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Thursday, January 31, 2008

No-win situation out West

So Baron Davis doesn't make the NBA All-Star Game as a reserve and everyone is up in arms.

Well, everyone on the West Coast.

The only problem with trying to wiggle Davis onto the team is who are you going to leave off?

Chris Paul? Nuh uh. Paul is THE biggest reason New Orleans has the best record in the West. David West? He's slightly behind Paul in that category.

Steve Nash? His two league MVP trophies beg to differ. Brandon Roy? Do you think we're talking Trail Blazers' playoff hopes without the reigning Rookie of the Year?

Any All-Star Game worth its salt -- that is all of them except the Pro Bowl -- has snubs. Heck, even the Pro Bowl has snubs. It makes for great debate, but I'm sure Baron Davis would much rather be playing in New Orleans in late April or early May than in mid-February.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tech recruit attracts national attention

The Louisiana Tech football team may have secured a real find in Mississippi quarterback Bret Jefcoat, who committed to the Bulldogs early in the recruiting process and has stayed true so far.

Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every lists Jefcoat as one of his five "Super Sleepers" in the nation. Here's what Every has to say about the cousin of Tech linebacker Chris Lowery:

"Don't be fooled by Jefcoat's pro-style quarterback label. He not only has great pocket presence, but has the ability to tuck the ball and run as he showed during his senior season running for 480 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also is a very competent punter and kicker as he displayed these talents at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic practices. He then led the Mississippi squad to a 26-7 victory while passing for 81 yards and two touchdowns.

"It is hard to believe that Ole Miss or Mississippi State have not offered this quarterback. He will be someone that has the ability to put up big numbers at Louisiana Tech with his arm or legs. Like most freshman quarterbacks, I expect him to redshirt next season then vie for the starting spot," continued Every.

Emery's remaining super sleepers in the 2008 class include Jeff Brinson RB, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Northeast (Iowa), Willie Bohannon, DE, Mobile (Ala.) Blount (Tennessee), Ricky Pemasa, LB, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran (Fresno State) and Alfred Jenkins, WR, Jacksonville (Fla.) Terry Parker (Illinois).

National signing day is on Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Battle Wings ink former Eagles lineman

The Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings apparently got a boost to their offensive line this week with the inking of a mountain of a man in DeJuan "Little Man" Skinner.

Skinner stands 6-foot-6 and weighs in at a robust 335 pounds. The former West Texas standout made it to the final cut with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2006 and has been waiting on another NFL contract since then.

The af2 rookie should provide ample protection for whichever Battle Wings quarterback wins the starting nod between local favorite Gary Cooper, af2 veteran Steve Panella and recent signee Dane King.

If nothing else, he'll keep the team's center from getting sunburned during preseason drills at Independence Stadium.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What do you want?

The New Orleans Hornets won their ninth straight game tonight.

They are ranked No. 1 in the entire NBA by NBA.com's power poll.

And yet there are two reasons to ask this question: What do you want?

To the people of New Orleans and south Louisiana: What do you want? This team is as hot as any team in the NBA and 15,000-plus showed up. Now, granted on a Monday, that's probably not all bad, but when your franchise's fate is tied to attendance figures, you have to wonder what the Hornets' fan base wants.

And then to Denver coach George Karl: What do you want? After Monday's game, Karl said, "I'm not ready to jump on their bandwagon. But they're pretty good and I'm not sure what weakness they have.''

What do you want, George Karl?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sign of things to come?

It's well-documented that the New York Giants and New England Patriots are in the Super Bowl after having played in the last regular season game. It's also well-documented that both teams played their starters in that season finale when the playoffs were already assured for both teams.

The Patriots, of course, had a perfect record to play for that night. The Giants had only the integrity of the game to play for then.

Both teams did the right thing and played as if it was Week 1.

Now with both teams in the Super Bowl, we're left to wonder if some coaches (Sean Payton and Tony Dungy come to mind) will change their philosophy after wrapping up playoff spots.

Because you can certainly make the case that the Giants wouldn't be in Phoenix on Monday if not for the momentum and confidence they gained by slugging it out with the Patriots on that late December Saturady night.

Hopefully this will spark a change of heart in some.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

At halftime, it's still close

The Spurs lead the Hornets 43-42 at halftime.

It's been type of game you would expect between two of the NBA's top teams. One team grabs the lead, the other quickly bounces back.

Neither team has led by more than four points.

David West leads the Hornets with 12 points. Tim Duncan tops the Spurs with 12.

The second half should be very interesting.

Hornets off and running

The Hornets lead the Spurs 28-27 as the second quarter begins. Forward David West led the Hornets with 1o first-quarter points. Peja Stojakovic had eight.

Greetings from the Alamo City

Greetings from AT&T Center in San Antonio, where the Southwest Division-leading (that's right, Southwest Division-leading) New Orleans Hornets take on the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.

