I couldn’t tell you exactly how we got hooked. You see, my dad did his post-graduate degree at Tulane in the 80s. New Orleans is a long way from Montreal, Quebec, let me tell you. We have poutine and winter, y’all have gumbo and hurricanes. A different lifestyle, a different culture, 1,600 miles away but my parents fell in love with the city.
Their stay didn’t last long. Just five and a half years before they packed their bags and moved back home. Alas, they came back with slightly more baggage than they arrived with. Of course, along with my parents and big sister, a little nugget named Seth, born in 1988 at the Tulane Lakeside Hospital, was coming back to Montreal with them.
I grew up as a Saints fan, but there wasn’t that much talk about Tulane football and certainly nothing about LSU. You couldn’t just find LSU football in the media or on TV in Quebec or even Canada for that matter in the 1990’s. I would watch whatever college football team was on national TV. Notre Dame, Michigan, the usuals.
On October 6th, 2001, LSU got hammered by Florida 44-15 on CBS. I watched a part of that game before I hung out with my friends to do whatever 13-year-olds do. That blowout loss would have a huge impact on the rest of my life because I remember thinking, “Louisiana State University, that’s where I’m from!”
That was it. I was now an LSU football fan. I watched SEC Championship game against Tennessee alone. My dad was at some business dinner. When he come home after LSU won the game, I was so jazzed. I loved everything about LSU. This backup quarterback came in and won the game for them. A huge upset. “Dad, they write it GEAUX instead of GO”.
Give or take about 10 games in total, from 2002 to 2018, every LSU game I watched I was sitting next to my dad. In the same basement, in our same places. 17 straight years.
The huge out of conference games. The big SEC games. The ones we had to listen to on the radio because we didn’t get ESPN. The SEC championships. The National championships.
Last year after the BYU game I wrote in this space about how I thought my relationship with my dad was slightly superficial because it revolved so much about sports. This waned on me. It took me time to understand how lucky I am to have had any relationship with my father. It’s not a given that anyone will grow up with a father figure. I realized how incredibly fortunate it was that we wanted to spend time with each other in any capacity. I don’t want to take for granted our time spent together. I’m one of the lucky ones.
I also realized that even though it’s just sports and sure it’s a little superficial to build a relationship around, the raw emotion that my father and I shared was special. That’s how you connect with someone. I don’t take those memories lightly.
Hundreds of games together. Thousands of memories.
LSU opens next Sunday against Miami in Dallas. It’s game 1 for them. It’s also game 1 for me. The first LSU game without my dad. To think that I’ll watch hundreds more without him makes me sick. I want to watch a hundred more with him.
We never got to see a game together in Tiger Stadium and, honestly, I’m fine with that. Our basement in Montreal, Quebec was our Death Valley. And it shook, man. It shook.
With that said, In Da Film Room is back after a too long hiatus and I am glad to be back. I had written about LSU for another website and it felt like I was cheating on you guys.
The quarterback situation:
I’m a huge believer that quarterbacks who most likely won’t play need to transfer. Your window to play college football (or any kind of football) is so short that there is no point in withering away on the bench. Justin McMillan and Lowell Narcisse can have fun and play quarterback at almost any other school. Mr. Narcisse, if you are reading this, we’d love to you have at Concordia University. Call me.
Certainly, if these two transfers had happened without the addition of Joe Burrow, I would be panicking right now, but the position looks pretty solid. I like the little bit I’ve seen from Burrow when I watched the Ohio State spring games. He moves well in the pocket, has good touch and has been around long enough that you’d expect him to be able to pick up the offense.
He’s not Danny Etling 2.0. I think you’ll see a couple more interceptions (low bar — Etling only threw two last year) but you’ll see Burrow’s ability to make bigger plays in the intermediate and deep passing game make up for that.
As far as Brennan, from what I saw on film last season and from this year’s spring game, I don’t think he’s ready. Maybe he fits the Ensminger offense a little better than Narcisse and McMillan and that’s why he’s became the #2, but I’d be more worried if he was our starter.
The pass catchers:
I’m excited to see what Jonathan Giles brings and I expect him to be targeted quite a lot. The guy who I’m harping on to finally be a real part of this offense is Foster Moreau. He’s been criminally under utilized but I have a feeling we’ll see a lot of 11 personnel (1 running back, 1 tight end) and Ensminger might want to split Moreau out to gain some interesting matchups with his long tight end. I’m hoping with the lack of a star running back right out of the gate, LSU throws the ball in at least 55 percent of its first-and-10 situations. Ideally, I’d like it over 60 percent but that’s probably wishful thinking. I don’t think relying on the run game as much as we have has done us much favors of the past few seasons even with elite talent at that position.
The defensive stars:
The defense is loaded, as usual. The only question mark I have right now is who will sit beside Devin White at the other linebacker position. Tyler Taylor is gone and I wasn’t so impressed with Jacob Phillips when he had to fill in last season. With that said, he’s now got a year in the weight room and hopefully the game slows down for him a bit. If the main issue for your defense is the 2nd inside linebacker position that’s not the end of the world.
I can’t decide whether my favorite player on the defense is Greedy Williams or Grant Delpit. They’re so different in what they bring to this unit but both are elite. Greedy is a top-10 pick in the NFL draft next offseason. If he had come out after 1 year, he would have been picked in the first round. If his progression continues he’s a Marshon Lattimore/Denzel Ward type of talent. His play gives Dave Aranda the ability to cut the field down to 10 versus 10 because he knows Greedy can lock down the wide receiver on his side.
Greedy Williams has such incredible ball skills. Finished the year with 6 picks and he always finds a way to get some part of his body on the ball. He's special. pic.twitter.com/jT3qotx2Bz— Seth 'Nervous Bird' Galina (@SethGalina) June 19, 2018
I saw a tweet in the offseason from a draft prognosticator who said that Delpit might be a better prospect than Jamal Adams when he comes out. That is high praise, but I can see it. He’s so well rounded in his game. Can play half field safety, post safety and when he comes into the box he brings the lumber every time.
If Devin White fixes his tackling and stops lunging at people, he might be the best linebacker in the country. He’s always around the ball and his reading of the play is high level. His athleticism will be used in man coverage which Aranda played a lot of last season.
Devin White does a great job here in man coverage playing out of phase with the tight end. Plays through the receiver, doesn't get caught looking back at the ball. Big stop pic.twitter.com/cQOMC5sF77— Seth 'Nervous Bird' Galina (@SethGalina) March 5, 2018
There’s not much to be said about Rashard Lawrence, he’s another in a long line of dominant interior players for the Tigers. PFF grades him with an extremely positive pass rushing grade from last year which is insane to me because he plays the 4i technique in Aranda’s defense. That’s not really a pass rushers dream. The interior guys who make plays on the quarterback are mostly 3 techs like Aaron Donald. Lawrence is that good. He’ll still gets his match ups against guards when Aranda brings his Bench linebacker (Key last year, Chaisson this year) on the line of scrimmage.
Rashard Lawrence with the violent push-pull to beat the guard pic.twitter.com/BFr6MHR89p— Seth 'Nervous Bird' Galina (@SethGalina) August 24, 2018
I’m excited, as usual, for this football team. Excited for the highs and lows and all the heartbreak that comes with loving LSU football.