Wednesday, 13 April 2011 16:22

Louisiana Sports: LSU vs. Oregon, Chris Paul, NFL, Mathieu, Hornets

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Chris Paul

Chris Paul remembers every detail of his first meeting with Michael Jordan. Now Paul refers to Jordan, owner of the Bobcats, as his mentor. He was asked if he might decide to return home next year and make Jordan his boss. Paul played at Wake Forest and hails from Winston Salem. Paul didn't rule it out. "It's definitely something to think about," said Paul, "but now it's all about trying to win a championship with the Hornets." Paul is in Charlotte promoting the Jordan Brand Classic high school game in Charlotte. I don't believe Paul will jump to another team that doesn't have a chance at a championship...

Tags: Louisiana Sports, Chris Paul, NFL, Tyrann Mathieu, New Orleans Hornets, Loyola Wolfpack, North Carolina State, New Orleans Zephyrs, LSU, Oregon

NFL Pre-Season

SOME hither, others yon: The NFL has announced the 2011 preseason schedule. If, of course, there even is a preseason.  The preseason begins on Aug. 7 with the Rams and the Bears meeting in Canton for the Hall of Fame game. The Saints will play the Raiders at Oakland on Aug 28 on a NBC national game. Week Four of the preseason will have no nationally televised games since Week Four of the preseason is usually boring because most of the starters are held out as they get ready for the regular season...


LSU’s season-opener against Oregon in the Cowboys Classic on Sept. 3 in Arlington, Texas will be televised nationally by ABC, the network announced on Wednesday.

Kickoff between the Tigers and the Ducks is set for 7 p.m. CT from Cowboys Stadium.

The LSU-Oregon game is the premier matchup during college football’s opening weekend as both teams are expected to be pre-season ranked in the top five nationally.

LSU is coming off an 11-2 overall mark in 2010, capped with a 41-24 win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.  Oregon posted a 12-1 mark a year ago with its only loss coming to Auburn, 22-19, in the BCS National Championship Game.

The 2011 season opener will mark the first meeting between LSU and Oregon since 1977 when the Tigers beat the Ducks, 56-17, in Tiger Stadium.



Forget the quarterback competition. How will LSU replace All-American cornerback Patrick Peterson, who could be the best athlete in this year's NFL Draft?

The Tigers might do it with Tyrann Mathieu, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound cornerback from St. Augustine in New Orleans. who seemingly made a big play every time he was on the field last season as a freshman. Mathieu, who played in nickel situations, introduced himself to the world in LSU's season-opener with a sack-strip of North Carolina quarterback T. J. Yates on fourth down and helped the Tigers escape the Tar Heels.

He closed his first season by winning the Cotton Bowl's MVP award after forcing two fumbles and sacking Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill once.

When camp rolled around last summer, Mathieu headed to Baton Rouge with one goal in mind and that was to earn a scholarship at LSU. When he returned four days later, he had accomplished his mission.

Here's's evaluation of Mathieu: "He is a fluid athlete that has a terrific change of direction, in all directions. He is equally adept as breaking forward on an out route as he is flipping his hips and running with a fly pattern. Is a little undersized, but plays stronger and tougher than his listed weight. He should be able to add considerable strength and muscle weight while continuing to improve on his natural athleticism."

As per NFLDraftBible, "I could go on and on about Ty," said Peterson." He's just a phenomenal player. I just want to see him take it to the next level next year and the year after that. I  always preach to him about that. I definitely think that once the starting position becomes his he'll definitely be able to to handle the challenge."

"He has the heart of a lion," said LSU middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, who will be in the NFL this season, in reference to Mathieu. "He's like a little brother to me."

"I did everything I could for my team and these seniors," said Mathieu after the Cotton Bowl victory, "I wanted to send those guys out with a win." He was referring to seniors Sheppard. Peterson and defensive tackle Drake Nevis.

"When you're on the field with Peterson, Sheppard and Nevis, your chances of making plays are minimized, so when it's your turn you just want to step up and make the play," said Mathieu.

Tigers coach Les Miles said, "I want you to know something: Tyann Mathieu is a tremendously instinctive player, a guy who has great body control. Basically, what he does is say 'okay, if I put my foot down and I take this step and I get my hand there.' That is the thought process that is different than a lot of guys can think through. He knows what to expect his body to do and he's a spectacular player. I once threw him the ball and it was ball that you could not catch and he one-handed it. I told him to stop showing off. He's a pretty special player."

"Patrick (Peterson) pulled me to one side one day and asked me if I was ready," said Mathieu. "I knew that only meant one thing --  that I was going to play. So I had to just mature faster than those other freshmen. I just had to grow up."

He said that he realized he could hang with the others on the field "probably when we started 7-on-7s. I stepped in on my first 7-on-7 and I caught like three interceptions and to be honest, I don't know how I caught them because everything was moving so fast."

Earning the nickname "Young Blood" by teammates and Tyrannosaurus Rex from fans, it's obvious that LSU has an exceptional player and when Matheiu said,"For me, I want to have the attitude of a LaRon Landry and have the cover skills of Patrick, because I know he's going to be in the NFL.

Entering his sophomore season. Mathieu will already be the talk of great things to come in the LSU secondary.

"He'll be wreaking havoc in the SEC and the rest of the country," said Sheppard.

Hornets Playoff

Eighty-one games, 46 wins and the Hornets still don't know who they'll face in the playoffs. A two-game losing streak has muddled the Hornets' travel plans. Depending on Wednesday night's games, the Hornets could finish as high as sixth in the Western Conference standings. However, a seventh or eighth seed is more probable. The Hornets close out their regular season on Wednesday night against the Mavericks at Dallas. The Mavericks are favored by 9 1/2 points. The game will be televised by ESPN...

North Carolina State is asserting its legal right to the nickname Wolfpack, pointing out the university registered it with the federal government in 1983. However, that came 40years after the New Orleans Loyola Wolfpack won the NIT championship in basketball. Nevada uses the nickname Wolf Pack. Who ended up with the legal right to use Who Dat?...The sooner you fall behind the more time you'll have to catch up...

New Orleans Zephyrs

Game Keys – Ryan Klosterman drilled a three run home run to lead the visiting New Orleans Zephyrs to a 3-2 win over the Memphis Redbirds in front of 4,375 fans at Autozone Park.  The win is the Zephyrs third consecutive to bring their record to 3-3 for the season.  Klosterman drilled the three run home run in the fourth inning to provide the Z’s only runs.  New Orleans starter Eli Villanueva pitched 5.2 innings, allowed 2 runs on five hits and earned the win.  The Redbirds scored runs in the fifth and sixth innings to pull within a run.  Memphis threatened in the ninth inning with two men on base when Jose Ceda induced Shane Robinson into a game ending double-play. Ruben Gotay led the Zephyrs with a season high three hits.

Game Notes – Ryan Klosterman has two hits this season in four games for the Zephyrs, both hits are three run home runs.  Memphis scored a run in the fifth inning to snap a stretch of 202. Scoreless innings for the Zephyrs. The bullpen continues to throw scoreless innings as the Zephyrs pen pitched 3.1 innings of relief in Memphis.

Coming Up: The Zephyrs continue a four game set in Memphis on Wednesday at 7pm.  The Zephyrs will start LH Sean West (0-1, 12.27) vs. RH Brandon Dickson (0-0, 3.00) Radio: WMTI 106.1 FM

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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