Before I get to the importance of tonight's game, let me tell you that no trip to San Antonio is complete until I visit to mi tierra.


If you like Mexican food, you'll LOVE mi tierra!!

Back to the game.

New Orleans has soared to the top of the division, leading San Antonio by 1 1/2 games. But the Hornets, one of the NBA's top road teams, have lost six straight games in San Antonio dating back to 2004.

A road win over the defending champs would give the Hornets, who're riding a seven-game winning streak, a tremendous boost.


Hornets forward Melvin Ely, who played with the Spurs last season, was awarded his championship ring before the game.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Early Super Bowl thoughts

The NFL had a media conference call today with several members of the '72 Miami Dolphins and former Dolphins coach Don Shula.

I'm old enough to remember the '72 Dolphins. I used to remember them rather fondly until they began celebrating when the last team lost its first game of the season each year. That bitter act gets old fast.

So I come into Super Bowl week next week as a man playing on house money.

If the New England Patriots do finish the season unbeaten with a win over the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, the '72 Dolphins will go away, having been trumped 19-0 to 17-0 by the Patriots.

But if the New York Giants somehow manage to win, I can revel in knowing that Tom Brady won't have that smug smirk on his face.

I can't lose.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My newest addiction

Hi, my name is Scott and I'm an NFL Network-aholic.

It's not that I watch the NFL Network all the time -- just when I'm walking on a treadmill.

And it's not that I watch the NFL Network always on the treadmill, it's just during the "draft season'' that I'm hooked.

Sorry, I like watching the Senior Bowl workouts. I can't believe that Mike Singletary doesn't have a head coaching job after watching him for two years now working with Senior Bowl linebackers.

I learn a lot watching these practices. I learn things like Shreveport's John David Booty may be the most accurate passer in the draft. I learn some question his arm strength which came as a surprise to me after having seen him in high school. But hey, they're going to find something wrong with everyone.

Call me a draft nerd, but I actually enjoy the NFL Network at this time of year.

No money for Leon Barmore

Texas A&M women's basketball coach Gary Blair was very complimentary of former Lady Techsters coach Leon Barmore on Thursday ... but he isn't sending him a check.

Blair talked about how much he, Baylor's Kim Mulkey, Auburn's Nell Fortner, Texas Tech's Kristy Curry and Oklahoma State's Kurt Budke owe Barmore and Louisiana Tech for helping them attain their lofty, well-paid positions.

"All of us owe him a residual for what he did for us," Blair said. "But on second thought, I'm not gonna send him anything because he's won so much money off me on the golf course. I feel like we're probably even. I tell you what, though. The next time I play him I'm gonna win no matter what I have to do."

Hey, Gary, just be sure you spell his name right on the check.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tech's Simoneaux jokes at Tech TAG event

Louisiana Tech baseball coach Wade Simoneaux was quite the entertainer during Wednesday's Northwest Louisiana Tech Advancement Group luncheon at the University Club in downtown Shreveport.

Simoneaux, who has quietly built the Bulldog baseball team into a WAC power, will serve as the WAC host coach for the WAC baseball tournament on May 22-25. He has set about raising approximately $130,000 for stadium renovations in preparation for that event.

And he hopes Tech fans respond by filling the stadium to cheer for his Bulldogs, if they qualify for the tournament as expected.

"We need to have a lot of people there to offset the 450 drunks in grass skirts that Hawaii has or the 6 year olds who cuss us by our dugout in Nevada," Simoneaux said tongue-in-cheek."

Simoneaux also told a joke about former President Bill Clinton and his Presidential candidate wife, Hillary, but we'll let you ask him about it.
"I can say that now because (Athletic Director) Jim Oakes (a staunch Democrat) is on his way out," Simoneaux said chuckling.

Geiggar to play in inaugural AAFL season

Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings fans hoping to see former Evangel standout Phillip Geiggar back in uniform this spring are likely to be disappointed.

Arguably the team's best defensive player over the past two seasons, Geiggar has signed to play with Texas in the All-American Football League. He'll be making $50,000 for the season in the AAFL instead of about $4,000 in the af2. Can't blame the man for that.

Strangely, his bio on the team's Web site talks about his playing days at UT and at Evangel, but makes no mention of his ever having played for the Battle Wings. Since their seasons will run almost simultaneously, it's a safe guess that the AAFL doesn't want to promote af2.

The thing to remember, however, is that the af2 has been around for nine seasons, the AFL for more than two decades, while the AAFL has had a lot of similar predecessors that tried and failed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A little late or early

This is either real late or real early. It's either late talking about the NFC Championship Game or early talking about the Super Bowl.

Anyway, kudos to Eli Manning and Corey Webster of the Giants. Both of these players were pretty much left for dead at various points this season. Webster, a former LSU star, was even in a worse spot than Manning, losing his starting job and actually being inactive at times.

