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Monday, July 31, 2006

Fair market value

Former Tiger Eddie Kennison is telling the Kansas City Chiefs he’s about ready to take his ball and go home if they don’t restructure his deal.

Kennison has quite a bit of leverage in this stalemate with Kansas City. He’s the Chiefs leading returning receiver, the only reliable deep threat and is in the top ten in nearly all of the team’s all-time receiving categories. He’s also only the second Chiefs receiver to have back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons.

“… two players with inferior statistics to Kennison recently received exorbitant free-agent contracts. New England’s David Givens signed with Tennessee for $15.3 million over the next three seasons while Pittsburgh’s Antwaan Randle El signed with Washington for $11.2 million over the next two.

“Kennison’s current contract calls for him to receive about $4.8 million over the next two seasons and $8.2 million over the next three. Kennison last season had more catches (68), yards (1,102) and touchdowns (five) than either Givens or Randle El.”

If the Chiefs expect Larry Johnson to break free for more than 2,000 yards this season, and they do, they’re going to need a deep threat such as Kennison. Pay the man!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Did Perrilloux make the wrong choice?

CBS Sportsline's Dennis Dodd makes the case in his latest column that redshirt freshman QB Ryan Perrilloux chose the wrong school.

"... Perrilloux not only didn't pick the right school, he didn't pick the right SEC school. At least five SEC teams could be breaking in new quarterbacks this year -- Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Vanderbilt."

Add to that a pair of first year quarterbacks about ready to take snaps for Perrilloux's first choice, defending national champion Texas, and you can't blame Perrilloux for daydreaming on the sidelines about what might have been.

Texas has to weigh heavily on his mind. The Longhorns are loaded and a five star quarterback away from contending again. One could make the case Perrilloux would have been that man.

1. He would have spent a year as the understudy to Vince Young.

2. He would have had plenty of opportunities to play last year with Texas running up big scores against the weaker Big 12.

3. Mack Brown loves showing off shiny new recruits.

It is key Les Miles gets Perrilloux to forget what might have been, learn some patience, and focus what might still be.

1. Perrilloux should know the LSU offense inside and out.

2. Perrilloux should have a feel for what it takes to succeed in the SEC

3. Perrilloux should take the field as the offense's team leader.

Like Ryan, Miles has to keep the Team Perrilloux entourage believing in LSU. There's nothing a high school phenom hates hearing more than his family, friends and fans asking when is he going to finally get into the game ... especially during a two or three loss season.

I doubt Perrilloux made the wrong choice, he just made a choice that most likely keeps on the sidelines longer than he expected. Like Texas, LSU can still contend for a national championship. However, it just might be with Perrilloux holding the clipboard and JaMarcus Russell lifting the Sears trophy ... in January, 2008!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Why a raise for Les Miles?

LSU coach Les Miles did not deserve his recent raise to $1.65 million, particularly because he was already making a nice salary at $1.2 million a year.

Miles did a good job in 2005 as he led LSU to an 11-2 mark despite schedule and routine changes brought on by Hurricane Katrina and Rita. But he was expected to go at least about 11-2 considering the fact that he inherited one of the best programs in recent years in the nation.

Miles inherited a large portion of the LSU team that won the 2003 national championship with a 13-1 record. He was supposed to at least do well. Doing well does not mean you get a raise, particularly when you got a huge raise to leave Oklahoma State for a national championship contender at LSU.

Miles earned his first year's salary and nothing more. Yes, the hurricanes were tough, but moreso on the players. Miles did not have a dozen more people sleeping at his home. He didn't have to go to class, practice and deal with problems at home because of the storms as Skyler Green, Ryan Willis and others players had to.

The players should have gotten the raise, particularly since players like Kyle Williams and Andrew Whitworth led last year's team as true coaches on the field. Williams called the LSU defense a joke after it blew a 21-0 halftime lead to Tennessee and lost 30-27 in overtime.

