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Friday, June 29, 2007

Big Baby in Boston

Big Papi is already a star in Boston. Now it's up to Glen Davis to make Big Baby a star in Beantown.

In all seriousness, Davis needs to worry about just making the team this year. He certainly isn't figuring prominently in the team's plans. A second-round draft pick rarely does.

But, Davis could figure more prominently down the road.

The first thing he needs is a better grasp of reality. He was one of the few people who thought he would be drafted in the first round and was disappointed when he didn't.

A realistic approach now is to make the team and earn some playing time as a rookie. Then as a second-year player start logging significant playing time.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Glen Quinn or Brady Davis?

LSU fans now know what Notre Dame fans felt like during the NFL Draft.

As Glen "Big Baby'' Davis kept sliding into the second round,you couldn't help but think about Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn who slid late in the first round of the NFL Draft.

It's always tough for players who have an expectation of where they will be drafted only to come in at a much worse position.

Unfortunately, that's part of life.

And the good news for Davis, at least he got drafted. There have been some SEC players in the past who left school early and didn't get drafted.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jimbo gets his man

Well, that didn't take long.

Jimbo Fisher has been at Florida State less than six months and he has already hurt LSU on the recruiting trail.

Fisher and the Seminoles got a commitment today from one of the nation's top quarterback prospects, E.J. Manuel of Virginia Beach, Va.

LSU was one of 10 schools under Manuel's consideration before opted for Fisher and the Seminoles.

Those things happen in recruiting.

What should be more of a concern for LSU fans is the fact that Florida State made a big splash in the recruiting wars with Manuel's commitment.

You can make a correlation of LSU's rise and Florida State's slipping in recent years. Of course, you could make a similar point with LSU and Texas A&M.

But the bigger point is LSU still has a ways to go as far as being perceived as a national program. Either that, or the Tigers need to win some battles with Fisher in the coming months.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Revenge of Jimbo?

Blue-chip quarterback prospect E.J. Manuel of Virginia Beach, Va., is expected to announce his college decision on Wednesday.

Among the 10 finalists for Manuel are LSU and Florida State.

The Florida State assistant coach recruiting Manuel is none other than former LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher who has the same job at FSU now. One of the LSU coaches recruiting Manuel is Gary Crowton, the man who replaced Fisher on Les Miles' staff.

LSU isn't in desperate shape for a quarterback after signing Jarrett Lee last year. But the Tigers certainly want to sign Manuel.

Of course, if Fisher can get a commitment from Manuel it would be a great recruiting coup for him at FSU. And a bittersweet defeat for LSU.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Move on over

LSU will have to move on over to make room for Oregon State in the college baseball history books.

Until tonight, LSU was the last team to win back-to-back national titles. The Tigers did the trick in 1996 and 1997. Now Oregon State has accomplished the same feat in 2006 and 2007.

A deeper meaning of Oregon State's title is how college baseball is no longer a Sun Belt (read I-10) sport.

It is much hard for an LSU to be dominant in college baseball now than it was during the Skip Bertman era. There are many more teams around the country taking the sport seriously.

That makes winning a national title more difficult and sweeter.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Top of the line

Former LSU offensive lineman Alan Faneca is said to be unhappy with his Pittsburgh Steelers' contract.

Faneca is getting some help from the national media in his contract negotiations.

This week's issue of The Sporting News ranks Faneca as the top offensive lineman in the AFC (for centers and guards) and suggests he's the best at his position in the NFL.

Because of the brevity of an NFL career, Faneca is wise to get as much money as he can as long as he can.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Wells haunted by what if LSU?

A very good baseball coach apparently called it a career on Thursday.

Ten years ago this month Alabama coach Jim Wells appeared to be on the fast track to be the next Skip Bertman after his second of three College World Series appearances from 1996-1999.

In 1997, Wells' team lost the national championship game to Bertman and LSU.

Wells, a Bossier City native and former assistant to Bertman at LSU, beat LSU and Bertman in the 1999 Super Regional round to return to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series.

He would never return again with a team, though, and on Thursday Wells retired as Alabama's coach. Only 52, Wells is a proven coach who perhaps could win big again with a change of scenery.

Wells was in Omaha at about his time last year looking for just that. He went to Omaha on his own expense to talk to Bertman about possibly becoming the next LSU coach. He told reporters he was just going there to talk to Bertman about hiring someone else, but no one in their right mind believed it. Why would an SEC West coach help a rival school find its replacement?

