Tag:Les Miles
Posted on: August 25, 2011 5:01 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 5:03 pm
 

Russell Shepard ineligible, to miss LSU opener

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

What must already be one of the longest weeks of Les Miles' coaching career is getting even longer.

The "compliance issue" which threatened the eligibility of star receiver Russell Shepard will result in his suspension for the opener against Oregon and "a number of games" more, LSU has announced. Thanks to Shepard having spoken with a teammate about that teammate's meeting with NCAA officials prior to the meeting, he has been ruled ineligible.

LSU stated they would apply to have Shepard reinstated and his eligibility restored, but there is no current timetable for a ruling on that application.

A former five-star recruit, Shepard has yet to fulfill his substantial pre-arrival hype in Baton Rouge, but the versatile athlete still finished 2010 LSU's third-leading receiver and fourth-leading rusher. (If there's any silver lining to Thursday's news for the Tigers, it's that the Ducks will be missing the suspended Cliff Harris; as Chris "Heismanpundit" Huston put it on Twitter, "Oregon will not have its best corner available to cover LSU's best suspended receiver.")

Still, if Shepard's suspension is followed up with further trouble for Jordan Jefferson, the Tiger offense -- never the team's strong suit -- will enter the Oregon match-up beyond shorthanded.

The full text of LSU's statement is below:
LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard has been declared ineligible by LSU for violation of an NCAA rule, it was announced Thursday.
LSU will seek reinstatement for Shepard but he is expected to miss a number of games until the reinstatement can be considered by the NCAA. He can continue to practice with the team.
Shepard has been found by the NCAA and LSU to be in violation of Bylaw 32.1.4. Shepard was determined to have discussed an NCAA inquiry with a teammate who was scheduled to meet with an NCAA representative and his actions were deemed to have violated NCAA protocol.
No timeline has been determined for the reinstatement process.


Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:24 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Gun pointed at LSU players in June 5 altercation

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As it turns out, the now-infamous melee in the Shady's parking lot isn't the only fight LSU's players have been involved in this summer. But at least Les Miles can say this: this time, it's someone else facing criminal charges.

According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, the local district attorney will be pursuing charges against a pair of men involved in a June 5 altercation with Tiger defensive end Sam Montgomery and quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Though those are the only two players named in the report, other players were believed present and are expected to be witnesses in the case.

The police report from the incident states that Montgomery and a man named Robert Davis were fighting in the parking lot of a Baton Rouge apartment complex when Davis associate Marcus Adams pulled a gun and pointed it at Montgomery. When Mettenberger attempted to intervene, Adams pointed the gun at him as well. Per the DA, Adams and Davis will be facing the only charges filed as a result of the incident.

According to Montgomery's account, the fight began when Davis's and Adams's Jeep had circled the apartment complex several times, leading to an argument. Montgomery said Davis then got out of the vehicle to confront him. After both Montgomery and Mettenberger had pleaded with Adams not to fire the gun, Davis and Adams got back into the Jeep and allegedly fired multiple shots as they drove away.

Police arrested the pair after responding to another apartment where Adams reportedly fired the gun again. Montgomery and Mettenberger were brought to the scene to identify Davis and Adams, who were booked on charges of simple battery, aggravated assault with a firearm, illegal use of a weapon and carrying a firearm on school property.

Adams told the Advocate that the incident began when a football player he knows only as "Ego" approached the Jeep "in a belligerent fashion, cursing, and demanding to know why they were there." Ego Ferguson is a freshman defensive tackle with LSU, but is not named in the police report. Adams admitted to pulling the gun but denied he fired it as the Jeep left.

So what does all this mean for LSU's football team? Not much--with no charges filed against any Tiger player and police seeming to agree that Davis and Adams were the aggressors, Miles can't be considering any serious punishment for his players' involvement.

But given that the fight occurred in a parking lot at 2:30 a.m., it won't do much for the Tigers' now  very healthy reputation for staying out late enough to let trouble find them, even when they're not necessarily looking for it. While Miles (like any and every college football fan) is no doubt grateful nothing more serious happened during the incident, he'll also no doubt have yet another message to deliver about the wrong and right places to be in the wee hours of the morning.

Posted on: August 19, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Spurrier: coaches "paranoid" about open practices

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Steve Spurrier has never been one to follow the coaching football crowd or refrain from speaking his mind, and he proved it once again Thursday on his weekly radio call-in show.

