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Friday, August 31, 2007

Grand opening

STARKVILLE, Miss. - A Mississippi State booster, or one of those guys who wears a school blazer to the games, sprinted into the pressbox elevator moments after LSU's, season-opening 45-0 victory over the Bulldogs Thursday night.

"Quick, before they score again," he said.

Or quick, before Michael Henig throws another interception.

"It was just one of those nights," said Henig, whose next interception will be his seventh of the season. Former LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell threw eight all of last year.

Actually, it wasn't one of those nights. Extremely rare is a night when one sees six interceptions by the same quarterback. LSU may be No. 2 in the nation, but it's got to be No. 1 in turnover ratio.

"We want to end the season like that," LSU coach Les Miles said.

The gifts aside, it was a grand opening for LSU, which carried its ranking well. There were some rough spots on offense early on and the Tigers led only 3-0 into the second quarter, but it was still very impressive.

The offense was all over the place. Quarterback Matt Flynn, starting just the second game of his career, completed 12 of 19 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns. He ran on several designed rushing plays for him and netted 42 yards. Five other rushers carried the ball 347 yards. Six players caught passes. The offense has to be better against Virginia Tech a week from Saturday, but the potential was there.

The defense performed clearly as advertised, holding State to 146 yards, including just 10 on the ground through 26 tries.

There were a few rough spots, but LSU played like its on its way to a national championship or close to it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Merry first day of football season

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Or should I say, Happy First Day of Football Season? Don't snicker and assume Political Correctness never made it here. This was actually the first town in Mississippi to ban smoking in restaurants and bars. Nevermind, there are no restaurants and bars.

Just kidding.

It's football season finally. It's like Christmas morning for those in our world. Even the cows seem to have a little spring in their step. Oh, just kidding. If you name your town STARKVILLE, just deal with it.

For football fans in Louisiana, it has never been better. Never have both LSU and the New Orleans Saints been expected to do so much and are so highly thought of nationally. LSU is ranked No. 2 in the nation. The Saints are called Super Bowl contenders, and after you look around, no one is laughing.

And they both just happen to be playing tonight. The Tigers are here to play Mississippi State at 7 p.m. on ESPN, and the Saints will be hosting the Miami Dolphins in their final exhibition game also at 7 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome. This must be what they mean by multi tasking.
"Flynn throws long to Doucet, TOUCHDOWN LSU ... click ... Brees swing pass to Reggie, TOUCHDOWN SAINTS ... click."

LSU has not been this highly ranked by a wire service poll going into a season since 1959. The Saints will dropping their first division championship banner since the 1991 West title in the dome tonight.

Just pause and think a second.

There, now breathe out.

How great is this? It wasn't long ago that LSU was a coaching graveyard and losing 10 straight SEC games. Now you say the Tigers are going to lose one game this season and you're called negative. Just two years ago at about this time, the Saints were a sick franchise with one of the worst and most overpaid head coaches in modern history. Owner Tom Benson and his granddaughter Rita Benson LeBlanc were trying desperately and sleazily to seize the opportunity of Hurricane Katrina and move the team to San Antonio. Last night, Rita was on WWL radio talking up New Orleans. This is great. The Bensons have done many right things after former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue told them to, and all is seemingly forgotten now.

But I remember what you did last hurricane.

But, I digress.

Enjoy this day and night, because it can only get better. Can you imagine the Saints hosting a playoff game next January and LSU playing USC for the BCS title in the Superdome in the same week! It could happen.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What if?

STARKVILLE, Miss. - What if LSU lost Thursday night?

Could you imagine?

The No. 2-ranked Tigers are 18-point favorites to beat Mississippi State here on ESPN. And that's pretty nice toward the Bulldogs as they have lost their last seven to the Tigers. The last six have been in laughable fashion - 48-17, 37-7, 51-0, 41-6, 31-13 and 42-0. Even coach Gerry DiNardo during a 4-7 season in 1998 managed a 41-6 win over Mississippi State.

