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LSU Loses Hoops Assistant Robinson

LSU hoops assistant Nick Robinson will be introduced today as the new head coach at Southern Utah.  The Salt Lake City native has been on Trent Johnson’s staff for all three of the coaches’ seasons in Baton Rouge.

Robinson played his senior season under Johnson at Stanford.

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11 Set To Leave The SEC Early

In pouring over the list of underclassmen declaring themselves eligible for the NFL draft, we’ve spied 11 ex-SEC’ers on the roll.  Granted, our old eyes might’ve missed someone — and someone might have declared late as the deadline was at 12:00am this morning — but here’s the final list as we see it:


Alabama
LB Dont’a Hightower
CB Dre Kirkpatrick
RB Trent Richardson

Georgia
TE Orson Charles

LSU
DL Michael Brockers
CB Morris Claiborne
WR Reuben Randle

Mississippi State
DL Fletcher Cox

Ole Miss
OT Bobby Massie

South Carolina
CB Stephon Gilmore
WR Alshon Jeffery


If you’re wondering why Russell Shepard isn’t listed under LSU, the receiver had a change of heart after meeting with Les Miles late last week.  Shepard had previously announced via Twitter that he would be exiting Baton Rouge.

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LSU’s Shepard Leaving Baton Rouge

LSU reciever Russell Shepard has apparently decided to leave the school before his senior season.  But he didn’t make it clear on his Twitter feed yesterday where he would be going — to another school or to the NFL:


“Thanks for your support Tiger Nation…but I have to do what’s best for my family and myself…Geaux Tigers.”


That sounded like an NFL declaration to us, but some sites have claimed that Shepard was still deciding what to do.

Earlier today he tweeted that he was back in his hometown of Houston:


“Houston I’m back what’s good…..I don’t want to see a football right now lol.”


Russell had just 14 catches for 190 yards and four touchdowns this season.  He was suspended by the NCAA for the Tigers’ first three games due to a compliance issue involving his living arrangements.

Whether he’s going to try to get an NFL team to look at his workout numbers or transfer to another school, it seems pretty clear — for now — that Shepard won’t be back in Baton Rouge for the 2012 season.

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LSU Upsets #10 Marquette

Don’t look now, but the LSU Tigers might have bigger teeth than anyone imagined.

Last night, Trent Johnson’s team won its fifth-straight game, upsetting #10 Marquette 67-59 in Baton Rouge.  “Obviously, there is a level of excitement in that locker room,” the coach said afterward.  “We beat a pretty good basketball team… I don’t want to get into the last couple of years.  But will it give them confidence?  It should.  This team is growing.”

No wonder Johnson doesn’t want to talk about the last couple of years.  Those back-to-back seasons of 11-20 and 11-21 have landed the coach on a very hot seat in his fourth year on the Bayou.  This win was LSU first over a ranked foe since a win over Butler in the NCAA Tournament in 2009.  The Tigers hadn’t beaten a ranked team at home since John Brady’s tenure back in 2007.

Johnson and his players credited a rowdy crowd afterward.

“This game shows us that the work we’ve put in and our dedication and commitment that we have to each other and on our defense pays off,” forward Storm Warren said.

LSU has now won five games in a row to improve to 8-4 on the season.  But the Tigers are still a long way from becoming NCAA tourney contenders.  “I don’t want to take away from the guys’ excitement and enjoyment, but it’s one win,” Johnson said.

One win that Johnson desperately needed.

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LSU’s Coaches Could Get $1.15M In Bonuses

When you receive your Christmas bonus this year — and let’s hope it’s not a membership in The Jelly of the Month Club… even though it is the gift that keeps on giving the whole year — try not to think about the LSU coaching staff.  Doing so will make your own bonus seem, well, microscopic.

According to The New Orleans Times-Picayune, the 10-man coaching staff in Baton Rouge — including strength coach Tommy Moffitt — will earn a combined $1.15 million in bonuses if they can bring home a BCS championship.

Obvious statement:  College coaches put up with a nasty bit of stress in their lives but the cash certainly makes up for a heckuva lot of it.

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A True Contrast In Styles When Arkansas-LSU Get Together

When LSU traveled to Alabama 20 days ago, the game featured two of the best defenses in the nation — if not the best.  Knowing that points would be at a premium, both coaches went in with conservative, safe gameplans.  The result was a 9-6 overtime war that folks who appreciate football dubbed an instant classic.  Those who like pinball and Big 12-style fireworks, yawned.

