In an offseason where thankfully nothing is happening, the big news last week was the Manning Passing Academy down at Nicholls St. The high-school and college camp run by the Manning family featured a few big names in both the pro and college world. John Gruden had some nice words about Jordan Jefferson but it's still the same "needs to be a better pocket passer" story we already know (how Gruden made it through the interview without a THIS GUY, I'll never know) There were also positive reviews about Jefferson's performance from Former Bama QB Greg McElroy, Jesse Palmer, and Archie Who himself.
There was some hoopla late Friday about a new LSU connection to Willie Lyles, but it was just a few media outlets finally coming around to a DIG article from back in March about how in 2007 LSU paid the scouting service Lyles worked for at the time, something which is neither shady nor against NCAA rules.
Saturday Night Slant takes a look at the remaining spots to fill on the 2012 class, including Dutchtown's S Landon Collins who made a huge name for himself at a 7on7 camp at the Nike HQ last week.
Doc Saturday profiled Russell Shepard, and like many is wondering if this will finally be his break-out year.
Rosetta at TSD caught up with Terrence Toliver, last year's leading receiver who went undrafted and is now stuck in lock-out limbo, working on his degree and working out with other former Tiger's who are back in town to keep in shape while the NFL is still in a legal tangle (further supporting my theory that UREC football is about to have it's greatest season ever)
SS Austin Nola has announced he is returning for his senior season, meaning that both of the Nola brothers will play for LSU next year. (usual caveats about waiting for the end of the signing period, but I doubt either of these guys change their minds)
Arguably the best player at Tennesse, Janzen Jackson has mysteriously returned to the Vol program after mysteriously leaving to deal with some personal issues at home here in Louisiana. With the departure of Caleb King, UGA is down to a highly-touted freshman and some walk on's at the RB position. It may be time to take back all those nasty things we said after Ar-kansas "lost" the Sugar Bowl. The SEC team making the most recruiting noise this year is...Vandy!?
I laughed at this, if only because it gave me the mental image of Mike Slive and Houston Nutt in a karaoke bar.
BECB argues that the best OOC matchup in the Big East this year is LSU @ WVU.
There are only 2 SEC football programs without a major NCAA infraction since 1987. One of them is Vandy and superstition prevents me from listing the other.
Big News to share in our on-going coverage of La Tech's March to the Sun Belt. The WAC will soon announce another brilliant addition to it's damaged conference, non-football playing UT-Arlington. That'll bring the WAC's membership to 10 teams in 2012, only 7 of which play football. Though they won't come out and say it directly, the administration in Ruston at least seems to be wise to the fact that they need a WAC exit strategy. In fact, La Tech AD Van De Velde seems to be usiing his fan's fear of the Sun Belt as a way of selling an ambitious facilities upgrade plan.
While I agree with the La Tech fans out there who think the Sun Belt is a step back, I really don't think they have another option. Sure, it would be great if they could go to C-USA, but as that league is currently in the ideal 12-member, 2 division setup, some external force would have to move the C-USA's hand (say, Memphis finally getting that Big East invite) before La Tech would have a shot. Until then, they'll have to contend with a football schedule that has Idaho and San Jose St. as the "highlights."
And then there is the small matter of La Tech potentially being transferred from the U of L System to the LSU System. In addressing the speculation, La Tech's President issued a statement outlining various "non-negotiable" items of a move to the LSU system, including not changing the name to LSU-Ruston or changing the school colors. In fact, nearly all of the items mentioned either have little-to-no bearing on the academic well being of the university or are physically impossible (why would anyone want to move La Tech anyway?)