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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Russell update

JaMarcus Russell remains unsigned. That's not a good thing for either the Oakland Raiders or Russell.

But it may answer a vexing question for the team.

It seems some of the Raiders' front office wanted to bring Russell along slowly.Another group wanted to throw him into the NFL fire.

But the more camp he misses the harder it will be to be thrown into the fire.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Alley may still be thinking NFL

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Former LSU tailback Alley Broussard may still pursue an NFL career and still has plenty of time to transfer to a lower level school.

"I really wouldn't want to speculate there," LSU coach Les Miles said today at the final day of the Southeastern Conference Media Days. "I think it's the kind of thing where with time, you know, he might even pursue the NFL. You really don't know. It's just one where it's a personal decision, one that's made with what are his personal considerations."

Broussard, a fifth-year senior from Lafayette who led LSU in rushing in 2004 and set the school record with 250 against Ole Miss, announced on Tuesday that he would not be playing his senior year this season at LSU. Broussard has never been quite the same since a serious knee injury before the 2005 season that caused him to miss that entire year. He plans to enroll in school this month and get his degree. He remains on scholarship at LSU.

"I think the young backs - Keiland Williams, Charles Scott, Richard Murphy, Jacob Hester - are really pursuing the field so hard that I don't know that he (Broussard) felt like he could overtake that position," Miles said. "I think he just is focusing on his academics."

Miles often criticized Broussard's work ethic since the injury, but he showed empathy for Broussard Friday.

"It's sad when a guy feels like maybe an injury cost him an opportunity to compete," Miles said. "If he could not get that leg to a position where he felt like he was very comfortable or if he felt like, for whatever reason, he was not going to be able to compete with strength, then maybe the decision is a quality one."

TRANSFER RULE UPDATE: Upon further review, SEC associate commissioner for compliance Greg Sankey said Friday that the new rule barring senior football players at Division I-A schools from transferring to and immediately playing at a Division I-AA school IS in effect this season.

He previously said that rule would not come into effect until next season and Broussard could play this season at a McNeese State or a Northwestern State. There is some inconsistency between the physical NCAA manual and the online edition of the manual. Broussard can transfer to a Division II or III school or an NAIA school and play right away.

PERRILLOUX FATE NEARING: Miles said he will decide next week whether sophomore quarterback Ryan Perrilloux re-joins the team. Perrilloux was suspended in May after he was cited by Baton Rouge Police for trying to enter a gambling casino with his older brother's driver's license since he is not 21.

Perrilloux has been performing a list of duties, including community service work, handed down by Miles throughout the summer in order to regain his playing status.

Federal authorities are also still working a counterfeiting case in the LaPlace area where Perrilloux is from and that involves Perrilloux. He was questioned last November by Secret Service officials about his role in the alleged counterfeiting ring after presenting counterfeit money at a convenience store in the LaPlace area.

"We'll look at his matter in this next week and make a decision whether he returns," Miles said.
LSU players are schedule to report for preseason practice on Friday with practice starting on Saturday, Aug. 4. The Tigers open the season on Thursday, Aug. 30 at Mississippi State.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Saban backlash and 'slashed tires?'

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - With the LSU-Alabama game nearing the three-months-away mark, it's getting ugly.

Alabama coach Nick Saban today seemed to accuse angry LSU fans for slashing the tires of Alabama football administrative assistant C.C. Thompson at a recent wedding in Baton Rouge.

Thompson, a Lake Charles native, worked as a defensive secretary at LSU when Saban was LSU's head coach and she worked under Saban when he was the Miami Dolphins coach. She drove her car with Alabama plates to the wedding.

Saban, who coached LSU from 2000-04 and Miami in 2005 and 2006, shared the anecdote while addressing an overflow crowd of reporters in a Wynfrey Hotel ballroom at the Southeastern Conference Media Days. He was asked how aware he is of the "backlash that was created in Louisiana when you took the job and has anything filtered back to you, anything you thought was funny or interesting from the people of Louisiana, anything that was said?"

Saban said he was very aware of all the things that happened.

