Tuesday, 09 November 2010 17:30

LSU Hopes Auburn Slips Against Georgia, Alabama

Written by {ga=EdStaton}
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AFTER KNOCKING off Alabama, LSU now must wait patiently in shadows for Auburn to slip up. It's possible. Auburn still plays Georgia, then travels to Alabama before potentially going to the SEC Championship. Last time I checked, the SEC was the toughest conference in college football. And LSU's been lucky more than once this season...

COLORADO IS monitoring the Les Miles situation at LSU. Mile. an ex-Colorado assistant coach, has said he loved Boulder more than any place he's ever been and is tiring on the SEC pressure cooker...



Opening Statement …

“I can tell you that Tiger Stadium may have never been as exciting as it was Saturday afternoon. There were several times that the crowd was instrumental in cheering on its team. When that game ended and that stadium did not leave, I promise you it will be one of those memories I will have for some time. I think anytime that you play a quality opponent, the best thing that you can do is honor that opponent with your finest play. I think for the first time we played four quarters of quality football in offense, defense and special teams. We did it as a team, and we needed everybody. We needed both quarterbacks, a great defense, both punters and we needed great coverage. We needed a tailback that fought for tough yards and an offensive line that played strong the entire game. I think I am fortunate to represent a quality group of men that have character and will fight you for victory. Those coaches prepared an excellent game plan, and the offensive staff came together at halftime and took advantage of some things they needed to see in the game. John Chavis and the defensive staff did a magnificent job with a very talented Alabama offense.”


“If you look at some of those plays, certainly I felt like Jordan Jefferson was really comfortable in his play and did the things we needed him to do. He took care of the ball, and winning the turnover margin was obviously key. Two turnovers by our defense led to six points, which were key. I felt like the two quarterbacks did well. Jarrett Lee came in, and it just so happened that a few of the defensive malfunctions happened when he was in the game. He steps in there and its third and 13 late in the game and he makes a great play. I have to give him a great compliment as a guy that stays with it, and when called upon makes a play for his team. I felt the same way about Rueben Randle. He has an opportunity early on and misses one, then later makes some of the key catches in the game that leads us to victory. I like this team. I think this team is coming together at the right time.”


“Defensively, Drake Nevis is the national defensive lineman of the week and the SEC defensive lineman of the week. Kelvin Sheppard wins that award in the conference for linebackers. That defense came to play. It played with passion, and they came to do something special. It was a great night for them. The special teams, a number of guys played big. Josh Jasper’s three field goals and fake punt certainly distinguished him in our special teams play. We are 8-1 and ranked fifth in the BCS. We are in good position, and at this point, like we have in the past, we still need to improve.”


“We didn’t play a perfect game, and we need to play better than we have been playing. We have reason to do that. If you look at this ULM team, Todd Berry in his first year has done a great job. They have beaten Troy, and they are a very good football team. They had a tough loss to Florida International, but they have already played two SEC teams this year in Arkansas and Auburn, so they understand what it means to go into an opposing stadium. In the not so distant past, they beat a very good Alabama team at Alabama and they have fought Arkansas two years ago 28-27 in a very close defeat. They have a quarterback in Kolton Browing who is both a very quality passer as well as a guy who can run the football. Luther Ambrose has 52 catches and four touchdowns. They have a defensive front that will get to the ball and play you tough, so our football team needs to understand that they need to improve. They need to get ready to play a very quality ULM team. I like our position. We have to get better and take it one game at a time.”


On how much the Alabama win gives the program a ‘bump’ in recruiting…

“I think we had a good start in recruiting as it is. I think our football team and the success that they are having tells the recruiting class that you have an opportunity to win championships and play the biggest games. I think anybody that was in the stadium will recognize that Tiger Stadium is the finest athletic building maybe in the country. I think a win like that certainly makes the right statement of ‘come on.’ There are some special things happening here.”


