• LSUBEAT.com • Schedules • Depth Chart • Recruits • LSU in NFL • LSU Gear

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Slow process

Anybody who was counting on a quick fix for LSU baseball probably got a rude awakening tonight.

Tulane 8, LSU 3.

There was a time when LSU had the upper hand in this series. Not anymore.

It's quite evident Smoke Laval let the program slip. But it has taken until now to see just how far.

Paul Mainieri has a lot - and I mean, a lot - of rebuilding to do.

In fact, I'll go so far as to say Skip Bertman may have been in better shape in 1984 than Mainieri is now. Not that Bertman had better players, but Bertman's SEC hadn't taken on the dog-eat-dog situation it is now. Mainieri hasn't even gotten in to the worst of the LSU schedule.

So it's going to take time. Will LSU fans be patient?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Shooting straight

Say this for Pokey Chatman, she's not going to give you a line of bull.

Today she was asked if her LSU women's basketball team would go as far as Sylvia Fowles would take them.

Her answer was pretty blunt.

"We went into the season knowing that Sylvia is an integral part of what we need to do,'' Chatman said. "When you look at the numbers she's putting up, it's extremely difficult to have success against the caliber of teams you're going to face if Sylvia is not a mainstay. A lot of our success rides on Sylvia's shoulders.''

There you go. If LSU is to go deep in the NCAA Tournament, Sylvia Fowles will have to take them there.

No pressure, Syl.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Can LSU still dance?

There is no way LSU will get an at-large NCAA Tournament bid with 10 or more SEC losses.

After Saturday's 66-56 win over No. 3 Florida without Glen Davis, LSU is still just 15-13 overall and 4-10 in the SEC. No 10-loss SEC team has ever received an at-large berth.

Should LSU's other players play like they have in their last two games and should Glen Davis come back healthy from his quadriceps problem in time for the SEC Tournament in Atlanta, look out.

I don't buy this LSU is better without Davis business. If LSU had been playing and coaching well all season with Davis, it would be .500 or slightly better right now in the SEC and NCAA bound.

So with Davis back and a bunch of other players with renewed confidence, look for the Tigers to make a run in the SEC Tournament. Unfortunately, it will have to win four games in four days to get to the dance as it will have to play on Thursday in the first round.

Still, of the lower division SEC teams this season, LSU has clearly the most talent and has been the most underachieving team. The best team it will play will be Florida, and it just beat the Gators without Davis. Kentucky? It should've beat the Wildcats, too. Alabama? It lost to the Tide by three. Ole Miss? LSU played one of its best games against the Rebels before blowing it with five seconds to go. Tennessee? It lost to the Vols by three up there. It could've beat Mississippi State, too.

Look for LSU coach John Brady to learn something from this minus-Davis portion of the season.

He has other good players, and two of them are better inside than outside. Those are Tasmin Mitchell and Dameon Mason. Let them play inside. With the improvement of Magnum Rolle and Darnell Lazare, LSU may have interesting options outside of Davis now so he may not be double- and triple-teamed as much. If anything, give Davis a rest during the game, let the other guys do what they can and then let a rejuvenated Davis finish the game strong.

It could happen.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The next Ryan Leaf?

Fool 'em once and pay for it later.

It wasn't that long ago that everyone gushed over Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf and knocked Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning.

We all know how that worked out. Leaf washed out in the NFL and Manning went on to become one of the greats in the game.

Why bring this up now?

Because some in the national media - in their attempts to defend their boy Brady Quinn - are painting a similar scenario for this year's NFL draft.

The difference is LSU's JaMarcus Russell is cast in the role of Leaf and Quinn is cast in the role of Manning.

Oh, if it were that simple.

You see they're painting Russell as the physically gifted quarterback while Quinn is the polished one. (We can discuss subliminal racism at another time.)

Only one problem - Quinn's polish hasn't shown up any big games. People knocked Peyton Manning for not being able to beat Florida, but he could beat Alabama. Quinn went 0-for-3 in Notre Dame's big games last year.

