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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Time to transfer from paper to field

So LSU's sports information cranks out a release title, "On paper, football team is SEC's best.''

Uh, last I checked there were no championships handed out for performances on paper.

The gist of the release is that LSU leads the SEC in four offensive statistical categories and eight defensive statistical categories.

That's all well and good, but the Tigers have two SEC losses.

I hate to keep pounding on this all week, but it's time for LSU to show up in the big games. It's time for those numbers in the weak home schedule to transfer over to the much tougher road schedule. It's time for LSU to be the team everyone thinks it is.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Just why is LSU a two-point favorite at Tennessee on Saturday?

The Tigers have not won a road game this year. Tennessee has lost just once at home - to Florida when the Vols couldn't hold a lead.

LSU has beaten Tennessee exactly five times in the series. The Tigers are 5-20-3 all-time against Tennessee.

So it's not exactly like LSU has a history of success here.

And it's worse in Knoxville. The Tigers have won a grand total of one game in Knoxville, that coming in 1988 with Tommy Hodson at the helm of the offense.

Why is LSU a two-point favorite?

Apparently the folks in Las Vegas think LSU is the better team. On paper, LSU may well be.

But then again, LSU could have been the better team at Auburn and at Florida and didn't win either game. At some point, if LSU wants to make this season memorable and not just a dud, the Tigers are going to have to win a road game of value.

The folks in Vegas believe that time is Saturday.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pretty solid defensive backs

If you look back at LSU's 2003 national championship football team, you'll notice that LSU had a pretty salty defensive backfield.

Take for example the corners. Both starters, Corey Webster and Travis Daniels, are playing in the NFL. Both backups, Randall Gay and Ronnie Prude, are in the NFL.

At safety, Jack Hunt was on the Dolphins' practice squad. LaRon Landry is soon to be in the league.

The reason I bring this up today is Prude's interception return for a touchdown against the Saints today.

There is a reason LSU enjoyed great success that season. That team was loaded with talent.

Coaching is important, but so is having great players.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

What to do on an open Saturday?

There are LSU fans and then there is, well, the "social" fans.

On this open Saturday for LSU, we just got a call here at the office wondering if LSU is playing tonight or Sunday night? Huh.

Do you really think LSU is playing on a Sunday night? Do you really think LSU is playing when stories online and in newspapers have them open all week?

If it was just one call, then maybe it was a freak accident. Instead, not five minutes later, we got another similar call.

I realize LSU has some hard-core fans. But it is apparent there are plenty of "social'' fans as well that claim the Tigers as their own.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The votes are in

Scott Ferrell's theory that the SEC Media Days are tilted to favor Alabama moreso than maybe the Crimson Tide deserves holds some water this morning with the release of the USA Today Pre-season Top 25 Coaches Poll for college basketball.

LSU is ranked seventh, six pegs down from defending national champion Florida (no surprise). Alabama finds itself ranked 12th, the third highest ranked SEC school in the poll ahead of No. 22 Kentucky and No. 24 Tennessee.

Of course, college basketball rankings are just completely useless. Ferrell can go on and on about what it takes to be a voter for college basketball so I'll leave that tale to him.

Besides Florida being the top-ranked team, I believe the only other headline from the list is that Duke, who LSU just victimized in March, is ranked outside of the Top 10 at No. 11.

Woe are the Blue Devils.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bama bias?

The SEC Basketball Media Days wrapped up in Birmingham, Ala., today with Florida picked to win the East, Alabama picked to win the West and Florida the overall title.

LSU, returning three starters from a Final Four team, was picked second in the West.

Maybe it's pure coincidence, but Alabama was picked to win the West in Birmingham, the same city where Auburn where was picked to win the West in football. (That would be Arkansas atop the SEC West football standings as of this moment).

Actually, it may not be coincidence. At each of the SEC's Media Days, there is an ample representation from Alabama media types, more than any other state if only because of location. Those media members are far more knowledgeable about the teams in their own state than the others, that's just life.

