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Tag:Les Miles
Posted on: March 6, 2012 12:19 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 2:37 pm
 

LSU female goalkeeper Mo Isom to try out for PK

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There's rarely a dull moment where LSU football -- the program of Les Miles, the "Honey Badger," Death Valley, etc. -- is concerned. And as if we needed any further evidence, the first week of the Tigers' 2012 spring camp could see even more SEC history being made on the bayou.

Former LSU women's soccer goalkeeper Mo Isom will attempt to walk on to the Tiger roster Tuesday, putting her soccer-honed leg to the test in a tryout to become the team's newest placekicker. Isom would become the first female college football player in SEC history and just the second in FBS history, following former Colorado and New Mexico kicker Katie Hnida. 

A fifth-year senior who has exhausted her eligibility on the soccer field, Isom has been planning the tryout since early 2011 and began working on field goals and kickoffs with the football team in workouts last September, station WDSU reported.

"I had [trying out] in my mind, and I approached some of the players I know, and they were so enthusiastic. And then I talked to some of the coaching staff, because of course I wanted to be in their good graces," Isom told LSU blog And the Valley Shook in a November interview. "I was expecting to see some resistance but all the doors were open to me, and everybody has been so excited, which is so great."

The daughter of a former college football player at Division II Carson-Newman , Isom said Tuesday her only motivation was attempting to make the team.

"People's first presumption is that it's a media stunt or some attempt for attention and glory," she said. "That couldn't be any farther from the truth."

Miles said in a statement following practice Tuesday that if he felt adding Isom to the roster would help the team, he wouldn't hesitate to do it.

"If she gave us an opportunity and an advantage, and I mean add an advantage, then certainly we would consider that," he said. "The good thing about it is she's an athlete. She's been through team before. She understands the commitment."

"I would have much less reservations with her than I would any number of other people that frankly didn't know what they were getting into," he added. "Obviously, she's got ball skills. She's been around it."

A Georgia native, Isom's difficult life away from the soccer field -- including her father's suicide and a battle with bulimia, as documented in this SI.com piece -- means she won't likely find the tryout process over-intimidating.

Isom told ATVS that she had connected on a 51-yarder in practice, and to judge by this highlight, leg strength may not be much of an issue:

"It would just be a fantastic way to spend my last year as a Tiger," she told ATVS. "And I love the guys on the team. I just think it would be a really special experience."

Isom would have a difficult time seeing the field even if she made the roster; rising senior Drew Alleman returns as the Tiger starter after hitting 16-of-18 field goals and 62 of his 63 extra points in 2011.

But whatever level of success she found with the Tigers, Isom would be breaking new ground in the SEC. The Southeast as a region has not been unfriendly towards female kickers, however; Ashley Martin became the first woman to score in a Division I game for FCS Jacksonville (Ala.) State, and in 2003 Tonya Butler became the first female kicker to kick an NCAA field goal at Division II West Alabama.

Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples pointed out that Isom has already competed against members of the current Tigers' roster, taking on defensive back Tryann Mathieu in an episode of Isom's "Meaux Vs." YouTube series.


 

Photo by LSU Sports Information, via ATVS. HT their way for the SI link as well. For more on Isom and other reports from LSU's spring practice, follow Glenn Guilbeau's CBSSports.com Tiger RapidReports.

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 1:51 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: LSU

Posted by Jerry Hinnen


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at LSU.

Spring Practice Starts: March 2, or a day after it had been scheduledthat date two days after the start had originally been scheduled. Les Miles has said the delay is due to getting new defensive backs coach Corey Raymond up to speed.

Spring Game: March 31

Returning starters: Seven on offense, five on defense, both specialists.

