Archive for September, 2008

SEC Tournament Tickets

September 30, 2008

The SEC says that tickets for the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament are on sale. Here’s the official release:

Public tickets for the 2009 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament will go on sale Wednesday at 8 a.m. Fans can purchase tickets through www.SECsports.com or by calling (800) 732-4849.

The tournament will take place March 12-15, 2009, at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. Tickets will only be available by purchasing the reserved book for $300, which includes one ticket for each of the six sessions (11 games total).

Hospitality packages for the tournament will be available by contacting the Colonnade Group at (205) 320-1234.

Golf News; No Blog Bag

September 30, 2008

A little love for the MSU women’s golf team. After two rounds at the Johnnie Imes Invitational in Columbia, Mo., freshman Hannah Weathersby is 2-under, good for fourth overall. It’s just her second collegiate tournament. As a team, the Lady Bulldogs are in fifth place. Round two, shortened by nightfall Monday, was to be completed this morning.

Also, since the MSU football team is off this week, so is Blog Bag. So you’ve got plenty of time to work up some good questions for me for next Monday.

On the Links

September 30, 2008

Here you can find today’s strongly worded column about the Bulldogs. I managed to resist using a George Michael reference.

I shall head to Starkville later today and catch up with various players and coaches, including Sylvester Croom and his thoughts on losing Robert Elliott for the year.

Also, what is the world coming to? Vandy is so setting itself up for a huge collapse.

Chaz Ramsey Granted Release

September 29, 2008

Auburn offensive lineman Chaz Ramsey, a Madison Central product, has been granted a release by Auburn to transfer to any non-SEC school, plus Ole Miss and MSU. There’s been previous rumors of his wanting to leave, and MSU is in the picture. Could be a good pickup, but he has had injury issues.

The Missing Link

September 29, 2008

Here, finally, is the link to the Tyson Lee story I wrote for Sunday’s paper. Had a glitch there. Enjoy.

Robert Elliott Out for Season

September 29, 2008

MSU redshirt freshman tailback Robert Elliott is out for the season with a knee injury. The news came in moments ago, but an MSU spokesperson said coach Sylvester Croom won’t address the issue until tomorrow. Elliott will have surgery next week or the week after.

Elliott tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee early in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 34-24 loss to LSU. He had 18 yards on four carries on the night.

Obviously, this hurts. He was developing as a nice speedy complement to Anthony Dixon and Christian Ducre.

Vandy Game

September 29, 2008

The Vanderbilt game for Oct. 11 has been set for 1:30 p.m. No television coverage for now. Remember, if y’all want to get such updates a little quicker, follow me on Twitter at bradlocke.

SEC Players of the Week

September 29, 2008

Here is the list of the SEC Players of the Week:

• Offensive: QB John Parker Wilson, Alabama (13-16-0, 205 yards, 1 TD)

• Defensive: S Jamarca Sanford, Ole Miss (11 tackles)

• Special teams: K Ryan Succop, South Carolina (4 field goals)

• Offensive line: T Garry Williams, Kentucky (no sacks allowed, no penalties)

• Defensive line: DE Antonio Coleman, Auburn (4 tackles, 1 sack)

• Freshman: QB Jarrett Lee, LSU (18-27-1, 261 yards, 2 TDs)

On the Links, On Tap

September 29, 2008

In today’s paper we had the follow-up to MSU’s 34-24 loss to LSU. What’s next for the Bulldogs? An off week, and my question is, is this a good time for it? On the one hand, it’s nice to have time to rest up and heal up; on the other hand, it’d be nice if the offense could go back out and build on what it did Saturday.

Anyway, no practice today, no telenconference, no press conference Tuesday. I’ll be over there tomorrow anyway. Got a [adjective(s) here] column coming in tomorrow’s paper. Guess I oughta get to work on that.

Also, we should know more about RB Robert Elliott‘s injury later today, possibly before lunch.

And in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the newest AP Top 25 rankings:

Record    Pts    Pvs
1. Oklahoma (43)    4-0    1,599    2
2. Alabama (21)    5-0    1,565    8
3. LSU 4-0    1,466    5
4. Missouri (1)    4-0    1,453    6
5. Texas    4-0    1,362    7
6. Penn St.    5-0    1,252    12
7. Texas Tech    4-0    1,105    10
8. BYU    4-0    1,098    11
9. Southern Cal    2-1    1,087    1
10. South Florida    5-0    1,035    13
11. Georgia 4-1    1,018    3
12. Florida 3-1    914    4
13. Auburn 4-1    860    15
14. Ohio St.    4-1    829    14
15. Utah    5-0    713    17
16. Kansas    3-1    650    18
17. Boise St.    3-0    549    19
18. Wisconsin    3-1    520    9
19. Vanderbilt 4-0    459    21
20. Virginia Tech    4-1    290    —
21. Oklahoma St.    4-0    277    —
22. Fresno St.    3-1    232    25
23. Oregon    4-1    199    —
24. Connecticut    5-0    126    —
25. Wake Forest    3-1    107    16
Others receiving votes: Maryland 46, Michigan St. 42, Kentucky 40, Ball St. 38, Northwestern 32, Tulsa 32, TCU 30, Illinois 24, North Carolina 21, Florida St. 14, Ole Miss 13, Georgia Tech 10, California 5, Nebraska 5, Boston College 3, Oregon St. 3, Colorado 2.