So these media polls out of SEC Media Days often have an Alabama taint to them. And that is why they shouldn't be taken with much seriousness.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Human Highlight Jr.

The accolades a professional athlete receives from fans have about as much worth as the lint in one's pockets, however, when your peers begin raving about you, well, there are all kinds of value in that!

LSU's newest entry into the NBA, Tyrus Thomas, is going through his first pre-season with typical rookie ups and downs ... but it is the ups that's got everyone, including NBA veterans, talking.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Not only is Thomas contributing more good than bad thus far in exhibition play, his athleticism almost guarantees at least one did-you-see-that moment.

"That's why I'm calling him Human Highlight Jr.," veteran forward P.J. Brown said, referencing the rarified air of Dominique Wilkins. "He can bring excitement at both ends of the floor. Not only can he block shots but he has the moxie to get on the break and finish. That's something you can't teach. That's God-given."

Thomas is averaging just over 10 points and 4 rebounds a game and leads the Bulls in blocked shots.

And, oh, by the way, to P.J. Brown's comment about human highlights ... Thomas also threw down a massive two-handed jam over NBA all star forward Kevin Garnett.

Tiger bait ... Tiger bait ...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Agents are everywhere; so are hands

Can coaches stop athletes from talking to agents? LSU football coach Les Miles says no.

"We can't prohibit our guys from seeing agents," Miles said Tuesday after one of his assistant strength coaches was arrested for doing the groundwork for an agent by introducing players to him. "They (agents) walk into their dorm room, to social settings. It appeared that this was arranged. That is a concern. After interviewing several players, it doesn't appear to be a serious concern."

NCAA rules prohibit players from accepting gifts or signing with an agent, but players can speak to agents.

"It's always been a difficult position to be in, because agents represent the great unknown," Miles said. "And it's difficult to tell your players that they really don't know what they're talking about. A good agent is a guy that waits, sees the draft position and then tries to assist his client. Guys that think they can do more than that just aren't telling the truth. But there are those guys out there."

Miles said players will have plenty of time to talk to agents when their career is over.

"The agent is something that can always be addressed at the end of the season," he said. "There's no hurry to assign yourself to an agent. Draft position cannot be enhanced or hurt by an agent."

No, but an athlete's wallet can be enhanced while he's thinking about which agent with which to sign. See the Reggie Bush-USC saga.

As long as there are athletes with hands, there will be agents.

Fox in the hen house?

It's bad enough for LSU to have to bust runners for agents. But when the runners are employees of the athletic department, then there is a bigger issue here.

Today, LSU police said they had arrested Travelle Gaines, 26, an assistant strength coach at LSU and charged him with violating a state law by inviting student-athletes to his home to meet a sports agent. Gaines had been employed at LSU in the athletic department since July.

You might think it would be common sense for athletic department employees to know they can set up a meeting with student-athletes and agents. Apparently that's not the case.

If you're an LSU fan, you've got to hope this is an isolated incident and not a tip of the iceberg.

But if you're scoring at home, LSU is beginning to take on the familiar look of Crazy Days at LSU - from the baseball investigation, Bertman's camp audit and now athletic department employees accused of helping agents.

It would probably help LSU athletic director Skip Bertman to meet with his employees and go over the basics before the embarrassment grows.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Rough times in Florida

While the honeymoon continues for Urban Meyer at Florida, it's rough to be the top guy of a football team in the Sunshine State.

Larry Coker is a dead man walking at Miami, that's a given, but now Florida State boosters are calling for Bobby Bowden to retire. Of course, what would a coach on a hot seat be without a corresponding Web site such as retirecoachbowden.com.

It should also be noted that firenicksaban.com isn't currently up online, but someone has already registered the domain.

Meat on the bones

Another home game, another victory. There's always a great time to be had in Death Valley, but much of what Tiger fans have seen this season at home is the expected ... it has been a set of games LSU should win.