Three Things To Look For:

1.  Is Zach Mettenberger ready to take over at quarterback? Miles has made no secret of his expectations for the former Georgia and JUCO quarterback, saying he expects the Tigers to immediately take a step forward in the passing game thanks to the big-armed senior--not that with Jordan Jefferson (fresh off his rock-bottom performance at the NFL Draft combine) finally relinquishing the reins, there's really anywhere for that passing game to go but up. But for the Tigers to live up to their preseason No. 1 ranking, Mettenberger will have to live up to his advance hype and then some. Unlike during the days of his Jefferson-Jarrett Lee platoon, Miles won't have many options if he doesn't; none of the other three quarterbacks on the roster (including brother-of-Phillip Stephen Rivers, a redshirt freshman) have taken a college snap or come with much in the way of advance hype. (In retrospect, maybe it's no surprise Miles lost his cool over Gunner Kiel's decision to go to Notre Dame instead.) 

2. Can anyone fill the shoes of Rueben Randle? The Tigers aren't exactly hurting at wide receiver, not with Odell Beckham Jr. looking to build on a highly promising freshman season and the brutally underused Russell Shepard bound to get the attention of his coaching staff one of these years. But both players are more the shifty, undersized type that thrived on Randle opening up coverage underneath than a replacement for Randle's 6'4" downfield presence; Beckham's 11.6 yards per-reception average in 2011 was nearly 6 yards shy of Randle's (outstanding) mark, for instance. And outside of Beckham and Shepard, no other wideout on the team finished in double-digits for receptions in 2011. Mettenberger's deep touch is nice, but it won't do a whole lot for the Tigers if someone -- sophomore Landry Fields, maybe, or junior Kadron Boone -- can't put it to use down the field. 

3. How will the Tigers react to their BCS debacle? Even without the likes of Jefferson, Randle, or Morris Claiborne, there's still no roster in the FBS more fully stocked with talent than this one. (It won't surprise anyone if the Tigers' entire starting defensive line -- Barkevious Mingo, Anthony Johnson, Bennie Logan, and Sam Montgomery -- ends up starting in the NFL as well.) Miles has been a master motivator in the past, and if he turns his team's faceplant in the Superdome into a rallying point and driving force, there's no reason they can't run the regular season table again. But if it instead becomes a black cloud that hangs over their spring drills and results in half-hearted efforts from player and coach alike, the Tigers don't have to look any further than the previous team to lose a national title game to Alabama -- Mack Brown's Texas, still struggling to recover from their loss in Pasadena -- to see how damaging the consequences can be.

To check in on the rest of the SEC and other BCS conferences, check out the Spring Practice Schedule

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 11:01 am
 

The biggest shoes to fill in college football



Posted by Tom Fornelli


With teams having already started or starting spring practice over the next few weeks. there are a lot of players across the country who will be charged with replacing someone who has come and gone before them. It's an annual rite of spring in college football, when the senior quarterback from last season is putting the finishing touches on his final semester as a college student, and the sophomore who isn't even sure what he's majoring in yet realizes he's going to be majoring in Playbook 101 for the next few weeks.

Of course, while roster turnover is a common occurence in college football, there are bigger shoes to fill than others, and in this post we take a look at the ten biggest pairs looking for a new owner this spring.

10. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

Ryan Broyles began re-writing the Oklahoma record books the moment he stepped on the field in his first game as a Sooner. He caught 7 passes for 141 yards against Cincinnati, both of which were freshman records. Four years later he finished his career having caught more passes than any other receiver in FBS history, pulling in 349 passes for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns.

In other words, he's not the type of player that Oklahoma can just replace with anybody. This spring receivers like Kenny Stills, Jaz Reynolds and Trey Metoyer will try to replicate Broyles' production in Norman. Whether it will be one of them doing it, or a group effort, Oklahoma will need it to happen if the Sooners want to win the Big 12 and contend for a national title.

9. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Understandably, USC fans were extremely excited by the news that Matt Barkley would be returning for his senior season, and many have pegged the Trojans as a title favorite because of it. What you don't want to do, however, is overlook the fact that the man who was in charge of protecting Barkley's blindside these last few years won't be back.

Though that's how life generally works for offensive lineman like Matt Kalil. As large as they are, they're often overlooked. Kevin Graf, Jeremy Galten, David Garness and Nathan Guertler will all be competing for the unenviable task of being the man in charge of making sure nothing happens to the most valuable piece of the USC offense.