There are some danger signs about this game that many seemingly LSD-induced LSU fans keep ignoring. State is looking better than it has in the first three years under coach Sylvester Croom.

The Bulldogs are returning 17 starters, including 10 on offense. They tend to be very physical and did play some good teams well late last season in losses to Georgia (27-24), Kentucky (34-31) and Arkansas (28-14). It did beat a bowl team in Alabama (24-16) in Tuscaloosa.

And as bad as State has been - 9-25 overall and 4-20 in the SEC under Croom - this is a better team than LSU often opens up against. This State team could probably beat ULM and Tulane and Western Carolina. The Tigers tend to start a season slow, too. They should have lost at Arizona State in 2005, but some luck on special teams and some bad coaching from the opponent helped the Tigers to a 35-31 win. LSU needed overtime and some adventures in place-kicking for a 22-21 win over Oregon State in 2004. LSU looked horrible at Virginia Tech in 2002, losing 26-8.

LSU also has a serious number of questions to answer before this season gets going, which has been lost on the national media insisting on voting LSU No. 2 in every polling but the Louisiana governor's race. Flynn will probably be very good this season, but he is unproven except for one game. The offensive line could just be average, and there are three true freshmen in the two deep. The receivers are talented, but as of now there is only one you know you can count on in Early Doucet. There is also a new offensive coordinator. New coordinators usually take a game or two or three to get clicking. Remember Bo Pelini giving up gobs of yardage to Arizona State and Tennessee in his first two games.

It might not be as easy as everyone seems to think, including myself.

State's been hearing LSU coach Les Miles talk all summer about USC and the Pac-10 and Alabama and Nick Saban. Don't laugh. This could be a trap game as LSU seems to be preoccupied with national rankings and the BCS national title game. The LSU Nation, which seems to be thinking about USC and Saban as much as Jennifer Aniston must still think about Brad Pitt, seems to have everything on its mind but State. If that has spilled over to the players, look out.

What if? What if LSU lost to Mississippi State. Roscoe, the proposed Mike VI, might turn down the job, and Les Miles might be out of a job, sooner or later. It happened to Jack Crowe the morning after Arkansas lost to The Citadel 10-3 in the 1992 season opener. When Croom's first State team upset Florida 38-31 in 2004, it marked the end of the Ron Zook era in Gainesville.

State's win over Alabama last season got Mike Shula fired.

Mississippi State is the Grim Reaper of college football. It looks easy, but it could kill you.

Charles McClendon used to say games like this were the toughest on a coach, because you were supposed to win it and supposed to win big. That's pressure.

A loss by LSU Thursday night would be its most embarrassing upset since Miami of Ohio rolled the Tigers 21-12 in 1986.

Could it happen? Do you feel the pressure now?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Interesting numbers

Here are some interesting numbers uncovered by our Joel Anderson while working on an LSU-USC story.

Since 2000, LSU is 70-20 and USC is 70-19.

That's pretty amazing how the two teams mirror one another since 2000.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lessons learned

BATON ROUGE - Forget about the lesson LSU linebacker Derrick Odom might have learned or is in the process of learning through his recent arrest and sudden apology.

If you happen to be an LSU student who started classes on Monday, learn this. If you're going to get in a fight and you're going to win that fight, make sure it's not with an LSU football player or someone who knows an LSU football player. Because you might see about 15 of them at your door pretty quickly.

This is not your father's LSU football team. These guys are together right or wrong. From about 1989 through 1994 and again from 1998-99, a dozen football players probably could not have found their way to someone's apartment unless coach was driving them in the bus.

Austin Gaffney, who is obviously not completely innocent in his recent little adventure with Odom and other members of the 2007 Tigers, realizes this now.

As to who some of the other players were among the mob that showed up at Gaffney's door not long after closing time in the wee hours of Saturday, July 28, Gaffney's father Steve was there, but he's not saying. Asked directly if one was quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, Gaffney said he never saw Ryan Perrilloux.

Meanwhile back on the practice field and out of apartment complex parking lots, Perrilloux was listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart released by LSU on Monday.

"I won't be opposed to getting him in the game," LSU coach Miles said.