For starters, Spurrier announced that Saturday's Gamecock scrimmage would be open to the public, a reversal from earlier policy regarding the scrimmage and a move that flies in the face of the nationwide trend towards closing off fall practices.

But even more interesting was Spurrier's rationale for the switch: “We don’t have to act like all those guys who are paranoid somebody is going to come and watch a ball play," he said on the radio show.

What makes Spurrier's statement particularly interesting is that "all those guys" include most of his SEC head coaching brethren. Les Miles closed LSU practices to the media several days early, unhappy with the local coverage. Will Muschamp closed Florida's spring practice for the first time ever and has kept fall camp likewise off-limits. Dan Mullen closed off Mississippi State practice Aug. 8. Reporters at Auburn are barred from scrimmages while players are instructed not to discuss certain aspects of those scrimmages, aspects like "who played well."

All of which is entirely those coaches' prerogative, of course, as it is the many, many other coaches across the country who employ the same policies. And if asked to choose between more incisive coverage of their team and the potential revealing of information that might help their team's opponents, or more generic coverage and fewer leaks, the overwhelming majority of fans will support closed practices and the latter.

So whether Spurrier is being fair or not in labeling the move towards tighter restrictions "paranoia," don't expect to see it change anytime soon ... just like, as we've seen again, the Ole Ball Coach himself.

Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:39 am
Edited on: August 17, 2011 11:57 am
 

Miles now says Shepard could face suspension

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The last time we checked in on the Russell Shepard situation at LSU, Les Miles was assuring Tiger fans his star athlete wouldn't miss any time for his off-campus housing-related "compliance issue." "He's fine," Miles said. "He won't have to sit out."

Unfortunately for the Tigers, Miles was singing something of a different tune when speaking to the media Tuesday. Per CBSSports.com RapidReporter Glenn Guilbeau, Miles admitted that the issue could result in Shepard's suspension for the opener against Oregon, saying it was too early to know one way or the other.

"It's premature at this point," he said, adding this typically Miles-ian gem: "When I know more, I'll be forthcoming. Or I won't be forthcoming, and I'll be honestly deceptive."

For his part, Shepard maintained -- as he always has -- that he wasn't sure what would come of the inquiry into his off-campus living arrangement, saying he could miss "the first game or more games, I don’t know."

If the Bayou Bengals were facing Tulane or some other paycheck patsy in their opener, they'd be able to get by without their third-leading receiver and fourth-leading rusher from a year ago. And they may be able to get by the Ducks all the same.

But facing the prospect of keeping up with one of the most loaded offenses in the country, the stop-start LSU attack will likely need all hands on deck--meaning the next couple of weeks will keep everyone in Baton Rouge on the sharpest of pins and needles.


Posted on: August 10, 2011 12:55 pm
 

Les Miles on Shepard: 'He won't have to sit out.'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Perhaps the hottest topic during LSU's fall camp has been the status of wide receiver Russell Shepard, the Tigers' co-leading returner in receptions, who recently found himself at the center of a "compliance issue" related to his off-campus housing.

Having skipped SEC Media Days due to the incident, Shepard spoke to the media yesterday (including CBSSports.com RapidReporter Glenn Guilbeau) for the first time regarding the issue. "I could be suspended for the first game or more games," he said. "I don't know. It's out of my hands."

But in what must be music to the ears of Tigers fans desperate for one of their most explosive playmakers to take the field against Oregon, Shepard's head coach was much, much more confident regarding Shepard's eligiblity. How confident? This confident:
"There have been communications that would make it appear that it's not very, very serious," Miles said. "He's fine. No, he won't have to sit out." 
So -- as far as Miles is concerned -- there you have it. Shepard's good to go.

But it's difficult to take Miles completely at his word when the player himself still seems unsure. "You never really know," Shepard said when asked if the issue could cost him the season. "I don't think it will ever get that big. But the NCAA's job is to protect athletes as well as universities. They're going to do the best possible thing for college football."

That's exactly the right thing for Shepard to say, considering it's the NCAA who's holding his 2011 campaign in the balance. But you have to forgive Miles and the Tiger faithful for hoping that this once, the organization does the best possible thing for LSU football.

Also in LSU RapidReports: Many LSU fans have wanted to see strong-armed JUCO transfer (and former Georgia quarterback)  Zach Mettenberger take over for incumbent Jordan Jefferson, but to this point Mettenberger hasn't even beaten out Jarrett Lee for the backup's role. But Mettenberger, for his part, is fine with that.

