Did you miss me? I just finished my one week scouting mission in Orlando (talk about bad timing for my vacation... in my defense, I scheduled it six months in advance with no knowledge that LSU would be in the
Tangerine Citrus Capital One Bowl). The result? It's warm. There's a Mouse. And LSU fans outnumber PSU fans. (Best moment: the ride operator said "We are..." and someone replied "Tiger Bait!").
So let's see if I can weigh in on the huge news week I missed out on...
JEFFERSON'S COMMENTS. The guys over at Black Shoe Diaries had their panties in a bunch over Jefferson saying that LSU has fast players. For a school that wears black shoes for the reason that they will look slower, they seem awfully sensitive about the whole thing. And JJ wasn't really insulting them, he was saying that Big 10 schools are known for being physical and LSU can counteract that advantage with speed. It was about as innocuous of a statement as you could think of, really.
I don't really believe that one conference is faster than another. That's just blogosphere sabre rattling. And it's not like being fast makes you a great player. Trindon Holliday won the NCAA title in the 100 meters. He is the fastest player in college football. He's nowhere near the best. Xavier Carter is a professional track athlete and won so many events in college it was sort of absurd. He also was a marginal receiver. Bennie Brazell actually was in the Olympics, finishing 8th in the 110m hurdles. He was not a great receiver. Speed does not equal great. Though LSU really has had some of the faster players ever to don a football uniform.
Strangely enough, it is LSU's physicality that has been its calling card, not its speed. LSU's championship teams have been built on hitting teams really, really hard. So talking about Penn St being physical is actually a compliment. Physical, hard-hitting teams are what we like around these parts.
BARKSDALE'S TWEET. Memo to college athletes: don't blog. Don't tweet. Don't pass notes in class. It will always come back to bite you. I think LSU has acted appropriately in simply ignoring this whole thing and even defending Barksdale. He's from Michigan and it's Christmastime. Any 20-year-old kid will miss his family in that situation. I'm not seeing my mom this Christmas, and it makes me sad as well. Poor word choice by Barksdale, but I perfectly understand his emotions. Leave the kid alone.
COACHING CHANGES: No movement. Let the rumors continue.
UPCOMING: I have been hard at work for you, the ATVS reader. I have finished my highly technical ranking of the top 30 LSU athletes of the last decade. I have ranked LSU athletes of every sport of the LSU athletic golden age. Almost all of the top 30 were All-American, and I left out lots of other All-Americans. It's truly staggering the number of great athletes who have worn the purple and gold this decade. Feel free to send me your last ditch efforts to sway my opinion. The rankings are not yet set in stone and I really am leaving some greats on the outside looking in.