All this recent talk of LSU football fights has reminded me of a great fight story from the dark days of LSU football when Curley Hallman was the coach from 1991-94. During either the 1991 or 1992 season, LSU had just lost another game and several of the Tiger players were out drowning their sorrows at one of the student bars in Tigerland.

Ole Miss was open that weekend and one of the Rebel players, who happened to be from Louisiana and friendly with some of the LSU players, was partying in Tigerland as well. Well, he got into some trouble and was about to be arrested when an LSU football player ran up and said:

"Officer, officer, he's all right. I'm an LSU football player and I know him," the thoughtful Tiger said.

At this point the officer, perhaps noting that LSU had not had a winning season since 1988 and was on its way to another disaster, slapped the cuffs on the LSU player, too, and said:

"You're going downtown, too, son. I saw you play tonight."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Keep pack mentality on the field

BATON ROUGE - Charges are expected to be dropped Monday against LSU linebacker Derrick Odom as LSU student Austin Gaffney and his father Steve Gaffney of Baton Rouge are considering not pressing charges.

Odom was arrested and jailed Thursday for his violent actions in the wee hours of the morning of Saturday, July 28 outside Austin Gaffney's apartment near the LSU campus.

According to Baton Rouge Police, Austin Gaffney and a member or members of the LSU football team got into a disagreement. Later, Odom and several other LSU football players came calling on Gaffney, who fearing retaliation had already called his father Steve Gaffney.

"I'm here to kick someone's (expletive deleted)," Odom yelled at the Gaffneys, according to the arrest warrant. "If you don't get one of them out here, I'll kick your (expletive deleted)."

Odom, a deep reserve at linebacker to put it delicately, has kicked very few (expletive deleted) on the football field since he got to LSU, so maybe he wanted to see what it felt like.

It is unclear what Austin Gaffney did to incite such team unity on behalf of the LSU football team. Maybe his behavior should be questioned. Maybe this is why Steve Gaffney is considering dropping the charges. The Gaffneys and LSU officials have been discussing dropping the charges for some time now. They didn't just decide to perhaps drop the charges in recent days.

The Gaffneys should not drop the charges. And LSU coach Les Miles, who suspended Odom after the arrest, should not lift that suspension just because someone, for whatever reason, decided to drop the charges.

Odom needs to be punished. And so do some other LSU football players who watched as he threw himself into the door of Gaffney's apartment, threatened the Gaffneys and damaged Austin Gaffney's automobile.

This is pack behavior and it should not be tolerated.

Maybe Gaffney started it. Who knows? But Gaffney didn't get arrested. Police usually don't go around arresting just anyone. You usually have to mess up pretty bad to get arrested. You usually have got to be pretty stupid or drunk to get arrested. Odom got arrested and LSU teammate Ace Foyil got cited.

Maybe Gaffney got into a fight with an LSU football player. That should be solved between Gaffney and whatever football player. A lot of college kids do stupid things, drink too much and get into fights. Not all college kids, though, have 10 or 20 friends who weigh 300-pounds who they can call.

Odom apparently did not even know the Gaffneys. Apparently he just wanted to kick someone's (expletive deleted), and a lot of his teammates wanted to watch.

Miles has handled other disciplinary issues well. He kicked three players off the team last spring after their arrests and previous behavior he didn't like. He usually does a good job of looking into everything that happened. He is not handling this one well.

"Apparently this is a very old issue," Miles said Saturday. "I don't know how significant the issues are. I really don't have a lot of information."

Then you need to be careful. And the age of this issue does not soften this issue. A crime is a crime, no matter how old. The fact that this happened back in late July only proves that the Baton Rouge Police just didn't rush out and arrest somebody. They apparently investigated it thoroughly and arrested one of your players, Miles, and cited another one. They've looked into it. Miles, who also said he wasn't aware that Foyil was involved, has not.

If this was just a couple of students and football players getting into a fight with no one getting hurt or no one's property getting damaged, it would not be that big of a deal. Instead, this is a mob of LSU football players allegedly acting like a mob.