Now the Tennessee game sits on the horizon.

Down 0-2 in LSU's other 'big' games, can the Tigers afford another loss on the road to a quality opponent?

For all the hype of how talented the Tigers are (and I'm not here doubting the talent) ... isn't it time LSU hung a loss on somebody on their own lawn?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Heard it on the X

There is a lengthy interview with former LSU wide receiver and track star Xavier Carter at Florida Today. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the interview for LSU football fans is Carter's assertion that he would likely still be playing football at LSU if Nick Saban were still the coach.

While I understand Carter's disatisfaction with his reduced playing time under Les Miles last year, I can't imagine Carter turned down professional track after his performance last June at the NCAA track meet.

Anyway, with LSU off this week, the Carter interview makes for good reading for an LSU fan.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Game day musings

After watching the Arkansas-Ole Miss game on TV today, let me just say that Arkansas will be a dangerous foe for LSU on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

That, you probably already knew the way Arkansas rolled over Auburn at Auburn. But watching them Saturday, you see a team that is playing with confidence and actually believes it is the best team in the SEC just as its unbeaten conference record would indicate.

LSU fans like to bash Houston Nutt as just a Dale Brown rah-rah coach, but Nutt has done an excellent job with this team. I thought he pulled the trigger too early in putting Mitch Mustain in the starting lineup as the Hogs' quarterback, but Nutt was right and I was wrong.

I also thought Arkansas was ripe for an upset on Saturday. But the Hogs took care of business.

The Battle for the Boot might actually be worth watching this year.

Switching gears, I caught analyst Ed Cunningham on ESPN Radio this afternoon. Cunningham will broadcast the LSU-Fresno State game tonight.

Cunningham says the Tigers will likely use Matt Flynn more at quarterback tonight regardless of the score because Flynn was healthy all week at practice. According to Cunningham, Flynn has been dealing with a shoulder injury through much of the season.

Hate to disagree, but if JaMarcus Russell starts 11-of-12 passing or some number like that, I think Les Miles stays with Russell.

Still, it's interesting to hear Cunningham's opinion and thoughts on Flynn's injury.

After hearing of some of Fresno's struggles defending the passing game, this one might get ugly tonight.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


LSU has played seven games this season and it has not mailed it in or come out flat yet. Even at Auburn, where LSU lost 7-3, it outgained Auburn 48 yards to seven in the first quarter as LSU's defense came out on fire.
The Tigers started strong at Florida, too, with a 73-yard touchdown drive on their first possession before later self-destructing in a 23-10 loss.
In the five home games, LSU came out at full sprint and took 28-3, 24-0, 28-0, 35-3 and 28-0 leads by halftime on the way to routs.
No LSU team in history has scored more points (249) through seven games than this team. The defense is No. 1 in the nation in fewest yards allowed for the third week in a row.
Fresno State is 1-5 and probably as weak as most of the five LSU victims this season, but I see LSU finally coming out flat this week. The Tigers have played seven straight weeks and in the eyes of most, they are 0-2, not 5-2. That can take its toll. Plus, they are human, and no one can go through a season playing at a high level week after week. LSU is also likely looking ahead to next week, which is an open date.
LSU will beat Fresno State handily, but look for the Tigers to struggle early Saturday night and to even fall behind Fresno State. The Bulldogs are dangerous and known for upsets. They have nothing to lose and the atmosphere at Tiger Stadium can sometimes motivate an opponent as much as the home team.
LSU is due for an ugly win, and this week it will happen. LSU 27, Fresno State 17.


Recruiting update

Scout.com's Sonny Shipp had an interesting look at LSU football recruiting last week.

Shipp is of the belief LSU could have an even better recruiting class in February than the one Les Miles signed earlier this year.

"If the Tigers can finish up strong on the field in 2006,'' Shipp writes, "he (Miles) should reap the benefits and bring in a class that could be more highly acclaimed than the 2006 group.''