But there was Webster with the interception to set up the game-winning field goal.

Manning's travails are well-documented. The former Ole Miss star was ripped during the season and is now being praised by those same critics.

Give Webster and Manning credit for fighting through adversity to have great postseasons.

Monday, January 21, 2008

No more change at No. 1

I know it's late January. I know there's still six weeks in college basketball's regular season. I know the college football season was crazy.

Yet, I now believe we have seen our only change of the year atop The Associated Press Top 25 men's poll.

That's because I don't think anyone in Conference USA is going to beat the Memphis Tigers, who took over the top spot Monday after then-No. 1 North Carolina's loss to Maryland on Saturday.

When everyone and their brother expanded a few years back, C-USA was stripped of its identity as a basketball league. What used to be a competitive high-major conference has been reduced to Memphis and a bunch of dwarfs.

So go ahead and pen, not pencil, in Memphis as your No. 1 team for the rest of the season. Well, assuming the Tigers get past those two real roadblocks (Gonzaga, Tennesee) they have left on their schedule.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

IUPUI coach makes disappointing remark

An extremely distuburing phrase rumbled through the Gold Dome on Saturday afternoon in the heat of the action. The foul mouth didn't belong to a player, rather a coach. The coach of the IUPUI Jaguars women's basketball team.
Shann Hart, a 12-year coaching veteran (four at IUPUI), was arguing a foul call in the first half of the Jaguars game at Centenary. She wasn't arguing the call itself, but which Ladies player should go to the line to shoot free throws.
As Centenary freshman Ashley Jackson stepped to the line, Hart went crazy, saying Jackson wasn't the player who was fouled. Jackson was clearly the player fouled -- look at the tape Ms. Hart -- but this was not Hart's most egregious error at that moment.
As Hart continued to argue, she uttered (paraphrasing) "it wasn't 34 that got fouled, it was the Chink." After a second, when she obviously realized what she had said, she quipped, "I mean, it was 52."
A direct reference to Centenary freshman Sarah Weiler, who was born in China.
Since the Gold Dome was practically empty, the outburst was easily heard from press row. Who knows how many fans, and players and coaches from IUPUI heard it. Since Centenary's bench was on the other end of the court, no members of the Ladies caught it. Or at least I assume they didn't. If they did, it's likely they would have gone bonkers.
I nearly went bonkers.
I'm not perfect. I'll be the first to admit I've chuckled at an off-color joke and likely told a few. However, I hold no grudge or ill-will against any group. Friends know I'll pick apart myself in gest as much as anyone else.
But this was different. This wasn't a joke. This was a completely irresponsible statement from a woman who's supposed to be leading young adults -- of all races, backgrounds and colors.
However, I'm not the type who's radical and will call for Hart's dismissal -- unlike the situation Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman ran into after her comment about "lynching" Tiger Woods.
A simple apology is in order -- to Centenary, its players (especially Sarah Weiler) and coaches and the players and coaches of IUPUI.
I thought long and hard about whether to even post this thread. Not much good can come of it, but it is my job. I thought about Sarah Weiler -- if this makes it to her, she will be disappointed. I thought about IUPUI women's basketball coach Shann Hart, knowing she'd catch a lot of flak if word of this got out.
Obviously, I thought a lot more about the siutation than Shann Hart.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

NFL lookahead

The NFL's Championship Sunday is just a few hours away.

Even though these aren't the teams we expected to see, today's games could be better than the Super Bowl.

No one is giving San Diego a chance against New England, and with good reason. A healthy San Diego would have trouble with the Patriots and the Chargers aren't healthy.

Green Bay is the favorite at home in the cold against the Giants. But the Steelers from a few years back showed you could go on the road and win your way to the Super Bowl.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A little secret about Jim Oakes

One funny thing about Louisiana Tech Athletic Director Jim Oakes that many people didn't know was that he avoided media attention whenever possible.

Although it was part of the job, he detested it. You could see it in his face when he faced the cameras.

Coincidentally, the attention avoidance is one of the things that led a lot of people to speculate that he was on his way out as athletic director over the past year or so. It was pointed out time and again during the recruitment of football coach Derek Dooley. At the Dooley press conference, Malcolm Butler spoke, President Dan Reneau spoke and Dooley spoke. Oakes stood near the front of the crowd and just smiled.

Oakes also avoided speaking during the introduction of basketball coach Kerry Rupp. Folks figured that meant that Reneau had usurped Oakes' authority and that he was just a figurehead.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. If Oakes wasn't required to stand in front of the cameras, he didn't.

So dealing with the media will be one of the things that Oakes will miss the least when he steps down on June 30.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Quincy Carter could be back in Bossier City

News has surfaced that former Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings quarterback Quincy Carter has a "50-50" chance of playing for the Rio Grande Valley Dorados, the team the Battle Wings fans love to hate, or Corpus Christi this season.