"One of our ladies, one of our administrative assistants, who worked for us at LSU who went to a wedding in Baton Rouge got her tires slashed at the wedding," Saban said. "So I think we're very aware of the backlash, live it every day. I absolutely hate to see people on my staff who we care about, love, and want to see have success have to be penalized for that."

LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette confirmed that Thompson is the administrative assistant Saban was referring to, but he said Saban does not have the story right.

"I just talked to C.C.," Bonnette said Thursday. "She said she thought somebody slashed the tires, but then she said somebody just let the air out."

Thompson did not return a call to her office at Alabama. Alabama sports information director Doug Walker did talk to Thompson.

"She doesn't want to talk about it," Walker said. "She's not upset about it."

Bonnette, who worked under Saban for five years at LSU, tried to make light of the situation.

"I asked her if she had a 'Go to Hell LSU' sticker on her car, but she said no," Bonnette said.

"She just had the Alabama plates. She didn't tell me it was an LSU fan that let the air out. It could've been anybody."

Could it have been LSU coach Les Miles? Is he a person of interest? Tune in Friday as Miles will take his turn at the SEC Media Days. And tune in on Nov. 3 when LSU plays Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Drivers beware!


When Saban was asked by a reporter why only he is pictured on the Alabama media guide, Saban said he was not aware of the fact that no players are pictured. All 11 other SEC media guides have players pictured. LSU, for example, has nine players pictured over the front and back covers.

"I didn't even make that decision," Saban said. "The first time I saw the media guide was yesterday."

Few believed Saban's explanation. Coaches usually approve media guides and have input.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Alley Broussard should transfer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Former LSU tailback Alley Broussard should continue to pursue his college degree, but he shouldn't do it at LSU. Broussard, a fifth year senior from Lafayette, should transfer to another school so he can play this season and try to get into the NFL draft next spring or sign as a free agent. Staying at LSU to just get his degree would be admirable, but it would be a waste of athletic talent.

A change of scenery where Broussard would be more wanted might do him a world of good.

Athletic department officials in the Southland Conference on Tuesday said Broussard could not transfer to a Division I-AA school like McNeese State or Northwestern State and play this season because of a new NCAA transfer rule that bars such transfers in a senior year.

However, Greg Sankey, associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, said Wednesday at the SEC Media Days that rule does not come into effect until August of 2008.

Reading from the NCAA manual, Sankey said a senior I-A player could transfer to a I-AA school this season.

Broussard should take advantage of this. He is still a very talented back who can get that key extra yard. He may be out of shape and not have the best work ethic, but he could still be a valuable, big back. He could have provided some needed inside power running for LSU this season, but Broussard never had a good relationship with LSU head coach Les Miles and running backs coach Larry Porter.

Keiland Williams, Jacob Hester, Charles Scott and Richard Murphy were likely going to be ahead of Broussard throughout this season. Broussard wondered what he would be working so hard for because he likely was not going to play.

There are other places, perhaps in Division I-AA or even Division II, where Broussard could see some daylight. He should go for it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Not out of the woods

LSU's commitment from defensive tackle Cordian Hagans of Duluth, Ga., may not be the most solid in the world if you listen to what he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution .

This is one of the challenges of recruiting out-of-state players. Some, as in Hagans' case, grew up following the in-state school. Getting a player away from those schools can be awfully difficult.

However, it sounds as if there are some hurt feelings involved in this case. If that's the situation LSU may be in good shape.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Too early to panic

LSU is currently ranked No. 16 in Rivals.com's national recruiting rankings.

That has caused a little bit of grumbling among the Tigers' die-hard fan base. Maybe even more disturbing is Alabama's ranking of No. 13.

There are two things to remember here: 1) It's way too early to panic. There are six months of recruiting to go and those rankings will change a bunch. 2) This isn't a great year in the state and achieving a top-10 class will be a challenge because of the reliance on out-of-state players.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Va. Tech talk

Get ready for a Virginia Tech overdose until the football season gets rolling.

USA Today has a story set to run Monday on the school rallying around the football team. Hokies coach Frank Beamer meets the media at ACC media days on Monday.

The Hokie overload is in response to the massacre on campus when student Seung-Hui Cho killed more than 30 people on campus including himself last spring.

