12 ways LSU can increase spring game attendance
By GLENN GUILBEAU
Tiger Rag Featured Columnist
LSU finally staged an interesting spring game over the weekend in Tiger Stadium.
New quarterback Zach Mettenberger threw early, long and often in leading the White Team to a 24-17 victory over the Purple Team. His 270 yards passing on just 14 completions were more than any LSU game last season. His 25 attempts were seven more than Tiger quarterbacks averaged last season as LSU finished 12th out of 12 teams in the SEC in passing attempts with 262.
The defense had some highlights too as there were a pair of pick-sixes - one by safety Eric Reid off of quarterback Stephen Rivers and the other by true freshman linebacker Lamar Louis off a tipped ball that tight end Tyler Edwards should have caught from Mettenberger.
A “record” crowd of 33,000 saw the game, but that is still a pitiful amount of fans in a football-rabid area. And admission was free. Alabama’s 2007 spring game crowd still wins by 60,000.
Something drastic has to be done about LSU’s embarrassing spring game crowds. Here are a dozen ideas that would have worked last Saturday.
1. FREE BEER - Strung together, these are two of the most wonderful words in the English language. Additional security will be needed, but this will guarantee a large turnout.
2. ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT FREE CRAWFISH - Man and woman cannot live by beer alone, and nothing goes better together than crawfish and beer.
3. ABSOLUTELY NO READ OPTION PLAYS - The Tigers actually did that Saturday, and it worked wonders. No LSU quarterback was booed throughout the entire day. The only problem was they should have advertised this leading up to the game, and more people would have showed up.
4. DEEP PASSES - Fans dig the deep ball, and they don’t get to see it as much anymore at the baseball games. Mettenberger threw deep on nearly half of his 25 attempts Saturday, and there were delighted oohs and aahs at each one. But again, LSU should have advertised this leading up to the game.
5. FAKES - Another crowd pleaser, and coach Les Miles is very good at it. Practice makes perfect. Miles could fake punts, field goals, kickoffs, extra points and calling timeout.
6. BRING BACK PLATOON FOOTBALL - Dump the Purple Team and go with former coach Paul Dietzel’s three squads from the 1958 national championship season - a White Team for the first team, a Go Team for the second teamers and the Chinese Bandits for the defense. Players could rotate on and off of all three teams.
7. GARTH BROOKS PREGAME CONCERT AT PARADE GROUNDS - Probably would have to charge for this, but he could sing “Calling Baton Rouge.”
8. LET MO ISOM KICK - The female former LSU soccer star can really kick, and she is a real athlete. Her effort to make the LSU football team was not a publicity stunt. She really just wants to play. No, she can’t tackle, but neither can some NFL players in New Orleans. Spring football is made for publicity stunts, and promoting the fact that Mo would do some kicking would draw a crowd. Judging by the media attention she recently drew for trying out, it would also garner much national media attention.
9. LET RUSSELL SHEPARD PASS - The former No. 1-ranked quarterback prospect in the nation out of Houston will be a senior this season, and he has never thrown a pass. He has developed into a good receiver, but it would be fun to see what he could do at quarterback. Considering some of the guys LSU has put under center in recent years, could Shepard be much worse?
10. HONEY BADGER AT EVERY POSITION - The baseball team had Keith Osik play every position in a real game in the 1990s. Why not Tyrann Mathieu at every spot? But he will be under strict orders while playing quarterback not to try any option plays. That would be a crisscrossed promotion.
11. DUNKING BOOTH - And the dunkee? Why, Glenn Guilbeau, of course. Unless Nick Saban is available.
12. CAPTIVE AUDIENCE - If all else fails, there is one guaranteed way to fill the remaining empty seats in a stadium or arena. Empty a prison for a day.