Tag:LSU
Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:12 pm
 

Jefferson pleads not guilty to battery charge

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In what's been a busy couple of days for Jordan Jefferson, the former LSU quarterback has pled not guilty to the misdemeanor simple battery charge stemming from last August's infamous fight outside a Baton Rouge bar.

If convicted, Jefferson faces a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. His case is set to be heard May 10 in the East Baton Rouge Parish court.

Jefferson had originally been charged with felony battery, but the lack of DNA evidence and other factors led to the grand jury reducing the charge to a misdemeanor, resulting in the lifting of Jefferson's suspension midway through the 2011 season.

Jefferson and his attorneys have maintained his innocence throughout the process, with attorney Lewis Unglesby saying in September that Jefferson "will never be convicted" in a trial setting. 

Though the impending court date and reports from the bar fight won't do Jefferson any favors in the eyes of NFL scouts, one draft expert told CBSSports.com LSU RapidReporter Glenn Guilbeau it doesn't make any real difference--Jefferson won't be drafted regardless.

"I was surprised he was invited (to the NFL Draft combine)," said expert Mike Detillier. "I don't think Jordan can throw accurately enough to play in the NFL. He has a strong arm. He's a good athlete. But in the NFL you have to throw accurately from the pocket. He struggled with that his whole career." 

Jefferson will try and disprove those doubts at the combine, set for Feb. 22.

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 5:31 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 1:36 pm
 

LSU's Jefferson 'would've changed' play-calls



Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's open season on the LSU offensive coaching staff, and the team's former players just keep firing away.

The latest ex-Tiger to do so is the player at the center of much of the post-BCS championship second-guessing, quarterback Jordan Jefferson. Speaking on WCNN radio in Atlanta, Jefferson said he "probably would've changed" some of his coaches' play-calls during his team's 21-0 embarrassment if he'd had the authority. A portion of the interview:

Do you second guess yourself on doing things differently?:

“I think we should’ve spread them out a little bit more, put the ball in different passing areas, use our talent on the receiving side. We had that in as far as play-calling, we just didn’t get to it ...

Is that something you realize during the game but you can’t really do anything because you’re not calling the plays?:

“Yeah it definitely always comes to mind and it comes to mind to our receivers and tight ends. We have great guys in those areas and sometimes we just wonder why we don’t use those guys. But we’re not the one calling the plays. We still have to go out and execute what the coaches and coordinators are calling. We can’t complain as players, but sometimes we do question that."

Could you change those plays and audible on the field?:

“Only in certain plays and certain formations, not all the time. … If it was any way where I can change it, I probably would’ve changed some of them.”

As for the coaches' halftime attempts pt get things back on track, Jefferson added that "the adjustment we made wasn't the adjustment we needed to make."

Not surprisingly, Jefferson passed on suggesting he should have been replaced by backup quarterback Jarrett Lee, as guard Will Blackwell and Lee himself have. But his complaint that "sometimes we wonder why we don't use those guys" echoes strongly the gripes of tight end DeAngelo Peterson that the LSU braintrust ignored a game-plan that would have more heavily involved Jefferson's primary targets. (When not opining on the quarterbacking issue, Lee said as much as well.)

As we've stated before, the torrent of criticism in Steve Kragthorpe's, Greg Studrawa's and (to a lesser extent) Les Miles' collective direction would be much more troubling if there were any current players willing to publicly join in.

But that not one former Tiger is willing to stand up for his ex-coaches' performance that night in New Orleans strongly suggests that things were not run well behind the scenes -- not that what was in front of the scenes would argue with those complaints in the slightest -- and that if LSU's offensive coaching staff wants to maintain their players' faith in them, a    strong spring and quick start to 2012 would be highly advisable.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 6:39 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 6:41 pm
 

LSU G Josh Dworaczyk granted sixth year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The rich usually get richer in college football, and Wednesday was no exception at likely preseason No. 1 LSU.

The school announced that senior guard Josh Dworaczyk has received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA and will return to the Tigers roster for the 2012 season. Dworaczyk had started 26 consecutive games for LSU at left guard before suffering a knee injury in fall camp and missing the entire 2011 season.

"I'm excited to be able to get another year so that I can finish my career on the field," Dworaczyk said in a statement. "I felt like I had some unfinished business so being able to get this additional year is a blessing. Watching from the sidelines last year wasn't always easy because I was so used to being a contributor on the field. Getting another year means that I get to wear the Purple and Gold again and for that I'm very thankful."

The re-addition of Dworaczyk will make an already experienced Bayou Bengal offensive line that much more veteran-laden. Alongside right tackle Alex Hurst and center P.J. Lonergan, Dworaczyk will give the Tigers three senior starters, with rising junior Chris Faulk returning to start at left tackle for a total of four returning full-time starters.