Of course, LSU's final recruiting ranking will probably be dependent, at least to some degree, on the Tigers' ability to sign John Curtis star Joe McKnight.

After having seen McKnight play live in the state championship game as a junior, let me just say that if he signed with LSU there will not be a running back problem in 2007 for the Tigers. He has quickness, speed, elusiveness, the ability to make people miss, you name it. He has everything you look for in a running back.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tack's time?

LSU held its men's basketball media day today. While most media types concentrate on the transfers - Terry Martin and Dameon Mason - or Big Baby (who was absent by the way), the biggest question facing this team could be guard Tack Minor.

I don't think it was any coincidence LSU made its Final Four run last year with Darrel Mitchell at the point and Tack Minor on the bench recovering from a knee injury.

Mitchell did what point guards are supposed to do - run the offense and provide perimeter shooting. Minor's running of the offense has left some questions about his game in the past, particularly his ability to take care of the basketball.

You don't have to read between the lines to understand what John Brady was talking about today when the subject of Minor was addressed.

"We will see how Tack handles coming back and fitting in,'' Brady said. "His biggest challenge will be to overcome our team's recent accomplishments. Certainly there is no question about his speed and quickness, but is he willing to do what is necessary to make his team better?

"Hopefully with sitting out last year and watching the team with the success they had, it will make him understand what it takes to get there.''

If not, then look for someone else at the point. Minor doesn't have any leverage in this situation. That much we learned last year.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Struggles for a genius

We in Louisiana have almost -- not quite -- lifted former LSU coach Nick Saban to the same status of Bear Bryant in Alabama.

But even a genius can have a bad stretch.

If you're scoring at home, Saban is now 1-5 this season with the Miami Dolphins and 10-12 since leaving LSU. He is on the verge of his first losing season as a head coach.

His own genius has been part of his undoing, basically gambling on Daunte Culpepper instead of Drew Brees at quarterback.

You may be thinking, "What does this matter to LSU fans now?"

Simple. Sometimes thing seem better than they were, or in Saban's case, will be.

LSU fans should enjoy the memories of Saban's time at LSU, but also realize he wasn't the perfect head coach -- something becoming apparent in Miami. And for LSU coaches, the grass isn't always greener.

BCS a waste for Tigers

The BCS came out ... and no one here cared.

As expected, Ohio State, USC, Michigan, West Virginia and Louisville emerge as the only true contenders for the national championship game. At least four of those five teams face off against each other, with USC running wild over the Pac 10 until its meeting with Notre Dame.

Yet, there sits Auburn and Florida hanging around should the season turn over into a mad frenzy of upsets.

Meanwhile, LSU is buried. Behind the likes of Boise State, Rutgers, Clemson and Nebraska.

LSU needs to close fast in order to restore its belief that it is one of the premiere programs in the country. LSU MUST win at Tennessee. LSU must beat upstart Arkansas. LSU must win its bowl game.

A lack of big game wins is a glaring mark on the Les Miles scorecard. I count only one, an overtimer last season over Auburn at home. Sorry, but the Miami win is losing its value by the week.

Even beating Arkansas, which LSU would be expected to do based on the recent history, won't earn LSU much. By that time, the rest of the nation will be focusing on other games such as those with national title implications.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

SEC hoops bias?

One would think two teams in the Final Four from the SEC last year would give the league some respect in basketball.

Apparently not.

I was just looking at some recruiting rankings from Scout.com. The Web site had its top five recruiting classes for next month's early signing period - you won't find an SEC team in the group.

Now, I don't know everything there is to know about this recruiting class and who is signing which players. It just seems odd that three Big Ten schools rank in the top five. What about Billy Donovan at Florida?

Well, there's some hope there.

Writes Scout.com's Dave Telep, "Florida has an argument to be a top-5 class. If they land (Patrick) Patterson, then Billy Donovan's crew chomps someone right out of their path to the upper echelon on this list.''

As for LSU, Telep has some kind words for LSU commitment Anthony Randolph. "Randolph has one of the bigger ceilings of anyone in the nation.''