"Traditionally when one football player is involved in something, the next thing you know there's about 10 or 20 football players involved," said one person close to the situation who knows what he's talking about.

Team unity is great, but keep it on the football field. Or you won't be on the football field.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Still some seats on the bandwagon

Apparently not everyone is ready to jump on board the LSU national championship game bandwagon.

It is probably no surprise coming from a Texas blogger but here's someone making the case for LSU being overrated this season.

Friday, August 24, 2007

For what it's worth

Just got a glossy mailout from the Heisman Winner's Association. That's a group made up of former Heisman Trophy winners.

Anyway, here's how it pertains to LSU.

Former Heisman winner Andre Ware has Michigan playing - and losing - to LSU in the national championship game.

"I think the Tigers of LSU are going to be hard to beat if they can take advantage and get through their conference schedule,'' Ware says. "They have a really good shot at taking the title this year. I know they lost JaMarcus Russell, but I think they've got so much talent and so much depth at quarterback that they will be able to overcome his loss.''

Take it for what it's worth.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Surprise, surprise

After all the talk of Keiland Williams, Richard Murphy, Charles Scott and on and on, LSU coach Les Miles said the starting tailback next week in the season opener will be Jacob Hester.

Hester certainly needs to be on the field. He can run, catch and block. But this figures to be a season where LSU continues to use its backs by committee approach and standing out will be hard again this year.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

LSU player (sort of) turned actor

Actor Paul Rae, a native of Louisiana, is getting a lot of run these days as a "former LSU football player'' with a role in "Daddy Day Camp.''

You won't find Rae's name in the list of LSU lettermen in the media guide. Nor will you find his name among the signees.

All we can go on, I guess, is the fact that Rae says he was on the LSU football team. This would have been around the Mike Archer coaching era.

It reminds me of being in the press room before an LSU-Miss. State basketball game some time back. Then Mississippi State coach Bob Boyd was joking about putting stuff on your resume because no one could check it out. (This was before George O'Leary by the way.)

We'll never know, I guess, if Rae indeed ran through the tunnel at Tiger Stadium. But for now, I guess we have to believe he was a squad member before he was a professional actor.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Too high?

LSU's No. 2 ranking in both the AP and coaches' polls leaves the Tigers little room for improvement or error.

For those who don't understand why some think LSU may be rated a tad too high, let me offer this defense.

Look at the experience of the starting quarterbacks of the top five schools in the country - USC, LSU, West Virginia, Texas and Michigan. Of that group only one school - LSU - doesn't have a proven starting quarterback.

You can say Matt Flynn had a great Peach Bowl. I would remind you he was not-so-great against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. The point is: We just don't know.

Now Flynn may come out and play great and all worries would cease. But there is just an unknown with an unproven quarterback.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bad advice for JaMarcus?

We're halfway through the NFL preseason and JaMarcus Russell remains unsigned.

At this rate, Russell's rookie season is just about gone.

Here's why: Even if he signs tomorrow, he's going to be so late getting into camp that he won't be on an even playing field in competing for the job.

Had he signed early he would have had an opportunity to play late in his rookie year in a similar fashion to former Vanderbilt star Jay Cutler. Now, Russell will likely hold a clipboard all season.

This isn't to say Russell made a bad decision in turning pro. It may be he's getting bad advice on a contract. Or maybe he's getting good advice and dealing with a bad team.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Less of Les?

At least one SEC coach thinks LSU coach Les Miles should keep some of his opinions to himself, at least for the time being.

The Sporting News this week quotes an anonymous SEC coach as saying "You would think Les would win a big one before he opens his mouth.''

If your definition of a "big one'' is the SEC Championship Game, then maybe Miles does need to win one of those. But the man does have a BCS bowl win (OK it was over Notre Dame) and a 2-0 record at LSU in bowl games (remember Miami).

Sounds like it may be some in-conference jealousy there.

Friday, August 17, 2007

No. 2 with a bullet

It appears to be something of a consensus this preseason -- USC is No. 1 and LSU is No. 2.