That was a bad Tennessee team that finished 5-6. Miles and his staff allowed Rick Clausen - an average quarterback with a weak arm - to beat LSU in Tiger Stadium. Such an effort should not garner a raise. Neither should the embarrassing performance in the 34-14 loss to Georgia in the SEC championship game.

The storm-torn Tigers went into that game tired because it was their 11th game in less than 11 weeks. Miles should have given the team much more time off in the week leading up to that game. At that point of the season, practice is not very important. Energy is, and LSU did not have it. Meanwhile, Miles tried to secretly fly to Dallas to charm Cotton Bowl officials. It backfired and LSU went to the Peach Bowl, which is clearly a minor bowl and not worthy of a major pay increase for someone leading talent-rich LSU.

Miles did not deserve a raise, and LSU did not need to give him one because he's not going anywhere. Miles will likely never garner the interest from NFL teams that went to former LSU coach Nick Saban, who would have never lost to Phillip Fulmer in Tiger Stadium. Miles was only a minor assistant in the NFL. He's not a hot commodity. He has his dream job.

What was LSU athletic director Skip Bertman thinking? Interestingly enough, it was Bertman who said he raised ticket prices this year instead of next because of the economic strains of the hurricane. If money was a problem, Skip, why give an already rich and undeserving coach more?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

That's it?

Am I the only person disappointed in the artist's renderings of the new Alex Box Stadium?

I mean, in this day and age of cool minor league parks, I was hoping for a something little more. Sure, it looks modern and all of that. But it didn't seem to be anything memorable about it. Not like the yard at Auburn.

But since it hasn't been built, I'll reserve further judgment - and hope it turns out better than it looks right now.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

SEC Media Days finally here

As a veteran of too many SEC Media Days to count, let me say that there is alway a bittersweet feeling to media days.

The bitter? The coaches usually don't say anything of value. You're sitting in an auditorium for what seems like an eternity. That explains why Steve Spurrier is popular with the media. The South Carolina coach is fun and funny. He doesn't mind taking a poke at Phil Fulmer or, in his Florida days, at former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer.

The sweet? Football is just around the corner. Skimming through the football media guides that week in Birmingham gets you excited for the games even though they are still more than a month away.

This year, for the first time since 1988, there are no new coaches in the SEC. So there won't be any stories on the new coach. LSU coach Les Miles should he familiar with the process. He is bringing wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and safety LaRon Landry to the event.

Don't read anything into the fact that JaMarcus Russell won't be in Birmingham. The only quarterback of note in Birmingham is Florida quarterback Chris Leak. Truth be told, there are probably just as many people in Florida wanting Tim Tebow to play quarterback as there are people in Louisiana wanting Matt Flynn to play quarterback at LSU.

It should be an interesting three days in Birmingham. Glenn Guilbeau will be providing coverage.

Happy Media Days everybody.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Kill the quarterback questions

If I'm Les Miles the first thing I say at SEC Media Days on Friday is this: "Quit asking me about the quarterbacks?''

For the life of me, I don't know how LSU got into this quarterback situation. JaMarcus Russell won 10 games last season. He didn't play in the last one. The Tigers won the last one with Matt Flynn at quarterback.

At any other school in America, Russell would be the starter and Flynn would be the backup. Case closed.

Yet for some reason (dare we say race?) there has been the persistent questioning of Miles about the starting quarterback. It came up again at a recent Miles speaking engagement in Westlake.

Enough. If Russell struggles against UL-Lafayette or Arizona, then you can ask about the quarterback situation. But to remember only Flynn's play against Miami in the Peach Bowl and not his play in the SEC Championship Game is an unfair evaluation of him as well.

Sure, Russell had some bad moments. He also had some good moments. The bottom line is wins and losses. And Russell had a lot more wins than anyone else on the team.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Fantasy Football Forecast of Former Tigers

The July 31 edition of ESPN The Magazine ranks the top 100 fantasy football players for the upcoming NFL season and three former Tigers make the list.

14. Domanick Davis, RB, Houston, "He's no Bush ..."

52. Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis, "Savvy rookie is perfect fit ..."