Friday, October 13, 2006

Recruiting update

Les Miles needs to have a strong recruiting class. To that regard, LSU may have some encouraging news on the recruiting front with defensive tackle Jospeh Barksdale of Detroit scheduling a visit to LSU for Nov. 10.

Barksdale is 6-foot-5 and weighs 315 pounds. He visited Notre Dame on Sept. 16. He has the LSU visit on Nov. 10 and is going out to USC on Nov. 24.

This isn't going to be easy for Miles and his staff. Besides those three visits, Barksdale, a four-star recruit according to Scout.com, also plans to visit Ohio State. His fifth visit will come from Tennessee, Florida State or Miami.

Barksdale told Scout.com he has some specific things he is looking for in a school. "I check out their records and rankings. Those things matter. I want to win.''

Barksdale did have some kind words for the Tigers when talking to Scout.com.

"I love their D-line tradition,'' Barksdale said. "I think I would really learn a lot from them. They are one of the best D-line schools in the nation.''

How to make a Kentucky game important

Give Les Miles credit, he has somehow made a mid-October game against Kentucky one of the biggest of the year for LSU.

No, it's not big in terms of the SEC race. That's over for LSU. You can book that one right now no matter what Les says. And no it's not big in terms of the national picture. LSU played its way out of that last week.

So why is it big?

Because if LSU 2006 doesn't want to become Tennessee 2005, then the Tigers are going to have to put their disappointments behind them and begin taking steps on the road to improvement.

LSU shouldn't have any difficult Saturday.

But this is about more than Saturday. It's about taking steps to becoming a team that plays hard and doesn't beat itself.

Few would have expected LSU to be unbeaten at this point of the season just because of the schedule. But a split of the Auburn and Florida games would not have been unrealistic.

Instead, getting swept has allowed doubt to creep into the fan base.

Miles, I was once told by someone who worked with him, is the kind of coach who can get you to 9-3 but won't get you over the hump into the national elite.

If Miles wants to avoid that rap, then he 'll get his team playing better and finishing strong the rest of the way.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Back to receive

Chevis Jackson fumbles a punt in the opener that leads to ULL's only points. He fumbles another punt against Florida that leads to another touchdown.

So why, in Week 7, does Les Miles finally decide maybe having somebody different back there is a good idea? Shouldn't that have been a thought by about, oh, week 2?

After practice today Miles talked about having Craig Davis returning punts, as well as Jackson.

"He (Davis) looked really good,'' Miles said. "I think he and Chevis (Jackson) will be back there. We will go another day before we decide which one will go first. Buster has capable ball skills, fields the ball well and he will be a dangerous return man.''

Look, I don't know how Davis will do returning punts. I do know Jackson has struggled at times catching punts. And catching the ball is the most important thing a punt returner does.

You'd like to think that half a season wouldn't be required to figuring out what player to use on punt returns.

But apparently that isn't the case.

Why is LSU ranked?

Before the LSU-Florida game I was talking to one of these LSU fans disguised as a member of the media. I was half kidding because I graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia, but I said, "Missouri's undefeated and it's ranked No. 25."
The media fan said, "C'mon," as I swore purple and gold smoke exuded from his ears. "Who have they played?"
My question to him, "Who has LSU beaten?"
In other words, why was LSU ranked as high as No. 9 before the Florida game and No. 14 afterwards. The Tigers have played impressively in their four wins, but they are over the likes of ULL, Arizona, Tulane and Mississippi State.
Sure, LSU played Auburn close in a 7-3 loss, but it couldn't even score a touchdown. Auburn has since allowed 44 points in its last two SEC games. That Auburn defense is not that good. For all the mistakes LSU made against Auburn, it still only had two good drives the whole game and basically gave up after getting behind 23-7 with nearly two whole quarters left to play.
Missouri has a better journalism school than LSU, and this year for all we know it's football team is better, too.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Of Brady and Miles

Back in January, Georgia basketball coach Dennis Felton called LSU a "freakishly athletic team.''

