Five Questions with Sportswriter Glenn Guilbeau
When looking for a sportswriter who knows more about his beat, one would be hard pressed to find one better than Glenn Guilbeau.
For nearly a quarter of a century, Guilbeau has been covering all LSU sports as well as the New Orleans Saints.
After covering a variety of beats for the Mobile (Ala.) Register for five years, Guilbeau moved on to the LSU beat at the Baton Rouge Advocate from 1998-2004. Guibeau then joined USA Today Network where he is the LSU and Saints writer.
Guilbeau was able to take a break from his whirlwind tour from the Tigers upset of Florida in Gainesville, and back up the Florida turnpike to Interstate 10 and back home to Louisiana to delight The Rebel Walk by being this week’s guest in “Five questions with…”
THE REBEL WALK: LSU opened the season with a wide-open offense from Mississippi State and the Tigers did not fare too well. Now, the Bayou Bengals end the year with Ole Miss’ high-powered offense. How has the LSU defense improved since game one and how should it attack the Rebels?
GLENN GUILBEAU: It has not improved much at all. It gave up 610 (yards) at Florida but was able to mount a goal-line stand early and hold Florida in the red zone to two field goals. And it did that without All-American CB Derek Stingley Jr. for the whole game (injury) and without starting CB Cordale Flott (ejected targeting) and staring CB Eli Ricks (injury) in the second half. So, it has some heart amid the gaping holes. The Tigers have simplified their defense, which led to marginal success at Texas A&M and at Arkansas.
TRW: Not many, if any, gave LSU a chance at Florida last week. How did the Tigers pull off the upset and how can they use that momentum moving forward into the Ole Miss game and beyond?
GG: It reminded me of the (minor league baseball’s Mobile) BayBears’ upset of Chattanooga in 1998. Just kidding. It sounds corny, but LSU hung in there and didn’t quit after falling behind repeatedly. The defense played well at critical times and collected three turnovers – a pick 6 by Eli Ricks, a fumble recovery just before the half that led to a field goal and 24-17 lead at the break and another pick that stopped a Florida drive. LSU also ran the ball well, which it has not always done. And it protected the QB well, which it also has not always done well. Freshman QB Max Johnson also played expertly with poise in his first career start.
TRW: Do you see any possible scenario the SEC can get two teams into the playoffs or can any conference do it?
GG: Texas A&M could possibly sneak in with Alabama, if it beats Florida. If Florida upsets Bama, I could see Bama still getting in with Florida.
TRW: There has been a flurry of freshmen quarterbacks who have done well in the SEC this year like Will Rogers from Mississippi State, Vanderbilt’s Ken Seals, and a couple of youngsters at LSU. How are these kids able to jump from high school to the Southeastern Conference and play early?
GG: High schools are almost all running spread offenses, so many QBs arrive ready to play. Plus, so many QBs go to these various elite camps and play 7-on-7 a lot.
TRW: Finally, which rule in college football – on or off the field – would you like to see changed and why?
GG: The NCAA should ban televised recruiting announcements. They try to make stars out of these kids before they have done anything and before they have had any media training.
TRW: And a bonus question: Have you ever needed a translator to understand Ed Orgeron?
GG: He garbles his words at times, but the funny thing about Orgeron is he speaks roughly, but his meaning is usually crystal clear. Les Miles, on the other hand, spoke as clear as pure water, but often no one knew what he was talking about.
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