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JONFINEPRODUCTIONS.COM NEWSLETTER  1/23/20
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AN OS FAN!....We received this email recently:
Hello Scott:  Believe it or not, you have quite a fan club with at least one member!  With the collegiate football season complete, I wish to thank you for the weekly excellence of your enlightening columns.  They are consistently informative, thoughtful, and insightful in a manner that reflects the preparation and thought you obviously devote each week.  Most of all, I value their originality.  They are not a rehash of what every other writer or pundit is saying and, frankly, that's difficult to pull off.  I frequently forward your articles to friends near and far.  We all look forward to the week's unique insights.  I imagine that sometimes you're not altogether certain anyone is listening out here on the outskirts of civilization.  Well, we are here, and we know a superb product when we see it.  Hoping you will continue to make your high school English teachers and football coaches proud!
Jim from Denham Springs
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THE WIZARDRY OF OS
By Scott Osborne
Assistant Basketball Coach at Central High School

        How about one more look back at the 2019 LSU football team?  I know over the past week just about every angle has been covered.  The wins over top 10 teams and bowl winning teams, the offensive stats and so on. 
        The one note I have yet to see is something that I actually praised after the first game.  LSU took a snap on the first offensive drive with Edwads-Helaire at quarterback and Burrow at running back.  I was excited that LSU wasn’t holding back. 
Amazingly, that is the only “trick” play I can remember on offense the whole year.  I guess there could be a reverse I forgot, but even if that is the case that would mean all the great things that were accomplished were done by lining up and being better.
        No fake field goals or fake punts necessary.  No double pass, halfback passes, or flea flickers necessary.  There was the fake quarterback draw pass against Alabama, but do you see my point?  LSU was so good on offense, they could just line up and take what the defense gave them.
        I know with all the coaching changes and players declaring for the draft, Tiger fans are concerned about next year.  I know there is a rush to judge, but there are many stages to the off season that go into the “makeup” of a college football team. 
        The first is actually during the season and that is the early signing day.  LSU did extremely well.  The second is the period we are in now with players declaring for the draft and the regular signing day on February 5th this year.  LSU is in a good spot for that one as well.  The third stage is spring football where unfortunately injuries may occur, but also players realize where they stand on the depth chart heading into the summer.  Some will choose to transfer.
        The fourth stage is from the end of spring through summer.  Too often this time of the year is marred by off the field trouble which leads to short and long term suspensions.  Of course, sometimes this time leads to a transfer like Joe Burrow.  Let’s keep these stages in mind as we observe the off season.
        At the time I am writing this article, Coach O is looking to replace Aranda and Brady.  While it is fun to have an opinion on the decision, let’s learn the lesson from this year that great coaching staffs are composed of coaching that work well together.  Therefore, the right hire is a blend of coaching expertise, personality, and fit.  That is what has made Coach O successful and LSU and that is what he will be looking for in these hires.
        At some point soon, Louisiana football fans will realize the football season is over and notice it is basketball season.  So, let me catch you up on what you have missed.
        The good news for LSU basketball fans is that if you remember last year, LSU is pretty much in the same spot.  LSU’s November and December 2019 was eerily similar to 2018.  The Tigers stumbled at the end of games and lost some games that would have really helped their postseason resume.  Thanks to quality coaching though, LSU has clearly improved through those experiences.
        This year LSU has been fighting the injury bug more, though.  Marlon Taylor is just rounding into form from his off-season surgery.  Junior college transfer Charles Manning, who is this year’s version of Marlon Taylor, broke a bone in his foot last week and will be out for a month.
        The good news is that LSU is off to a great start in SEC play.  Like last year, LSU does not blow anyone out, but they find a way to win close games.
        The similarities end there, though.  Last year’s team bullied their way to wins with a combination of Reid and Williams inside and Waters’ play making ability on the perimeter.  That team also had good depth. 
        This year, LSU’s depth isn’t there, but could improve by the end of the year.  At guard, Javonte Smart got off to a slow start.  The transition to point guard from last year’s role was difficult and he shot the ball poorly as a result.  He looked very uncomfortable, but that has turned around in SEC play.  Skylar Mays is doing the same things he did last year, but shooting the ball more consistently from outside.  So far, at the end of games, he has been the player LSU turns to for scoring.  Like Smart, he struggled early in that role, but has come on recently.
        Trendon Watford is this year’s Naz Reid.  Similar to Naz, he got off to an inconsistent start.  He hasn’t had any huge games like Naz did last year, but he has found ways to impact the game beyond scoring.  LSU won’t run their offense through Watford like they did Reid at the end of last year, but he will be a matchup problem for many teams.
        Darius Days and Emmitt Williams have made a huge leap in their development which is a testament to their hard work and the coaching staff.  Days is a tremendous rebounder for his size and Williams is showing a number of skills inside and outside he never had the opportunity to display last year.  Both players are great competitors.