LSU fans should take that in a heartbeat.

This week alone Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News have both picked USC 1 and LSU 2. The coaches' poll earlier this month had the same thing and it figures AP will follow suit.

Here's why being in the top two matters, just think back two football seasons ago.

USC was No. 1 and Texas was No. 2. Both teams were unbeaten. That kept another unbeaten, Auburn, out of the national championship game.

So it does matter where you start the season. Don't be fooled into thinking otherwise.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Precarious position

Just how precarious LSU's quarterback situation is should have been evident today.

Matt Flynn rested his arm and didn't throw in the Tigers' second practice.

That meant true freshman Jarrett Lee and Ryan Perrilloux got the snaps.

Now, here's the scary thing - an injury to Flynn and the Tigers have to turn to those two.

Don't say it can't happen. JaMarcus Russell was hurt in the 2005 SEC Championship Game. So it can happen. And LSU doesn't have the luxury of an experienced Flynn on the bench.

At the moment, does anyone trust Perrilloux at the helm? And nothing against Lee, but he's a true freshman?

Now that being said, few, if any schools, have the luxury LSU has enjoyed the last couple of seasons. But it is proof of just how important being healthy, particuarly at quarterback, will be this season.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Recruiting talk

Whether Chase Thomas ever signs a scholarship with LSU or not, his words in the Atlanta Journal Constitution are exactly what Les Miles and LSU fans want to hear.

The perception of the LSU program has changed dramatically just in this decade along.

Remember the 1990s?

LSU was terrible until Gerry DiNardo's first season in 1995. DiNardo had three years of success only to bottom out in 1998 and 1999.

Now, with Nick Saban and Les Miles, those days seem so far removed.

Think of it this way, today's high school seniors have known winning seasons at LSU since they were in the fifth grade.

Most of today's seniors wouldn't know Curley Hallman from Larry, Curley and Moe.

That's quite a turnaround.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Kudos from Saban

LSU fans may not want to hear it, but they got a compliment from Nick Saban in this week's Sporting News.

The magazine has a 1-on-1 interview with Saban.

Here is where Saban gives LSU fans a compliment.

Q: So your time is sacred?
A: I try to protect the time I think you need to spend on coaching your players, developing your players and recruiting to have a chance to be successful. The people at LSU had a tremendous amount of respect for: That guy's the coach and that's what we want. They didn't care about you playing golf outings in Louisiana. I only played in two the whole time I was there. I've already played in six here and turned down 50 others, and no one seemed to get it. Well, how can I go recruit and do the things I need to do when you have me doing all of this stuff?

Sounds to me like the Alabama crazies are making Saban remember his LSU days with some fondness.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A kinder, gentler Miles

As best as I can tell, LSU coach Les Miles didn't offend anyone at today's LSU Media Days.

He didn't go on a rant about the coach that left here (that would be Nick Saban). He left the Pac-10 alone.

Those would all be good things.

Because of his eventful offseason, Miles has endeared himself to LSU fans - but he has also riled up some others in the process. He has talked the talk. Now he must have the team to back up such talk.

No one will be calling him the "mouth of the South'' as one national media outlet did if he can guide LSU into the national title game. Of course, that would require winning the SEC title first.

But first things first, winning at Mississippi State and at home against Virginia Tech would be the first order of business.

More from LSU players

And here's more:

Matt Flynn, Quarterback
On living up to the expectations of being the starting quarterback on the # 2 ranked team in preseason …
“I’ve been here for five years, and I feel like every year there are expectations, and I think every year expectations grow. So, you learn to deal with that and you learn how to play with it. You just can’t focus on what people are saying. We as a team have to get together and come up with goals for ourselves.
“We know there are expectations, but we have expectations for ourselves. You just have to look past it, take it one day at a time, one game at a time. We think we have a special team this year, and we can do something very good and very special. If we keep working and stick together, we can accomplish it.”