Look, if JaMarcus Russell is drafted by the Oakland Raiders at No. 1 that alone makes his career off to a difficult start. You don't get the No. 1 pick in the draft because you're doing something right.

But the chances of Russell being as abrasive and belligerent as Leaf was during his NFL career are pretty remote.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Early birds

Yes, spring football practice in February does seem a bit odd.

But it's not like LSU is the only one out there doing it.

Tennesee opened spring practice today. Texas is getting ready to open spring practice. And LSU is beginning spring drills on Monday.

Besides being three promient football programs, these schools all share warm weather climates.

There is a method to this madness.

Some coaches like to talk about starting early helping in the development of players. Some like the extra time to rehab any injuries from spring. Some like the fact that spring break doesn't break up spring drills. And some like practicing during March Madness so they go under the radar.

See there are reasons for winter workouts, uh, I mean spring football.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Just in the nick of time

Boy, it's a good thing Les Miles hired D.J. McCarthy as his wide receivers coach.

Now, the Tigers can get spring practice started.

Anything to push the LSU basketball team out of the forefront.

That team is going nowhere. Even the NIT is in jeopardy right now. But hey, most of the LSU fan base will be more concerned about spring drills anyway.

In all seriousness, whether it's John Brady or eventually someone new, someone has to change the culture in the state to where there is at least an acceptance and acknowledgement of basketball.

Even a Final Four trip last year didn't change that.

It's OK to be a big football fan. Just give basketball its space and pick up spring football when you can.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What was that?

There was an undermanned, smaller LSU team playing at evil, taller and heavily favored Kentucky on Tuesday night.

The Tigers' star center, Glen Davis, was back home with an injury. And there were the Tigers playing with more movement, more energy and more flow than they have in nearly two months. And they were winning 28-12 at Rupp with 6:45 to go in first half.

This had Dale Brown written all over it.

But it was coach John Brady pressing all the right buttons for about the first time since he beat Connecticut back on Jan. 6.

Here's somebody hitting a 3-pointer from the corner whom I didn't recognize. Alex Farrer? Who is he? He's a freshman from Phoenix, whose 3-pointer more than doubled his points per game average.

Magnum Rolle started at center and was mixing it up with Kentucky center Randolph Morris, blocking shots, getting rebounds and making tip-ins as if he was Ricky Blanton.

Tasmin Mitchell played some power forward like he had been there all season, which begs a question. Why the hell hasn't he been there the whole season? He scored 19 points and looked more dangerous near the basket than trying to be a 3-point shooter.

Dameon Mason for once looked like the player he was advertised to be out of Marquette.

But in an instant, it was all gone.

Kentucky put up an 18-3 run to get within 31-30 at the half. LSU was still ahead, but it had just lost the game. Brady got too far from the bench and drew a technical to aid the Wildcats' cause.

LSU couldn't score, threw the ball away and just played stupidly. That was the 2006-07 Tigers I know.

The Tigers still had some fight left and stayed close until nearly the very end, but in the final minutes it let yet another get away. A pair of inexplicable missed layups down the stretch by Darnell Lazare and Mason keyed a 10-0 run by the Wildcats to give them a 68-58 lead, and it was over.

Despite the 70-63 loss, Brady deserves credit for finding his team and making it play hard and inspired basketball just three days after probably its worst and most uninspired game of the year. The ESPN announcers kept saying how much better the team was playing without Davis. The inside was more open. There was better flow.

Therein lies a problem, though. LSU should be able to play like that with Davis.

When a team plays that well in spots - and that's been LSU's story all year - the question is why can't it maintain that kind of play. That comes down to coaching. And this continues to be Brady's worst season as a coach. There is enough talent there to be about 18-9 and 7-6 right now instead of 14-13 and 3-10. If it's chemistry, the coach is in charge of chemistry.

Now, if the rest of the team can play like that for longer periods of time, and Davis can return for Saturday's 2:45 game on CBS in Baton Rouge, LSU might just give the No. 3 Gators a game, too.

