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JONFINEPRODUCTIONS.COM NEWSLETTER 11/7/19
THANK YOU COACH…..It was announced earlier this week that Coach Bill Conides will be leaving the Denham Springs Football Program at the conclusion of the 2019 season.  We (announcers Josh Ward, Andy Duckworth and, yours truly, Jon Fine) thank Coach Conides for his help with our broadcasts these last 3 years and wish him success in his future endeavors.
DENHAM SPRINGS FOOTBALL…The Jackets travel to Scotlandville HS tomorrow night, Friday, November 8…..You can catch all the action on Family Radio, 91.9 FM, Baton Rouge and on the Internet at JonFineProductions.com.  Air time is 6 PM with Sport N Center Jackets Warmup…Josh Ward, Andy Duckworth and Jon Fine are on the call.
DENHAM SPRINGS INTERVIEWS… Scooter Purvis will be our special guest tonight on Sport-N-Center Jackets Warmup…Scooter was a member of the 1958 LSU national championship team. He later was a long-time assistant coach at LSU.  He is the grandfather of DSHS Senior QB Luke Lunsford…...  DSHS Boys Basketball Coach Kevin Caballero will appear on the North Oaks Health Systems Half-Time Report.
GOLDEN TORS FOOTBALL…..Sulphur travels to Sam Houston, tomorrow night, Friday, November 8.  You can tune in at 6:45 pm on Sports Radio 1310-KEZM-Sulphur/Lake Charles or online at KEZMOnLine.com.  Bruce Merchant and Patrick Frey are on the call.
LSU, SAINTS AND MUCH MORE...ArrestedDevelopmentMediaGuides, our EBay store, sells media guides. programs and baseball cards. Please visit JonFineProductions.com and click on icon to get to the store. Check out a full array of New Orleans Saints media guides and LSU media guides and programs and publications from much of the entire sports world. Over 6,400 publications listed.
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THE WIZARDRY OF OS
By Scott Osborne
Assistant Basketball Coach at Central High School

        Will this be the year?  On November 5, 2011 LSU beat Alabama at its own game.  Nick Saban adjusted, LSU never did, and the rest has been misery.
        But now, things are different.  Since 2011, Tiger fans have known that in order to score against Alabama, LSU would have to change its offense for the Alabama game.  While we all hoped it would happen, it wasn’t a fair thing to expect.  You can’t change your offense in two weeks. 
        In order to beat Alabama, you must have a quarterback centered offense that spreads the field.  Here are the quarterbacks to beat Alabama since November 2011.  Johnny Manziel (29-24), Nick Marshall (34-28), Trevor Knight (45-31), Bo Wallace (23-17), Cardale Jones (42-35), Chad Kelly (43-37), Deshaun Watson (35-31), Jarret Stidham (26-14), and Trevor Lawrence (44-16).  Except for Nick Marshall (who could not throw), they are all very similar Joe Burrow’s skill set and this LSU offense.
        Of course, when you look at those games and team like Georgia that have challenged Alabama, at some point you must make plays on offense in the second half to match Alabama. 
 And that brings us back to November 5, 2011.  That night, LSU played four quarters of complementary football and great players made great plays.  Eric Reid made an amazing interception.  Brad Wing had a tremendous punt when LSU needed it the most.  This year, Delpit, Stevens, Chaisson, and others will have to make plays.  The special teams will have to flip the field at some point.  The offense must produce touchdowns. With all of that, Alabama has great players who will make plays as well.  So what will be the difference?
I expect a similar start to this game as the Texas game.  Both teams will feel each other out early on, and probably play conservatively on defense to start.  Alabama is amazing at finding explosive plays early in the game and LSU would be well served keeping every in front early in the game. 
        Both teams should have success moving the ball between the 20 yard lines, but the winning team will most likely play the best in the red zone.  That was the difference in the Florida and Texas games for LSU.  Those were high scoring games for different reasons, though.
        Against Texas, LSU’s defensive backs did not win 50-50 balls against the Longhorn big receivers which led to many explosive plays.  Against Florida, LSU allowed long drives by not playing well on third down and LSU struggled with the Gators big pass catching tight end. 
        Alabama’s receivers and offense is different.  Defending Alabama’s receivers doesn’t come down to 50-50 balls.  Usually, they are running away from defensive backs over the middle on slants and crossing routes.  This would be the game where LSU will try and do everything they can to take away the middle of the field and take their chances defending out routes and fades outside the numbers (easier said than done).
        LSU was able to outscore Texas and Florida with explosive plays.  Auburn was determined to limit those explosive plays and LSU shot itself in the foot on offense despite gaining 500 yards. 
The good news is that Saban almost never takes the Auburn approach.  Even while Clemson was winning 1 on 1 battles against Alabama in the championship game last year, Saban continued to leave his defensive backs on islands.  I suspect the same opportunities will be available for LSU receivers on Saturday night.
For all the attention that will be paid to the receivers on both sides, deservedly so, I expect the difference to be the running game.  The reason is that most explosive plays and red zone offense comes off the run or the threat of the run.  Alabama and LSU are successful in the RPO game because teams react to the run. 
The running game sustains drives.  Converting third and short and staying out of third and long are keys for any offense.  For LSU, this means Burrow will have to run some.  In short yardage, LSU needs some “eye candy” to take advantage of Alabama’s young linebackers. 
Honestly, I have no idea who will win the game.  I know I will be on the edge of my seat, though, if I sit at all.  Best of all, I expect to see LSU show the college football world that they are officially back.