"That's reasonable," he said. "I'm behind two guys who've been here four years. I'm just looking to learn as much as I can from two guys who've really put in some time in the SEC. They're both really good. Both won a lot of games, and now I'm trying to learn as much as I can from them."



Posted on: August 4, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Preseason Coaches Poll Reactions: SEC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Whatever you think about preseason polls -- such as the USA Today Coaches version, released earlier today -- the one thing you cannot argue is that they don't matter. For Oklahoma and Alabama, the news became official today that if they win all their games this 2011 season, they will be in the BCS national championship game--no ifs, ands, or buts. And though they'll start the season No. 4, the same can now be said of LSU, since they'll face two of the three teams ranked ahead of them.

So with that fact about their importance in mind, it's time to break down where each of the SEC's 12 teams landed in (or outside of) the first Coaches Poll of the year, and decide whether the pollsters placed them too high, or too low, or just right:

ALABAMA (No. 2): So much for defense winning championships, apparently. The Tide allowed a full half-yard less per-play than the Sooners did in 2011 (ranking seventh in the FBS to Oklahoma's 33rd) and return 10 defensive starters, while Oklahoma has said good-bye to All-American safety Quinton Carter and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jeremy Beal. There's also the little matter of Nick Saban's recent defensive pedigree over the much, much iffier Sooners'.

Given that Saban is still deciding between two inexperienced quarterbacks while the Sooners return Heisman candidate Landry Jones, we can understand the coaches' thinking here. But we don't agree with it.

Verdict? Even at No. 2, too low.

LSU (No. 4): It's not often you see the nation's 86th-ranked offense rewarded with the No. 4 ranking the following season, but such is the buzz surrounding the Tigers after their bludgeoning of Texas A&M in last year's Cotton Bowl.

But until Jordan Jefferson proves he's as improved as he appeared to be that night in Dallas and the new (and, unfortunately, newly reshuffled) offensive staff prove they're genuinely capable of putting all the Bayou Bengals' weapons to use, we're still foreseeing a lot of tight, competitive, coin-flip-style ball games. And as excellent as Les Miles is in those kinds of contests, that's still not the recipe for the one-loss season required to finish in the final top-five.

Verdict? Top 10 makes sense, but top 5 is too high.

SOUTH CAROLINA  (No. 12): There's no question that with Stephen Garcia back in the fold, the Gamecocks have the talent to live up to this lofty billing. And the schedule, while difficult, isn't that difficult; no LSU or Alabama means trips to Georgia and Arkansas are the trickiest dates on the slate. If Carolina can survive the week 2 trip to Athens, a 10- or even 11-win season beckons.

Of course, the Gamecocks have also been the kind of program that traditionally loses trap games like their roadies at Mississippi State or Tennessee, so it's also possible they drop three or four regular-season games and wind up nowhere near No. 12. Splitting the difference seems reasonable.

Verdict? About right.

ARKANSAS (No. 14): We'll make this simple: a talented, veteran defense opposite a Bobby Petrino offense featuring his long sought-after plowhorse running back and the nation's best wide receiving corps? They're going to be really, really good. 10-2 good, second straight BCS bowl berth good, we're thinking.

Verdict? Too low.

AUBURN (No. 19): As we mentioned earlier today, the old adage that you shouldn't drop the previous No. 1 until they lose might suggest the Tigers have been slapped in the face being as low as No. 19. And indeed, no defending national champion has been ranked this low to start the season since Minnesota went unranked in the 1961 preseason top 20.

But almost none of those defending national champions have faced either the kind of talent exodus the Tigers do or the savage slate that sees Auburn face all seven of the other SEC teams in the poll. If Gene Chizik can win the nine games that are likely necessary to finish the season in the top 20, he'll have done nearly as good a job as he did in 2010.

Verdict? It's a nice gesture towards the defending champs. But performance-wise? Too high.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (No. 20): Dan Mullen's Bulldogs will be good enough (and will have enough opportunity, with home dates against Alabama, LSU, and South Carolina) to impact the SEC race and make the top 25. They don't seem to have enough horses (particularly in a graduation-damaged front seven) to actually challenge for a title in a division as completely stacked as the West. 20 is jus tabout where we'd have them, too.

Verdict? About right.

