Monday, 31 January 2011 18:51

Louisiana Sports: LSU, Kragthorpe, Chris Paul, Gregg Williams

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Nicholls State coach Charlie Stubbs believes LSU made a good hire in Steve Kragthorpe.

Stubbs had coaching stops at Memphis, Tennessee-Martin, Nevada Las Vegas and Alabama before joining Kragthrope at Tulsa.

"In 2003, Tulsa was not at as they are now," said Stubbs. "Steve hired me to run the offense. Steve did a very good job putting all the football blocks in place. We won eight games in 2003 and in the four seasons at Tulsa we had winning seasons three times and went to bowl games each of those three years.

"Steve did a tremendous job rebuilding things at Tulsa and using his talent at hand. We threw the ball around 70 per cent of the time, but we did that because that was the type talent we had to work with. Steve took the Louisville job in 2007 and I followed him there as wide receivers coach/offensive coordinator. In 2007, we were sixth in the nation it total offense and we averaged 38 points per game."

The coaches parted ways after the 2007 season, but Stubbs has strong thoughts about the type of offense Kragthorpe install at LSU.

"Steve worked very well with Drew Bledsoe at Buffalo and that offense was really good in 2002," said Stubbs. "They threw the ball a lot, but they also had a rusher in Travis Henry who gained over 1,400 yards. He also worked in an offense that threw a lot to the tight ends and running backs. They used the short pass to the backs and tight ends like running plays..

"We used the same type concept at Tulsa and Louisville, so I expect that aspect will be used more in the passing game under Steve at LSU. If you look at LSU for 2011, they have two experienced quarterbacks and quite a few experienced players at at tight end also. I would expect to see  their running backs more involved in the passing game. Steve will stretch the field in the vertical game, but expect a lot more short throws to the tight ends and backs."

Stubbs said that he learned in his tenure at Alabama that a strong running game is needed to win in the SEC. "The two most important factors in winning in the SEC is the ability to run the ball consistently on offense and having a front seven that can stop the run on defense," said Stubbs. "No conference has faster or more talented front seven players than the SEC."

Stubbs knows what kind of pressure Kragthorpe will go though at LSU.

"If you have success at LSU as a coordinator that will springboard you to a head coaching job real fast.," said the Nicholls State coach. "Look at what happened to Bo Pelini (Nebraska) and Jimbo Fisher (Florida State). But this is the real deal. There is no passing the buck at LSU. You are scrutinized on every play call. There is very little adjustment period. You are expected to win and play immediately.

"The way the season ended for LSU, the expectations couldn't be any higher."

VOTERS swept Chris Paul into a starting spot on the Western Conference All-Stars, but he thinks the Hornets should be on national television. "I'm grateful to the fans for voting for me, and I'm probably the only All-Star who hadn't played yet on national television." said Paul. He's right. National television schedules are set before the season starts. Last season -- with Paul injured much of it -- the Hornets were both bad and not entertaining to watch. They're in a small market. So they got shafted. A few teams get shafted every year -- this season Minnesota, Detroit, Toronto and New Jersey are the other teams not to have a national game on ABC, ESPN or TNT. All of these teams are well out of the playoff  hunt with losing records. The Hornets are 31-17. By the way, the Hornets are on ESPN on March 6...

Did you see where former Harlem Globetrotter Fred Smith was convicted in a felony theft case? I Wonder if the judge threw the book at him or just  a bucket of confetti?...Now that he's had one of his players (cornerback Janoris Jenkins) arrested for the first time, Will Muschamp is now officially the football coach at the University of Florida. Just think, only two national titles and 29 more arrests and he'll catch Urban Meyer...The Saints, who claimed their first NFL title with a 32-17 victory over he Colts, were chosen Headliner of the Year by acclamation by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association...Penn State coach Joe Paterno, about boosters: "We want your money, we just don't want your two cents."...Entertainer Jimmy Buffett, 64, fell off the stage and was knocked unconscious during a concert recently in Australia, but I wonder he was playing :Wasting away again in Metamucaville " when he blew out his orthopedic flip flops and fell down. Buffett is part-owner of he Dolphins...

Quarterback Zach Mettenberger, a four-star recruit, is ranked the fourth-best prospect by the recruiting raters. Before transferring from Georgia to Butler Community College because of off-field issues, he was battling for the starting job with Aaron Murray. By many estimations before he left Georgia for the community college, he was winning the competition. A big prospect with a bigger arm, Mettenberger put up more than 2,600 yards passing in 12 games for Butler. As an early enrollee at LSU, he'll be battling Jordan Jefferson for the starting job...

Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was DC with the Titans for 10 seasons and that's given rise to speculation that he could be a candidate for the Tennessee head-coaching job. The Broncos requested and received permission to talk to Williams has a year remaining on his Saints contract. But Williams pulled his name out of consideration. He has talked in the past about how happy he is in New Orleans and would only take a head job in what he views as a perfect situation. Despite his ties to the Titans, they may not fit his profile. Williams might not want to replace his longtime friend Jeff Fisher. The Titans also have a policy of not hiring more than one person from a family. Williams had a chance to back to the Titans as defensive coordinator two years ago, but he didn't in part because he wasn't allowed to bring along his son, Blake, as an assistant coach. Blake joined his father in New Orleans and remains part of the Saints' staff...

Negotiations are under way with the owner of a minor league baseball team about moving to the suburban Baton Rouge region. The move, involving an existing Class AA team would involve financing and building a $30 million stadium, Livingston Parish president Mike Grimmer said he has a confidentially agreement not to-identify the team for now...Former LSU linebacker Kelvin Sheppard led the South defense with five tackles in a 24-10 victory over the North in Saturday's Senior Bowl. Josh Jasper (LSU) kicked a 23-yard field goal and three extra points in the game...

Defensive tackle Mickey Johnson of St. Paul's in Covington has committed to LSU.

Johnson, a four-star recruit and Class 5-A player, chose LSU over Arkansas and Tennessee after rnarrowing his list from more than 40 others.

He is ranked as the No. 19 at his position by and ranks him No. 17 and the No. 11 over-all prospect in Louisiana.

Patterson running back Kenny Hillard, a 2011 recruit, has been cleared by the NCAA and has enrolled at the university. Hillard, an All-State selection, rushed for 1,944 yards and scored 22 touchdowns as a senior.

LSU's spring practice begins March 13.

LSU is ranked No. 22 in Baseball America's preseason poll. Tulane is No. 25. LSU and Tulane started practicing on Friday. Both teams open their seasons on Feb. 18 when the Tigers host Wake Forest at 7 p.m. and the Green Wave host Sam Houston State at 6:30 p.m.

By Ed Staton

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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