Stroup’s LSU experience exceeding all expectations

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / August 14, 1999

BATON ROUGE – When he ran through the tunnel into Tiger Stadium for the first time against Houston in 1996, Andy Stroup thought it could not get any better than that.

Until last year.

Stroup, an East St. John grad, played in the first seven games of theseason as a holder on field goals and extra points. He was on 41 plays onspecial teams, more than he ever dreamed of playing four years ago.

“One play was enough,” Stroup said. “If I played one time, it was enough. Igot to play 41 snaps, that was 40 more than I ever hoped for. It was great.I had a lot of fun.”Stroup will be looking to see action again as he enters his senior season in 1999. After starting his career as a backup quarterback, Stroup has beenmoved to wide receiver and turned heads with his play during the spring, making 13 catches in the Tigers’ scrimmage.

“The spring went well for me,” Stroup said. “God took care of me in thespring. It was unbelievable. It blew away all my expectations from where Iwas four years ago.”Stroup said playing receiver after being a quarterback felt weird but that it was an easy move because he knew how a quarterback thinks and where the ball would be.

“Being a quarterback all your life, it was strange being on the other side of the ball,” Stroup said.

Stroup credited his offensive coordinator, Bob McConnell, for helping make the switch easier.

“He brought me under his wing and brought me along slowly,” Stroup said.

“I’m glad to have the chance to play with him.”LSU struggled through a 4-7 season last year after being the preseason pick by many to win the SEC Western Division. Stroup said he doesn’t knowwhat happened but that the coaches and players are working hard to make sure that there is not a repeat.

“The team attitude is that it was a fluke,” Stroup said. “I don’t know howit happened. But the coaches are on a mission to change it. I never saw thecoaches so motivated. They are ready to go. And we learned a lot from lastseason. We don’t want it to happen again. If we take care of our selves, weare going to surprise a lot of people.”Stroup said the goals are the same as any other season, a winning season, SEC championship and national championship. As for his goals, Stroup saidhe is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team reach those goals.

“Being a leader to the younger guys, fitting in wherever the coaches need me,” Stroup said of his duties as a senior. “With the more open offense,I’ll get my playing time. I want to do what I can do and what the coachesneed me to do. It’s going to be fun.”Stroup said his career with the Tigers has already exceeded all his expectations from when he came to LSU before the 1996 season as a transfer from Galveston (Texas) College after a stellar career at East St.

John. Stroup was the captain of the football team for two years with theWildcats and was an honorable mention Academic All-State selection. Hethrew for over 2,000 yards in his high school career.

“Just to be here, to run out of the tunnel against Houston, that’s all I wanted to do, to be a part of this,” Stroup said. “To be a solid backup,getting reps, I never expected to be where I am now. When you put yourlife in God’s control, he will bless you and I’m very grateful for that.”

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