Why does this matter to LSU fans?

Because Virginia Tech comes to Tiger Stadium on Sept. 8.

Virginia Tech, 10-3 a year ago, is expected to be the preseason favorite in the ACC when the media poll comes out today.

Obviously, that Sept. 8 game is a pivotal one for both teams.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Familiar names

Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ranks the new assistant coaches in ACC football.

If you're an LSU football fan, then you'll recognize some of the names, especially at the top.

What that list shows is LSU has enjoyed some quality assistant coaches through the years.

We won't really know much about Les Miles' current staff for a couple of years. But good assistant coaches and good players make good head coaches and good teams.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tough talk

Les Miles may have started a trend among SEC coaches - talking tough in the offseason.

On Thursday, Mississippi State head football coach Sylvester Croom was in Jackson talking to an alumni group.

Check this out from the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

Later, in front of the crowd, he underlined his point: "We go into this season, we fear no one," he said, to cheers.

And, even more:

"Let me ask you this: You're not afraid of LSU, are you?," he asked.

They cheered back loudly that they weren't.

"Well, I sure as heck (am not)," he said.

Now, mind you, LSU has beaten State by 30 or more points in each of the LAST FOUR SEASONS.

Don't get me wrong. Croom has to say that he doesn't fear any team. I just don't know about calling out a team that figures to be in the top five in the country in the preseason.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Another tragic twist

LSU's 2003 national championship football team brought much joy to the team's fans.

That joy has since brought about a couple of moments of sadness this summer.

First, Marquise Hill drowned. Earlier this week, Dave Peterson died in a motorcycle accident.

Unfortunately, LSU has a history of tragic deaths among its athletes dying young.

If there is any good that can come out of a situation like this it is the realization of the brevity of life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Much ado about nothing

After waiting for more than three hours for Les Miles to arrive at a football camp carrying his own name at Shreveport's Calvary Baptist Academy, Miles finally arrived.

Some alumni association flak limited media questions to two minutes.

(This isn't the way to endear oneself to the media by the way).

In those two minutes, Miles said -- nothing.

Oh he said words, but nothing really.

No personnel update, he said in response to a Ryan Perrilloux question.

He restated his position on the SEC's strong schedule.

That was about the bulk of what he said.

There won't be a Media Nazi in Birmingham, Ala., next week. He'll be playing in front of a hostile crowd at the SEC Media Days. There he'll have to go into more detail about Perrilloux, about "F'ing Alabama'' and the rest.

So maybe it was a good thing for Miles to keep quiet in Shreveport. He'll have plenty of time to talk next week.

Monday, July 16, 2007

He still doesn't like his Rolle

LSU hoops coach John Brady just won't let this Magnum Rolle thing go.

On the SEC teleconference today, Brady brought up Rolle's name in talking about his team's inside players.

"Chris Johnson’s minutes will expand more than they did a year ago. In retrospect, I probably should have given him the minutes I gave Magnum Rolle because the times that he played he wound up being more productive,'' Brady said.


Brady and Rolle have already traded barbs since Rolle's decision to leave the LSU program was announced. But apparently this feud won't go quietly into the night.

Rolle will sit out the year at Tech, but imagine what Brady will think when Rolle is playing for the Bulldogs the following year.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Good story

I ran into Ronnie Prude at a celebrity basketball game in Shreveport.

Prude said his reason for playing in the game was to give something back to the kids. He talked about when he was younger and following some of the stars.

Prude has a great story for kids to hear. He sat out a year at LSU getting eligible. He didn't become a full-time starter until his senior year. And when draft time came, he was undrafted.

Yet he never gave into despair. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens and played a lot last season as a nickel back.

It's good to see someone overcome and enjoy the realization of their dream.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Second chance for Skyler?

Word out of Cincinnati is that former LSU star Skyler Green could be the Bengals' punt returner this season.

It seems the Bengals like Green's ability as a return man.

So after bouncing on and off the Dallas Cowboys' roster last year, Green may have found himself a home.

And if the Bengals are right about Green, Bill Parcells may have been proven to have made a mistake - which wasn't all that uncommon in his stay in Dallas.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Rumor of the day

For what it's worth, the Ryan Perrilloux rumor mill is heating up again.