Monday, February 19, 2007

More bad news for hoops

John Brady can't buy a break.

He hasn't done a great job with this team. Now comes word that Glen Davis' quadricep prevented him from making the trip to Kentucky.

Now if Dale Brown were coaching, then this might be just the thing to rally the Tigers.

With Brady, there's a more realistic approach to things. And realistically, even as much as Kentucky has struggled of late, LSU doesn't figure to win on Tuesday.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Put a fork in 'em

Has there ever been an LSU basketball take the nosedive this one has?

This is a team that was top five in the country to begin the season. This is a team that handed Big 12 leader Texas A&M its first loss. This is a team that went to overtime before losing against Texas at supposedly neutral Houston.

Now it's a team that is going nowhere. There are still games with Florida and Kentucky remaining. So double digit conference losses are a reality.

Who knows, this team may fall out of NIT contention before all is done.

This is one of the all-time great crashes in SEC basketball history.

Friday, February 16, 2007

On negative recruiting

When Les Miles ranted about negative recruiting on Signing Day, most thought he was talking about Alabama.

It turns out Florida might have been his target as well.

Sports Illustrated has a story on the Gators' recruiting class this week. In the magazine, LSU recruit Terance Toliver is quoted telling a Houston TV situation, "Every time (Florida recruiters) came, they said LSU doesn't qualify its players.''

The magazine quotes Florida coach Urban Meyer as saying, "What some people perceive as negative recruiting is often factual. We just present statistics to people - our graduation rates and how we qualify our guys compared with all SEC schools. We would not single out LSU.''

But when Miles gave his infamous Bayou Bash rant, it was Alabama, not Florida, singled out with an F word.

I guess it depends on whom the negative recruiter is.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Changing of the guard in the SEC?

Skip Bertman will be the AD at LSU through 2008 and have a two-year "athletic director emeritus'' role after that.

But some of the 69-year-old Bertman's counterparts might not be so lucky.

Talk in Arkansas is that Razorbacks AD Frank Broyles is going to announce his resignation either Friday or Saturday. The 82-year-old Broyles would be just another casualty in the Arkansas saga that began after the offseason with Mitch Mustain and the Springdale players.

Mississippi State announced earlier this week that it will begin looking for Larry Templeton's replacement. Templeton is 60.

It appears there is a changing of the guard in the SEC.

Broyles was a legendary football coach. Bertman a legendary baseball coach.

One wonders if Florida's Jeremy Foley isn't the wave of the future in the SEC. He's a guy who once fired a coach after losing in the NCAA Tournament. He fired a football coach in midseason after a loss to Mississippi State.

The SEC is becoming a high-stakes game. Whoever joins the elite group of 12 will be swimming with sharks.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Reality check

I love LSU fans. They have some of the most optimistic souls in the country.

I'll give you an example. This one man (who shall remain nameless) calls the office the other day.

"You tell Guilbeau, LSU is going 8-8 and going to the NCAA Tournament.''

"You realize,'' I said, "LSU is 3-7 in the SEC right now.''

"I know. But we're going to beat Florida. You watch.''

At this point, I'm thinking, not only is it a stretch to think LSU is going to beat Florida, but LSU is going to have a tough time at Ole Miss because the Rebels have played pretty good basketball at home.

What do you know, I was right.

Yes, LSU should have won the Ole Miss game.

But the last pass thrown as poorly in Oxford, Miss., as Big Baby's was that interception Matt Mauck threw back in 2003. The difference was Mauck had a good enough defense to overcome his mistake. No such luck for Big Baby.

So with eight conference losses, the defending SEC champion won't have a winning conference record this season. One more loss and you can drive an NCAA fork through them.

And to make matters worse, LSU's crash has gotten national notice. ESPN lists LSU in a poll for most disappointing team this season.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cubs get an assist

You never know what the outcome of a football game can mean.

Take, LSU's 41-14 win over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. Sure, it wrapped up a top-five spot for the Tigers.

But it also did something else.

It may have helped the Chicago Cubs land pitcher Jeff Samardzija.