The Monitor in Hidalgo reports that Dorados coach Marty Hammond has conversed with the former Dallas Cowboy from his drug rehab facility in Florida. Carter pleaded guilty to drug possession in Shreveport several weeks ago, but still faces similar charges in Dallas.

“I think he’s interested,” Hammond told the Monitor. “He stresses that he wants to get his life right, wants to do the right things, and that’s mainly what we talked about, making the right decisions and things like that.”

Sound familiar? That's the same song and dance that Carter played in front of the media here when he was introduced as the Wings' quarterback.

According to reports before he left our area, Carter stated that he would like to play for Rio Grande and come back here to put one on the Battle Wings. If he can stay out of jail or drug rehab long enough, maybe he can make that happen. The Wings host Rio Grande on July 4 -- mark that date down.

Saints fans should feel great about 2008

New Orleans Saints fans should really be looking forward to next season. Here’s why:

The Saints' defense will only improve through the draft and free agency.

Starters like Drew Brees, Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush will return to lead one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses.

And their 2008 schedule looks great.

Only FOUR of the Saints’ opponents next season had a winning record in 2007. Even this season’s injury-riddled team could have made the playoffs with the schedule they have next season. There’s NO WAY the Saints won’t be in the playoffs in 2008.

Take a look at the Saints’ 2008 schedule. (Each opponent’s 2007 record is listed.)


Atlanta Falcons (4-12)

Carolina Panthers (7-9)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)

Green Bay Packers (13-3)

Minnesota Vikings (8-8)

San Francisco 49ers (5-11)

Oakland Raiders (4-12)

San Diego Chargers (11-5)


Atlanta Falcons (4-12)

Carolina Panthers (7-9)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)

Chicago Bears (7-9)

Detroit Lions (7-9)

Washington Redskins (9-7)

Denver Broncos (7-9)

Kansas City Chiefs (4-12)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Techsters forward leaves team

Troubled Lady Techsters forward Sierra Nixon has left the team ... this time for good. Her name has been removed from the Louisiana Tech Web site under the Techsters' roster.

The 6-foot-3 former Trinity Valley star joined the Techsters last season with a lot of promise, along with a questionable past. She left Trinity after just one season after allegedly being involved in an on-campus incident along with another student.

Techsters coach Chris Long suspended the lanky shooter earlier this season for several games after an undisclosed incident. Nixon finally made it back on the squad a few of games ago but has seen just limited action. She she played four minutes against Idaho on Wednesday and didn't see the court against Boise State on Saturday. Nixon played in 8 of 16 games this season averaging 2.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 8.1 minutes.

Tech loses defensive end to A&M

Apparently Marerro Archbishop Shaw defensive end Eric Shaw can't make up his mind where he wants to be.

The 3-star recruit originally committed to Nebraska, but de-committed from the Cornhuskers a few weeks ago and committed to Louisiana Tech, when coach Derek Dooley signed his buddy, Kwame Jordan.

Now comes word that Shaw isn't a man of his word and has a new commitment to Texas A&M. Such is the tough world of college football recruiting where kids often can't decide whether to eat at McDonald's, Burger King or Taco Bell, much less decide where they want to play college football.

With nearly three weeks to go in the recruiting process, it'll be interesting to see where Shaw ends up ... Hawaii, Oregon or Syracuse may come calling.

Louisiana Tech announces 2008 feetball schedule

Louisiana Tech Media Relations
Jan. 15, 2007
For Immediate Release

Tech Announces 2008 Football Opponents

RUSTON – Louisiana Tech Athletic Director Jim Oakes announced Tuesday that the university has signed a contract to play a two-game series against the U.S. Military Academy (Army) in football.

With the addition of the Black Knights, Louisiana Tech’s schedule is now complete although dates for the eight Western Athletic Conference games and the Army game are still yet to be determined.

The Army contract calls for the Bulldogs to travel to West Point and face the Black Knights in 2008 at Michie Stadium (date to be determined by TV) while the return date to Ruston will occur in either the 2010 or 2013 season.

It will be the first meetings ever between the two programs on the gridiron and the first time Louisiana Tech will face an armed forces program.

“We are pleased to announce this two-game contract with Army,” Oakes said. “We feel like it should be a great series for both programs. With (the Joint Readiness Training Center) in Ft. Polk only three hours from Ruston, I think this will be an excellent opportunity for us to draw a capacity crowd at Joe Aillet Stadium.

“We are also looking forward to making the trip to West Point next season. From everything I’ve heard, it’s one of the great atmospheres for a college football game. It’s a beautiful area. It will be a great experience for our fans and our players.”

Army posted a 3-9 mark this season as the Black Knights registered wins over Rhode Island, Temple and Tulane.

