than that... its not his fault, he had a poor coach in HS.. his courses were too hard, his girl friend got busted, .. we know its not the skill guys fault the skill guy stunk. We're deep... We blame the O-line.

Feel smart, feel good.

Anonymous said...

Oh shed a tear for the poor college athlete. .. That it costs well over $150 per game to go see 'play a game'.

Weak minded...Profound.

We all sit at the feet of the philosopher football fans, the real fans. (The ones that give to TAF and forgot to ask when they get to vote on whos on the executive board).

We Basque in the majesty of your enlightenment. Grace us with another concept. Perhaps, 'get behind your team', or 'if you dont like it leave'... push the limits for us all.

Anonymous said...

"Eb-tied"Pleas your mirror, will not help your problem.

BibleBob said...

I read in the book of James that most of our conflicts/arguments originate within.

Anonymous said...

I once read it takes three licks to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop

Anonymous said...

I was looking them over, and I was very impressed, with what I saw..They not only look better then last year,but thet look like they are ready to go play in the NFL.
These LSU guys really look good.

Billythekid said...

I like this blog!

Anonymous said...

I hope the offense makes a change in their style of play. For the past couple of years, they break the huddle, walk up to the line, sort of get set and then everyone stands up and looks over to the sideline to get another play. Supposedly the new play is based on how the opponents defense is aligned. It's boring, slow, not fun to watch and hasn't been very productive. I hope LSU moves to a more "up tempo" style of play. For this to work, the QB has to make the reads at the line and call some plays. We have the athletes and the depth to rotate a lot of players into the mix and run a lot of clock on offense. Wear out the opponents defense and keep our D on the sideline.

Brian said...

These guys are the best group LSU has ever had, and that includes the group of NFL'ers in Doucet-Davis-Bowe.

Oh the Oline and QB caveats are oh-so-important !

If those two positions can muster up a B level performance (or at least C+ level), then the RB's, WR's and Te groups will be set free to really show their abilities

Randy said...

"For four years, heard all about how the O-line was to blame."
Uh, no we haven't. Last year, sure the o-line and QB play along with the D-line and some coaching blunders were blamed for most of the teams problems. The Oline wasn't bad the year before. And certainly they performed at a high level for several years in a row prior to that. Football is a team sport and the "blame" for losing falls on everyone in that context. The oline was maligned ,and rightly so, a year ago but let's not get carried away. This is a new year. Let's hope for the best.

Anonymous said...

Nice article. But LSU will never win a National Championship with Jordan Jefferson at Quarterback. He needs Football For Dummies.

Anonymous said...

I think some of the LSU football fan, were expecting to much, out of Jordan Jefferson raw QB ability,No one, to my knowledge, has started playing great at the QB, in their freshman year..I think he will do a better job this year,and if he does find the touch on the forward pass,it would be so gratifying,for us, to see JJ develop into a good SEC QB,I can't think of any thing, I would rather see this year.

Anonymous said...

No one has any real expectations on Jordan Jefferson, other than of course, he does his best. Thats all anyone can ask of a guy. Its a game after all.

On the other hand, Les Miles is paid 3.5 million per year. He we can have expectations with respect to. And quite frankly, having a player competent enough and skilled enough to play the most important position on the field for the sport the man is coaching... Well gents, thats just NOT too much to ask.

Way too tired of accepting mediocre performance out of a position that the coach for some reason seems to think needs to be lumped in with the other 21 guys because apparently it shines on his parade to acknowledge that his fate is tied to a guy, a particular guy on the field.

We all stand in readiness to applaud Jordan Jefferson for whatever he is able to accomplish. Bless his little heart.

But as a program, to after five years of longevity to find out that your "leader" on the field is 'learning how to lead'. 'Is becoming what we like to begin to see'... and its the guys 3rd year in the program? And the teams next best hope for a player to, oh, say, play the most important position on the field, is playing word games with the media while he waits to see if the LA Dodgers will pony up sufficient jack to make it worth his while to drop Les and the Tigers?

That friends and neighbors has just nothing to do with how hard poor overly criticized Jordan Jefferson can read the play book this year, or figure how to count past ONE when looking for receivers... All things no doubt in his third year he's focusing on to our collective joy.

Good to great players all over the field, just not at qb. Oh well, we just need someone to 'manage' the game. Thats what they say on Tigerroar all the time, isnt it?

Anonymous said...

Note - The O-line is better. Jordan Jefferson is better. The receivers will look great!

Anonymous said...

Amen, and Amen...

Next we'll be passing the plate, give lots, give till it hurts, its the right thing to do.

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