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Former LSU TE Peterson Still Upset Over BCS Play-Calling

There might not have been a pregame row as so many emails and messageboard posts have suggested, but it’s becoming more and more clear that after the BCS title game… there were plenty of postgame grumbles inside the LSU lockerroom.  And nothing’s happened in the two weeks since that game to assuage the discontent felt by the Tiger players.

Take for instance what former Tiger tight end DeAngelo Peterson has told The New Orleans Picayune:

“I just think, the offense, we didn’t have a chance to put the ball in our playmakers hands to do something.  The gameplan that we ahd, that we were working on in the weeks before the game and everything, I don’t think we used it.  So, as for going to ‘Plan B,’ that would have been ‘Plan B,’ — the gameplan that we planned for…

We might call a couple of plays that we worked on, but as fo teh whole gameplan I don’t think we used it.  I just think the playmakers on offense, they didn’t really have a chance to make no plays.  That’s the big thing that bothers me.  I feel like I could have done more to help the team move the ball.  Russell Shepard feels the same way.  Rueben Randle feels the same way.  Our other receivers feel the same way.  That’s the main thing, that we didn’t have the opportunity.”

Why LSU decided not to follow its script and pass the ball more the game — perhaps even utilizing little used Jarrett Lee — remains anyone’s guess.

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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:

LB Dont’a Hightower
CB Dre Kirkpatrick
RB Trent Richardson

TE Orson Charles

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’s Shepard Hit With 3-Game Suspension

LSU receiver and playmaker Russell Shepard will serve a three-week suspension before returning to action when the Tigers visit West Virginia on September 24th.

The Tigers got past Oregon — and put 40 points on the board in the process — without their big-play threat.  He will now sit out LSU’s games with Northwestern State and Mississippi State.

Shepard was suspended for discussing an ongoing NCAA investigation with a teammate.  Most likely, after speaking with NCAA investigators about street agent Willie Lyles, Shepard was told not to detail what questions might be asked of others. 

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The 2011 SEC Season In 25 Lines Or Less

Okay, we lied.  We lied right there in the headline.  There’s no chance of “less.”  We’re using 25 lines here to breakdown the 2011 SEC football season.  That’s two lines per team and one for, well, you’ll see.  The line “25 lines or less” just sounded good.

Everyone does a Power Poll and a “Fearless Forecast” at the start of a new season.  We expect to see a dozen or more regarding the SEC as this week rolls forward.  So we’re going to take a different tack.  One conference, one season, 25 lines.

Besides, we already posted our own predictions for the SEC season way back before Media Days.  (And long before Jordan Jefferson’s arrest, too.)

So without further ado, here’s what we’re thinking on the eve of a new season…

Alabama:  They’ve got the coach and the roster full of top recruits to win another national crown.  But the decision to rotate quarterbacks absolutely scares the heck out of us.

Arkansas:  Is a team really a darkhouse title contender if everyone says it’s a darkhorse title contender?  The Razorbacks can survive the loss of running back Knile Davis, but it’s gonna hurt.

Auburn:  The Tigers have too many new faces at too many different positions going against too tough a schedule.  That said, opponents had better hope they get this bunch early in the year and not late.

Florida:  Can Charlie Weis get more out of the skill position players around John Brantley?  If so, then the Gators have as good a shot as anyone at “pulling an Auburn” in 2011.

Georgia:  On paper, the Dawgs’ two toughest games come in the season’s first two weeks, so there’s no need to panic if they start slow.  Panic should set in, however, if either Isaiah Crowell or Richard Samuel get hurt.

Kentucky:  UK took a slight step backwards in 2010 and the sledding doesn’t look much easier in 2011.  Joker Phillips will have to right the Big Blue ship without Randall Cobb, Derrick Locke and Mike Hartline on offense.

LSU:  Team Turmoil has already lost quarterback Jordan Jefferson and playmaker Russell Shepard indefinitely.  If luck isn’t once again on Les Miles side, it’s possible the wheels could come off for a team that faces a deadly schedule.

Miss. State:  Dan Mullen has the Bulldog Nation believing in themselves.  Too bad then that we feel they’re destined to backslide a bit this fall.

Ole Miss:  Houston Nutt usually finds a way to move the football — even last year the Rebels averaged 30 points per game.  If the defense improves as it should, UM could surprise some folks.

South Carolina:  Don’t worry about Alshon Jeffery’s weight or Stephen Garcia’s behavior.  As long as Marcus Lattimore stays healthy and the Gamecocks handle the pressure of high expectations (for the first time ever), Carolina’s got the roster to finish in the Top 10.

Tennessee:  The Vols don’t have much depth, but they’re due a lucky break or two after last season’s LSU and North Carolina games.  If the Vols can develop a run game to take the pressure off Tyler Bray and their D, UT should go bowling again.

Vanderbilt:  James Franklin has created enthusiasm in Nashville and he’s done eye-poppingly well on the recruiting trail.  If he can now get some points out of Larry Smith and the offense he inherited… he really is a miracle-worker.

Line 25:  We’re betting on the SEC to win its 6th BCS Championship in a row… because — all thanks to Jeffrey Tambor in “The Hangover” — you never walk away from the table when you’re on a heater.