Believe me, Wells wanted the LSU job last year. That's why he went to Omaha. That's why he told me in an exclusive interview before that trip that he was going to be coming down to Baton Rouge to talk about the position, which was made vacant when Bertman fired Smoke Laval. Alabama athletic department officials denied that's what Wells meant. One of them actually said the interview never took place. Those people of Crimson Tide all lied. Wells never denied he said what he said to me. One of the main reasons a coach talks on the record to a reporter when a job is open is because he is interested in the job.

Wells wanted a change in his life last year. The LSU job would have been perfect for him. He and his wife were from Louisiana. Changes are good. They're fun. They give you a jump start and a fresh approach. Wells was getting tired of being at Alabama. He also wanted to recruit with the TOPS scholarship program in Louisiana. Alabama doesn't have anything similar. He wanted to complete the circle. He started his coaching career in Alex Box Stadium and watched one of the greatest baseball programs in history blossom from the ground up. Then he turned around Northwestern State's program basically over night and did the same thing at Alabama.

But Bertman never seriously talked to Wells about the job last year. Bertman did seriously want Wells back in the summer of 2000 when Bertman announced 2001 would be his last season and then looked for his successor. Wells wasn't interested at the time. Bertman hired Laval, later became athletic director, and the rest is history.

Laval brought the program down and got fired. Bertman hired Notre Dame's Paul Mainieri, who had a rough first year but looks like he has the makeup to make LSU a power again. Maybe Wells could've done it, too. Maybe if he had taken the job back when Bertman retired, he'd be in Omaha today getting ready for a national championship series.

He'll never know, and we'll never know.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Big baby's stock on the move

Glen "Big Baby'' Davis is said to have turned down a workout with the Minnesota Timberwolves because he is confident he will be a first-round pick next week in the NBA Draft.

The Sporting News' mock draft has Davis going to the New Jersey Nets at No. 17.

If that indeed happens, Davis should be ecstatic. There was a time - not too long ago - when he looked like a second-round pick.

Apparently Davis has shed some weight and looked good enough in workouts to bring his stock up.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Turnover town

The news that pitcher T.J. Forrest won't return to LSU is not good for Paul Mainieri and the Tigers.

Forrest is a guy who could have been a weekend pitcher as a sophomore. Instead, he will be pitching at Bossier Parish Community College.

Forrest says the reason he is transferring is to be eligible for the draft again next year. That may be part of the reason. There have been reports that academics could be a part of the reason.

Whatever the reason, this isn't the kind of attrition that is good for a program.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A bad joke?

So I'm looking at the early entry list for the NBA Draft and I see LSU on the list twice.

This must be a mistake. Glen "Big Baby'' Davis is an early entrant into the draft. But another player? This has to be a mistake.

Nope. It's no mistake.

The second LSU player wasn't ever much of a player last season. That would be point guard Tack Minor.

Yes, Tack Minor is an early entry into the draft.

Look, Davis will be doing good to get picked in the two-round NBA Draft and that's a guy who played a big role in LSU going to the Final Four in 2006.

Minor? Heck, LSU went to the Final Four in part because he was injured.

I have no idea why Tack Minor declared for the draft. I do have an idea of what his draft stock is -- not much.

Just another bad decision in what seems to be a list of bad decisions for Tack Minor.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Women's hoops school?

I'm looking at the NCAA News' attendance figures for men's and women's basketball this season.

You won't find LSU among the men's basketball attendance leaders. Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas are it for the SEC.

But you will find LSU's women ranked No. 17 in attendance with an average of more than 5,000 per game.

Granted, there is a lot that goes into that - Pack the PMAC and other promotions.

But the fact of the matter is LSU fans haven't gravitated toward men's basketball since Shaq left in the early 1990s.

Of course, a little more marketing and promotion from the school probably wouldn't hurt either.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

'Turtle' goes home

Former LSU assistant baseball coach Henry "Turtle" Thomas is finally a head college coach.

Thomas, who left LSU to join Pat Murphy's staff as an Arizona State assitant, was hired as the head coach at Florida International University, taking over for longtime FIU coach Danny Price. Price build the FIU program into a perennial NCAA Tournament team before falling on hard times the last couple of seasons.

