Offseason Notes: Louisiana connections

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Mack Brown UNC

It’s time for a few college football tidbits of local interest.

Mack Brown will be 68 years old in August as he begins the journey of restoring the North Carolina football fortunes. But he’s not the oldest major head football coach to ever have accepted a new assignment. That distinction belongs to Kansas State’s Bill Snyder who was 70 when he came out of retirement to lead the Wildcats from the sidelines in 2009.

Snyder was successful the second time around at K-State so perhaps Brown, who first shined as a college head coach at Tulane, can turn the same trick in Chapel Hill.

Former LSU head coach Les Miles turns 66 this fall so he is young compared to Brown. Relatively speaking. However, insiders feel like Miles has the biggest mountain to climb in the country after accepting the Kansas job.

Miles hopes some existing deep south talent already in Lawrence can help him defy the odds. Five key starters on the Jayhawks squad call Louisiana home, including talented running back Pooka Williams (Hahnville). The others at Kansas from the Boot are left guard Malik Clark (Warren Easton), wide receiver Daylon Charlot (Patterson), cornerback Corione Harris (Landry-Walker) and safety Michael Lee (Landry-Walker).

Speaking of LSU, the Tigers travels to Texas to battle the Longhorns in Austin during the second weekend of the upcoming season. Both teams come off New Year’s Six bowl wins and seek greater glory.

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and often times that is true. For example, LSU will have to contend with 6-foot-6 senior receiver Collin Johnson, who tallied 68 grabs for 985 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He is the son of Texas Hall of Famer and 1980 NFL first round pick Johnny Johnson.

Texas is just one part of a tough slate this fall for the Tigers. In fact, LSU’s 2019 opponents collectively were 98-57 last season. The first six opponents totaled 52 wins. So despite facing Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State and Texas A&M down the stretch, Ed Orgeron’s squad may find the top half tougher overall.

Destrehan High alum Kirk Merritt (6-0, 215) has been rated by some analysts as a day two NFL draft prospect in 2020. The Arkansas State receiver had 83 catches for 1,005 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Merritt had two previous stops at Oregon and Texas A&M before landing with the Red Wolves.

This may surprise you but Tulane’s 2019 defensive line is considered the best in the AAC and among the better units in the country.

Last season, the Green Wave ranked third in the conference overall and second in rushing defense.

Key returnees include D’Andre Williams, who made 12 starts and 38 tackles at defensive end, and nose tackle Jefferey Johnson, who started 11 starts. Cameron Sample also started 11 games last year, totaling four sacks.

Outside linebacker Patrick Johnson was a true force for the Wave with 10.5 sacks and 49 stops. Johnson is the third player in school history to post double digit sacks in a single season.

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Rene Nadeau

Rene Nadeau

CCS/Fox Sports/ESPN/WFAN

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…

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