Dig Baton Rouge

The Sports Troll: Q&A talks LSU baseball, spring football and more

Apologies for being a little bit off schedule with our Sports Troll posts.

That’s what happens when the Internet is out at home and I’m working an International basketball tournament for Biddy Basketball and I get a wicked bad migraine headache that makes me drop what I’m doing and alter my schedule.

But that’s all over now, so I’m 100 percent in.

As always, the mid-week troll is dedicated to your questions, and we have a bunch of good ones this week – mostly about LSU baseball.

So let’s do the Hokie Pokey and dance to the beat of some LSU-related questions.

Q: LSU loses another series, and looks bad doing it. Is it time to question Paul Mainieri? (asked by Jacob from Metairie)

A: Question him in what way? Do I think he should be fired? No, that’s too rash. But do I think he’s done a particularly good job with this team? No, I don’t. LSU has its core back off a team that nearly made the College World Series last season. To be sitting here on April 5 and talking about how the team doesn’t have any quality wins and is just .500 against in-state teams is borderline embarrassing. But there’s still a lot of baseball to be played. I know from experience. I was an LSU baseball beat writer for the Daily Reveille during the 2008 season, and fans wanted Mainieri’s head then. The Tigers had a lot of talent, but were just 2-6, then 6-11-1 in SEC play. Guess what happened? They then won 23-straight games and made it to Omaha.

Q: Is it time for Hunter Newman to return to the closer role? (asked by Karl from Gonzales)

A: I don’t have to spend much time on this one, because it’s the easiest question I’ve gotten in this mailbag. Yes, it is. Newman is LSU’s best relief pitcher, and the gap between he and the second best isn’t all that close. He lost his spot briefly because of an injury, but now that he’s back, he needs to go back to that ninth inning role.

Q: What are you looking to see from the Tigers this weekend at Arkansas? (asked by GeauxPurple from Kenner)

A: At this point, I’m not overly picky. I just want to see some good baseball. The Tigers haven’t played all that well for most of the season. Yes, they’re 5-4 in SEC play, and they’re in the upper half of the league. But three of those wins were against a Georgia team that’s 13-17 on the season. I want to see timely hits, and I want to see the ability to get consistent outs in clutch situations. I’m not asking for much, considering this was the No. 4 team in the country in the preseason.

Q: Ed Orgeron hasn’t 100 percent named Danny Etling the starting quarterback yet. Is that lip-service or are the other guys coming on strong? (asked by Adam from Larose)

A: It’s lip service. Danny Etling is going to be LSU’s starting quarterback when the Tigers open the season against BYU. I know LSU fans are infatuated by the unknown, and a lot of people are rooting for Myles Brennan or Lowell Narcisse to take the job, but it just won’t happen. I think Etling starts, and I think Lindsey Scott Jr. is the backup. People are sleeping on Scott, and I’m not sure why. In high school, that guy was phenomenal – one of the best leaders I’ve ever seen at the prep level. I think he sees the field before either Narcisse or Brennan do.

Q: Which LSU player heading to the NFL will make the biggest impact? (asked by Brock from Baton Rouge)

A: I will throw a curveball with this one. I’m going to pick Duke Riley. I think Fournette will be good, but not Ezekiel Elliott-good, because he won’t be playing behind the Cowboys’ offensive line. I think Jamal Adams will be a nice player, as well. But I go with Riley, because I think he has the most upside of almost anyone in the draft. He went from an unknown in game 1 of LSU’s season to possibly the team’s best player in the bowl game. He was a whiz at the NFL Combine, and is coming on strong. I think he can be a monster for a long, long time in the NFL.

OK, so this is the part of our mailbag where I tell you that the rest of the questions will not be about LSU. If only here for Tiger athletic talk, it’s OK to now go back to Netflix and/or that game of solitaire.

For everyone else, let’s geaux!

Q: You’re a Cowboys fan. What do you make of Tony Romo’s decision? (Asked by Richard from Thibodaux)

A: Selfishly, I love it. I am a big Romo fan, and I wouldn’t have wanted to see him play for anyone else. I think he will do great on TV, and I think he should be a national hero, because his arrival in the media means we won’t have to listen to Phil Simms butcher NFL broadcasts anymore on CBS. We all win.

Q: Who is going to win the Master’s this weekend? (Asked by Rob from New Orleans)

A: Gosh, it’s hard to go against Dustin Johnson right now, right? The dude hits the ball a mile off the tee, which allows him to consistently have wedges and short irons in his hands throughout the round – even when in the rough. I think Johnson wins the Green Jacket, but my sleeper pick is Sergio Garcia. No one is talking about Sergio, but he’s played some pretty good golf lately. I also think Jon Rahm will play well, too.

Q: Can Conor McGregor beat Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match? (Asked by FinlandNick)

A: Absolutely not. That would be ugly. McGregor couldn’t even throw hands with Nate Diaz. He got put to sleep in their first fight, then got gifted a decision in the second one because UFC isn’t a legitimate player in the sports world, so they have to protect the few gems that they do have. Mayweather would beat McGregor’s face in. It wouldn’t be pretty, but would be worth the pay per view cost.

Anywho, that’s all for me. Will be back with a preview of the LSU baseball series tomorrow or Friday morning.

To submit questions for next week, email gisclaircasey@gmail.com or Tweet me @casey_gisclair.

Photo: LSU coach Ed Orgeron by Sean Gasser.


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