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SEC Headlines – 7/25/11 Part Two

1.  Here’s a look at Georgia’s tentative practice schedule.

2.  Joker Phillips’ “inner comedian” will be on display when Kentucky holds its annual women’s clinic this week.

3.  There are conflicting views of the “bump” violation that played a role in the downfall of ex-Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl.

4.  The UT athletic department tried to educate Lane Kiffin’s staff on the rules.  More importantly, it documented those attempts… which may save the football program’s bacon.

5.  Ole Miss is having to play catch-up to Mississippi State.

6.  This writer says Dan Mullen sounds like a believable used car salesman.

7.  ESPN says LSU officials are “hopeful” receiver Russell Shepard will be available – and eligible — for the season opener with Oregon.

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Report: Shepard Has Compliance Issue

TigerSportsDigest — the site covering LSU — reported this afternoon that receiver Russell Shepard is facing “a compliance issue related to his off-campus housing arrangements.”

According to the site, “This could be a situation that’s been ongoing perhaps since Shepard arrived on campus in 2009, which could mean serious trouble for him in regard to future eligibility.”  If true, it could also affect LSU’s won/lost record in games in which Shepard played.

LSU officials have declined comment and Les Miles refused to get into specifics when asked about the report at SEC Media Days.  Miles said that Shepard was dealing with issues in his personal life.

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Miles At The Podium

Here’s a rundown of LSU coach Les Miles’ comments:

* Miles said his team is “very ambitious” and has “a tremendous mindset.”

* Miles said Steve Kragthorpe has helped Jordan Jefferson.  “He’s at the best position that he has been in… listening and taking coaching.  He’s been well-coached, but there’s another way to say it and describe it and it might get out of his hand and it might give him the ability to anticipate the throw better.  And it appears to me that that’s happening.”

* Miles mentioned Russell Shepard as being a good player at receiver… further nixing the rumors of a Shepard suspension.

* Miles delivering a long introductory comment as he does each year. 

* Miles said Ryan Baker could provide good leadership from the linebacker spot.  He believes he has guys who are ready to step up into leadership roles.

* Asked about the 25-man signing cap, Miles said: “As long as we’re all in the same position, I think that 25 is something that we can do and I don’t think there’s any real issue there.”  Spoken like a man who’s recruiting in a state with a deep talent base.  (But we still agree with him.)

* No one’s going toward the ESPN, Willie Lyles stuff.

* Miles said LSU has looked at tape of Oregon’s game with Auburn.  Of course.

* Asked when he first knew of Willie Lyles, Miles said, “I can’t really comment.  I’m kind of prohibited from commenting on Willie Lyles.  The only thing I can tell you is that we look for film and video anywhere we can find it. … That’s really all I can say.”

* Asked about Zach Mettenberger, Miles suggested that Jarrett Lee is still the #2 quarterback.  “We will play that guy that gives the greatest opportunity for victory and right now I believe that that’d be Jefferson.”

* Asked if the thinks the Lyles-ESPN report will pass muster with the NCAA, the coach said, “All I can tell you is we’re gonna cooperate fully and I can’t really make much more comment than that.”

* Miles isn’t worried about his team looking ahead to the Alabama game.  “Well we play Oregon in the first game and we play six games on the road. … It’s very easy not to look ahead.  I promise.”

* Asked about Shepard not being at Media Days, Miles said: “There were some things that Russell had to take care of back in Baton Rouge.”

* Miles on messageboard heat that Jefferson gets: “I don’t know that I’ve ever been to a messageboard.  I’ve certainly instructed my team to avoid the internet.  Those people that sign their names ‘Slick Willie’ don’t necessarily have legitimate opinions.”  Funny that he used the name “Willie” right there.

* Asked about the amusing video featuring him playing basketball against his young kids, the coach said he defended his seven-year-old daughter “extremely well.”  He added, “I didn’t think that this was gonna be as big a deal — kinda like eating grass — but really it was a family outing.”

* Miles was asked if Shepard’s absence has anything to do with a compliance issue involving off-campus housing.  “I don’t know exactly the specifics of that.  Only thing I can tell you is that this was an issue where there were some things he needed to handle in his personal life that needed an immediate resolution.  That’s why he’s not with us.”