At least that's what new Cubs manager Lou Piniella thinks.

At the Cubs' annual fan convention, Piniella reportedly thanked LSU for helping Chicago get its new pitcher, Samardzija, who was also a top baseball prospect.

"I think LSU may have helped make that decision,'' Piniella said.

Monday, February 12, 2007

It could happen

As bad as the LSU men's basketball team has looked this season, it could still make the NCAA Tournament. Stranger things have happened.

LSU is in dead last in the Southeastern Conference West at the moment at 3-7. But it is only two games out of first place, which is amazing. Ole Miss, which LSU has already beaten, is tied for first with Alabama at 5-5. LSU had Alabama beat in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center but blew it. LSU travels to Ole Miss Wednesday and needs a win to keep its slim hopes alive and have a chance to finish 7-9 in the league.

A 7-9 team may win the West this season, but this season could mark the first time since realignment that the West champ does not go to the NCAA Tournament and five East teams go.

If NCAA bids went out today, I would put Alabama in at 18-6 but no one else from the West.

And I'd put four or five from the East in the dance.

To finish 7-9 in the league, LSU has to beat Ole Miss on Wednesday, Mississippi State at home Saturday, Auburn in Auburn on Feb. 28 and the home finale against South Carolina. I can't see LSU beating No. 1 Florida in Baton Rouge on Feb. 24 and I can't see the Tigers winning at Kentucky on Feb. 20. Again, LSU has already defeated Ole Miss and it already beat Auburn. It played well in spots in its loss at Mississippi State as well.

If the Tigers lose the next two, though, it could play South Carolina for the first-round draft choice.

Coach John Brady has pulled out NCAA Tournament bids in similar seasons. He was 3-8 in the 2002-03 season and finished 8-8, won two in the SEC Tournament and got in. He also got a decent placement in the tournament with a game in nearby Birmingham against Purdue, even though he got killed in that game.

LSU obviously will have to advance in the SEC Tournament this season to get in the NCAA Tournament. What helped LSU in 2002-03 was a win over No. 1 Arizona. What could help LSU this year is the win over Texas A&M, which was No. 6 at the time on Dec. 5 and was No. 6 last week. LSU also has a strong nonconference schedule, which will help.

In order to start winning consistently and have a chance, it would help if the Tigers played like it mattered. At times, they don't seem to have much of a sense of urgency. They need to listen to their coach, too. He is a solid coach and proven. Glen Davis, in particular, needs to listen to his coach and not argue with him on the bench as he did on Saturday.

Davis is a great player, but he doesn't know the game. He also needs to quit shooting from the top of the key.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What we've learned

LSU's three-game sweep of St. Mary's at Alex Box Stadium doesn't tell you a whole lot about the Tigers' baseball team.

But we have learned a few things.

1) LSU's first two wins came in one-run fashion. If you can win the majority of your one-run games, then that bodes for a successful season.

2) There are few household names on this LSU team. That may be a good thing if the Tigers are better as a whole than as individuals. Of course, it could mean trouble if there is no one to rely upon for clutch hitting.

3) Paul Mainieri's job of rebuilding the LSU program isn't as tough as the one Skip Bertman had in 1984, but it's a lot harder than the job Smoke Laval took over from Bertman.

It will be an interesting season. And we'll learn more as the weather warms up.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Feelin' the draft

The Sporting News' War Room Scouts rolled out a first-round mock draft in this week's issue.

To no one's surprise, LSU is well represented in the first round. The War Room has three Tigers - quarterback JaMarcus Russell, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and safety LaRon Landry - has first-round picks.

The War Room has Russell going No. 1 overall to the Oakland Raiders. Bowe going to the Tennessee Titans at No. 19 and Landry going to the Dallas Cowboys at 22.

The only SEC team with as many projected first rounders is Florida with three.

People can talk about coaching all they want, but if you don't have players it's hard to win. There were years in the bad ol' day s of Curley Hallman when LSU wouldn't have a first-round pick. To have three potential first-rounders usually translates into wins and losses.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Welcome to the main event!