The latest rumor I heard today -- from a state college football coach -- is this one. If Perrilloux doesn't come back to LSU he could be headed to Southeastern Louisiana.

Now, Perrilloux is currently suspended at LSU. He also has his share of trouble with the law.

But LSU desperately needs Perrilloux if for nothing else than competition at quarterback.

That being said, a move to SLU doesn't seem too far-fetched since he could play immediately.

For now, Perrilloux needs to get his legal situations cleared up first before any decision can be made.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Recruiting talk

LSU has started to make some inroads recruiting in Georgia.

There's a chance the Tigers could make some more later this month.

Peachtree Ridge defensive back Derrick Bryant is visiting LSU and told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ’ll visit LSU on July 20.That definitely could be a commitment.”

Bryant is mulling offers from Auburn, Alabama, Ohio State and Virginia Tech as well.

Earlier this week, LSU received a commitment from wide receiver DeAngelo Peterson of Desire Street Academy in Baton Rouge. Peterson is the No. 8 prospect in the state according to Scout.com's rankings.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Time to give it a rest

I'm walking out of a Bossier City mini-amusement park/business over the weekend with my 8-year-old daughter when we see a couple wearing LSU gear.

The man, who appeared to be in his 20s, was wearing a shirt that read,"Geaux to Hell, Nick Saban, geaux to Hell.''


Look, if you want to be upset that Nick Saban is coaching at Alabama because you don't like Alabama, fine.

But a little bit of class would go a long way here.

Monday, July 09, 2007

So why not schedule USC?

LSU football coach Les Miles is talking the talk of late. I'd like to see him start walking the walk instead.

He's been ripping USC and the Pacific-10 conference. USC has an easier road to the national championship game. The Pac-10 is sort of light. And the SEC is great. Those three statements may all be true and I appreciate Miles' candor. This guy has some personality and some peppery competitive juices, which is great.

But Les, why don't you schedule USC? You could do it. USC regularly plays strong non-conference teams, such as Notre Dame, Nebraska and Arkansas last year. Oops, SEC West champion Arkansas lost 50-14 at home to USC last season and 70-17 the year before in Los Angeles. This year USC plays at Nebraska and at Notre Dame. In 2008, USC plays at Virginia and hosts Ohio State and Notre Dame. USC goes to Ohio State and Notre Dame in 2009.

Yes, USC does not have to play a Pac-10 championship game, but the SEC championship game has helped put SEC teams like LSU and Florida into national championship games in the 2003 and 2006 seasons while blocking Tennessee in 2001. The SEC could get rid of its title game, too, if it thinks that would help it get into more BCS title games. Of course, that would cost a lot of money.

The Pac-10 has had a weak year or two recently, but it's a better conference than people think.

Even if it's not, USC makes up for it and its lack of a league title game with its annually difficult non-conference schedule. Maybe USC realizes it is in a lesser conference, so it adjusts its schedule accordingly. Meanwhile, LSU's non-conference schedule in recent years has included such powers as Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane, Fresno State, North Texas, Appalachian State, Troy State, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Western Illinois and Louisiana Tech. Hmmm. If the SEC is so great, why isn't SEC-member LSU trying to prove that?

LSU has ventured into the Pac-10, but it has carefully avoided USC.

LSU does host Virginia Tech early this season, but it also has the usual suspect non-conference foes such as Middle Tennessee, Tulane and Louisiana Tech. Yawn! And guess what, philosophically Miles does not agree with the scheduling of Virginia Tech. He said so at a recent press gathering. In the same gathering, he ripped USC's schedule. Notice a contradiction here?

Miles also criticized LSU playing Texas A&M regularly in the 1980s and 1990s. LSU lost the last five of those games with A&M from 1991 through 1995.

"You lost to the A&M team for what? Why? The years that you lost to A&M is a shame," Miles cried.

Uh, Les, make up your mind. Obviously you would have preferred LSU scheduling Nicholls State back then. So you favor easier schedules, right? So why the criticism of USC?

Hello! If one school has an easy conference schedule for the most part and a difficult non-conference schedule and another school has an easy non-conference schedule and a difficult conference schedule for the most part, doesn't that sort of even out?