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“College GameDay” Crew Make SEC Picks

According to the Twitter feed of ESPN marketing man Mike Humes, the analysts on “College GameDay” have made their picks for the SEC Championship Game this season:

Kirk Herbstreit:  Alabama over South Carolina

Desmond Howard:  Alabama over Georgia

Lee Corso:  LSU over Georgia

With Jordan Jefferson and Russell Shepard facing lengthy suspensions, LSU’s stock would be falling in MrSEC’s book, not rising.

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The Latest Hubbub On The Bayou

Due to a doctor’s appointment today, we’ll have a few more links and a few less blurbs on the site this morning.  That’s one reason we went ahead and put together that million-word breakdown on all things expansion last last night (early this morning).

So in a rush, here’s a quick look at the latest from Louisiana State:

1.  Yesterday — for the first time — Les Miles stopped short of calling Jordan Jefferson his starter for the Oregon game.

2.  Eyewitness accounts are starting to come out and “the mood” around the LSU team “darkened” on Thursday as a result.

3.  But not all of the witnesses agree on what took place.

4.  In non-fight news, receiver/playmaker Russell Shepard has been ruled ineligible for violating an NCAA bylaw.

5.  Add it all up and it’s been a nightmarish summer for Miles and his Tigers.

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LSU’s Shepard Still Waiting On Word From NCAA

Les Miles said two weeks ago that he didn’t anticipate receiver Russell Shepard missing any playing time due to an investigation into his living arrangements.  But we’re now about 10 days closer to LSU’s opener with Oregon and there’s still no word on whether or not Shepard will be allowed to suit up for the Tigers.

“I had (the LSU compliance office) come to me, and they realized there was a problem,” Shepard said at Media Day in Baton Rouge yesterday.  “It’s something that just popped up out of nowhere and the next thing you know there’s all this type of mayhem.

“They talked to me and got all the information that they wanted to get out of me. … Our compliance is doing the best job in trying to get this problem solved before the first game.  Our compliance protects us, and they let us know when a problem occurs that they’re going to get it fixed.  I have all the faith in the world that they’re going to do the best thing to handle it.”

Shepard told The Baton Rouge Advocate that he doesn’t believe his long-term eligibility is at risk.

Shepard reportedly moved in with his girlfriend this spring.  His girlfriend — reportedly — works in the LSU football offices and has since before Shepard’s arrival on campus.

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SEC Headlines 8/4/2011

1. “Georgia HAS to beat Boise State when they meet in Atlanta…”

2. What to focus on as Georgia starts practice. The “dream team” arrives.

3. Wide receiver Israel Troupe cited by police.

4. Les Miles on the start of LSU practice: ”We like getting outside and … tasting the grass.”

5. Wide receiver Russell Shepard reports and will practice today. Total of 104 players report as Les looks for leaders.

6. Thousands turn out to watch South Carolina’s first practice. Steve Spurrier likes the team speed.

7. Mississippi State begins practice. “On Wednesday, they slept.  Today, they’ll sweat.”

8. Kentucky defense produced only 16 takeaways in 13 games last year – turnovers a big focus.

9. Alabama deals with a home invasion – from Florida State. Alabama #1 and Florida State #2 in this preseason forecast.

10. Huge expectations for wide receiver Durron Carter – son of Cris.

11. The Tide’s Darrington Sentimore will transfer to a JUCO – he’s the seventh player to leave since the end of last season.

12. Freshmen pass catchers at Auburn have a great opportunity – team returns only one receiver with more than three catches last year.

13. No one gets Cam’s #2.  “Starless” Auburn is “the underdog, again.”

14. The star of the day at Auburn’s first practice?  The new practice facility.

15. James Stone is the rock in the middle of the Tennessee offensive line.

16. Who will be the leaders for the Vols this year? Practice competes with $48 million construction project.

17. More praise for the wide receiver corps at Arkansas. High expectations for the Razorbacks. 108 in Fayetteville today.

18. Breaking down Florida’s special teams.

19. Vanderbilt freshmen excited to get started.

20. Who can stop the SEC from winning another BCS title?  The SEC.

21. A roundup of key players and returning starters for all 12 schools.

22. The KFC Yum Center in Louisville, Lady Gaga and John Calipari.

23. “No truth to the rumor that Cal is looking into scheduling exhibitions in Knoxville, Gainesville and Durham, N.C.”

24. Florida’s non-conference basketball schedule this season features six teams that made the 2011 NCAA Tournament. “Perhaps the toughest one yet,” says coach Billy Donovan.

25. The cost of covering college athletes’ full expenses.

26. An Alabama ethics commission says high school coaches accompanying prospects on recruiting trips can receive free tickets to games.

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Shepard’s Compliance Issue Shouldn’t Impact Past LSU Games

Sources confirmed to The New Orleans Times-Picayune yesterday that LSU receiver Russell Shepard is dealing with a compliance issue involving the player’s living arrangements.  He resides with his girlfriend who happens to work in the Tiger football office… as she did prior to his arrival on campus in 2009.

Contrary to previous reports from other sites claiming that Shepard’s issues could trace back two years, Jim Kleinpeter of The Times-Picayune reports that Shepard lived on campus until this spring.  In other words, there’s no need to sweat any kind of retroactive ineligibility that might endanger past Tiger victories.

Still, Shepard could be made to serve a suspension this season.  In case you’ve forgotten — LSU opens with Oregon on September 3rd.

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