On the injuries…

“I think the only long-term loss would be Brandon Taylor. I think Morris Claiborne is really day-to-day, and I think we’ll get him back pretty quickly. Other than that everybody else will be intact. I was really proud of the fact that those young safeties came in there and played. Craig Loston, Eric Reid, Jai Eugene of course is not young but played some key snaps for us there. I think we are going to be fine there at safety.”


On playing up to their potential in non-conference games…

“The matchup is a very interesting piece, how you match up versus your opponent.. I think we choose to attack teams differently. We have to take this team on and see how the matchup benefits us and obviously play to our advantages.. I think to play four quarters against quality, non-conference opponents is easily the next order of business.”


On if the big plays in the passing game have been there all year and just weren’t executed…

“I think the open week, we took time to do some things in the passing game that we needed to do and redo and things that have been there all year, yes, but that we needed to execute better and continue to press in the same direction. I think our football team recognizes when they see us practice that we can throw the football, and we’re coming. It just needs to stay there, and we need to continue to execute it that way. Show what we have, not necessarily malfunction for some reason.”


On LSU’s high success rate on fourth down in clutch situations…

“I think when you’re put in a position where it’s a key down and distance, fourth down and short certainly, it’s not inconceivable that is a down and distance that you can achieve, but I think that any time you call a team to perform on fourth down, it tells them that they can do this. They’ve done it routinely, so when they step onto the field in those situations, they are not adverse to it, they’re comfortable, they have character and they perform. It would be a mistake not to call them to that opportunity.”


On the play of reserve offensive linemen Greg Shaw and Josh Williford…

“I think both of those guys stepped in and played well. I think they need to improve. They are still young players. Even though they are a little bit more veteran and understand what’s going on, we need to get them ready to play in games snap after snap. I think both played well considering they were called to action. Alex Hurst has an injury that is going to be temporary. I’m not ready to say he’ll be ready for this Saturday. I think it’s a day-to-day thing as well. We’re looking at that as a long-term adjustment and not necessarily Shaw, but we like Shaw. That’s certainly one way we can go, but we are looking at a couple of other things just to see and at worst, provide us with some quality adjustments in case somebody else goes down.”


On if he feels the offense should keep its foot on the pedal regardless of matchups…

“Again, those are things that are matchups. The first thing you are going to do is secure victory, and you’re going to play where you know victory lies. That would be our first order of business, and then, there are other pieces of your offense, other pieces of your defense and special teams that you’d like to get better at, and those would be orders of business as well, but it will all be about the matchups and all about first things first, the victory.”


On playing state schools…

“I think any time that you fill a stadium, and the state can come in and root for two teams, I think it adds interest. I think it’s a good piece of business for us. We recognize that the local schools are measured many times against us, and we recognize that we’ll get their greatest effort. We understand that is a part of competing for victory, and we really enjoy the competition to be honest.”


On playing for a field goal after DT Drake Nevis’ sack and forced fumble gave the LSU offense the ball back…

“I think that’s accurate. The 10-point position means that they have to score twice. It was a piece that we did not want to forgo. We could have chucked it and not gained short yardage, but we did gain short yardage and put ourselves in position to yet again kick a field goal, and the 10-point lead, in my opinion, puts greater pressure on our opponent.”


On the fake punt with Josh Jasper…

“The truth of the matter is Jasper punts for us intermittently, and in that game he punted several times for us. He’s a talented punter and is competing, in my opinion, very well against Derek Helton. If you check the stats, he’s punted the ball 10, maybe 13 or 15 times this season in nine games. In every game he’s going to punt for us. Now, we are not going to fake it in every game, I promise.”


On putting the Alabama win behind them and focusing on UL-Monroe…

“I am done celebrating just so you know. My 48 hours is over. I think you’ll find that our preparation will be in earnest, and our football team will understand it. This is a very interesting game, and it’s one where they are a very talented football team, and they do have a very good offense. Defensively, they’ll tackle, and they’re a physical group. Our football team will understand that, and they’ll be prepared..”