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LSU Players Not Worried About NCAA Issues

The NCAA has yet to weigh in on rules violations from 2009 that LSU self-reported.  Last week, a former Texas A&M assistant coach claimed that a reputed street agent named Willie Lyles requested $80,000 from A&M for the signature of Patrick Peterson… who wound up signing with and starring at LSU.

In other words, there’s smoke on the Baton Rouge campus.  Whether there’s actual fire or not, well, it doesn’t sound like the current Tigers are concerned.

“I guess the NCAA is really trying to crack down on its policies,” safety Eric Reid said.  “But as far as LSU, we haven’t done anything wrong and our name stays clean.”

That may be true, but it’s certainly not a surprise to hear a current player make such a claim.  I can’t recall many sophomores saying, “Yeah, they’re paying us pretty well.”

Still, the NCAA issues appear to be off most players’ radar.  “We really don’t know anything,” receiver Russell Shepard told The Daily Reveille.  “We just worry about the journey to New Orleans. … We just want ot win games and play football.”

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SEC Headlines – 12/22/10 Part One

1.  Nick Saban isn’t sure if he likes new NCAA rules that allow coaches to be suspended for secondary violations (as Tom Izzo was).

2.  Junior D-lineman Marcel Dareus says he’s not worrying about his draft status.

3.  Saban used the word “finish” nine times during a presser yesterday as he beat home the point that his team’s legacy “rests on how they finish the season.”

4.  Charvez Davis led the way as Alabama pulled away from Lipscomb 71-51 last night.

5.  The Auburn Tigers are conditioned to run with up-tempo Oregon.

6.  Like most championship teams, AU caught some breaks along the way this year.

7.  Tony Barbee’s basketball team ended a three-game losing streak by knocking off South Carolina-Upstate 68-54.

8.  Auburn’s deal with Under Armour pays the school $27.45 million over seven years.

9.  Arkansas isn’t awed by playing in a BCS bowl.  (As opposed to those teams that admit to being scared stiff.)

10.  Linebacker Jerry Franklin will likely lead the Razorbacks in tackling for the third straight season.

11.  John Pelphrey wants his team to cut out the turnovers.

12.  LSU’s Stevan Ridley has a special bond with his offensive line.

13.  Russell Shepard is half way through what he terms “a great career so far.”  Tiger fans might disagree.

14.  Texas A&M will have to find a way to deal with defensive linemen Drake Nevis and Pep Levingston in the Cotton Bowl.

15.  Former Tiger Johnny Jones will lead his North Texas club into Baton Rouge tonight.

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Miles Different Than Most Even When It Comes To Grass

Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey, Willie Nelson and Bill Maher would probably all disapprove of the way Les Miles uses grass.  You see, LSU’s off the wall coach was caught chomping down on the green stuff during Saturday’s game with Alabama.

“I have a little tradition that humbles me as a man, that lets me know that I’m a part of the field and part of the game.”  Yep, he eats grass.  Often.

According to the site, receiver Russell Shepard is well aware of Miles’ odd habit.

“I see him do it every day.  That’s Coach Miles.  He eats that grass.  I guess he says it has a lot of protein.”

Eating grass.  Cheech and Chong would not approve.

Also, we won’t go into it here, but the site has video evidence of Miles eating much worse than grass.  (Think Spalding Smails from “Caddyshack.”  In a word: Yick.)

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SEC Headlines – 10/28/10 Part One

1.  According to NCAA stats, Alabama has the toughest remaining schedule in the country.

2.  A sportswriter new to the Alabama beat gives his view of what life’s like covering the Tide.  (An interesting read.)

3.  Auburn’s O-line has made some big improvements in the run game.  It doesn’t hurt having Cam Newton toting the rock.

4.  Mario Fannin’s fumbles could cut into his playing time on The Plains.

5.  LSU is still trying to fix its offense.

6.  Russell Shepard would be the Tigers’ quarterback if anything happened to Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee… but he’s not getting any work in practice at that spot.

7.  Some coaches complain about cowbells, but this writer AND Kentucky’s Joker Phillips say you can’t even hear ‘em.  (I’ve been on the sideline at Scott Field and I could sure hear them.)

8.  Most coaches are steering clear of cowbell talk.

9.  MSU’s defense played one of its worst games against UAB last week.

10.  Ole Miss safety Damien Jackson is questionable for Saturday’s game with Auburn.  Jackson is the Rebels’ second-leading tackler.

11.  The Rebels are becoming a trendy pick to upset the Tigers.

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