"This is great news for our program," Les Miles said. "It's nice to see that he's going to get a chance to finish out his LSU career on the field."

Dworaczyk is expected to participate in the Tigers' spring drills, which begin March 1.

Want more Tiger football? Follow our CBSSports.com LSU RapidReports by Glenn Guilbeau for up-to-the-minute news and analysis. 

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 1:54 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 2:07 pm
 

Pac-12 makes changes to neutral site scheduling

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The Pac-12's continuing push into the media business with an upcoming conference network and digital platform will have a lasting effect on member schools' football schedules. According to the league's updated executive regulations, non-conference neutral site football games will no longer be permitted unless the conference gets their cut of the media rights:
No member institution shall enter into an agreement to play a neutral-site football game (except in circumstances where such neutral-site game is the away leg of a home-and-home series) unless such agreement provides the Conference with the exclusive broadcast rights and digital rights in all media, and copyright to such neutral-site game.
The move would essentially prohibit schools from scheduling games like last season's LSU-Oregon matchup at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas. Cases such as the upcoming USC-Syracuse game on September 8, 2012 at Met Life Stadium would be permissible because they are the Pac-12 team's away game in a home-and-home series while matchups like the UCLA-Texas game in 2014 would no longer be allowed unless the Longhorns agreed to come to Los Angeles.

Commissioner Larry Scott, whose contract was recently extended, has strived to keep a significant and meaningful portion of inventory for the Pac-12 Network in order to drive distribution with cable and satellite operators. The Pac-12 recently announced a scheduling agreement with the Big Ten that would strengthen the bond between the two leagues but would take away one non-conference game away from members. The combination of moves over the past two years appear to give the conference office a greater element of control over schools' schedules going forward.

USC-Alabama? Oklahoma-Oregon? With the Pac-12's new restrictions, it appears any chance such games happening as big neutral site games are no longer an option unless teams agree to come West.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 5:02 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 6:05 pm
 

VIDEO: Les Miles slams Gunner Kiel

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When asked about recruits that head to other programs, many college football coaches will say they only want to talk about the players that did sign. But Les Miles has never been one not to speak on any topic he's been asked about, and so at Wednesday night's "Bayou Bash" recruiting celebration, Miles said exactly what he thought of five-star LSU-commitment-turned-Notre Dame signee Gunner Kiel

"We needed a quarterback in this class. There was a young man from Indiana that thought about coming to the Bayou State," Miles said in reference to Kiel, "[but] he did not necessarily have the chest and the ability to lead a program. So you know."

Miles's emphatic delivery of his statement -- complete with "chest" hand gestures -- helped drive home his negative opinion on Kiel. Via the YouTube channel of the LSU student paper, the Daily Reveille, here's the video:
 


Miles goes on to praise new LSU quarterback signee Jeremy Liggins, who committed to the Tigers over his hometown Ole Miss Rebels in downtown Oxford.

It goes without saying, but we'll say it anyway: Miles going out of his way to slam a 17-or-18-year-old recruit in the sort of terms you'd hear from the lowest of sports talk-radio callers falls far, far below the standard of class we'd expect from one of the nation's most visible coaches. It's not just that Miles' willingness to sling mud at a teenager makes him seem childish and petty; it's that the swipe seems to be motivated by a need to pander to the worst instincts of the worst part* of his Tiger fanbase. 

There's little doubt Miles hasn't gotten to where he is by being a saint, and we don't blame him for being frustrated by Kiel's decision. But by sounding more like a common dweller on an LSU message board than the man who heads up the entire LSU football program, Miles has let that frustration boil over into a decision he should apologize for at the first opportunity.

*Link contains R-rated language. Video HT: CFT. 

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:29 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 3:45 pm
 

National Signing Day Winners and Losers: SEC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Breaking down who won and who lost in the SEC on National Signing Day:

 

WINNERS

Mike Slive. Anyone who doubted Missouri's conference cred had to fall silent for at least a day as the Tigers introduced the nation's No. 1 recruit into the SEC East. The rest of the Tigers' class may not be as deep as many of their new league rivals', but when said class also includes a star as overpoweringly bright as Dorial Green-Beckham, it's hard to see any flaws.

Players to watch: WR Dorial Green-Beckham, G Evan Boehm, QB Maty Mauk.  