67. Eddie Kennison, WR, Kansas City, "... he's got one more good year left in his bones." Ouch!

Making the list as the 50th best receiver, again this is just for fantasy football purposes, Michael Clayton of Tampa Bay. Clayton's ranking might have to do with his inability to take it to the house last season (zero touchdowns). However, LaBrandon Toefield (4 TDs), Devery Henderson (3), Josh Reed (2), and Eric Edwards all did cross the goal line, but are all unranked.

Non-LSU names of note include former Arkansas QB/current Jacksonville Jaguar receiver Matt Jones as the 81st ranked player overall, one spot ahead of former Louisiana Tech/current Philadelphia Eagles running back Ryan Moats. Teurlings Catholic High School's own Jake Delhomme is the 69th ranked fantasy football player.

The New Orleans Saints have four players listed in the Top 100, not surprisingly led by rookie Reggie Bush (No. 23), Deuce McAllister (No. 51), Donte' Stallworth (No. 83) and Joe Horn (No. 97). And, no, Drew Brees does not make the list. What's worse, Aaron Brooks is listed five places ahead of Brees among NFL quarterbacks.

Go Saints!

Of course, you can keep up with all the former LSU Tigers each week in the NFL with our LSU in the NFL section on LSUBeat.com.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Where's the respect?

Has a team ever entered the season after winning 11 games, winning its bowl game 40-3 (over Miami no less) and had less respect than LSU this season?

Now, don't get me wrong. I can see three losses on the horizon - at Auburn, at Florida and even at Tennessee. LSU could be a good team and still have three or four losses.

But picking LSU to be the wipeout team of 2006 - particularly because of the quarterback situation - doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I'd rather have three QBs who can play than one who can play and two who are garbage.

The latest swipe at LSU comes from Matt Hayes in The Sporting News. Hayes says if he were a betting man "I'd take a look at Arizona. The Cats will scare the bejesus out of LSU in Week 2 - and eventually win eight games.''

OK, maybe they will. Maybe they won't. But I think LSU's chances are much better at home than on the road.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tigers on the tube

It isn't football, but it'll have to do for mid-to-late July.

"Aaron's Football Saturdays in the South'' will have a story on LSU's players, coaches and faculty providing aid to Hurricane Katrina victims last year. The story will "highlight the LSU football team's life-changing season. From a year that began with tragedy to a season that was an inspiration to the state,'' according to folks with Lincoln Financial Sports.

The show can be seen on Saturday in Alexandria (KWCE, Noon), BatonRouge (WAFB, Noon), Lafayette (KATC, 2 p.m.) and New Orleans (WWL, Noon). On Sunday, the show can be seen in Alexandria (KLAX, 10:30 p.m.), Monroe (KARD, 1 p.m.) and Shreveport (KMSS, 5 p.m.).

Happy viewing Tiger fans.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ready for some football?

The current issue of The Sporting News features an NFL training camp preview. Several former LSU players figure prominently in the issue, although some in less flattering ways than others.

For example, Michael Clayton may not be a big fan of quarterback Chris Simms since the issue hit the newsstands. In the Bucs' "Pure camp'' section, Simms points at Clayton for worst hygiene: "There's a whole lot of that, but I'd have to go with Michael Clayton. He'll skip a shower now and then.''

Former LSU star Trev Faulk fared a little better in center Andy McCollum's "Pure Camp'' section for the St. Louis Rams. McCollum lists Faulk as the Rams' hardest worker: "He does all the special teams, and they run them to death on those drills. I just remember him the last couple years, trying to make an impression on every play.''

Marco Rivera gives a little insight into the Dallas Cowboys' camp. He tabs former LSU star Marcus Spears for having the strangest eating habits: "Marcus Spears doesn't have strange eating habits, he just likes to eat all the time. He eats more than anybody I've seen, and it doesn't matter what it is.''

Rivera also pegs former LSU wide receiver Skyler Green as a potential whipping boy for coach Bill Parcells.

"Skyler Green has a good chance to be coach Parcell's whipping boy this year because he's been dogging him pretty good in the minicamps.''

