LOVE: After Further Review
Jones, Brown ride again in New Orleans
By BEN LOVE
Tiger Rag Editor
NEW ORLEANS - It’s rare when two paths, once intertwined, can separate so widely and eventually come back together and intersect.
But that’s exactly what happened last week in the Crescent City, even if only for a few hours, when Dale Brown and Johnny Jones, two legends of LSU basketball lore, took to the same sideline for the first time since 1997.
Two men who went through innumerable battles together, first as player-coach and then as head coach-assistant (from 1984-97), got to reprise the latter role during Friday’s Reese’s College All-Star Game when the two led the West team - featuring LSU senior Storm Warren - against an East bunch coached by Wimp Sanderson, former Alabama coach and longtime Brown adversary.
It was hardly the first time Brown and Jones had been on that scene.
Jones, the head man at North Texas since 2001, was a freshman for LSU when Brown’s Tigers danced through the Superdome in March of 1981, beating Arkansas and Wichita State in Regional play to secure a spot in the Final Four in Philadelphia.
The duo returned to the Dome again on Jan. 28, 1989, when the two Tiger coaches guided LSU to an 82-80 upset win over No. 2 Georgetown in a rare regular season home tilt away from the PMAC.
From the look of things Friday afternoon, they haven’t missed a beat.
Jones handled the X’s and O’s and kept fresh players moving in and out while Brown, who earlier in the day was given a lifetime achievement award by the United States Basketball Writers Association, provided words of encouragement and glad-handed refs, media types and many others.
The West may have lost, 103-99, but the state of Louisiana chalked one in the win column to get these two back on the same bench one more time.
LSU, Miles right to showcase aerial arsenal
It’s pretty common practice to open up the vanilla playbook in spring games.
Opponents are watching or, at the very least, can easily read about what you did, how you lined up, who you preferred and what kind of plays you ran.
In short, few coaches want to give any additional scouting reports or show any unforeseen wrinkles to teams they’ll line up against in the fall.
I would argue Les Miles and the LSU offense faced the exact opposite problem heading into Saturday’s spring game.
Every SEC foe rightfully had the Tigers earmarked as a team that couldn’t throw the football consistently, especially deep, exiting the 2011 campaign.
Now, after new starter Zach Mettenberger threw for 270 yards, two touchdowns and unleashed at least eight balls which traveled more than 35 yards in the air (most of them down the right sideline), those same foes know LSU can go long when it so desires.
That’s precisely the kind of thing Miles & Co. want everybody to see with their own eyes.
Armed with this newfound knowledge, opposing coaches will have an even harder time game-planning for a more balanced LSU offense.
“We’ll challenge anybody to play a single-high coverage against us,” Miles proclaimed proudly after the game. “And if they play double-high, frankly we’ll have an opportunity to run the football. So it’s pick your poison.”
Miles even joked, after being asked if what was seen Saturday was “the new vanilla,” that it was not, but rather some “sprinkles” the team added.
The trick now, however you want to extend the ice cream metaphors, is not forgetting about it over the summer.
Editor Ben Love is Tiger Rag’s lead reporter on LSU men’s basketball. Reach him at email@example.com.