On his relationship with new offensive coordinator Gary Crowton …
“Me and Coach Crowton have developed a very close relationship.We’ve worked a lot together studying film.Just me and him sitting down and going over plays and reading defenses.He’s taught me a lot about just the game in general, not just specific plays.We are getting on the same page and building some chemistry.
“I know what he’s going to want before the play even starts.It’s good that that’s going to happen, that me and him can be on the same page.I think it’s going to help the offense in general.”

On Brandon LaFell, who he feels is the wide receiver who made the most improvements over the summer …
”At the end of spring, over the summer and through camp, he’s come out.I’m telling you, he’s going to be very good receiver.He’s going to help this team, and he’s going to be one of the key points of this offense.”

On Early Doucet …
”I feel very confident with Early Doucet. It’s obvious, if I need a big play or a big first down, I’m going to look to him first. There’s no doubt about that. He’s proven throughout the years that he can make big plays. I feel fortunate that I have him out there. It makes my job a little bit easier.”

Jacob Hester, Running Back
On the experience the current running backs have …
“Charles (Scott) and Keiland (Williams) getting that experience last year was huge for us. We are coming in and we realize that we don’t have to slow things down really. Last year, we had three freshmen in, so we had to slow things down during camp and really teach them the plays. This year, we can watch film and not have to slow it down to teach them the basic things.

“They know just as much as I do, or Shawn (Jordan) does, guys that have been here four and five years. It’s really helped us just hit things on the run and not have to worry about ‘is he picking it up?’ because he already knows it. We can concentrate on the game part of it, and not just the plays.”

On whether or not some of the tailbacks will see time at fullback …
“Whoever has the hot hand will be out there. We’ve got four or five pretty good guys, so whoever is in there, we are going to have a good tailback or fullback. That’s a good problem to have.”

On Gary Crowton …
“When he was the coach at Louisiana Tech, I was the biggest Tim Rattay (former Tech QB) fan in the world. When I heard he was coming, I knew he was going to open up the passing game for the running backs. He has some plays for the running backs that we aren’t used to, and that other teams aren’t going to be able to just focus on the receivers or the running game. He brings a whole new dimension to the game compared to the pro offense we ran last year.”

On how his marriage has changed his mentality towards the game …
“I think it has actually helped me grow up in everything I do. Everyday life, football, school, everything. I’m a man now. I’m on my own. My parents aren’t there to help me. It’s my thing now, so I think it’s helped me to grow up in everything I do.

Early Doucet, Wide Receiver
On Matt Flynn …
“He’s been here five years, and he’s just a leader. He knows how to handle the situation. He’s going to be ready to make plays for us.”

On his expectations for his senior year …
“We definitely want to set our goals high, but that’s only goals. We have to continue to work hard each day in practice to accomplish those goals. As a whole unit, we set our goals high, but at the same time, we have to stay focused and humble about the whole thing and continue to work hard and get better everyday.”

LSU player quotes from Media Day

If you haven't gotten enough media day, here are some quotes from the event in Baton Rouge today.

Running Back Keiland Williams
On his performance last year vs. this year…
“When you are on this level you set high expectations of yourself. Last year, I came in a little late and I didn’t really have a feel for the offense, or more so the passing game, which is very important at this level. This year, I am getting a feel for it and got to actually experience camp this year so, I feel like I am a couple of steps ahead of where I was last year at this time”

On how he feels he measures up to the other running backs…
“I don’t come out every day and tell myself that I’m ahead of this guy or that guy. I know every day is a work day, and you have to come out and prove yourself every day.”

On how LSU is prepared for this season, knowing there aren’t any warm up games…
“The coaches have done a great job keeping us focused and letting us know that we play stiff competition early. The coaches are doing a great job letting us know its going to be a long season, we have to stay focused, and we can’t sleep on anyone.”

Defensive Tackle Glenn Dorsey
On his leadership position within the team …
“Young guys coming in are going to be looking to the seniors to show them how to do things. I think they look up to us and I try to lead by example because I’m not a really vocal guy.”

On his experience over the past 4 years …
“It has been a great experience. It’s rolled by. I feel like I just got here. I’m just enjoying it every day and taking it one day at a time. This has been the best time of my life.”