8. Mark Barron, S, Alabama

One of the problems with having a defense as strong as the one we saw in Tuscaloosa last season is that you're bound to lose players to the next level, and the Crimson Tide have no shortage of beasts making their way to greener pastures. Still, the Tide have a knack for churning out defensive lineman and linebackers, but safeties like Mark Barron don't come along all that often.

Barron made 231 tackles for Nick Saban in his four seasons, including 13 for a loss, while picking off 12 passes. Barron was the type of player that could defend the pass and the run, and he won't be easily replaced. Can Robert Lester or freshman Vinnie Sunseri step up and be the next stud in the Alabama secondary?

7. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Based purely on production, there may be no larger shoes to fill in the country than Luke Kuechly's. There may not have been more than 3 plays run by opposing offenses in which Kuechly wasn't in on the tackle. Kuechly finished 2011 with 191 tackles. The next highest total on the Boston College defense belonged to Kevin Pierre-Louis, who had 74.

As our own Chip Patterson put it, "for Boston College, replacing Kuechly is like any other team replacing 2 1/2 players." Though it's been proven that it can be done, as Kuechly himself once had to fill the shoes left behind by Mark Herzlich. Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto -- who has a name that would be hard to replace -- will be the two linebackers looking to repeat the feat.

6. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Many casual college football fans never truly appreciated how amazing a player Morris Claiborne was for LSU in 2011 simply because opposing offenses weren't dumb enough to test him all that often. Throw in some Honey Badger exploits with a bit of Les Miles being Les Miles, and Claiborne gets a bit lost in the gumbo. Still, Claiborne truly was the definition of a shutdown corner for LSU, playing a pivotal role on one of the best defenses in the country.

While Tyrann Mathieu will be back in 2012, he's not the cover corner that Claiborne was, so it will be up to Tharold Simon to fill the role. One he seems capable of considering he led LSU with 10 passes broken up in 2011 playing mostly as a nickel back.

5. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

I won't lie to you. Even when Mark Ingram will still in Tuscaloosa running through SEC defenses, I always felt that Trent Richardson was the best running back on the Alabama roster. Now both are gone, and Richardson will be harder to replace than Ingram was simply because Trent can't replace himself.

Can Eddie Lacy be the next Heisman finalist in the Alabama backfield? He showed some promise in 2011, and in an offense like Alabama's, the opportunities will be there. Still, even if Lacy is extremely talented, there are only so many shoes capable of doing this.

4. Brandon Weeden/Justin Blackmon, QB/WR, Oklahoma State

A bit of a cheat, I know, but the truth is that Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon felt like extensions of one another for the past two seasons in Stillwater. Their success was as a duo. I mean, Blackmon caught 40 touchdowns over the last three seasons, which accounted for 53% of the 75 touchdown passes Weeden threw with the Cowboys.

Now we know that Oklahoma State is going to continue putting points on the board without them, but will the offense ever be as prolific when the combination is Clint Chelf or Wes Lunt to Tracy Moore? We'll get our first clues this spring.

3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

Maybe you think that LaMichael James isn't all that hard to replace given the weapons Oregon has in the backfield. I can see your point, but I can also point out that James nearly doubled Kenjon Barner's rushing total (1,805 yards to 939) in 2011. I mean, this is a man who rushed for 1,805 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 7.3 yards per carry in 2011, yet we didn't think it was so amazing based simply on the fact we'd already seen him do similar things in the previous two seasons.

We just got used to it.

Yes, Barner and DeAnthony Thomas are extremely talented backs, but the fact is there's no easy way to replace a back who accounted for 5,888 all-purpose yards and 58 touchdowns in three seasons as a Duck, all at the speed of light.

2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Will it be harder to fill RG3's shoes, or his socks? Neither will be easy. While we all know how talented Griffin was as a quarterback for Baylor in 2011 and the two seasons before it, it's his impact on the program that will leave the biggest impression. Baylor went from a perennial bottom-feeder in the Big 12 to a team that can call itself the home of a Heisman Trophy winner.

Nick Florence will be the favorite to replace Griffin this spring, but he'll never be able to have the impact on the Baylor program that Griffin did. Instead he'd be much better served to focus on replacing the production on the field. Something that won't be easy, either, but given Art Briles' history with quarterbacks and the way Florence performed in place of Griffin against Texas Tech, it may not be that far-fetched, either.