Tech’s non-conference schedule next year now includes home games against Mississippi State (Aug. 30) and Southeastern Louisiana (Sept. 20) and road games at Kansas (Sept. 6) and Army.

Oakes said the Mississippi State game would remain on Saturday, Aug. 30 and kickoff for the nationally televised game would be determined at a later date but would be between 6 and 8 p.m.

The Bulldogs four home conference games will be against Fresno State, Nevada, Idaho and Utah State while their four road games will be at Boise State, at Hawaii, at New Mexico State and at San Jose State.

It will mark the first time since Tech joined the Division I-A ranks in 1989 that the Bulldogs have played six home games in one season.

2008 Football Schedule

8/30 Mississippi State Ruston, La.

9/6 Kansas Lawrence, Kan.

9/20 Southeastern La. Ruston, La.

TBA Army West Point, N.Y.

TBA Boise State Boise, Idaho

TBA Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii

TBA New Mexico State Las Cruces, N.M.

TBA San Jose St. San Jose, Calif.

TBA Utah State Ruston, La.

TBA Idaho Ruston, La.

TBA Nevada Ruston, La.

TBA Fresno State Ruston, La.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Want to see some bad basketball?

Thinking of taking in a Division I basketball game on a court in north Louisiana over the next few days. Try finding a winning team.

The eight D-I schools in our area are a combined 34-84 overall, although that mark is skewed by the Grambling men and women who were a combined 1-23 overall before Monday.

That's depressing news for any roundball lovers. The NSU women at 7-8, the Lady Techsters at 7-9 and the Centenary men at 7-10 are the three closest teams to having winning records. The Centenary Ladies and the Louisiana Tech men are each 3-12. At least the annual out-of-conference pastings are out of the way.

Here's hoping January and February outings right a few ships around here.

Say what?

Arkansas running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones announced decisions today to leave school early for the NFL.

No shock there.

There is a shock, though. It is this: There are some who don't think Darren McFadden will be a great pro.

FOX Sports' Brian Baldinger writes in this week's Sporting News: "I've seen no special qualities that will make him an exceptional running back.''

Wait, there's more.

"I hate to burst the bubble of Darren McFadden and all the draftniks who think he's the second coming of Adrian Peterson, but he isn't. Honestly, you shouldn't even use both names in the same sentence.''


Baldinger rips McFadden for initiating contact with defenders, not knowing how to make defenders miss, lacking vision to find the open field, rarely making cuts to gain more yards.

I'm sure he made some old lady made at some point in his career, too.

Personally, I think McFadden is fabulous. I don't know what Baldinger was watching. He saw him against Missouri and McFadden still had a 100-yard rushing game even with his team never in synch offensively.

Baldinger likes Jones, though you can make the case that he is Reggie Bush (Jones, 6-0, 207; Bush, 6-0, 203). And we've heard for two years now how Bush isn't an every down guy.

We'll see how this turns out.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Told you so

Apparently some folks don't like hearing the truth.

In today's Times, Roy Lang and I had dueling columns on the Cowboys' chances of making it to the Super Bowl this year.

After covering two Super Bowl championship Cowboys teams in the 1990s, let me just say I felt pretty confident in taking the "No'' position on that one.

After writing the column, I got the expected response. You know, the "what are you an idiot?'' response.

Ah, but Sunday's game was so sweet.

Because having seen Super Bowl championship Cowboys teams I could tell one this wasn't one.

First of all, for all these people excited about Tony Romo -- give me Troy Aikman any day.

Romo got frustrated in the second half and it showed. He is a good quarterback. But like any quarterback, once he got pressured in the fourth quarter he was not as good.

Marion Barber ran like a beast in the first half. But he was no Emmitt Smith when it counted in the second half.

As for the Dallas defense, giving up the touchdown before the first half was critical.

I'm not as down on Wade Phillips. He's no Jimmy Johnson. But he's no Barry Switzer either.

These Cowboys just didn't have the "it" that championship teams have. Maybe with more experience Romo will play smarter and better in a playoff situation. Maybe Marion Barber will finish out the second half in future playoff games. Maybe needs on the defense will be addressed in the offseason

But anyone who has followed the Cowboys for a number of years should have known this wasn't the team. This wasn't the year.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Texans make a major move

The Houston Texans, who have improved in each of head coach Gary Kubiak's two seasons on the job, recently took another big step in the right direction.

They signed Alex Gibbs to be their assistant head coach, replacing Mike Sherman, who left to take the Texas A&M job.

In case you’re not familiar with Gibbs, who’s 66, he was the offensive line coach largely responsible for the Denver Broncos’ potent running attack.

He’s widely regarded as one of the best in the business.

Kubiak, who coached with Gibbs in Denver, persuaded his longtime friend and mentor to come out of retirement to accept the Texans’ post.