Thomas always had a reputation as one of the best recruiters in college baseball, a rep that he will be under more pressure to prove now that Major League Baseball has eliminated its draft-and-follow policy.

Thomas drew rave reviews from Murphy, who called him the "hardest working coach I've ever been around." He'll need that work ethic if he is to succeed in rebuilding FIU, which stands in the shadows of one of college baseball's premier programs (Miami) and a talented mid-major (Florida Atlantic).

Monday, June 11, 2007

Perrilloux should have gone to Texas

I hate to bring this up, but you know had Nick Saban stayed as LSU's football coach, East St. John High quarterback Ryan Perrilloux probably would not have signed with LSU.

Perrilloux's high school coach, Larry Dauterieve, and Perrilloux and some members of his family were not big fans of Saban. Saban was not totally convinced of Perrilloux's talent either. And Saban has been - once again - proven correct. Perrilloux is a talented quarterback, would likely start at many schools and could help LSU this season, but he is nowhere near as accomplished as everyone thought he was when he signed in 2005 as the No. 1 prep quarterback in the nation.

Perrilloux's career would probably be in much better shape had he signed with Texas, which was the school to which he first committed. A lot of Perrilloux's problems, which are a continuing headache to LSU coaches and fans, are tied to his proximity to his nearby hometown of Reserve, which is where a federal investigation of counterfeit sacked him late last year. He has some friends from home he probably shouldn't be hanging with, and wouldn't be if he was in Austin, Texas.

We now know Perrilloux was no innocent bystander in this counterfeiting scam. He didn't just happen to get a fake $20 bill and present it at a convenience store back home as we were first told by his friends. He had between $40 and $60 and was trying to see if he could use it.

Still, Perrilloux has no serious criminal history, and federal officials in New Orleans were considering him for its pre-trial diversion program just last month, which would have meant some community service for Perrilloux and he'd be free of the counterfeiting charge and any court case. But then he got caught trying to use an older brother's driver's license to get into a Baton Rouge gambling casino. They don't have such casinos in Texas. Folks there flock to Lake Charles and Shreveport for that. He was not arrested, though, as some newspapers said. He was merely cited.

The counterfeiting investigation is nearing an end and Perrilloux may still elude any serious repercussions, but he remains in hot water with LSU coach Les Miles and with LSU's fans, who ironically just two years ago thought the future of the LSU program depended on Perrilloux signing with LSU. Suddenly, everyone wants Perrilloux out of here when the team really does need him as expected starting quarterback Matt Flynn is virtually unproven and has had health issues in the last two preseason camps. Flynn could also get hurt or bust, and without Perrilloux LSU would have only a true freshman signee on scholarship at quarterback.

If there is a lesson here, it is don't get so ga-ga over recruiting. And if you're a quarterback at LSU, quit acting like A.J. Soprano.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rolle v. Brady

Ah summer, when discontented athletes have their former prep coach rip their former college coach.

The athlete in question is former LSU basketball player Magnum Rolle.

It seems that Darrell Sears, who coached Rolle in the Bahamas, has taken exception to some of the things LSU coach John Brady has said about Rolle since the player's decision to leave Baton Rouge.

Brady told our Glenn Guilbeau at the SEC spring meetings, "He (Rolle) wants to play like Kevin Durant, but he can't play like Kevin Durant. He's not as good as Kevin Durant. He had bad advice.''

Sears told the Freeport News: "We know he's not Kevin Durant, but for those who don't who know Magnum Rolle is, in the next couple of years you are going to hear about him.''

Sears also objected to Brady's assertion that Rolle's departure was a surprise and that Rolle wanted freedom to shoot all over the court.

Among the schools interested in Rolle are Wyoming, Marshall, Oral Roberts, Delaware, La. Tech and South Florida.

Not to declare a winner in this battle, but if those are the schools he is considering, I'd say Brady probably has a better evaluation of Rolle's talent than Sears.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Second place

There will be no national championships for the LSU Tigers in track this year.

Both the men's and women's track teams finished second nationally at the NCAA meet in Sacramento, Calif.

While the women had a lengthy reign atop the college track world in recent years, times have changed a little. Still, to have the men and the women finish No. 2 is nothing to ignore.

Friday, June 08, 2007

More national love

LSU fans shouldn't be complaining about a lack of respect this year.

