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Signing Day Headaches At LSU, Ole Miss

bush-huhWe’ll just cut to the chase with a pair of truly oddball stories involving SEC schools.

First, LSU lists 22 signees on its official website.  Rivals.com lists the Tigers with 23 players — 22 signees and one commit who’s yet to ink his LOI, Deondre Clark.  Clark has been an LSU commitment since last summer.  And in the afternoon it was reported that he’d faxed his letter of intent to Les Miles and crew.  End of story.  Only it wasn’t.

The mother and coach of Clark — a 4-star defensive end prospect from Oklahoma City — said, “Oh, no he didn’t.”  As it stands, Les Miles and the Tiger staff are expected to announce Clark as Member 23 of their signing class tomorrow.  Or maybe not.

Things are even more bizarre in Oxford.  Haines City, Florida prospect DJ Law faxed his letter of intent to the Rebels on Wednesday morning, yes.  So done and dusted, right?  Wrong.

It seems Law also faxed signed letters of intent to Utah and to East Mississippi Community College.  The first school to announce Law as a signee was Mississippi and that could be key in deciding where Law ultimately winds up.  Technically, the first conference to validate a letter of intent has dibs on the player.  That means Law — if Ole Miss and the SEC took care of business first — could be forced to go to Oxford even if he later changed his mind and tried to go to Utah.  Or to East Mississippi Community College.

Sounds to us like East Mississippi Community College might be a bit more in the kid’s wheelhouse.

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LSU RB Hill Turning Pro

Last week, a member of the LSU athletic department said that running back Jeremy Hill would return to LSU for another season in order to pay back Les Miles for having faith in him.  After Hill’s second serious run-in with the law last offseason, Miles forgave his star running back and allowed his players to vote their suspended teammate back onto the Tiger squad.  So the idea of Hill repaying that kindness by returning to school was downright heartwarming.  Sniffle, sniffle.

Alas, it was also poppycock.  Or balderdash.  Nah, we’ll stick with poppycock.

Hill announced today on Twitter that he’ll be turning pro a year early:

 

hill tweets

 

 

Despite missing two games, Hill — a third-year sophomore — finished second in the SEC in rushing in 2013 with 1,401 yards and 16 touchdowns.  He’s expected by most to be a second- or third-round selection.

Terrence Magee will now be the Tigers’ leading returning rusher in 2014.  He rushed for 626 yards and eight touchdowns this past season.

As for Hill, he’ll be “a Tiger for life.”  Just not for the next two years.

 

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Report: LSU QB Mettenberger Has ACL Tear

Zach-Mettenberger-PicturesSo much for Les Miles assertion that quarterback Zach Mettenberger should be back for bowl practice.  ESPN reported last night that LSU’s senior quarterback has had his college career ended by an ACL tear.

He also suffered a sprained MCL when he was injured against Arkansas last Saturday.

ESPN’s Adam Caplan based his report on “multiple sources.”  Obviously, Mettenberger will miss the Tigers’ bowl this year which leaves freshman Anthony Jennings as LSU’s postseason starter.  It was Jennings who replaced an injured Mettenberger and led the Bayou Bengals on a fourth-quarter, 99-yard drive to stave off the Razorbacks’ upset bid last weekend.

LSU officials said last night that they would update Mettenberger’s status today.  Previously, Miles had suggested his signal-caller would be back in time for bowl practice.

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SEC Conference Call: Les Miles Talks Texas A&M

LSU coach Les Miles talks Texas A&M – Week 13 SEC coaches conference call.

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Miles: LSU “Will Be A Dominant, Dominant Football Team”

gfx - they said itA 38-17 loss to Alabama — LSU’s third defeat of the season — hasn’t done much to dent the confidence of Tiger head coach Les Miles.  Yesterday, Miles was asked if end of this season could be used to propel his football program back to its usual spot near the top of the polls in 2014.  According to the coach, there’s nothing wrong with this year’s squad:

 

“I think this is a program that sustains itself.  We’re terribly close to being in the game.  The personnel within our program, and the guys we are recruiting, can and will be a dominant, dominant football team.  I don’t think any series of games… necessarily provide you with a comfortable conclusion…

If you look back one game, it’s certainly a chance to be 14-to-nothing (if LSU doesn’t fumble twice in the first quarter).  Certainly.  If that team is the #1 team in the country then we fit really close to that spot, back to what you may well be, ahead of where you’ve been.  You can’t surmise, really define, that spot.  There’s a fluidity there that requires you to coach daily. 

I like where we’re at.  I like my team.  I think there’s a good strength growing inside it.  Young guys are in position to do some really special things.  I’m ready to go from there.

We expect more.  We’re awfully ambitious.  Every stinking year we’ve lost a couple that we shouldn’t have, I wish we hadn’t have, including the year you win the national championship.  There are some victories I’m extremely proud of and some game we played extremely hard and finished second.  The program is in the exact same place it needs to be — close.”

 

Cut through the Miles-speak and the coach is right.  LSU’s roster and coaching staff have proven year-in and year-out that they will continually be in the mix for top 15, top 10 or top five consideration.  When you’re in that mix, you’re a break or two away from 12-0 or 9-3.