When asked if he'd like to schedule Michigan, where he played, Miles scoffed and made some comparison to Texas Hold 'Em. He said he likes having a staircase schedule with the tough teams at the back end. You don't show your hand at the beginning. USC doesn't have that luxury. Neither does Ohio State. Sounds again like Les likes an easy schedule. And that makes sense since SEC teams can have an easy non-conference schedule and still get in the national championship game. LSU did that in 2003.

So, quit ripping USC, Les, until you schedule USC. USC has openings in 2011. Do it. The nation has wanted this game since 2003 when LSU and USC should have played in the national championship game.

It would put your schedule where your mouth is, and it would also make sense. But no, Miles doesn't want to do that. He'd rather just keep speaking out of turn like he did at halftiime of the Tennessee game, which was followed by an apology, and like he did at the recruiting bash, which was also followed by an apology, and at the Pensacola stop of the spring speaking tour.

Miles thinks that Florida's national championship last year proved once and for all that the SEC is the best conference in the land. And, therefore, according to Miles, if a team wins the SEC it deserves to play in the national championship game regardless of how easy its non-conference schedule is. Wrong, Middle Tennessee breath. The only reason Florida got into the national championship game last year was because USC was upset by blood rival UCLA from the Pac-10. LSU doesn't have a blood rival, and UCLA could beat a lot of SEC teams.

Miles needs to forget about Florida last season and LSU in 2003 and look at Auburn in 2004. Auburn went undefeated and won the SEC, but it didn't play in the national championship game because its non-conference schedule featured such powers as ULM, The Citadel and Louisiana Tech.

Not playing a USC-type, non-conference schedule is like not buying insurance. Yeah, you can get by without it often, but keep doing it and one day LSU will get Au-burned.

"Yeah, it's good to play a great non-conference team, if you win," chimed in one of Miles' underlings.

Wrong again. This isn't Texas Hold 'Em. This is college football. If a team loses early to a great team and wins the rest of its games, it could still get in the national championship game. It would take some luck, but no more luck than LSU and Florida needed in 2003 and 2006. And if you win that early non-conference game and win the rest, or even lose a game, you can still get in.

So talk less, Les, and schedule USC.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Big day for Youman

Former LSU pitcher Shane Youman earned his first major league victory Tuesday and he did it in impressive fashion.

The left-hander from New Iberia quieted one of the majors' top offenses, Milwaukee, to give Pittsburgh a 6-2 win. The win cemented Youman's long five-year climb from the 43rd round of the 2002 draft to the majors.

Youman made steady improvement during his LSU career and seems to have carried that over to his pro career. At 27, he no longer is a "prospect," but given the dearth of pitching prospects in Pittsburgh, he could make PNC Park his home for a while.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Big doings for Big Baby

I'm listening to the Boston Red Sox game on XM radio tonight and I recognize the voice of one of the guest's in the Red Sox radio booth.

That's right - Glen "Big Baby'' Davis.

Yep, "Big Baby'' and Ray Allen - the two newest Celtics - were at Fenway Park for the Rangers-Red Sox game.

"Big Baby'' is probably used to the intensity that is Fenway Park, if only from going to LSU football games.

The good news for Davis is Ray Allen would be a good mentor in making the transition from LSU to the NBA. Hopefully that's the case.

By the way, the Red Sox radio guy asked "Big Baby'' about falling out of the first round and Davis' response was a philosophical "those things happen.''

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Recruiting watch

It's summer and that means the college football recruiting news picks up in terms of evaluation and ranking of prospects going into the season.

It's also the time of the year when you see which schools are hitting Louisiana the hardest.

In recent years, Ole Miss has been a big player in the state with several early offers to Louisiana players.

The Rebels have some company this year. Joining Ole Miss in recruiting Louisiana heavily is Alabama, which should come as no surprise since Nick Saban recruited the state just three years ago for LSU.

The question that won't be answered for awhile is just how much or little success Saban and Alabama will have here?

But much like Ole Miss in the recent past and Colorado and Florida State in the distant past, Alabama is very much apart of the Louisiana football recruiting scene.