And the Tigers were.

But give LSU coach John Brady credit. He took advantage of his team's athletic ability. He led them to an SEC championship and a Final Four appearance.

Fast forward to football season. A national commentator called LSU's football talent "a freak show.'' And, quite frankly, there are some freak show aspects, particularly the size and speed on defense.

But this team isn't going to win an SEC championship and it certainly won't be in the hunt for a national championship during the final weekend.

What's the point? Maybe John Brady does a better job than LSU fans think.

Monday, October 09, 2006

What's Les smoking?

At today's weekly press luncheon in Baton Rouge, LSU coach Les Miles said, "If we improve and beat the teams that we are capable of beating, I'd like to put ourselves in position to play Arkansas at the end of the year and maybe play them for more than just The Boot.''

Uh, Les, have you checked the SEC standings lately.

Not only is LSU a game back of Auburn, now the Tigers are TWO games back of Arkansas in the loss column.

That's right, what looked like a two-team race with LSU and Auburn now has some company in Arkansas.

It's not out of the realm of reality for this LSU team to finish in third or even fourth place in the SEC West.

If past history is any indication, LSU is done as far as the SEC is concerned. Here is the conference loss total of your last three SEC West champions: 2005 LSU (1 loss); 2004 Auburn (0 losses); 2003 LSU (1 loss). I don't see any two loss teams going to Atlanta in that bunch.

Here is what Miles should have said: "We're 4-2 and 1-2 in the conference. We need to get better each and every week. We're going to do that this week against Kentucky. We'll see at the end of the year where that takes us.''

Because trying to sell this pipe dream of going to Atlanta is going to do more harm than good. Just telling the truth would serve the program better.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mark of greatness

While I firmly believe JaMarcus Russell is the best quarterback for the LSU Tigers, I also got quite the laugh last week when he was mentioned as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate.

Heisman Trophy candidates typically lift their teams to greatness. Russell is 0-2 against ranked teams this season. He is 4-4 against ranked teams over the last two seasons. That is hardly lifting a team to greatness.

LSU is out of the SEC race this year. And Russell is out of any Heisman Trophy talk.

The greater issue now is getting Russell to play against the great teams in a fashion similar to the way he does against the not-so great.

As it is, Russell has thrown one touchdown with three interceptions in his two games against ranked competition this year. He has thrown 10 touchdowns with one interception against teams that aren't ranked.

A more consistent Russell means a more consistent LSU team.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Time to readjust

The outcome of Saturday's games has caused me to make a readjustment on what I thought this LSU team would do this season.

Every time I've been asked on a radio or TV show about LSU I've said the Tigers could be a good football team and go 9-3 this season. The reason was tough road games with Auburn, Florida and Tennessee.

Well, after the way Arkansas handled Auburn on Saturday, it's time to add a fourth tough road game to that list. The game at Little Rock on the day after Thanksgiving just got a little tougher.

Now, I'm also the person that thought LSU would get at least one and maybe two wins in those three games. I thought Auburn was a tough game at Jordan-Hare for LSU just because of the history. By the same token, I expected LSU to win on Saturday at Florida because of recent history there.

So now, let's readjust the expectations. Instead of going 10-2 or 9-3, let's drop it down a notch to 9-3 or 8-4.

Will 9-3 be a disappointment for LSU fans? That's a good question. An 8-4 record would be cause for grumbling.

Woe is we

Did I really read it somewhere that Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville believes SEC schools can't win a national championship without a playoff system? Sorry, Tubs, LSU comes to mind.

The SEC is an incredible conference, the best there is by far, but following the LSU title, Auburn finished its season undefeated and in line for the national championship ... instead we were all stuck with the debacle that was USC vs. Oklahoma.

If Tuberville wants to make the case for a playoff system, fine, but he'd better start coming up with better arguments than what he's offered up this week. And, he needs his team to start looking better than it has over the course of the season should they run the table and expect to make the BCS championship game.

