LSU Pivotal Football Moments
pivotal college football moment: A decision by a coach or athletic director that changes the momentum of a program or an action by a player that changes the momentum of a game.
1908: Wingard Assembles a Powerhouse
The earliest reference to LSU's '08 football season came in the Baton Rouge Daily State on January 8. Since only one player graduated from the '07 team that went 7-3 as a mem­ber of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, prospects looked rosy for the next season. "Never before in the history of football [since 1893 at LSU] were the prospects for a season as bright as next year's outlook ..."
Fenton Moves to Quarterback
The most anticipated change was the move of "Doc" Fenton to quarterback. In those early days of football, the "quarterback" was the player who called the offensive signals. With the "T formation" several decades away, he never lined up behind the center to take a direct snap. Even in the single wing formations common to that era, the "quarterback" did not necessarily receive the pass from the center to start the play.

L-R: Doc Fenton, Edgar Wingard, Bob Smith, Clarence Smith
(Fenton and Smiths, LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1909;
Wingard Louisiana Digital Library)
Coach Edgar Wingard returned to Baton Rouge September 14 to get his team ready for the '08 season. He wasted no time in getting his charges onto the practice field on the 15th. He had brought many innovations with him from Pennsylvania. Preferring a wide-open game, he developed agility at his practices. For example, he had the players engage in soccer matches to improve their footwork.
Three Yankee Newcomers Strengthen Tigers
Three solid gridders who hadn't played the year before joined the '07 veterans. The Smith brothers from Michigan who had been recruited by the previous coach in '05 and played for one year (24-year-old Bob) or two (27-year-old Clarence) before dropping out and going to work. Edgar talked them into returning to school. Mike Lally from Pennsylvania would play the op­posite halfback beside Fenton. A fine runner in his own right, he would also block efficiently for Doc.
Other newcomers, some of whom would be called "walk-ons" today, joined the team until Edgar had three full elevens for practice. Numerous students and townspeople, excited about the new season, attended the practices and were impressed by the depth of talent.
The first scrimmage took place on Saturday, September 26. The "Varsity" defeated the "Scrubs" 5-4. Lally kicked a field goal (worth four points) for the Scrubs in the first half while Clarence Smith tallied a touchdown (five points) in the second for the victory. Fenton played right end, the same position he held down in '07. He made a game-saving tackle when Pri­chard of the Scrubs picked up a fumble and ran 25y to the three where Doc coralled them. The regulars held and took over on downs.
The State-Times reporter thought that "to pick out this year's team the coach will have one of the hardest jobs of his career."
Fenton played right end again in the September 29 scrimmage, which the Varsity won 22-0 in two ten-minute halves. Bob Smith missed the scrimmage with a severely sprained ankle and was expected to be out at least another week.
The stage was set for the first great season in LSU football history.