In this corner in the purple and gold trunks, we have LSU coach Les Miles, who said the "F word" in front of the word Alabama and in front of thousands of people, including kids, at the Bayou Bash recruiting party Wednesday at a podium with a microphone. He was talking about LSU’s new rival, which he called "(F-word deleted) Alabama."

And in this corner in the red and white trunks, we have Alabama coach Nick "Satan" Saban, who said "Coonass" in telling a story about an LSU fan to three reporters in what he considered an off the record moment. He’s also been recruiting players from Louisiana whom Miles is also recruiting and Miles does not exactly like the way he’s doing it.

Miles at the moment is not planning any type of apology or non-apology apology, which are extremely popular in the sports world today, after displaying his peppery vocabulary.

Saban, meanwhile, was boiled and blackened, for saying a word that is only arguably a dirty word.

There’s no argument about the "F" word. It’s bad.

When I first heard Miles say it while at the Bash Wednesday, I thought he said, "freakin," which he has used in the past. And Miles tends to slip up when he speaks anyway and insert words that don’t belong. For example, when he was talking about Joe McKnight choosing USC over LSU, he said, "Coach McKnight."

I played my tape recorder over again, thinking he may have said "Joe McKnight." But it was "Coach McKnight" plain as day. I wondered if Miles was taking a verbal shot at McKnight for possibly trying to tell Miles and his staff how to run the LSU offense for McKnight while being recruited. I thought, naa, Miles just slipped again. And I deleted "Coach" from my story because I believed he didn’t mean anything by it.

Just recently, Miles slipped up and sort of said that Matt Flynn was going to be his starter. He didn’t actually say that, but people got confused. LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette had to come out the next day and explain what Miles meant.

That shouldn’t have to happen. Miles needs to learn how to speak more clearly and say what he means. But I still thought he said, "freakin." I asked some other folks, though, who said they heard the real "F word." Then on the way home, members of a local radio station who were at the Bash said it was the "F word."

I couldn’t delete the "F word" like I deleted "Coach." Thousands of people heard him say it. As a journalist, I couldn’t just brush it under the rug.

Miles does not go around cussing as much as most coaches. He is a very nice guy and a true family man. His use of the "F word" in front of his famiy and other coaches’ families was obviously very much out of character.

Maybe he didn’t know there would be some reporters in the audience who would write about this, but even if there weren’t any reporters you don’t say that in front of thousands of people, including kids, on a stage with a microphone. He just got caught up in the moment and must have thought kick-off was seconds away.

Miles should apologize to all us coonasses for such language.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Good night McKnight

Nick Saban would have signed Joe McKnight to LSU.

Just kidding.

We'll never know.

McKnight, the No. 1 tailback in the nation out of John Curtis High in the New Orleans area, said he chose USC over LSU on Wednesday partly because he wants to major in broadcasting and he wanted to leave the state. That makes sense. USC is also clearly the best and most consistent football program in America since 2002. It is also ESPN's favorite school. That should give McKnight a jump on his career. He'll probably get to host College GameDay, which clearly needs an influx of new talent.

Here are some other possible reasons why young McKnight left the road home plan to go west.

1.) Maybe McKnight's exposure to possibly the most recently idiotic fan base in the world - LSU's - and historically the most idiotic fan base in the world - Alabama's - made him flee two time zones to California and USC. Now, he'll likely not have to ever play in either state.

Of course, USC's fan base and media showed a lot of stupidity back in 2003 when, in trying to give their Trojans the edge over LSU in the national championship argument, they tried to spruce up USC's early-season win over an Auburn team that finished 7-5 the regular season by saying it started Auburn on its way. No, teams still only get credit one win at a time, thank you.