Remember when the Broncos’ running game was so good it seemed like almost any back could get 1,000 yards?

Gibbs was the guy making it all work.

With Gibbs on board, the Texans will employ the zone-blocking schemes he used so successfully in Denver and Atlanta. (The Falcons led the NFL in rushing in each of the three seasons Gibbs was in Atlanta.)

“There’s no doubt in my mind that Alex is going to help make us a better team,” said Kubiak. “I can promise you we’re going to run the ball better.”

The Texans could certainly use a boost in the backfield. They were No. 22 (99.1 yards per game) among the NFL’s 32 teams in rushing last season.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Picture is worth 1,000 words

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Big day for the state in sports

The groundbreaking for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame is a bigger deal than most sports fans realize.

That's because most sports fans don't know the Sports Hall of Fame because it doesn't have a building.

But it will. And it will be nice. Top of the line technology. Awesome memorabilia.

It will be great, not just for Natchitoches but for the whole state.

SMU is Jonesing for a quick fix

You have to wonder what the SMU folks were thinking when they went after and signed Hawaii coach June Jones to a $2 million per year contract.

Sure, Jones had a lot of success this year, but there are WAC coaches who have been more sustaining in their success than Jones.

If I were a Division I athletic director going after a WAC coach, I'd offer Fresno's Pat Hill first and Boise State's Chris Petersen second. I'd even put Nevada's Chris Ault ahead of June Jones, who had the advantage of playing a larger portion of home, non-conference games than your average mid-major. And everyone knows how tough it is for teams to adjust to playing on the island.

Heck, his 2007 team was just a non-converted two-point conversion better than a Louisiana Tech team that was recovering from a 3-10 season.

But, whatever. This is a case where the Mustangs probably won't get what they paid for.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

On Tony Romo

I can't really figure Tony Romo out.

He says his weekend jaunt to Cancun was to get away. Yet his trip brought even more media scrutiny than when he left.

He obviously enjoys the benefits of being the Cowboys quarterback. And when the Cowboys are winning, it's good to be a Cowboy in Dallas.

But he's becoming a borderline distraction to his own team.

Who would ever believe Romo and not T.O. would be the bigger "distraction'' this season?

Maybe if Romo would just date some woman from the Metroplex instead of a straight-to-DVD actress this situation wouldn't exist.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Dooley recruited 17 of LSU's title game starters

Before Les Miles begins taking too much credit for coaching the LSU Tigers to the BCS championship, he needs to send a thank you card to Alabama coach Nick Saban and Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley.

Dooley, currently attending the American Football Coaches Association conference, had a vested interest in seeing the Tigers do well. He was instrumental in signing 17 of the LSU starters, while he was an assistant under Saban at LSU.

"I sat in the homes and visited with at least 13 of the starters," Dooley said recently. "We were coming off a national championship season and that's what we sold the kids on. Those seniors got what they deserved."

Sure ... Miles did the coaching on Monday night. But he's remiss if he doesn't give some credit with it's due.

Tech isn't recruiting against UL-Monroe

Louisiana Tech football fans reading the spin some UL-Monroe commitments/signees are putting on their offers might be getting a little worried that the mighty Warhawks are beating them on recruits.

A case in point is Canton (Texas) High School's Keavon Milton, an offensive lineman, tight end and defensive end during his prep career. A recent story in the Monroe News Star indicated that Milton had chosen ULM over Tech. Similar indications were made by some of the JUCO players that the Warhawks recently inked.

But Bulldog fans needn't worry.

We have it on good authority that Tech didn't offer ANY of the JUCO players signed by Charlie Weatherbie and they didn't offer Milton. Tech coach Derek Dooley said he doesn't even know some of the players who say they picked so-and-so over his school.

Dooley and his staff aren't worried about beating Sun Belt schools for athletes. That's an easy enough job. They're worried about holding onto recruits getting attention from CUSA and SEC schools.

Clemens deserves better

Here we go again.

This time it’s Roger Clemens having to defend himself like he’s a criminal.

Enough is enough.

Clemens deserves better. Much better.

I don’t know what Clemens and Brian McNamee did, and I don’t care. And evidently, neither did Major League Baseball – until now.

For years, MLB profited off Clemens’ golden arm as he packed stadiums, set records and excited fans across the country. And now, as the curtains close on his illustrious career, it’s his turn to be Public Enemy No. 1?

That’s ridiculous.

I’ve talked to Clemens several times, and I’ve seen his exhaustive spring training workouts on the back fields of Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee.

Clemens genuinely enjoyed what he did, he vigorously prepared to do it and he should be revered as one of the game’s fiercest, most successful competitors.

Thanks for the memories, Rocket. I wish you a happy landing.

Tigers, SEC No. 1

Congratulations to the LSU Tigers for claiming their second BCS title in five seasons.