On what made QB Jordan Jefferson so comfortable against Alabama and who has excelled on the offensive line this season…

“I don’t know that we did anything really different to be honest with you. I think he had a confidence with the throwing game that he enjoyed. I don’t think we called anything differently. It was the same stuff. He did the things he’s capable of doing. I think P.J. Lonergan is having a very good year. I think Joe Barksdale is a dominant player for us on the left side. I enjoyed the protection except there were a couple of missed assignments. When you have a missed assignment, that’s obviously a real issue in protection, but when you’re doing it right, and you’re blocking them, that’s a key piece. It appeared to me that our offensive line gave us good protection without mistake -- and when a mistake was made it was different -- but without mistake, I thought they were very, very good in protection. That was a very good defensive front, and I have to give coach (Nick) Saban great credit. That is a quality football team. When you have an offensive line performance against that kind of defense and get the yards that they got, they obviously did a great job.”


On taking ‘unconventional’ risks…

“The only thing I can tell you is there are specific pieces of information that you feel like you have to listen to, and you have talented guys. When you have Deangelo Peterson in the game, there are some things that he can do. I have to be very honest with you. I don’t know how other people make some of those decisions, but I watch them. It seems to me that those coaches in and around this country and really at all levels are making great decisions that benefit their team, and I don’t see this being anything different to be honest with you. I probably would not make those calls if I didn’t have confidence in that team, if I didn’t feel like that team had a readiness and a comfort and a confidence of play. It’s not necessarily a wild play. Many times we go straight at them. It’s what we do. I’m fortunate that this one worked.”


On how he views the Auburn-Georgia game…

“We have no control with how Georgia will prepare and play Auburn and how that matchup will go. We’ll treat that with the inability to have any impact and spend no time thinking about it and really just prepare for the games that are on our schedule this season. The issue is all about us and making us better and preparing for UL-Monroe and going on from there. I refuse to look at the score ever. Somebody might tell me, and I might have interest. I don’t think there is any way that our team will not have interest in that score. Certainly there is a favorite that we might cheer for, but that has no bearing on our preparation. That has little to do with what is going on day-to-day with us. It’s really about controlling the things that we can control and hope like hell.”


On LB Kelvin Sheppard presenting Miles with the game ball following the Alabama win…

“I took it very humbly. I’m honored by that presentation. I accepted it with the spirit with which it was delivered, but I have to be honest with you. The gifts that I’m given by that team were in their preparation, how they come to work every day, how they are committed to the team, how they step onto the field and do hard things. They play violent football at risk of injury for their team and for their school. The gift that I’m given is to be allowed to be on the sideline with them and coach them. I’m honored in many ways when I take the field with that football team.”


On the strong safety situation with Brandon Taylor out…

“I think we’ll look first with how we finish the game. I think Eric Reid, Craig Loston, Jai Eugene, all of which give us quality play and the communications that we need. The good news is those guys have been playing routinely in every game. When we go to the back end of the schedule here, they’ll be comfortable.”


On UL-Monroe’s dynamic passing game and the success of the young freshmen in the secondary…

“I think Todd Berry has done a great job with their offense. He’s always had a knack for moving the chains. I think their passing attack certainly reflects that. He has a very sound, fundamental way in which he attacks defensive secondaries. We’re going to be challenged there without question. The young freshmen as they came in, all of which that are playing, really approached it with the idea that they’re capable and that they’re ready. If you watch Tharold Simon line up against a very quality wide receiving corps at Alabama, he’s capable. Tyrann Mathieu has made play after play. Eric Reid is one of the more physical players that we have. Include Craig Loston if you will as a redshirt freshmen, those guys can step and play. They’re comfortable. They’re competitive. They’ve done this, and this is not something that will distract them. They’re ready to play, so we are very comfortable when we call their names.”


On LSU’s position in the BCS standings…

“I’m not ready to lobby for my team at this point. The only thing I can tell you is that we have been really on the sideline of this BCS conversation, and it involved many other teams. It just never could seem to get to us, which included being underdogs in our own stadium, which I just possibly can’t imagine who we would play and that people would think that in Tiger Stadium LSU would be an underdog.. It’s not within my understanding how somebody could not see that as a mistake. I think our football team is enjoying the position that we’re in. It’s an earned position. It’s not one that is void of schedule. It’s rich in schedule, and you can see we play everybody. The interest is how we finish. At some point in time, I will lobby very hard for the best team in the SEC. I promise you that. At some point in time, whoever that is, I will lobby hard.”