The ink was barely dry on McKnight's national letter of intent before one LSU fan said on the radio that current LSU tailback Keiland Williams was better than McKnight, though no LSU fans breathed that before 11:15 Tuesday. Another LSU fan, disguised as a radio announcer, said McKnight went over to the dark side when he signed at USC. It really never rains at the Coliseum, pal. It's all sunshine all the time. And tourists actually go to L.A. One of the downtown landmarks of Baton Rouge, meanwhile, is a Kean's cleaners sign. USC coach Pete Carroll also has more personality and smiles more than half the SEC coaches. There's a lot of light over there.

Another LSU fan couldn't understand why McKnight was interested in broadcast and wanted to know if he was well spoken. He is well spoken, sir. He just doesn't speak all the time, which will be refreshing in that business.

Another LSU fan wondered how could McKnight get a job in Louisiana after he's done playing since he's going to USC. First of all, there are more and better jobs in California. No. 2, you don't think Marshall Faulk or Travis Minor could open a successful sports bar/restaurant right now in Baton Rouge?

Surely, there's some LSU fan blaming Saban for all of this.

Meanwhile, some Alabama fans are upset that Saban is recruiting Louisiana too much when he should be recruiting Alabama. That's a good idea if Saban wants to be as bad as Mike Shula and Mike DuBose and keep losing to Auburn. There are more players in Louisiana. There are only more trailers in Alabama. (And that's true even when you count the FEMA trailers in Louisiana.)

2.) Maybe McKnight wanted to live in a free state like California in which he could take a weekend visit to Tuscaloosa, Ala., and not be crucified by LSU fans.

3.) Maybe McKnight wanted to go to the college with the most open media policy in the nation, and it doesn't seem to be hurting the USC football team on the field. Any reporter need only go to practice and he or she can interview anyone at just about any time, including freshmen. This could help McKnight's broadcast career. He'll be interviewed as a freshman, which is not allowed at LSU. He'll also be in a major media market. In Baton Rouge, the local paper is a major sponsor of LSU athletics. And anyone who can find where they hold the press conferences can get in.

4.) Maybe, McKnight got tired of the terrible leadership in this state since Hurricane Katrina. As a New Orleanian, he's got to hear Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard, Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Blanco. That's nearly as much reason to evacuate as Katrina.

5.) Maybe he doesn't want to be in the only state in America that pays its NFL team's rich owner $20 million a year just so he won't move when that money could be used for other things like education or levees.

6.) Maybe McKnight wanted to go to a college in a real city. He's from a real city, but after Katrina, New Orleans tends to look more like Baton Rouge.

7.) Maybe McKnight wanted to go to a school that has a good men's basketball program.

8.) Maybe McKnight wanted to play in a conference that doesn't stress tackling.

9.) Maybe McKnight heard about all the Curtis players that have not panned out at LSU.

10.) Maybe McKnight is young and bold and wanted to do something different.

Good luck, Joe, and congratulations.

What's the deal with LSU and USC?

LSU and USC aren't exactly border rivals.

Yet these two schools have spent the better part of three or four years hooked up together in football.

There was the 2003 shared national championship.

Last year, there was the Keiland Williams tug-of-war. Williams ended up at LSU.

This year it was the Joe McKnight tug-of-war. McKnight ends up at USC.

I realize USC recruits nationally and that's one reason why LSU keeps running into USC.

But the whole thing strikes me as odd when you consider the two teams have rarely met on the football field - although there were some great games when they played.

So long Joe

So much for all of those predictions of Joe McKnight signing with LSU.

McKnight calmly stated his decision to sign with USC and the crowd at John Curtis cheered.

LSU fans will be upset with McKnight - although not nearly as much as if he had gone to Alabama or Ole Miss.

But the reality is you can't really fault him for wanting to get out on his own. USC is certainly far removed from New Orleans.

It will be interesting to see how LSU fares the rest of the day.

Safety Chad Jones remains on the radar for the Tigers. Florida and Florida State are providing the competition there.

But McKnight's decision certainly puts a damper on an otherewise outstanding recruiting class.

Good start for the day

When you recruit out-of-state players, there is always the chance of somebody pulling a surprise - check out Perrish Cox from last year when he ended up at Oklahoma State on signing day after having been committed to LSU all year.

So far today, no surprises.