Today in Baton Rouge, Game of the Century II will feature a real contrast in styles.  Just check the numbers for LSU and Arkansas in their conference games only:

 

SEC Scoring Offense — Arkansas #1 (35.6 points per game)  /  SEC Scoring Defense — LSU #1 (7.1 points allowed per game)

SEC Rushing Offense — Arkansas #6 (146.7 yards per game)  /  SEC Rushing Defense — LSU #3 (99.4 yards allowed per game)

SEC Passing Offense — Arkansas #1 (276.6 yards per game)  /  SEC Passing Defense — LSU #1 (120.3 yards allowed per game)

SEC Total Offense — Arkansas #1 (423.3 yards per game)  /  SEC Total Defense — LSU #2 (219.7 yards allowed per game)

 

So what happens when a top offense meets a top defense?  You know what usually occurs.  And while September was a long time ago, just look at Arkansas’ game with Alabama from the season’s first month for a clue:  Crimson Tide 38, Razorbacks 14.  Without a running game (19 carries for 17 yards), the Hogs found themselves in long-yardage situations and forced to pass for much of the afternoon.  In the end, Arkansas threw 40 passes for just 209 yards (that’s a terrible 5.2 yards per pass attempt) and converted just four of 15 third down attempts (27%).

We don’t expect Arkansas to be throttled in such convincing fashion today as they have improved as the year has played out… but we do expect them to lose.  When it’s great defense versus great offense, the safe money is always on the great defense.

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Miles Slightly Downplays NFL Talk

Last week, CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman wrote that Les Miles is becoming a hot name among NFL franchises considering future coaching candidates.

Yesterday, Miles didn’t have much to say about the topic yesterday:


“Any time someone says nice things about you, that is very kind, and you recognize that.  You are so focused on the things that you are doing currently that you give little focus to a number of articles. … Again, it certainly is a compliment.  I am happy where I am at.”


Miles’ boss — athletic director Joe Alleva — told The New Orleans Times-Picayune that he believes Miles is happy in Baton Rouge.  “We love him here and we’ll have to let the season play out and see what happens.  But no, I’m not worried about (Miles leaving for the NFL).”

As we wrote last week, we would be very surprised to see a rah-rah coach like Miles walk away from the collegiate game.

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FSU’s Fisher Says UA-UF A Battle Between Coaches Who Know Each Other Well

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher will be staked out in front of his television on Saturday night, watching two old colleagues battle one another in Gainesville.

Fisher served as Nick Saban’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at LSU.  During four of his six seasons in Baton Rouge, Fisher worked with fellow assistant Will Muschamp.  That gives him some special insight into this weekend’s clash between unbeaten Alabama and unbeaten Florida.

“I think you have two coaches who know how the other thinks,” Fisher told a Birmingham quarterback club yesterday.  “Experience helps.  And so does having the best players.  Will has enough experience.  We’ll see.”

“Alabama is playing so well, right now, defensively.  Florida’s got a lot of good players.  It’s going to be a heck of a ballgame.”

The line on Saturday’s game opened with Bama as a five-point favorite.  The line now has the Tide by four.

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LSU’s Jefferson Wants His Shoes Back

Two weeks ago, Baton Rouge police searched the apartment of LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson.  They left with bag upon bag of evidence.  Soon after, Jefferson was charged with second-degree battery in relation to an off-campus bar fight.

Now Jefferson wants his stuff back.

The lawyer for the suspended Tiger quarterback filed a motion in court yesterday seeking the return of the property police seized from Jefferson’s apartment.  Reportedly, 49 pairs of shoes were among the items nabbed.

Jefferson’s attorney says that property should be returned if it’s not being used as evidence.  Not only is the lawyer right, but any man who already owns 49 pairs of shoes shouldn’t be forced to go out and buy a 50th.

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Attorneys Speaking Out In LSU Bar Brawl Case

With a day in court probably months away, the attorneys involved in the case of the Baton Rouge bar brawl are taking their arguments into the court of public opinion.

According to The New Orleans Times-Picayune, Michael Beinvenu — the attorney for the four injured victims in the fight — claims that there was no “fight” at all. 


“They didn’t throw a punch; they didn’t do anything to provoke it.  It was an attack by 10-15 people who have yet to be identified but who need to be identified for justice to be served in the case.

These other two individuals, (Josh) Johns and (Jordan) Jefferson, had something to do with the Andrew Lowery part of it.  Take it for what it’s worth.”


Lowery is the Marine who witnesses say was kicked in the head and face.

Ah, but Lewis Unglesby — the attorney for Jefferson — has questioned the Baton Rouge Police Department’s handling of the case and he has said that Jefferson is simply a victim of his own celebrity.


“It should have been nothing.  If you’re going to charge people, you give a whole bunch of misdemeanor summons and you figure it out later.  That’s what they would have done if his name was Jordan Jones.  This is all about his status.

The whole thing is ridiculous.  I can’t say it loud enough, hard enough, mean enough, straight enough.  There are fistfights at college bars every week.  Dozens.  I know every lawyer in Baton Rouge and no one has ever represented anybody who got into a fight in a bar charged with second degree battery.”


Uh, well, that could be because most run-of-the-mill college bar fights don’t leave people with broken bones, fractured teeth, fractured vertebrae and concussions.

Jefferson and Johns are innocent until proven guilty.  They deserve a good defense.  And the “aw, it was just a little ol’ bar fight” defense doesn’t qualify.

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