On his decision to come back to school and what went into that decision …
“I just had to sit back and think. I had to make the right decision for me, my family, and my team. I feel like I did that, and I am 100% behind it (my decision). I’m just ready to play this year.”

Linebacker Darry Beckwith
On his position as a role model …
“When you go places, you watch how you carry yourself, how you address people, and how you treat people. I think if people see you treating other people well, and you’re setting a great example then they will want to follow.”

On his thoughts going into the Mississippi State game …
“I think it’s going to be a great atmosphere opening on Thursday night and being on national TV. I know we (the team) are excited. Usually, during camp, you don’t have that much to look forward to, but after this week we start preparing for Mississippi State. It’s just right around the corner and we are ready for it.”

On expectations of the defense for the season …
“We are expecting great things from the defense. We are working hard right now getting the kinks out, and seeing improvement every day. If everyone continues to stay focused, good things should happen.”

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Drum roll please

So this AP writer's BCS bowl projections have USC playing Texas in the national championship game and LSU playing TCU in the Sugar Bowl.

I told you LSU fans wouldn't be happy.

If this turns out to be the case, then it would be the second year in a row the Sugar Bowl would be a consolation prize for the Tigers.

And if LSU had to play a BCS-buster after the letdown of not playing for the national title, then anything could happen.

Of course, this is what August is all about in college football - speculation.

As for a USC-Texas matchup, a lot of that will depend on the health of Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy. The Longhorns, like LSU, have a favorable schedule this year.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Won't want to hear this

There is an AP story coming out this weekend with BCS bowl projections.

LSU fans aren't going to like it.

Since the story is embargoed until Saturday, all I'll say is the AP writer has LSU playing in New Orleans, just not in the game Tigers fans want to see.

More on this tomorrow after the embargo is lifted.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Checking out the SEC

It looks like Coach O is trying to save his job at Ole Miss.

How else do you explain moving Brent Schaeffer to wide receiver and sliding Seth Adams into the starting quarterback role?

Actually, this is a good move for Ole Miss and a not-so-good move for LSU and the rest of the SEC.

You may remember that Schaeffer had a crucial fumble in overtime in LSU's 23-20 win last year over the Rebels.

Is it move that gets the Rebels to the top of the West? No.

But it is the kind of move that could make Ole Miss a threat to steal a game against one of the contenders.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Upon further review

OK, OK. I hereby change my 2007 Southeastern Conference football coaches' ratings. I have to commend several e-mailers who brought up some good points about one particular ranking as did Baton Rouge radio talk show host Jimmy Ott and Michael Scarborough of Tigerbait.com and Rivals.com. I was also amazed at how many readers have kept track of the ratings year after year.

Therefore, I will, "Flip This Rating."

Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer goes from No. 4 to No. 5, and Florida coach Urban Meyer goes from No. 5 to No. 4.

Here is the final 2007 SEC coaches' rankings:

1. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
2. Nick Saban, Alabama
3. Tommy Tuberville, Auburn
4. Urban Meyer, Florida
5. Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee
6. Mark Richt, Georgia
7. Houston Nutt, Arkansas
8. Les Miles, LSU
9. Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt
10. Rich Brooks, Kentucky
11. Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State
12. Ed Orgeron, Ole Miss

Thanks for reading, but there will be no more changes. And no more explanations, because it's far too complicated.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Blast from the past

As a voter on the Football Writers All-American team last year and this year, I sometimes receive information on various "candidates'' for All-American honors.

In the mail today was a group of candidates from Ohio State.

What, you may think, does this have to do with LSU?

Actually, a good bit.

Because among those candidates is wide receiver Brian Robiskie, a junior.

The last name may sound familiar to older LSU fans because Brian Robiskie is the son of former LSU star running back Terry Robiskie who has been a longtime NFL assistant coach.

Brian Robiskie is the Buckeyes' leading returning receiver with 29 catches for 383 yards and five touchdowns.

Before anyone gets upset that Brian Robiskie didn't follow his dad to LSU. Consider the fact that he went to high school in Ohio. You can't really quibble with that decision.