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We took a week off last week for some R&R, but we’re bag and our mailbag is absolutely, positively overflowing, so let’s go! Most of the questions we got this week were about LSU baseball, but we have a bunch of other topics to cover, as well.

So let’s go!

If you have a question in the future, email it to gisclaircasey@gmail.com

Q: What do you make of the report that Pat Casey is the leader in the clubhouse to replace Paul Mainieri at LSU?

A: Honestly? I hate it. I absolutely, positively hate it. The allure of this new hire was to get someone into the program who would have staying power. Pat Casey is as old as Paul Mainieri and left Oregon State for retirement several seasons ago. When he left, he touted his lack of energy and his unwillingness to put in the work necessary to win big. That’s … troubling … to say the least, given the pressures the LSU job brings. There is no doubt that Casey has had an amazing career, but he’s never coached, nor recruited in the South before. He’s a West Coast kid who has always coached on the West Coast. Coming to the South this late in one’s career will be a unique fit, at best. And oh yeah — the elephant in the room. At the end of Casey’s career at Oregon State, he knowingly and somewhat defiantly pitched a registered sex offender. Given the issues that LSU has had on its campus in recent years, that fit seems less than ideal. So there. That’s how I feel. That’s how a lot of other LSU fans feel, too. My Twitter feed is one tweet after another urging the Tigers to not make this hire. I hope Scott Woodward listens.

Q: What odds do you give LSU to beat Tennessee this weekend?

A: Probably 30-35 percent or so. Tennessee swept LSU earlier this season, but the Tigers are much, much better now than they were then. But to me, Tennessee still has to be the clear favorites. Look, LSU won the Eugene Regional, yes. They played some good, clutch baseball down the stretch of that Regional to take it home, yes. But there also were no SEC teams in that Regional. The competition was shaky, at best. This weekend, that will not be the same story. The Tigers will have to pitch better than they did in Eugene, get more timely hits and the biggest thing: play better defense. LSU’s defense was atrocious in Eugene. If they commit 2-3 errors a game in Knoxville, forget about it. I think Tennessee wins, but I do think LSU has a chance.

Q: With all the names floating around the LSU coaching search, why isn’t Mike Bianco more heavily considered?

A: I think that’s probably his own doing. Bianco is an LSU guy who has coached in the SEC for now 2 decades at Ole Miss. The track record isn’t all that great. He’s made the College World Series just once since 2001. But let’s be real — the LSU job and the LSU resources are far better than the Ole Miss job and Ole Miss’s resources. So if he’s not mentioned or considered, that’s probably because he doesn’t want to leave Ole Miss. At least that would be my guess.

Q: Any news on who may be hired for Nicholls baseball?

A: I’ve not heard anything specific, but I have heard from reliable sources that there is significant interest and some of the people who are sniffing around are folks who baseball fans in the area would be familiar with. That’s the thing I want to state publicly about Seth Thibodeaux — the program’s outgoing coach. No matter one’s perspective on the job that he did at Nicholls, it can not be debated that he advanced the program forward in his time with the team. The program is better academically. The facilities are better. Everything is further along now than it was then. The next guy is taking over a better ship than Seth did, and I just want to make sure that Coach Thibodeaux gets the proper credit for that, because it sometimes gets lost in the wash.

Q: Are you surprised the Nets are doing so well without James Harden?

A: I’m not. I’ve been telling you guys in this mailbag for months that the Nets were the best team in the Eastern Conference by miles and miles. No one wanted to believe me, but now, it’s becoming harder and harder to deny. The Nets have high-end talent, but they also have role players galore. But more important than that is that they have role players who are capable of becoming star players when they need to be in order to help the team. On any given night, Blake Griffin can become Blake Griffin of old again and be huge for the Nets. He’s done that without Harden. On any given night, Joe Harris can sink 8 3-pointers and score 30 points. He’s been great without Harden. And oh yeah, there’s also Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. In the playoffs, the Nets as a team are shooting 51% from the field and 44% from the 3-point line with 91% at the foul line. If one individual player did that, they would win MVP. But yet, the Nets’ entire team is doing that in the playoffs. It’s absurd the level they’re playing at.

Q: Do you have an All-State vote?

A: I don’t. I actually never got around to joining the LSWA. I do need to join, but just never got around to it. I’ll say this, though. This would not be a job that I would enjoy doing. For one, it’s literally impossible to see everyone play, so you’re looking at box scores and going off of word of mouth to make these decisions. And for two, you’re always going to make someone upset — no matter how you vote. There are about 10 members of that Honorable Mention list in Class 4A who are amazing players. No matter how you vote, you’re always going to be leaving someone out. I also think it’s striking how different the Coaches Association Team is from the LSWA Team. That, too, shows just how subjective that all is. 

Q: What prep football is looking like locally?

A: It should be pretty solid. The Tarpons have a lot back and have a chance to have a solid season. Thibodaux was super young last year, and they’re going to be very explosive and capable of beating teams in a lot of different ways. E.D. White is super well coached, and while they did lose a talented senior core, they, too, will return some talented kids who will help that team make another run. I’m curious to see what Central Lafourche looks like, though I admit that the journey is going to be rough. Coach Meyer booked his guys against a brutally tough schedule in 2022, so that team will be up against it.

Q: What’s your favorite fast food?

A: Cane’s or Rally’s. And we have neither on the bayou, so go figure.

Q: Your video game of choice this summer?

A: Super Mega Baseball 3. That is the best baseball series in video games. It’s user friendly, simple, not complex and just a fun, old-school baseball title.

Q: How do you pick your yearbooks in Way Back Wednesday?

A: 100% random. I literally go into the library, walk to the yearbook section, and pick one from the shelf that looks interesting.

Q: Craziest non-Louisiana sports venue you’ve attended?

A: The Swamp rocks. I was there during the Tebow era, and man, that place was shaking.

Q: Describe your job in 6 words or less:

A: Telling amazing people’s stories for pay.

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