The Tigers handily disposed of the “No. 1” team in college football to prove once again that the SEC is the nation’s preeminent conference.

There IS no better conference than the SEC.

(Well, maybe one: the AFC South. But that doesn’t count.)

I never doubted for one moment the SEC’s status as the nation’s top conference, but there were those who actually did.


They actually thought (laugh, laugh, giggle, giggle) the SEC was down (laugh, laugh, giggle, giggle) because Arkansas and Florida lost bowl games.

The Tigers accepted the crown from Florida, which bumped off the Ohio State Buckeyes en route to the title last season.

Some people NEVER learn.

And guess who finished No. 2 in the nation behind LSU.

That’s right, Georgia – another one of those SEC teams.

Some people JUST WON’T LISTEN.

Will they, Jimmy?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Techsters aren't alone in struggles

The Lady Techsters aren't the only former national champions suffering strange losses this season. The Purdue women lost 100-50 to Connecticut in West Lafayette, Ind., on Sunday.

"Everybody they've played has gotten beaten by 30, 35 points," Purdue coach Sharon Versyp told the Associated Press. "We're not alone in this."
But it was Purdue's worst loss ever and came despite the fact that Purdue has a similar athletic budget to UConn.

In other surprising games on Sunday, No. 15 DePaul lost 97-68 to unranked Pittsburgh, No. 7 Georgia lost by 10 to unranked Xavier and No. 2 Stanford lost to unranked USC by one after getting schooled by UCLA on Friday. On Saturday, Tennessee defeated No. 14 Notre Dame 87-63, about the same margin that they beat the Techsters. And surprising Arkansas humiliated once powerful Texas Tech 80-57.

It may be hard for Techsters' fans to understand why their team is struggling, but at least they're not alone.

Centenary's Joseph a rising star

The loss of Centenary Ladies leader Cierra Bush has caused sophomore Bethany Joseph to blossom into a star of her own.

The mini-guard from New Iberia had started just one game before last week's home game against Sam Houston State. Joseph scored a career-high 26 points and tied the school record with six 3-point field goals in the victory. But that output also made her the focus of opponent's game plans.

Playing the Summit League's defending champion, Oral Roberts, on Saturday, however, Joseph started slow but scored a team-high 19 points against the Golden Eagles, although the Ladies lost.

A silky smooth shooter from behind the 3-point line, Joseph was a great find for coach Steve Curtis.

Aloha to June Jones

Hawaii fans should be throwing a luau instead of bemoaning the loss of head football coach June Jones to SMU. Maybe now they can get a coach who knows something about defense and who doesn't recruit thugs.

Jones would have been a fool to stay in Hawaii for $1.2 million when SMU was offering him $2 mil. $1.2 mil in Hawaii is about like $600,000 in Dallas. Plus his recruiting will be a lot easier with the Texas owning the most recruits in the country. The one drawback -- you're at SMU.

Maybe Hawaii can get a coach who can get up early enough to participate in a WAC coaches' teleconference. Jones rarely made it during the season, which was especially difficult this year, since they led the league.

Some WAC fans believe that Jones' jump from the WAC to CUSA is a black mark on the WAC. But how many CUSA teams have played in BCS bowl games over the past couple of years?

LSU's day is finally here

I've got football picker's remorse. Originally, I went with Ohio State for tonight's BCS title game. In fact, it's probably already been in the paper under our staff picks that I'm the only one to pick the Buckeyes.

And for a Michigan grad like me, you have no idea how painful it was to make that selection.

A couple days later, now I'm not sure. LSU should win the game and take its place along Southern California as the two most dominant teams of the decade. They have more talent at more of the skill positions than the Buckeyes have, but Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel is a better coach than Les Miles.

Obviously, the Superdome is a tremendous home-field advantage for the Tigers, but in talking with a vendor on Saturday night, he said his sales were about 50-50 between Ohio State and LSU fans. There were considerably more Ohio State fans walking through the French Quarter Sunday versus Saturday. LSU fans may have a long night ahead of them.

That being said, it's been pretty tame between the two groups of fans. LSU fans skewer any SEC opponent that dares to tread ground in Baton Rouge on Saturdays. That hasn't been the case in the Quarter. LSU fans have been, oh I don't know what's the word, civil. Stunning. Yeah, there's been some taunting between passing groups, but nothing to make your mom blush.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A free pass

While some people in the national media like to poke fun at the Independence Bowl, can we here in Shreveport offer up a question: Why the free pass for the GMAC Bowl in Mobile?

Anyone who watched more than 15 minutes of Tulsa's 63-7 slaughter of Bowling Green is either a parent or a relative of a player.

A bowl game that is decided by 56 points isn't really a bowl game. It's a mismatch.

To the credit of the I-Bowl selection committee, we've never had a barking dog like this game.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hoop it up

Congrats to the Northwestern State Demons for starting off Southland Conference play with a win (86-82) over Texas-Arlington.