        It is a shame Manning got hurt because he really brings some important elements.  Like Taylor, he is a tremendous athlete and both can bother guards with their length on defense.  Aundre Hyatt is a good shooter that brings some depth. 
James Bishop is a freshman guard that was given some chances early in the year, but had a tough time adjusting to college basketball, though he may still contribute this year.  Will Wade’s staff is excellent in player development and sometimes it just takes a while for players to see the game and find their role. 
Marshall Graves is still around and showed against Texas A&M that he can contribute.  Courtese Cooper has played sparingly, but he brings length inside and his activity will probably help at some point in SEC play when Days or Williams get in foul trouble.
The SEC is once again a quality league in basketball this year.  Kentucky is supposed to be the best team, but they have a number of upset losses this year that are perplexing.  Florida was supposed to be a top ten team, but they underperformed out of conference.  Georgia had some strong performances in non conference games, but has struggled in conference.  Arkansas has been the biggest positive surprise in the league, while Auburn has exceeded expectations that were already high. 
While I don’t think LSU will end up winning the SEC, the Tigers should be able to stay near the top and that would be good enough to return to the NCAA Tournament this year. 
Since Zion returns this week, I will give a run down on their season next week.  The sneak preview is that the start of the season has been like all the others in recent years, but thanks to Zion, the second half of the season promises to be very interesting.
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HEY REF
BY DENNIS DEARIE
VETERAN LOUISIANA HS REFEREE

       O.K., if you haven’t heard by now then allow me to fill you in. No, I’m not going to write anything concerning the upcoming Super Bowl as it surely isn’t “THE” story this week. No, it’s too early for me to write anything about the Super Bowl. For me everyone’s attention and concern should be focused on the ending of the Kansas – Kansas State basketball game from Tuesday night. Players from both benches at the end of the game ran onto the court and began throwing punches as a major brawl erupted. Kinda like the joke where a guy went to a fight and a hockey game broke out. I wasn’t sure if this was basketball game or the WWE!
       The NCAA in its misguided way of doling out punishments has only suspended some of those involved for one game with the highest punishment of twelve games to be served by those that started throwing punches. The whole disgusting display began while Kansas was attempting to run the clock out and DaJuan Gordon stole the ball. Gordon then tried to make a layup with Kansas in the lead by some twenty points. K State player forward Silvio De Sousa blocked Gordon’s shot then stepped over him and the fight was on.
       Both benches ran onto the court and punches came from every player with De Sousa picking up a chair and trying to use it as a weapon. The NCAA should press charges against De Sousa for his actions. I’m not surprised this happened in the least bit because the game of basketball from the Jr. High level to the professional level isn’t played anymore as the game was intended to be played. There’s an attitude in today’s game in that this game of finesse has been turned into a smash mouth all out brutal response to whatever your opponent does.
       Many, many years ago the NCAA handed down what’s known in the business as a death penalty to SMU for many recruitment violations. This is another instance where a heavy fine is needed and some of the players from this game need to be thrown out of school and be banned for life. Nobody wins in these instances; it gives not only the school a bad rap but the entire world of college basketball. I’ve searched for but haven’t found where the race-card has been played. I expect it to drop soon if it hasn’t already been played. Somebody’s gonna claim a raciest slur was used as a way to say that’s the reason for the fighting.
       Changing gears a little bit as I entered Wally World Monday I couldn’t help overhearing the discussion going on that some LSU football fans are surprised, shocked and/or upset with the coaches leaving the Tigers to take jobs at other schools. I’m shocked that these fans didn’t see it coming. It’s called “striking while the iron is hot”! I don’t blame these coaches for leaving; it’s what happens at just about every school when a championship is won. There’s this old saying about coaches. There are only two types of coaches; those that aren’t being fired and those that will be fired.
       One FAN said he couldn’t believe the coaches didn’t show any loyalty to LSU and stay on to try and repeat. Excuse me but loyalty doesn’t thrive in our modern time, everything is done by the numbers. You know the number of dollars you’ll pay a coach, the number of years you’ll employ that coach, and how big the number is when you fire them before a contract expires. The number I feel that tops Coach O’s list standing in the Tigers’ way next year is the number of starters they’ve got to replace. You can’t blame these players for jumping out of the NCAA where they don’t get a dime for all the hard work it takes to win a championship for a chance to make millions of dollars playing professional football.
       LSU will have a huge mountain to climb next season since each game they’ll be playing with a huge target on their backs. Everyone wants to beat the defending champions. For many schools if they win just one game they want it to be the one where LSU will be lining up against them. It’s the nature of the beast. For many years LSU wanted to win one game and that was the Bama game. So now the tables are turned and Tiger fans you better cross your fingers that Coach O fills the gaps in his coaching staff that can come close to the coaches that’ve bolted out of Louisiana.
Till next week…..
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