GEORGIA (No. 22): Mark Richt's Bulldogs, on the other hand, are the SEC's biggest 2011 wild card. They might start 0-2 and collapse in an under-.500, Richt-finishing heap. They might start 2-0 and ride the league's cushiest schedule all the way to an undefeated regular season. (Seriously. Look at their slate and tell me which game after the Carolina tilt they won't be favored in if they can get past the Gamecocks.)

That would suggest a cautious 22 might be about right, but we're betting Richt has turned the tide with this spring's "Dream Team" recruiting class and the focus that comes with a make-or-break season.

Verdict? Too low. We think. Maybe.

FLORIDA (No. 24): It's easy to forget that for all of the disappointment and frustration of Urban Meyer's final season in Gainesville, the Gators still won eight games--and could have even snagged a few more if not for some unfortunate bounces against teams like LSU and Mississippi State. So even though we're firmly in wait-and-see mode where the John Brantley-Charlie Weis shotgun marriage is concerned, having the SEC's second-best defense from a year ago getting the added boost of Will Muschamp's arrival seems like reason enough to take a flyer on the Gators at the bottom of the ballot.

Verdict? About right.

THE OTHER FOUR (n/a): Tennessee pulled seven voting points to land in the "Others receiving votes" category at "No. 41" overall, with none of the other three SEC teams receiving even a token vote. We're surprised the Volunteers didn't get a little more love -- after their late-season surge in 2010, there was some measure of buzz pegging them as 2011 sleepers -- but after Tyler Bray's up-and-down spring, we don't blame the pollsters for their skepticism.

Verdict? About right.


Posted on: July 30, 2011 3:50 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Georgia hit with secondary violation for texts

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Georgia was hit with a Level 1 secondary violation by the SEC following some inadvertant text messages that Mark Richt sent to a recruit's father in May. However, there isn't much for Georgia fans to worry about since it isn't likely Georgia will be punished severely considering that the texts Richt did sent contained no content.

In fact, when you read about how Richt ended up texting the father of Jordan Jenkins, Ron Jenkins, you get a nice glimpse of how silly some NCAA violations can be.
In [Georgia AD Greg] McGarity’s May 27 letter of explanation to [SEC Commissioner Mike] Slive, he reports that Richt accidentally sent two text messages from his Blackberry to the father of Harris County defensive end Jordan Jenkins on May 26th. Jenkins is considered by many the top prospect in Georgia. Text messages to prospects or their family members are impermissible per NCAA rules until one day after a prospect has signed a national letter of intent with the school.

In the first instance, Richt received a text from Ron Jenkins asking for camp dates. Since Richt did not have the number programmed in his phone, the text was identified as “unknown.” Richt intended to forward the text to a recruiting assistant for identification but accidentally replied to Mr. Jenkins, which was a violation NCAA Bylaw 13.4.1.2.

Richt immediately reported the inadvertent violation to compliance director Eric Baumgartner, who subsequently asked Richt if Mr. Jenkins had replied. In an attempt to forward Mr. Jenkins’ response to Baumgartner, Richt accidentally replied to Mr. Jenkins again, hence he had to report another text violation.
Such a scandal. Stay tuned next week for when Les Miles gets in trouble for sharing funny photos with a recruit on his Google reader.
Posted on: July 22, 2011 2:32 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 3:07 pm
 

Report: LSU's Shepard has 'compliance issue'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

This much we know about LSU wide receiver/athlete Russell Shepard: after being scheduled to appear at SEC Media Days this week, he has not made the trip to Birmingham. And that according to an official LSU statement, he is not suspended and is missing Media Days due to "personal issues."

That's the line repeated by Les Miles (via CBSSports' own Brett McMurphy):



But according to reports from longtime LSU beat writer Randy Rosetta of TigerSportDigest, it's more complicated than that. Rosetta's initial report:


And a follow-up:


It's that "future eligibility" question that makes this story potentially much more than just Shepard missing out on a visit to the Wynfrey. One of the nation's most sought-after prospects in the 2009 class, Shepard has yet to make the kind of impact expected after his arrival in Baton Rouge, but the former five-star retains a massive amount of potential which new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe is no doubt anxious to tap into.

Even if Shepard's "compliance issue" doesn't force him to miss any more than the season opener against Oregon, even that could be a big blow for a Bayou Bengal team whose roller-coaster offense needs all the weapons it can get. Stay tuned.


 
 
 
 
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