On his penchant for tasting grass…

“I played baseball when I was a young man.. I played football when I was a young man, and I’ve always seemed to enjoy a blade or two now and then, not that this was a meal in any way but more of kind of being in touch with where I was at. As a kid, I have to be honest with you; occasionally I would have one in there and kind of leave it there for a while. When I go to the field, I would not be honest to say that traditionally I’ll put my knee on the ground and look for a small blade now and then. You might try it. It’s not a bad deal. I suspect it’s better than chewing tobacco and some other things that people put in their mouths.”




LSU senior Josh Jasper has been named one of three “stars of the week” by the Lou Groza National Place Kicker Award, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced on Monday.


Jasper is joined on this week’s list of award winners by Derek Dimke of Illinois and Danny Hrapmann of Southern Miss.


Jasper, a native of Memphis, kicked three field goals in LSU’s 24-21 win over then-No. 5 Alabama on Saturday in Tiger Stadium. Jasper opened the game with a 45-yard field goal and then pulled LSU to within 14-13 in the fourth quarter with a 35-yard kick.


Leading 21-14 with just over five minutes to go, Jasper connected on a 39-yard field goal to give the Tigers an insurmountable lead of 24-14. The three field goals ran Jasper’s season total to a league-best 17. The 17 field goals ties a career-high for Jasper and ranks as the third-highest single-season total in school history. For his career, Jasper has made 36-of-43 field goal attempts.


In addition to his placekicking duties on Saturday against Alabama, Jasper punted three times with two of his punts downed inside the Alabama 20-yard line. Jasper was also part of a fake punt as he raced 29 yards for a first down in the third quarter.




LSU defenders Drake Nevis and Patrick Peterson have been named two of the 16 semifinalists for the 2010 Bednarik Award, the Maxwell Football Club Advisory Committee announced on Monday.


The Bednarik Award is given annually to the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year in college football.


Currently, Peterson and Nevis are two of the key components on an LSU unit that leads the SEC in total defense (282.9) and pass defense (157.7) and ranks second in the league in scoring defense (16.2).


Nevis, who was named the National Defensive Player of the Week on Sunday by the Walter Camp Foundation for his play against Alabama, leads the Tigers with 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks. Nevis, who has been named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week a league-high four times, is third on the squad with 47 tackles.


Peterson, who is considered the top cornerback in college football, has 28 tackles, two interceptions and three pass breakups to his credit this year. Peterson also ranks second in the SEC in both punt returns and kickoff returns.


The winner of the 16th Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 9, 2010.  Three finalists for each award will be announced on November 22, 2010 and a second round of voting will take place at that time.  The formal presentation of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club's Awards Dinner on Friday, March 4, 2011 at the Harrah's Entertainment Complex in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Semifinalists for the 16th Chuck Bednarik Award

Acho, Sam, University of Texas, DE, SR
Amukamara, Prince , University of Nebraska, DB, SR
Bowers , Da'Quan Clemson University, DE, JR
Chekwa, Chimdi , Ohio State University, DB, JR
Clayborn, Adrian , University of Iowa, DE, SR
Fairley, Nick , Auburn University, DL, JR
Houston, Justin , University of Georgia, DL, JR
Jenkins, Brandon , Florida State University, DL, JR

Jones, Greg, Michigan State University, LB, SR
Kerrigan, Ryan , Purdue University, DL, SR,

Kuechly, Luke, Boston College, LB, Sophomore
Nevis, Drake , LSU, DL, JR
Paea, Stephen, Oregon State University , DT, SR
Peterson, Patrick , LSU, DB, JR

Te'o, Manti, University of Notre Dame, LB, Sophomore
Watt, J.J , University of Wisconsin, DL, JR

 by Ed Staton

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