The problem, of course, is that today’s fans — having to pay what they do for season tickets — want a helluva lot more of the 12-0s than the do the 9-3s.

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USA Today’s Coaching Salary Database Not Quite What It Seems

bag of moneyBefore you get your dander up over the release of USA Today’s annual football coaching salaries database, know that the numbers aren’t necessarily what they seem to be.

According to the report, ten SEC coaches rank among the 25 highest paid coaches in the country:

 

1.  Nick Saban, Alabama — $5.3 million

3.  Bret Bielema, Arkansas — $5.1 million

4.  Butch Jones, Tennessee — $4.8 million

7.  Les Miles, LSU — $4.3 million

12.  Steve Spurrier, South Carolina – $3.3 million

13.  Mark Richt, Georgia — $3.2 million

17.  Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M — $3.1 million

20.  Gary Pinkel, Missouri — $2.8 million

22.  Will Muschamp, Florida — $2.7 million

23.  Dan Mullen, Mississippi State — $2.7 million

32.  Gus Malzahn, Auburn — $2.4 million

49.  Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss — $2.0 million

40.  Mark Stoops, Kentucky — $2.0 million

54.  James Franklin, Vanderbilt — $1.8 million

 

We know what you’re thinking: Bret Bielema and Butch Jones make about $5 million… ahead of Les Miles?

No.  They don’t.

In Jones’ case, USA Today has factored in the buyout that Tennessee paid to Cincinnati after landing Jones.  Jones actually makes about $3.4 million (including a first-year $500,000 signing bonus).  Toss in the $1.4 million buyout that UT paid the Bearcats and there’s your $4.8 million.

Bielema’s package at Arkansas is set to pay him $3.2 million.  USA Today also added in his buyout from Wisconsin stating: “The gross amount that athletics department said was required to produce an after-tax payment of $1 million; the gross amount remains subject to change, based on the completion of a review of Bielema’s final tax situation.”  So $1.9 plus $3.2, carry the one, and that’s $5.1.

Vanderbilt’s James Franklin is also listed at the bottom of the SEC ladder at $1.8 million.  It’s been reported numerous times that Franklin is making about $3 million.  Vandy’s private school status protects them from having to release exact contract details.

Two quick points:

 

1.  As we’ve stated in the past, it’s near impossible to make apples to apples comparisons when it comes to schools’ budgets and coaches’ salaries.

2.  It’s a bit misleading to list money paid to another school as a buyout as part of a coach’s “salary.”  For example, if Tennessee’s Jones is going to be credited with anything the school is paying out in connection with its head coaching job, he should also be saddled with Derek Dooley’s buyout.  But he’s not getting that money any more than he’s getting the money UT paid to Cincinnati.  Ditto Bielema at Arkansas.

 

Expect a flurry of press releases from SEC schools stating that USA Today’s database doesn’t accurately reflect what their coaches are actually being paid.

It’s a nice effort by USA Today.  It’s also an impossible one.

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LSU Cornerback Holmes Suspended; Second Tiger Player Arrested In Two Weeks

suspended-man-on-hookLSU coach Les Miles has suspended Kavahra Holmes indefinitely after the redshirt freshman cornerback was arrested for simple battery in connection to a fight near campus. Witnesses told police the 19-year old Holmes pushed two victims to the ground after a verbal altercation turned physical back on October 22.

Holmes is the second LSU player arrested in the past two weeks.  True freshman running back/defensive back Jeryl Brazil was arrested October 18 on simple battery and simple criminal damage to property charges.  He, too, has has been suspended indefinitely.

Holmes redshirted last season.  He has not recorded a tackle this season.

In an interview, Miles said “we’re waiting for him to put his plan of behavior of back together and when that happens he may see the field.”

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SEC Conference Call: Les Miles Talks Furman

LSU coach Les Miles talks Furman – Week 9 SEC Coaches Conference Call.

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SEC Conference Call: Les Miles Talks Ole Miss

LSU coach Les Miles talks Ole Miss – Week 8 SEC Coaches Conference Call.

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LSU’s Miles Does His Thing When Discussing Columbus Day

Yeah, yeah, we know, LSU fans.  Your coach was simply saluting a people who have long worked hard to build our nation.  And in delivering his thoughts on Columbus Day yesterday, he even managed to offer inspiration to future generations of explorers.

OK.

Tiger fans out of the room?  Good.

Now the rest of us can have a laugh at Les Miles’ latest bizarro ramble:

 

Les Miles – "Happy Columbus Day"

 

“Good afternoon.  Just want to remind everybody that it is Columbus Day.  That all those of you that know Italians, that like Italians or the people that might venture onto a ship and travel to explore and find new lands, uh, this is your day.  So, um, it’s not St. Patty’s Day.  That’s a different day entirely.”

 

The guy can coach football, but he’d make even more money just doing off-the-cuff speaking engagements in Vegas or Atlantic City.  Wouldn’t you pay $20 to listen to Miles talk for an hour or two?  It’d be hysterical.

 

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