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Minor problem

It's been a long time since the biggest problem facing John Brady has been the return on his point guard.

But Brady's LSU team will be loaded again next season. The only significant losses off the Final Four team from last season are point guard Darrel Mitchell and forward Tyrus Thomas.

As crazy as this sounds, Thomas may be easier to replace. Darnell Lazare and Magnum Rolle should be able to fill in ably for Thomas.

And Mitchell should be replaced by Tack Minor. The only problem is LSU had its greatest success WITHOUT Minor last season.

This, of course, isn't lost on Brady.

"We need him to run the team and be positive and encouraging. We don't want anything to detract from the momentum we created a year ago,'' Brady said. "As a team, we can't allow that to happen. Certainly, Tack should understand that. Hopefully he does.''

Minor's ability to understand his role is far more important to this team's success than trying to replace Thomas. Minor can make or break this team.

LSU should be a national contender again next season. The ball will be in Minor's court.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Hotty Toddy

After a solid week of calling recruits from around the state of Louisiana I have come to this conclusion: If you're a high school senior and you don't have a scholarship offer from Ole Miss, then you must be a stiff.

No, it only seems as if Ole Miss has offered every high school senior in the state. In all seriousness, Ole Miss has offered scholarships to more players (24) in Louisiana than LSU (16).

What's going on here?

"They're trying to raise the level of the players in their program,'' says one in-state Division I coach.

So I asked, what happens if all of these players commit - after all 24 offers would just about take up the whole class.

"They'll tell people they're full,'' the coach says.

So should LSU fans be worried about Ed Orgeron, Frank Wilson and the Ole Miss Rebels?

I don't think LSU fans should panic, but they certainly would be wise to keep an eye on the Rebels.

Yes, Ole Miss has four commitments in the state. And yes, defensive tackle Drake Nevis is one of the better players in the state.

But until the Rebels start landing the Joe McKnights of the recruiting world, panic shouldn't set in among LSU fans.

Les Miles' staff, though, may have a more difficult time sealing the border than Nick Saban's did.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Tony B. calling out the Tigers

The AJC's Tony Barnhart cites ten questions of college football heading into the 2006 season ... and LSU makes an appearance in question number nine.

When the season's over, whose fans are going to be the most disappointed?

"We're going with LSU's.

After the Tigers humiliated Miami 40-3 in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, their fans immediately starting thinking national championship. Here's the reality: A major quarterback controversy looms after Matt Flynn's brilliant bowl showing when an injured JaMarcus Russell couldn't go. And superstar recruit Ryan Perrilloux is still waiting in the wings. The top two running backs (Alley Broussard, Justin Vincent) are both coming off knee injuries. The schedule includes road trips to Auburn, Florida, Tennessee and Arkansas (in Little Rock)."

I'm sticking with our guy Glenn Guilbeau, there shouldn't be any controversy over the quarterback position. Well, not at least until maybe after the Auburn game.

Friday, July 14, 2006

How NOT to win friends and influence people

Gabriel Bryant was one of LSU's first football commitments for the Class of 2007. Emphasis on the word was.

Bryant, you see, got kicked off the team at Jonesboro-Hodge. It seems Bryant had a falling out with coach Joey Pender. So now Bryant is looking for a high school with Bastrop or Caldwell Parish being likely destinations.

But Bryant did more than just get kicked off the team at J-Hodge. The scholarship offer he once had from LSU now belongs to DeAngelo Benton of Bastrop. And Bryant is a man without a team.

I asked a Division I coach in Louisiana, who shall remain nameless to keep the NCAA out of everyone's hair, if his school would take Bryant, the talented-but-troubled wide receiver.

After a pause, here was the response: "I think we'd have to see how the season plays out.''

Not to see how he performs on the field, but to see how he performs off the field.

In a way, it is good to see that character still matters. It is good to see an athlete have to get his act in order to get his scholarship.

Hopefully for Bryant he'll be able to do just that.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

More hurricane aftermath

Not that college football recruiting compares to actual suffering and rebuilding, but Hurricane Katrina's aftermath is still being felt in the state.