Yes, style points still count!

I still don't understand how LSU could have lost the Auburn game.

Friday, October 06, 2006

No one to blame

If LSU loses to Florida, then the Tigers will have no one to blame but themselves.

How so?

Consider what Florida coach Urban Meyer told the Miami Herald's Mike Phillips this week.

Meyer apparently changed his famed spread-option offense last season after the 21-17 loss to LSU in Baton Rouge.

"I remember calling the coaches and saying, 'Get over to my house,'' Meyer told Phillips. "We sat there with a little fan going. We just tried to draw plays. We put in a counter. We put in a stretch. I just started grabbing th ings and drawing. We kind of came up with the idea of, 'Let's move the chains a little bit. Let's play some great defense.'''

Still, it's hard to imagine any LSU coach, player, or fan trading last year's victory. Instead, they'll try to make it three in a row on Saturday.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

How convenient

Boy, who didn't see this coming.

Florida defensive tackle Marcus Thomas - he of the three sacks already this season - has been reinstated to the Gators' team and will play Saturday against LSU.

Thomas was suspended last month for a second violation of the school's substance abuse policy. He appealed the suspension saying both failed tests were the result of one night of marijuana use (wasn't that a party?).

So Thomas misses three weeks of practice and then just days before the Gators' homecoming game against LSU, a committee consisting of university personnel recommends to amend his sanction. Athletic director Jeremy Foley and university president Bernie Machen sign off and Thomas is back.

Now pardon me for being cynical, but does anyone out there think he would have been cleared for, say, Central Florida?

This video "speaks" for itself

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fourth amigo?

When you get through reading Glenn Guilbeau's story on LSU's "Three Amigo'' receivers, check out a story on a player who could have been the fourth at Florida Today .

That's right, Xavier Carter is alive and doing well.

Really, no LSU fan should begrudge Carter for turning pro in track. He is one of the fastest men in the world. And that's without training solely for track.

Could Carter help this team? Sure, but spreading the football around would have been even more difficult for JaMarcus Russell.

So this is one of those situations that may work out well for all concerned.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Baseball and Bertman

This investigation of the LSU baseball program could prove tricky.

Some former players say there is nothing to worry about and they may be right.

But playing devil's advocate for a second, what if they are not? What if there were violations during Skip Bertman's tenure as head coach?

Does that affect Bertman's future as AD? Does it affect his legacy? Does it taint the five national championships?

These are all rhetorical questions.

We don't know now. And there's no sense in rushing to judgment.

At the least, these are questions everyone in the LSU family would rather not face.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Baby's back

After finding some $1.93 a gallon gas and going into the convenience store to pay, I looked at the newsstand and what do I see but Glen "Big Baby'' Davis on the cover of USA Today Sports Weekly.

It's the magazine's college basketball issue. And if nothing else, it proves that Davis will be one of the biggest stars in the college game this fall.

Had Davis left for the NBA, he'd be just another rookie trying to make it in the Association.

Now, he can refine his game while playing at the collegiate level.

This won't be the last you'll see of Davis. He captured the nation's imagination with his personality, his play and, of course, his nickname.

It figures to be a big winter for both Davis and the LSU basketball team.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Urban renewal

If LSU coach Les Miles is to be believed, then Florida coach Urban Meyer came to his senses after one year in the SEC.

Meyer, you may recall, was going to revolutionize the SEC with his spread option offense. Only one problem - the speed of SEC defenses sent the coach back to the chalkboard for some tweaks to his offense.

"They have changed some in their offensive scheme it appears -- a little bit more traditional, a little bit more two-back,'' Miles said Sunday at his press briefing in Baton Rouge.

Meyer still doesn't seem completely comfortable with Chris Leak at quarterback. And Tim Tebow is surely the future for the Gators.

But Meyer's decision to adapt makes Florida a more formidable foe.