Alabama. Yawn--just another No. 1-ranked class of 25-plus blue-chips for Nick Saban's perpetual recruiting motion machine, with the surprise signing of highly regarded Virginia defensive tackle Korren Kirven the icing on a cake the Crimson Tide had baked long before Wednesday. By his own admission, Saban said they "didn't have any surprises," for worse or -- this being Alabama -- better. Once Kirven had declared and top safety Landon Collins had finally gotten his mother on board, the drama in Tuscaloosa was over.

In fact, after a big Junior Day haul, Saban and Co. are already off and sprinting for 2013. Come next February, it's likely there won't be any surprises then either. It may not be exciting for anyone hoping for stunning announcements, big rankings swings, and overheated speculation -- the Tide may have used it all up in last year's Cyrus Kouandjio saga -- but it's the same lethally efficient formula that's netted Saban two national championships in three seasons. Nothing much changed for Alabama on Signing Day, but unfortunately for the rest of college football, that means nothing much has changed when it comes to the difficulty of knocking the Tide off their perch, either.

Players to watch: S Landon CollinsRB T.J. YeldonCB Geno SmithVideo: Saban on being No. 1 on the recruiting trail. 



James Franklin. When Franklin's blazingly hot start last summer netted him a commitment from All-American running back Brian Kimbrow, the nation's no. 52 player, the response from many observers around the SEC was "That's impressive. It'll be even more impressive if he actually signs."

Not every one of those early Vanderbilt commitments made it across the finish line. But Kimbrow did, along with 20 other quality players that had the 'Dores in the CBS Sports National Signing Day  Top 25 a week beforehand. Vandy couldn't quite hang on to that lofty ranking, but even having the SEC's eternal doormat in a "top 25" conversation is an achievement for Franklin arguably on par with Saban's in Tuscaloosa. 

Players to watch: RB Brian Kimbrow, DE Caleb AzubikeQB Pat Robinette.

Steve Spurrier's nerves. South Carolina isn't traditionally the first team you'd think of when looking for a comparison to Alabama when it comes to recruiting success. But the Gamecocks might be this year, thanks in part to joining the Tide in the team rankings top 10 (believe it or not, Carolina quietly finished third in the SEC). But like Alabama, the Gamecocks also enjoyed a pleasantly uneventful Signing Day, with 19 of the 25 Gamecocks who signed today having already committed before the 2011 season started. 

“It’s been a peaceful Signing Day today, which was kind of nice,” recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. said. And when you peacefully land players like Shaq Roland and Jordan Diggs, doubly so.

Players to watch: WR Shaq Roland, RB Mike DavisDB Jordan Diggs. Video: Spurrier talks recruiting impact. 


LOSERS

Mark Richt's nerves. On the other side of the spectrum from Alabama and South Carolina, there was Georgia's National Signing Day. The day started with the disappointment of missing out on receivers Cordarelle Patterson (Tennessee) and JaQuay Williams (Auburn) (leaving the Bulldogs with just one wideout in the class), then picked up with a commitment from Maxpreps top 100 linebacker/safety Josh Harvey-ClemonsBut that a.m. joy dissolved into p.m. worry as Harvey-Clemons grandfather and legal guardian reportedly refused to sign Harvey-Clemons' letter of intent. Adding insult to injury, Richt's premature public comments on Harvey-Clemons may have even constituted a minor NCAA violation.

With or without Harvey-Clemons, the Bulldogs are still going to boast a star-studded class with nearly as many top 100 recruits (five, or six) as any team in the country. But the potential of losing Harvey-Clemons to hated Florida with the Gators already sitting some 15 spots ahead in the team rankings is likely to cause a restless evening (or evenings) in Athens all the same.

Players to watch: OL John TheusRB Keith MarshallDE Jordan Jenkins. Video: Will Muschamp on Florida's Signing Day.

LSU's in-state clout. There's about 105 FBS teams or so that would gladly trade classes with LSU's, especially after the addition of out-of-state gems like Oxford (Ala.) linebacker Kwon AlexanderBut in a somewhat down year for talent in the Pelican State, the Tigers had to lock down the borders to put together a truly elite class, and that didn't happen--not only did Collins and highly-regarded linebacker Denzel Devall stick with their Alabama commitments, Texas shocked Les Miles by snatching away the Tigers' blue-chip linebacker Torshiro Davis. (Davis rubbed salt in Miles's wound by saying LSU's players "don't seem that happy.")

Those were the top three players in the state by many accounts, and LSU didn't land any of them. It's not the end of the world, but for a program built on an annual harvest of blue-chippers from the bayou, it's a worrying sign all the same.

Players to watch: OL Vadal Alexander, WR Avery Johnson, LB Trey Granier.  