It's been a tough start to the season for the Demons.Saturday's win matched the Demons' Division I win total going into the contest.

While the Demons have taken their lumps in a season where they were picked to win the SLC East, the reality is in a league like the Southland only one thing matters -- winning the SLC Tournament and getting the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

That goal is still there.

And with a few more wins, the Demons can dream again.

Friday, January 04, 2008

In case you missed it ....

The New Orleans Hornets are good.

They went into Friday's play with the same 21-11 record as the Dallas Mavericks. You know, the Mavericks team that had the best record in the NBA last season. The Mavericks team that reached the NBA Finals two years ago.

It's a shame, but because of the Saints and LSU football, you would hardly even know the Hornets are good -- particularly in Shreveport where the games aren't on TV or radio this year. (You can watch the games in Bossier City).

Still, here's hoping that somebody in New Orleans and around the state will take notice this season.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Techsters' season takes another downturn

A disappointing season for the Lady Techsters turned even worse on Thursday night when coach Chris Long's team was blown out 75-52 by a Fresno State team that started the season 0-6.

It was the first time the Techsters have lost a conference opener in 16 seasons. This has been a season that keeps seeing more and more negative records set by a team that seems to have lost its way.

How did the Techsters get so bad so quickly? Who knows. But if something isn't done quickly to re-direct the team, the Techsters may become a shadow of their former selves ... if they aren't already.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Tech's recruiting class shaping up

Louisiana Tech football coach Derek Dooley is shaping up with a second highly regarded recruiting class, based on current commitments.

Dooley has already signed 3-star defensive end Kwame Jordan, who recorded 18 sacks in the JUCO ranks. He also has a commitment from another 3-star defensive end in Eric Harper of Marrero and a 3-star quarterback in Bret Jefcoat from Mississippi, who is being recruited by Ole Miss.

It appears that the Bulldogs will sign just one area player in Homer athlete Richie Casey.

But what will make this class the second best class in the state is the five players enrolled at Tech but sitting out this season. They include Evangel's Zach Schreiber (Alabama), Steve Ensminger (Auburn), Rolando Melancon (Tennessee) and Jonathan Zeno (Southeastern). Highly recruited wide receiver Gabriel Bryant will also be in the class.

If the verbals from 12 prepsters hold true, Dooley's second class should be something to write home to Georgia about.

Hawaii embarrasses WAC

Want to know why Hawaii was blistered by Georgia on Tuesday night in the Sugar Bowl -- too many players with one arm.

The WAC gained a measure of respect last year when Boise State won a BCS bowl game over Oklahoma. But the Warriors' performance against the Bulldogs was pure embarrassment for the league. Hawaii didn't look like it belonged in any bowl game, much less one of BCS significance.

Hawaii is a squad that doesn't get much love around the WAC because of their propensity to denigrate the opposing team. Their whining fans leave a lot to be desired, also. If Georgia had won by 100, there wouldn't be many tears around the league.

As expected

Well, well, well.

For all of the bluster coming from the islands about how, a) Hawaii should be playing for the national championship because of an unbeaten season; and b) Colt Brennan was a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate; came a night of complete exposure.

Georgia 41, Hawaii 10.

It wasn't even that close.

Look, I don't have a problem with mid-majors playing up in the BCS. I don't. Boise State obviously proved it belonged last year.

I do have a problem with a team playing a Charmin soft schedule and then claiming they should be in the title game.

As for Brennan, he wasn't even on my Heisman ballot. (That was Darren McFadden at No. 1, Tim Tebow at No. 2 and Chase Daniel at No. 3). Brennan's performance made me feel even better about my ballot.

The only down side to this scenario is that there are some people who think Georgia should be No. 1 because of this tremendous "accomplishment'' against Hawaii.

Look, Georgia did what it was supposed to do against an inferior team. That game was no gauge for the Bulldogs.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Day bowl musings

After sleeping in, I turned on the TV, put the channel on Fox, watched some of Arkansas' opening drive that ended in missed field goal and immediately wondered, "Why did I pick Arkansas?''

In case you're scoring at home, interim head coaches are 0-5 this bowl season. Send your kids to college on Wednesday night by taking Oklahoma against West Virginia.

Anyway, my original thought was that Arkansas was playing good football at the end of the season. Of course, I forgot that part of that good football was under coach Houston Nutt, who may not look so bad to Arkansas fans now.

What Tony Temple did to the Arkansas defense was downright embarrassing.

Give credit to Tennessee for finding a way to win a game. That Tennessee somehow won the SEC East and a bowl game should tell you something about Phil Fulmer and his players.

Florida was a disappointment. The Gators scoring 35, I expected. The Gators giving up 41, wow.

Give John David Booty some love. He threw three TDs for USC in the biggest mismatch of the bowl season thus far.