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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chavis Has Not Ruled Out Georgia

BATON ROUGE - As of late Tuesday night, LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis had not completely ruled out a lucrative offer to be Georgia's defensive coordinator after just one season with the Tigers.

Chavis is scheduled to be a part of the Capital One Bowl coordinator's press conferences on Wednesday afternoon in Orlando, Fla. LSU plays Penn State in the Capital One Bowl at noon Friday on ABC.

Chavis' decision could be made public shortly after the game if not sooner. He has not told anyone definitively what he is going to do.

A oomment by LSU linebacker Kelvin Sheppard Monday seemed to say that Chavis was staying at LSU.

Sheppard reportedly told WBRZ TV (Baton Rouge) reporter Michael Cauble, who is in Orlando, that Chavis came up to Sheppard during practice Monday and said, "You knew if I was going anywhere, you'd be the first person I'd tell. I'm here with you all. I love it here. I'm not going anywhere."

This is a quote from a coach to a player to the media. Chavis likely did tell Sheppard that and Sheppard likely relayed it correctly, but since Chavis said that things could have changed. Georgia coach Mark Richt may have thrown more money toward Chavis, who makes in the neighborhood of $500,000 a year. And when Chavis does decide to leave, Sheppard could still "be the first person" he tells.

There have been many coaches who have loved their present job only to take a new one that they feel could be even better. Plus, Sheppard may not be at LSU next season anyway. He is considering consulting with the NFL advisory board to see where he might go in the next NFL Draft.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt, meanwhile, could be desperate. He is coming off a 7-5 regular season, which is his worst in nine years at the school. His defense was bad, and he fired both co-coordinators and a third defensive coach.

Chavis is from nearby South Carolina, and he witnessed a very shaky sideline this season at LSU and some questionable offensive game plans and game day management while his defense played well enough to win virtually every game.

Chavis did enjoy being at LSU this season and likes how LSU head coach Les Miles leaves him alone. An opportunity to be one of the highest paid coordinators in all of college football, though, may be too good to pass up. And Georgia has a very similar recruiting base to LSU.

Chavis has a tough decision to make.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Looking ahead to 2010

Apparently, those on the national scene aren't overly impressed with the direction of the LSU football program.

NationalChamps.net has its Early Bird 2010 College Football Preview out.

And LSU fans probably won't like it.

The early poll has LSU ranked No. 21. It's the lowest I can recall seeing LSU in one of NationalChamps.net's preseason polls in years.

And making matters worse, Alabama is the preseason No. 1. Florida is preseason No. 4.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tolbert out, Gonzales in?

BATON ROUGE - Just a day ago, it looked like former LSU wide receiver Leon "Tyke" Tolbert, presently the receivers coach for the Buffalog Bills, was going to be LSU's new wide receiver coach.

Then suddenly, talks between Tolbert and LSU coach Les Miles hit a snag perhaps over money. Now, the talk in Florida is that Gators recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales may be joining LSU's staff as receivers coach.

Tolbert would be, or would have been, a very good fit at LSU. The Tigers have rarely had assistant coaches with Louisiana roots, which can never hurt. Plus, he has already been an assistant and recruited the state at Louisiana-Lafayette and at Louisiana-Monroe. Tolbert signed at LSU in 1986 with coach Bill Arnsparger out of Conroe, Texas, and played as a backup from 1988-90. He and new recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson would have made a nice pair.
Gonzales jumping Meyer's ship for LSU appears fishy, however. He has been with Meyer since Meyer was the head coach at Bowling Green in 2001.

It's that time of year. Things can change in a minute. After the 2005 season, Earl Lane was driving from Tampa, where he was an assistant coach at South Florida, to Wisconsin for his new job. But LSU coach Les Miles got him on his cellular phone and convinced him to take a left well before Albuquerque, and he became an LSU assistant.

Gator recruits are posting that Gonzales is LSU bound. It could happen. But something new could happen in the next 24 hours.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Overlooked sport

Only in the SEC can men's basketball be an overlooked sport.

But football's dominance in this region -- and let's face it, in this decade it has grown even more -- completely dwarfs basketball.

As it is, basketball has the shortest season in terms of fan attention of any of the three major sports. People around here won't look at a basketball game until after signing day in February.

This season, it may be a good thing for Trent Johnson.

But it is the way just about everywhere in the SEC with the exception of Kentucky.

So when the league flames out in the NCAA Tournament again, fans shouldn't really complain. This is just the way it is in the SEC right now.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

UT's Frank Wilson would be great hire for LSU

BATON ROUGE - The word is that Tennessee assistant football coach Frank Wilson is being considered for the opening on the LSU staff created by running backs coach Larry Porter becoming the head coach at Memphis.

Wilson has only been at Tennessee for one season as the wide receivers coach, but he would be very interested in returning to his home state as the LSU running backs coach, recruiting coordinator or whatever offensive opening there may be - and there will be more.

Wilson is a New Orleans native who would love to be a college assistant close to home. He badly wanted an LSU assistant coaching job in 2003 when he was then the head coach at O. Perry Walker High School in New Orleans. He thought he was going to get the job, particularly when then LSU head coach Nick Saban signed three of his kids from Walker. But Saban went "another direction."

Wilson later became a running backs coach at Ole Miss under head coach Ed Orgeron from 2005-07 and was the running backs coach at Southern Mississippi in 2008 after Orgeron was let go by Ole Miss. Wilson, who is known as an excellent recruiter, accepted a job on new Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen's staff after the 2008 season, but he then jumped ship to rejoin Orgeron under new Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin.

Wilson is one of the lowest- paid assistants on Kiffin's staff at approximately $150,000 a year. LSU coaches with Louisiana ties have been few and far between. Wilson's ties to talent-rich New Orleans and throughout the Southeast would greatly benefit LSU's recruiting efforts.

LSU coach Les Miles tried to hire Orgeron last season for similar reasons. Hiring Wilson now would be a great move.