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Andrew Luck didn't win the Heisman Trophy like Robert Griffin did, but that doesn't diminish the impact he had on the Stanford program. In the three seasons before Luck showed up in Palo Alto, Stanford was 10-26, including a 1-11 season in 2006. In Luck's three seasons the Cardinal went 31-8, played in two BCS bowl games and became a national program.

Stanford is essentially the school Notre Dame used to be, and it's all thanks to Luck. Of course, the question now is whether or not Stanford can maintain the success they had under Luck with a new quarterback. Brett Nottingham, Josh Nunes and Robbie Picazo will all enter spring practice looking to replace the most important player in the history of Stanford football, and that's a list that includes John Elway.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 4:13 pm
 

LSU proceeding with Tiger Stadium expansion

Posted by Chip Patterson

LSU has received a unanimous approval from the Tiger Athletic Foundation to expand Tiger Stadium, according to athletic director Joe Alleva.

Alleva told the The Advocate the plans to enclose the South end zone upper deck still need the approval from the Board of Supervisors and Board of Regents, but the school's Vice Chancellor explained that "the ball is rolling."

The project, which would add 6,940 seats to Tiger Stadium's current capacity of 99,500, calls for the building of a free standing structure to connect the East and West upper decks. The structure would include a 1,500 seat upper deck on top of a club level and two levels of suites.

Sounds expensive, right? Not too hefty for the Tiger Athletic Foundation. The TAF currently plans to pay for the construction and use proceeds from the suite and ticket sales to "retire the debt." The two levels of luxury will include 60 different suites, each with room for 24 guests to enjoy LSU football.

The increased capacity would make Tiger Stadium the third largest in the SEC behind Tennessee's Neyland Stadium (102,455) and Alabama's Bryant Denny Stadium (101,821). Closing in the stadium will also give LSU an opportunity to remove the existing scoreboard and replace it with two video boards in either corner and above the South end zone stands.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 11:56 am
 

PHOTOS: Mardi Gras float mocks LSU

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If you're an LSU fan, which is worse: losing the national title in a 21-0 humiliation at the hands of an Alabama team that's already probably your most hated rival, or showing up at a Friday night Mardi Gras parade for some good-natured fun and frivolity ... only to have a float roll by dedicated to rubbing that loss in your purple-and-gold face?

That was the dilemma posed by the brilliantly named "Le Krewe d'Etat" Friday, where they rolled past parade-goers in a float dedicated to the Tide's victory over the Tigers, complete with larger-than-life Bobby Hebert at the prow of the float and representations of Les Miles, Jarrett Lee and others surrounding the float. Photos of the float surfaced at the site MardiGrasParadeSchedule.comand they do not disappoint:





We'll be honest: losing the game was worse. But for LSU diehards in attendance Friday, this probably stung quite a bit all the same.

HT: Throw the Flag. More photos there.

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 4:52 pm
 

Will Muschamp has a sweet jacket



Posted by Tom Fornelli


All 14 of the SEC's head coaches stopped by the conference's offices in Birmingham on Thursday, and Chuck Dunlap was kind enough to share a photo commemorating the event on his Twitter account. As I think you can see in the photo above, the true star of this photo is Will Muschamp's leather jacket.

You can't help but notice it. It makes Muschamp look like the cool kid hanging out behind the local convenience store, smoking a Pall Mall unfiltered while carrying another 19 in a pack rolled up in the sleeve of his white t-shirt. Just waiting to hop on his bike and tear off toward the sunset, possibly never to return.

He's the guy all the coaches want to be, and all the ladies want to be with.

Well, except for Nick Saban, but we all know he's not prone to our human emotions. No, Saban is a machine sent back in time from the future. A machine that's sole reason for being is to take the game of college football and beat the hell out of it. He has no time for joy, only soul-sucking, life-smothering defensive domination.

Muschamp can wear the leather jacket, Saban wants only to murder the cow from whence it came. 

You can see the original photo, and other fun stuff, at the Eye On College Football Facebook page.

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