There had been some worries about Ernest McCoy of Belle Glade, Fla., possibly ending up at West Virginia.

Nothing to worry about.

Defensive end Sidell Corley of Mobile more than makes up for the loss of Luther Davis to Alabama.

If LSU can hold Terrance Toliver, that will make up for Ahmad Paige, who LSU showed little interest in, going to Tennessee.

The ones you could count on - T-Bob Hebert, Stevan Ridley and Ron Brooks - are already in the fold.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

One down, two to go

LSU's commitment of Terrance Toliver on Tuesday is big news. The Tigers had a need at wide receiver and it was beginning to appear that Toliver might slip away.

Now, the hard part.

LSU is in the hunt for the state's final two remaining big uncomitted prospects -- Joe McKnight and Chad Jones. To get both players would send a message that the fence is still around Louisiana. To lose them both would hurt. To lose McKnight to Ole Miss would be devastating.

It'll be interesting watching on Wednesday.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Down the stretch they come

Signing day is just a couple of days away and already the karma looks, well, OK for LSU.

There were LSU fans sweating out safety Stephon Francois of East St. John. Francois gave LSU fans plenty of reason to sweat. He apprarently became enamored with Florida State as the Seminoles put a full-court press on him.

But Monday, he committed to LSU. Now Les Miles and his staff have to hope Francois doesn't have a signing day change of heart.

The news wasn't so good in Dallas where Christian Scott committed to the Texas Longhorns over LSU. But let's be realistic here, Scott is going to a school that is a good four to five hours closer to his home. He was going to be something of a long shot for LSU.

There is one other Texas recruit that LSU is sweating - wide receiver Terrance Toliver of Hempstead. This one looked like a pretty good shot for LSU up until the last couple of weeks. But Florida's staff has closed strong and it's up in the air what Toliver will do on Wednesday.

Then there are the remaining in-state prospects.

Safety Chad Jones of Southern Lab is undecided -- at least publicly -- and so is John Curtis running back Joe McKnight.

Get both of those guys and LSU has a class for the ages. Lose both of them and while LSU still has a good recruiting class, the Bayou Bash will be about the ones that got away.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

SEC rising again

You know folks around the country don't want to hear this - but the South, at least the SEC, is rising again in college football. Just look at the national recruiting rankings heading into signing day on Wednesday.

No fewer than six SEC schools - Florida, Tennessee, LSU, South Carolina, Auburn and Georgia - are hovering in various recruiting analysts' top 10 rankings.

"The perception is that more exciting football is being played in the SEC right now," recruiting analyst Tom Lemming told the Chicago Tribune. "And it’s common knowledge that it’s easier to get players who are borderline academically into the SEC than the Big Ten."

What does it mean? The rest of the nation should prepare for some chest thumping from the SEC hacks in the coming years.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Fading fast

Watching LSU basketball this week leaves one with this thought: Just how was this team put together?

I mean, the Tigers have an inside game with Glen Davis.

But a perimeter game?

Is it that hard to find shooters?

And a point guard?

The best point guard John Brady has had he found by default when Darrel Mitchell had to slide over and play point after Tack Minor's troubles.

So the Tigers are basically where they were Davis' freshman season. Maybe worse. At least Mitchell was an outside shooting threat.

With a game at Tennessee on Tuesday, things may get worse before they get better for LSU basketball.

Friday, February 02, 2007


I've always thought there were some border-line kooks among SEC football fans.

Now, I know for sure.

Perusing different web sites, I came across the MySpace page for John Curtis running back Joe McKnight.

It looks like a typical teenager MySpace page with music, photos of friends and what have you. Except, some fans of different schools appear to be posting as "friends.''

Uh, you're 40-plus years old and you're posting on a high school kid's MySpace page. And, worse yet, you don't see anything wrong with it?

Everytime I think we've hit bottom in recruiting something like this happens. But hey, Alabama stalked Nick Saban and it worked. Maybe stalking a kid on his MySpace page is the wave of the future.

If it is, then it's a disgusting future.