Here's an example.

I was talking to Korey Williams today, a linebacker from Karr High School in the New Orleans area. Williams has been offered scholarships by Baylor, Clemson, Nebraska and Ole Miss and is being recruited by LSU, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Auburn.

Williams didn't play in Louisiana last year. He evacuated Hurricane Katrina and played six games in Texas.

That time in Texas gave Williams some exposure in Big 12 country, thus the interest from Baylor, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

It also gave Williams time away from his home. And now he says of his college decision, "Location is not a factor.''

That's not saying he won't end up at a Louisiana school. But the chances of Williams - and athletes like him - going out of state are likely increased because of the evacuation and the aftermath.

Checking in on Thomas

Tyrus Thomas is four games into his five game summer league season for the Chicago Bulls. So, let's see how the big fella is stacking up against the (ahem) competition.

Through four games, Thomas is averaging 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2 assists and a block and a steal a game. Thomas is the team's leading rebounder and has the Bulls second highest scoring average. Thomas posted a double-double against both Charlotte (17 pts, 11 rebs) and Miami (19 pts, 12 rebs) on consecutive days.

Now, you would be hard-pressed to recognize even a handful of the names on any of the six teams rosters. Simply put, NBA summer leagues are where to put your recent draft choices and other players signed simply for the summer. The NBA summer leagues are actually treasure chests for European pro league scouts looking to fill up roster spots overseas with a ringer or two from the States.

Still, Thomas is doing exactly what the Bulls would come to expect from the LSU lottery pick.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Breakout season for Webster?

Corey Webster's introduction to the NFL wasn't always smooth last year with the New York football Giants. There were times when he looked like, well, a rookie in the secondary against veteran NFL receivers. Of course, Webster wasn't always completely healthy either.

Now in Year 2, many are expecting big things from the former LSU cornerback. In fact, The Sporting News lists Webster among its breakout defenders for next season.

The magazine's Dan Pompei predicts big things for Webster now that the defensive back is healthy. "Now he has no excuses,'' Pompei writes, "especially because he is likely to get plenty of opportunities playing behind what could be football's best pass rush.''

Saturday, July 08, 2006

LSU-UK in fight for top high school point guard

Glen "Big Baby" Davis may need to show off as much personality as he does basketball skills at the Nike All-America Camp being held at IUPUI. One young camper in particular with NBA DNA in his body is attending the camp and gaining a lot of attention.

Jai Lucas, son of 14-year NBA veteran point guard John Lucas, is short in stature 5 feet, 10 inches, but big in talent. Lucas' top five college choices are Kentucky, LSU, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Maryland. Thus far, Lucas' unofficial visits have been to LSU and Maryland.

When he was at LSU, he attended the Tigers' home game against UK that LSU won, 71-67 on Feb. 25.

"It was one of the best college games I've been to," Lucas said. "It was just a great experience. Both teams played hard. It was just big time basketball."

Lucas seems to be looking for a basketball-first school that certainly puts Kentucky in a great position. Former Wildcat Ron Mercer has filled Lucas' head with stories of UK greatness and atmosphere. However, if Tubby Smith has another rough year with his fan base and if John Brady can finally close the deal on a new contract, it might be a factor in bringing in a big time point guard for the Tigers.

Friday, July 07, 2006

ESPN's Andy Katz: Big Baby looks fit

ESPN Andy Katz says Glen Davis looks fit and impressive in action against some legit competition at a Nike summer camp. Davis is down to 289 pounds where he says he hasn't been "since the seventh grade."

"How did all this weight loss affect him on the court during the Nike camp counselor game Thursday? Well, let's just say Davis was about as nimble as he has ever been as he competed against 7-2 Georgetown center Roy Hibbert and 6-9 Indiana forward D.J. White."

Losing the weight and gaining some foot speed figures to not only help Davis in SEC play, but it improves his stock for next year's NBA draft which figures to be one of the deepest drafts in the last few years.