The Sporting News is ranking the Tigers No. 2 in the nation in its preseason football magazine.

LSU, which finished No. 3 in the country last season, is seemingly headed for consensus top-five status heading into the season.

That could be good in the sense that you need to be on the radar if you have national title aspirations.

It could be bad if the Tigers can't handle the high hopes of not only fans but the pundits as well.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Future not so bright

If the NBA Draft experts are right, LSU's Glen "Big Baby'' Davis may not enjoy draft night too much.

The Tigers' Davis is tabbed as the No. 37 prospect in the draft according to Scout.com. That would put Davis early in the second round.

I'm not saying Davis was wrong for leaving school as a junior. I'm not saying he should have left as a sophomore.

But it's become painfully apparent that NBA officials think of Big Baby as the guy who is about as good as he's going to be and lacks either quickness, size or both, to play in the NBA.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he'll sneak into the first round. But it appears there could be some tears for Big Baby later this month.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jack Hunt, Jack Hunt caught the ball

Good news for LSU fans living outside of Louisiana - we think.

LSU and XM Radio announced today that XM would be the satellite provider for LSU starting in 2007.

LSU had been on Sirius satelitte radio. XM, though, has a larger audience. Thus, more exposure for LSU.

It's the latest in a movement of the SEC toward XM.

The exposure is great for the school and now more fans can hear such great calls as Jim Hawthorne's original Bluegrass Miracle call.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Some guys have all the luck

So now it looks like Billy Donovan is coming back to Florida.

Do the Gators have all the luck in the world?

Just imagine what it would have been like for LSU fans if Nick Saban had taken the Dolphins job on Christmas Day 2004 and then turned around before New Year's and said he was "conflicted'' and coming back to LSU?

Think Saban would have god-like status around these parts?

Instead, Saban sticks to his NFL job. Then bolts two years later for Alabama. Now he's Public Enemy No. 1 in Louisiana.

Florida, though, appears to be getting Billy "The Comeback'' Kid. Some guys have all the luck.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Quick quiz

OK, LSU fans, if you want to impress your non-LSU fan friends, here is a quick quiz you can give.

Name the six NCAA Division I schools with 40 or more national championships?

UCLA is No. 1 with 100. Stanford is second with 93. USC is third with 84. Oklahoma State is fourth with 48. Arkansas is fifth with 43. And LSU is sixth with 40.

Those championships are men and women combined. But notice there is no Texas or Florida or Ohio State or Michigan on the list.

It's some pretty elite company - and a great bar bet as well.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Saying goodbye

If you want to know what kind of teammate Marquise Hill was, or just how close guys on that 2003 team were, look at the list of people who attended Hill's funeral services on Saturday in New Orleans.

Besides his Patriots teammates former LSU teammates who attended include Giants cornerback Corey Webster, Colts running back Joseph Addai, Buccaneers wide receiver Michael Clayton, Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears, Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams, Bengals offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth and Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.

Both his former coach - Nick Saban -- and his alma mater's current coach, Les Miles, were in attendance.

That speaks volumes both about Hill as a person and teammate and the closeness of that team.

It is a tragic situation. We can only keep his family in our prayers and thoughts.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Donovan pulls a Saban

DESTIN, Fla. - It was softer and smarter, but former Florida coach Billy Donovan pulled a Nick Saban this week at the Southeastern Conference meetings, which ended up being his last "game" as the Gators' coach.

On Thursday morning, Donovan said the following to reporters shortly before checking out of the Hilton Sandestin Beach hotel.

"I haven't talked to anyone from the Magic, so I can't comment on it," Donovan said in response to a question about continuing rumors concerning his candidacy for the Orlando Magic job. When asked if his agent had spoken to the Magic, Donovan said he had not spoken with his agent.

"A lot of times there's speculation out there and a lot of times there's nothing to the speculation," Donovan said. "That's why I'm not commenting on it."

Later Thursday afternoon, after Donovan had skipped town, the story broke that Donovan was indeed leaving to become Orlando's coach. I guess a lot of times, coaches lie.

Donovan's comments were not as arrogantly definite as that of then-Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban, who said late last season that, "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach," then took the job. But he's in the same arena ... the coaching arena.

Like Saban, Donovan also has said for several weeks that he's staying at Florida.
Wonder if the Miami and Gainesville media will now come down as hard on Donovan?