The dodgeball nightmare has ended in Baton Rouge.
My apologies that it's been awhile since I've posted a Gumbo. Just keeping up with the baseball season is taking up most of my spare time, which has been considerably taxed these last few weeks. Normal Service should resume soon, but for now there is lots to cover.
LSU finally confirmed what we've know since Friday, that Trent Johnson has resigned. He is expected to take the TCU job sometime this afternoon. AD Alleva says he'll be looking for someone who will
lead our program with integrity and discipline, someone who will recruit effectively in order to build championship teams while inspiring success in academics, and someone who will energize our fan base.
The names that seem to be getting a lot of play are UNT's Johnny Jones, a former Tiger player and assistant under Dale Brown and CTJ's personal choice to replace himself, and Reggie Theus, who hasn't been the head coach at any level since 2008, but apparently is a good friend of LSU Chancellor Mike Martin from their shared time at New Mexico State back in 2007.
There's also the odd mater of what TCU is paying CTJ to jump ship. Johnson told members of the local press he'll be getting $2.3 million over 6 years, while local press in Ft Worth have TCU sources that say it's going to be about half that, closer to what CTJ was making at LSU. In either case, it's a big step up from what TCU had been paying before, but they'll have more cash to use as they enter the Big XII. Over the weekend, Actioncuse discussed the hire with our SB Nation blog bros over at Frogs O' War.
We've largely missed the controversy from last Tuesday when Morris Claiborne's Wonderlic score of 4 was leaked to the public and subsequent rumors that Claiborne may have a learning disability. The reaction, with rare exception, has all been in Claiborne's favor. From The Chief making an extremely rare public statement in his defense, to others questioning the usefulness of the test, and still others calling out the leakers for the horrible thing that they did. The main point is that the leak is not going to effect his draft status at all, with most draft experts not convinced that the test is even worth considering when evaluating a prospect. If there is any more convincing you need that a Wonderlic score is indicative of absolutely nothing, recall the last LSU player to famously score in the single digits on the test. Last I heard, Zod was doing pretty well...
Please add "confidence" and "swagger" to "chest" on the list of qualities that Les Miles believes suddenly left 5-star QB prospect Gunner Kiel the moment he decided not to sign with LSU. For his part, Gunner says he'll use the quotes as fuel, though he harbors no ill will toward Miles. This is officially the oddest recruiting story of the Les Miles era, if only for the fact that it wont seem to end.
There's another coaching vacancy to fill on the football team, technically. After working the last few seasons as a graduate assistant, former LSU center Ben Wilkerson is leaving to start his coaching career as the OL coach at Grambling.
Les Miles will be on set at the NFL Draft as an analyst for the NFL Network. Plan accordingly.
NCAA 13 will now include rivalry trophies, including that damn boot.
SB Nation has poured over the 2012 Football schedules to find the top games of each week, and LSU is featured 6 times.
There's a bit more to the story of UNO's return to D-1, especially on the baseball side.
If you have yet to pay your respects to the Diamond on The Hill, there's still time, but you'd better get a move on. The final demolition of Rosenblatt Stadium is planned to begin in the weeks following this year's CWS.
MLB opening day was this past week and a few Tigers in the Pros had nice starts, Including Aaron Hill's 2 HR game against San Francisco. As of opening day there were 4 Tigers on major league rosters with a further 23 floating around various levels of the Minors. Mikie Mahtook got a nice writeup in the Tampa Bay paper last week.
SB Nation continues it's season preview death march, hitting USL's attempt to best the best year ever, ULM's life as a Sun Belt also-ran, and La Tech's attempts to free itself from the sinking WAC (I still say they end up in the Sun Belt). Sports Illustrated also sent their roving reporter to Lafayette to cover their spring game and the scene in the Cajun Field parking lot.
After the break we've got a few videos I've been meaning to post. Mo Isom on Ellen, Lolo Jones running the stairs in Tiger Stadium and a profile of LSU head trainer Jack Marucci's "hobby"
Mo Isom on Ellen
CBS Profile on Jack Marucci