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HEY REF
BY DENNIS DEARIE
VETERAN LOUISIANA HS REFEREE

        Well I knew it wasn’t going to take long! For nearly nine years I’ve been writing this column and I don’t always make people happy but the one thing I can say is this; I do everything possible to get my facts straight before deciding on a subject matter. I also feel those that do offer their opinions will never have to worry that I’ll disclose their names, etc. It’s just one of those unspoken rules you must live by in order to get an honest answer from those that do offer their thoughts whether I agree or not with them.
        So, now that I’ve got that out of the way I’ve got to do exactly what I said I would when I talked with some officials and a couple coaches. First things first, I’ve got to thank those officials and both of the coaches that took time out of their busy day to speak with me and for allowing me to share their collective concerns on the upcoming football playoffs and the way in which the LHSAA is handling them.
        I’m being told that some (I told the coaches I wouldn’t say many) of the coaches are more concerned about first getting into the playoffs and then they’d worry where and how they’d play that final game. There are of course “pros” and “cons” about getting to the Dome as one coach told me he’s more concerned about those parents that can't (A) Get off in time to travel for an early afternoon game which has always been a great sticking point.
Then (B) some parents really can’t afford the expense of spending a day or more in New Orleans since traveling from the northern part of the state dictates at least one overnight stay. I was on the side that parents would do whatever it would take to be there for their kids. But when a coach points out to me that many of his players come from poor families and the expense is too great it really hit home.
One coach pointed out that for some kids they’ve never traveled outside the city in which they live. I hadn’t thought about that since I’ve had to travel outside the state many times to find work and felt just about everybody had also been on road trips for vacations or family visits and so on. Again when a coach makes a point about their kids you start to understand they really do care about what happens to them away from a football stadium. They both agreed that traveling with a bunch of kids isn’t just about having fun because so many things can and do go wrong.
         Coach “B” said his first trip to the Dome was pure Hell since he was a young assistant not much older than some of his players. He really didn’t understand the amount of work it was going to take to keep a bunch of kids focused that they are there first and above all else to play one last game for a state title. He said most of that trip he was like the bad guy because he had the job making sure all the players were in their rooms and not running out the back doors of the hotel wanting to walk down to Bourbon Street.
        We all agreed those types of things will happen no matter where the final games are played. They also agreed playing in the Dome is no treat for the players. They both told me they’d rather take their respective teams to a Saints game in the Dome rather than going there to play a game. They also spoke of the vast number of empty seats. One final thought was they feel the atmosphere for high school football is ruined by playing in New Orleans because of all the distractions.
        And it’s those distractions they feel cost teams a state title. If they had a choice they’d rather play in a sold out rocking stadium, standing room only, both bands going at it full speed, cheerleaders and dance teams working the stands into a frenzy….. “You know, high school football being played the way it should be played”!
        Now, switching gears I want to point out just a few things my brother officials said pertaining to the split finals. To many it doesn’t matter as long as they are on the field. Working a final in the Dome isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I worked a final in the Dome in 1997 between John Curtis and Eunice. It was the worse game I ever worked.
It started out bad as my deep official decided to throw a 15 yard unsportsman like penalty very early in the opening quarter. The defensive player made a huge hit then jumped up celebrating his tackle but did nothing to warrant a penalty. I told him he needed to eat that flag since this was a state title game. But he was one of these guys that never could do anything wrong. It seemed everything went downhill from that single flag.
          Another big call was one in which the runner came to my side and was hit and knocked backward. He spun right in front of me and as he tried to stay upright put his hand down on the turf, the BACK of his hand did touch the turf. As he touched the turf the ball came rolling down the sideline and I hear a whistle. You guessed it my friend blows the play dead. I asked why and he said he was down. I said no his hand hit the ground; yes it was the back of the hand but the BACK of the hand is still part of the hand. As we watched the replay the stands went crazy because we had what’s called an inadvertent whistle. Turns out my partner in crime had never worked as a deep official. He spent his entire career, every game, every down as a referee, as a white hat. But since he was friends with the assignment secretary he was put in the game.
My biggest complaint and that of my fellow guys in stripes is the way the crews are chosen. I don’t know if there is a standard by which crews are picked but if anyone knows please get in touch with me. I asked if they’d rather work the Dome or at a school chosen by being a higher seed and again there wasn’t much thought or opinion one way or the other. But almost every official I talked with about the “FINAL” crew said the same thing “Why wasn’t I picked”?
Well, I don’t have enough space or ink to go into much detail BUT….. It should be that the best officials get to work deep into the playoffs and if they worked hard enough then they’d be chosen. But here is where I run into a brick wall with other officials. It doesn’t matter the association you’re in since human nature dictates certain things. One huge negative officials carry with them is the constant complaining of the games they work. It doesn’t matter the games you’re assigned but what does matter is how you WORK those games.
I’m an official that loves the crew concept because it puts pressure on every member of the crew to find and recognize the weakness of every official. This way the CREW works on getting EVERY member up to speed on rules and mechanics in the hope that the CREW is getting STRONGER. I was in the IBEW Local 995 (electrician’s apprenticeship program for 4 years). In the program you’re partnered with a journeyman electrician and part of his job is to teach you the trade.
This is what all officials should be on board with. The working together to get any weaknesses out of each member is just the beginning of making you a member of a SKILLED CREW. I find too many officials work on beating another official down in the hopes of making them look better. It doesn’t work like that and the quicker an official gets over himself and starts to make his crewmates better then only one thing will happen; HE’LL MAKE THE CREW BETTER! I was assigned to work the game clock this year on a sloppy, raining night. I was impressed with the work the crew on the field was doing in getting a clean, dry ball into the game I had to let my assignment secretary know how well this crew worked together.
I’ll get off my soapbox by saying “watching and learning is the thing that’ll get you on the road to becoming better. It’s something every official needs to learn how to do!!!!
   Till next week….
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