Arkansas. As usual under Bobby Petrino, the Razorbacks signed a respectable-but-not-spectacular class that Petrino will no doubt turn into something far more than the sum of its parts once it comes together in Fayetteville. But to come as close as they reportedly did to signing the player that would have helped cement their status as a national power and come up short has to sting.

Players to watch: LB Otha Peters, OG Jeremy Ward, RB Jonathan Williams.

SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN

Auburn. On the good side: wide receivers JaQuay Williams and Ricardo Louis each stuck with their original commitments to the Tigers, offensive lineman Will Adams flipped from Georgia Tech, and top tackle Avery Young gave Auburn a top-100 cornerstone at Georgia and Florida's expense. On the not so good side: Eddie Goldman, Ronald Darby, Leonard Williams, Alexander and Jordan Moore all had Auburn as one of their finalists and all went in a different direction. Gene Chizik's boom-or-bust Signing Day somehow managed to neither quite boom nor bust.

Players to watch: QB Zeke Pike, RB Jovon Robinson, DB T.J. Davis. And to wrap things up, here's some video of Derek Dooley:


Posted on: January 31, 2012 1:37 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 3:45 pm
 

SEC commemorates sixth national title with shirt

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Hey, remember when the SEC used the cover of its 2011 media guide to oh-so-subtly remind the rest of college football which conference had won the previous five national titles? Now that that number has been bumped up one more notch, they're letting the fans officially get in on the fun--not that SEC fans have ever needed the encouragement.

That encouragement nonetheless arrived Tuesday with the appearance of this t-shirt in the SEC's official Internet store:

 

On the one hand, we'd wonder why Alabama fans would wear a t-shirt that also commemorates Auburn's 2010 title, LSU fans one reminding them of their crushing loss to the Tide this past January as well as their 2007 championship, Georgia fans one that reflects a pair of Florida titles, etc. And it's pretty much impossible to wear this as a fan of, say, Kentucky and not be accused of coattail-riding, isn't it?

On the other, these are SEC fans we're talking about, and you never know when you might wind up planning a trip to Columbus, Austin, or Eugene. So: expect them to sell like hot cakes.

You can pick up your own in the CBSSports.com Shop

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 2:42 pm
 

Phil Steele: LSU will open 2012 season No. 1

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

For all their explosive Mathieuan brilliance, LSU failed to finish the 2011 season ranked No. 1. But Phil Steele does have a small bit of good news for the Tigers: the numbers guru says that's where LSU will start the 2012 season.

For the fourth straight offseason, the preview magazine maven has projected the preseason AP top 10 based on returning starters, bowl performance, and other factors. Despite their BCS championship game pratfall, Steele expects the Tigers to open 2012 as the AP No. 1, one slot ahead of much-hyped USC.

Steele's assessment:

Last year LSU was picked 2nd in the SEC West behind Alabama and would go on to have arguably the best regular season in school history going 13-0 winning the SEC Championship and would beat EIGHT Top 25 teams! While the National Title loss to Alabama still stings, many of the Tigers’ star players return for 2012 including Heisman candidate DB Tyrann Mathieu along with their top 3 rec’s and their top 4 rushers. Throw in QB Zach Mettenberger who Miles said last year was his best pure passing QB and a home game vs Alabama and the Tigers will be the favorites to win the National Title! 

Alabama, Oregon and Oklahoma round out the projected top five, with Nos. 6-10 going to Georgia, Michigan, Florida State, Arkansas and West Virginia, respectively.

Based on Steele's track record, Les Miles should go ahead and start preparing his team to wear that familiar top-ranked bullseye, at least for its opening week matchup against North Texas. All three teams pegged by Steele to earn the AP's preseason No. 1 nod have gone to do so, including Oklahoma last year. Steele has also correctly predicted 9 of 10 teams all three years of the exercise and 13 of 15 total teams in the top five. 

Which means it's not just Miles that can go ahead and start worrying about managing expectations--assuming Steele is correct (or even close to it), the Bulldogs, Wolverines and Mountaineers will all be graced with a substantially higher preseason ranking than any of those programs has faced in years. And though that's not always a recipe for disaster (look at what Oklahoma State accomplished this past season), an appearance in Steele's projected top 10 proved to be a terrible omen for other supposed up-and-comers like 2009 Ole Miss, 2010 Iowa and 2011 Texas A&M.

So we're guessing Mark Richt, Brady Hoke and Dana Holgorsen -- not to mention Jimbo Fisher and his perennially overrated Seminoles -- are all hoping that this once, Steele isn't quite as accurate as he's promised to be.

Steele also recently released a comprehensive look at the entire FBS's projected returning starters for 2012; you can read the Eye on CFB's breakdown of those numbers here.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com