Paul Mainieri on Rivals Radio

As a former radio sports talk show host, I know how rough the summer months can be when it comes to filling air time. It is a time to payback some favors to athletes, coaches and schools you've been promising to get on the air, but never found the time. College baseball season reviews, a great example of a one time, one show filler.

Outside of Oregon State winning the College World Series, the biggest story in college baseball was LSU hiring Paul Mainieri to take over Skip Bertman's Tigers.

And you've got to give it up to Paul for taking full advantage over any and all attention to come his way.

This morning Mainieri got a 15-minute spot on Rival Radio (Sirius Channel 123) to talk about the transition from Notre Dame to Baton Rouge and his future as the Tigers new skipper.

If you missed it (you have GOT to get Sirius radio) here's the link to the interview. Enjoy now and in the future, this guy's a keeper!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Beware: Beavers back on LSU schedule

I take it Coach John Brady didn't attend the LSU football home opener back in 2004 when the Oregon State Beavers gave everyone in Tiger Stadium a scare before losing 22-21 in overtime.

Turns out Brady and the Beavers have agreed to face each other on the court on Dec. 17 in Corvalis.

"It is, without question, the most exciting home nonconference schedule that we've had," Beavers coach Jay John said. "We're looking to have a nonconference schedule that is more tilted toward home games on an annual basis, plus hosting a tournament that we hope becomes an annual event."

And this game is not taking place in Baton Rouge because ... ?

One former Tiger who played in that memorable Oregon State game, Cameron Vaughn, gets a nice write up from Denver TV station KCNC.

"Familiarity with a coach, understanding of the system -- which Vaughn says has "a similar base package" to the one in which he played at LSU -- and his ability and willingness to play at any linebacker slot and on special teams are attributes that he hopes will result in achieving his first professional goal: to make the 53-man roster."

The coach mentioned above is former LSU assistant Kirk Doll who now coaches the linebackers for the Broncos.

For the record, Vaughn went undrafted in this year's NFL Draft.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

For Tyrus Thomas, life keeps getting better

NBA draftniks can't help themselves, even in Chicago where the Bulls were considered one of the big winners coming out of the 2006 NBA Draft. Before the names were called, Bulls fans salivated over stories of Tyrus Thomas jumping out of NBA practice facilities all over the country. He was their guy, the one they wanted.

When they got him, the more critical comments emerged. Tyrus Thomas: too young, too skinny and too short for his position. The Bulls needed impact, not development.

That all changes today.

The Bulls grabbed the brass ring in the free agent class of 2006 in Ben Wallace, a 6-9 "center" with monster physical and defensive skills. Sound familiar? In addition, the Bulls are also rumored to be trading away Tyson Chandler for P. J. Brown, another high-caliber, experienced post player.

What Wallace and Brown bring to the Bulls is a fighter's chance at an Eastern Conference championship in 2007. What they bring to Thomas are two guys who have had to earn everything they've got in the NBA through hard work and sheer determination.

Another knock on Thomas is that he didn't have the greatest coaching at LSU. With Wallace and Brown aboard, that point, fair or not, is moot. Thomas can develop under their tutelage and the coaching moxie of Scott Skiles without the added pressure of having to be a rookie sensation such as fellow Bulls teammates Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni.

Don't get me wrong; Thomas still has much to prove in a city fresh off of the aforementioned Chandler and Eddy Curry fiascos. But, Bulls fans will have more patience with Thomas than they would have had just a day ago.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Couple of familiar faces for Hall

When LSU announced its selections for the school's Athletic Hall of Fame, they got a couple of guys who should be big draws -- running back Kevin Faulk and second baseman Todd Walker.

Having known Walker since he was a sophomore in high school, I've got to say he is as deserving as any LSU athlete ever.

During his time at LSU, the Tigers made two trips to the College World Series and won one title. He was as clutch a player as anyone who wore an LSU uniform.

Faulk was a big signee at a time when LSU needed something to break it out of the football doldrums. His impact was felt both on and off the field.

Kudos to these guys.