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Monday, January 25, 2010

A Saintly diversion

The New Orleans Saints' run to the Super Bowl comes at a good time for a couple of folks on LSU's campus.

Trent Johnson is probably glad that people aren't following his basketball team so closely. To Johnson's credit, at least he knew this was a rebuilding year.

Les Miles, on the other hand, is probably glad for the diversion. His recruiting class has taken some hits -- not to mention a New Year's Day bowl loss when time management was an issue.

But hey, the Saints are going to the Super Bowl. Miles won't get back into the crosshairs until SEC Media Days in July when his team is a second or third pick in the West again.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Les' horseshoe

A year ago at this time, Tennessee was recruiting Louisiana as if it was part of the Volunteer state. Ed Orgeron and Frank Wilson were covering the state and after signing day, the Vols signed one of the state's top players in Janzen Jackson.

Now, look a year later.

Les Miles hires Wilson and Orgeron leaves for USC with Lane Kiffen.

And just like that a school that might have been able to pluck off a player or two in the state is no longer a factor.

Practically no one saw the Kiffen move coming. But it certainly helps Les Miles. Sometimes it pays to be lucky.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On Chad Jones' decision

On the surface, you might think Chad Jones is a bit foolish for leaving school as a junior and projected as a third-round pick when he could come back for his senior and leave as a first-round pick.

Again, that's on the surface.

Jones, though, is like a lot of juniors out there. He is studying more than just his own personal draft stock.

Agent Leigh Steinberg predicted a lot of juniors would leave school early. Here's what he told The Sporting News.

"It's likely that as a new CBA is negotiated, some restructure of rookie compensation will be in place for 2011 ... The new system might mean no guaranteed money and less overall compensation for younger players. That could cause the 2010 draft to become an Oklahoma Land Rush-type superdraft filled with fearful juniors.''

Jones' decision makes perfect sense after all.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Basketball anyone?

OK, I know it's hard to get fired up for basketball season -- especially when the coach all but wrote the season off last spring.

But SEC play begins on Saturday.

And really, you've got to watch something between now and signining day and baseball, right?

Here's my thought, LSU will be a well-coached team that might - -emphasis on might -- find a way to finish as high as third in the West. I think Mississippi State and Ole Miss are probably the two best teams in the West. Poor ol' Arkansas is down there with LSU and who knows what Alabama and Auburn will run out there.

If Trent Johnson is able to get a third-place finish out of this squad, then no one should question his ability to get the most out of this players.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

LSU Suddenly a Steppingstone?

BATON ROUGE - Is LSU just a steppingstone to greatness now?

All over tonight's BCS national championship game between Alabama and Texas, that will be evident.

Alabama coach Nick Saban's unparalleled success at LSU from 2000-04 got him the best NFL offer in history.

Texas defensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp was LSU's defensive coordinator from 2002-04.

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, a hot head coaching prospect at the moment, was LSU's defensive backs coach in 2004.

Alabama linebacker coach/assistant head coach Sal Sunseri, special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Bobby Williams and defensive line coach Bo Davis, who is a former LSU defensive lineman, were all on Saban's staff at LSU.

Texas coach Mack Brown was a very successful quarterbacks coach at LSU in 1982 and long desired to be LSU's head coach. In fact, when Bill Arnsparger became LSU's coach in 1984, Brown, who had moved on to the head coaching job at Appalachian State in 1983, could have joined him as offensive coordinator with a promise of becoming head coach after Arnsparger left after a few years, which he did.

Yes, Brown could have been one of the first head coaches in waiting. Of course the money and contract were not put in front of him as they were put in front of Muschamp and Jimbo Fisher at Florida State.

Oop, there's another one. Fisher was LSU's vastly successful offensive coordinator from 2000-06 as he mastered both the running game and passing game, made winners out of quarterbacks with less talent than at LSU now and never had his offense anywhere near 112 in the nation, which is LSU's current rank with lots of skill talent.

The BCS national championship game could continue to be filled with head coaches who did their time at LSU - Muschamp at Texas, Fisher at Florida State and Bo Pelini, LSU's defensive coordinator from 2005-07, at Nebraska.

And don't forget Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley, an LSU assistant coach from 2000-2004 who will move on to a high profile coaching job somewhere before too long. Smart could, too.

Meanwhile, LSU appears to be going the other way under head coach Les Miles, who is 17-9 in his last two seasons with a 7-9 SEC record after going 34-6 and 19-5 in the SEC in his first three seasons after inheriting Saban's Fortune 500 company. His two latest coordinators - Gary Crowton and John Chavis - may be on the less progressive end of their careers.

LSU in its present state looks very far from another BCS title game.

Which reminds me of something two high rankiing LSU athletic department officials said back in December of 2004 when I asked why wasn't Fisher even interviewed for the LSU head coaching job.

"He's too rough," they both said. And Miles has never been exactly smooth, even when he was winning big.

We shall see.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

How do you view this season?

OK, LSU fans, how do you view this football season?

You can say a nine-win season is an accomplishment. But then none of the nine wins came against teams that will be ranked at the end of the season.

You could say the season was a disappointment. But then remember the Gerry DiNardo days? The Curley Hallman days? Nine wins looked pretty good back then.

So what say you Tiger fans? Success or disappointment in 2009?