On the Links

September 28, 2008

No update on RB Robert Elliott, except to say that we won’t know the extent of his knee injury until tomorrow. Now, faithful readers, for my stories on the LSU game:

Game story

Notebook

• I had a story on QB Tyson Lee, but for some reason it hasn’t been posted online. I’ll check on that.

Y’all have a good Sunday.

MSU-LSU Postgame

September 27, 2008

First, some quotes from coach Sylvester Croom:

• “I thought we played hard. We played with a lot of passion and commitment throughout the course of the ballgame. We got better at a lot of things.”

• On the last drive of the first half: “I said I’m not going to make a decision that’s going to get us in trouble. I felt like going into the half, that as long as we didn’t turn the ball over right there, and we could come back out and stop them on defense the first drive, then we’ve got a chance to move the ball.”

• On QB Tyson Lee: “He had an air of calmness about him, and for the first time, it looked like he was totally confident in everything he was doing. … He played a lot better than I thought he would.”

Now for a few player quotes:

• RB Anthony Dixon: “I guess you could say I feel a little better, but I don’t feel a whole lot better, to tell you the truth. A loss is a loss.” Dixon said his groin injury feels fine.

• LB Dominic Douglas: “The preparation of the guys, their minds into practice, the intensity of practice, everybody was smiling, everybody was having fun. I believe we transferred it out here into the game.”

• QB Tyson Lee: “I was comfortable with the guys around me. They gave me comfort, that’s the biggest thing is having everybody doing their one-11th. If everybody does their one-11th, it makes it whole.”

Now for some stats:

• Total yards: LSU 427, MSU 285

• Rushes-yards: LSU 37-166, MSU 31-110

• Passing yards: LSU 261, MSU 175

• First downs: LSU 22, MSU 13

• Penalties: LSU 5-55, MSU 10-90

• MSU QB Tyson Lee: 17-26-0, 175 yards, 1 TD

• MSU RB Anthony Dixon: 15-60, 1 TD

• MSU RB Christian Ducre: 7-24, 1 TD rushing; 4-34, 1 TD receiving

• MSU LB Dominic Douglas: 11 tackles, 1 TFL

• LSU QB Jarrett Lee: 18-27-1, 261 yards, 2 TDs

• LSU RB Charles Scott: 27-141, 2 TDs

• LSU WR Brandon LaFell: 7-100, 0 TD

• LSU LB Perry Riley: 9 tackles

Now, I can leave. G’night.

MSU-LSU: Official Game Thread

September 27, 2008

So we get to see what Tyson Lee is made of. What a place to get your first college start. Of course, I imagine all three QBs will see action, so I’m interested to see how the rotation is handled – if it’s already mapped out, or if it’ll be a play-it-by-ear thing.

LSU won the coin toss and deferred, so MSU will receive. Remember, this game is on ESPN2. Game on.

MSU-LSU: Pregame Notes

September 27, 2008

It’s my first trip to Tiger Stadium, and I’m duly impressed with the place, especially the new press box. Looking forward to how things are after the sun goes down. Also looking forward to hearing the LSU band.

Once I found my parking spot, I navigated a sea of purple and gold to the stadium. I passed Mike the Tiger along the way; thankfully, he was caged. He looked very relaxed.

Right now it’s clear skies and 84 degrees in Death Valley, but the field is completely covered in shadows. Now for some notes and numbers:

• The big news: Tyson Lee to start at QB. I had a feeling he might.

• Been confirmed that Craig Jenkins will start at RG in place of the injured Michael Gates.

• LSU has won 27 straight Saturday night games at Tiger Stadium. The last loss was Nov. 16, 2002 against Alabama (31-0).

• LSU has won 13 straight on the ESPN family of networks.

On the Links; Washington Says …

September 27, 2008

You can find today’s GameDay section online.

And from The Advocate, a story about LSU avoiding a letdown, and some key matchups. Also, LSU QB Jarrett Lee earned a national honor for his game against Auburn last week.

Also, I spoke with MSU receivers coach Pat Washington earlier this week. His thoughts:

On LSU’s secondary:
“I think they’re pretty good myself, watching the tape. They’re physical, they’re athletic, they’re fast. I don’t see many weaknesses at all in LSU’s defense.”

On the toughest matchup:
“Handling man coverage. They’re going to do what they do. They’re going to apply pressure, and when they apply pressure, they like to play man coverage. They’ll play zone some as well, but when they play man we’ve got to try to take advantage of it, make some things happen.”

On MLB Darry Beckwith’s absence (leg injury) affecting LSU’s pass defense:
“They’re about two or three deep. You just see a bunch of guys running around, sometimes you forget who’s who. I don’t think it’s going to affect it at all, to be honest with you. They’ve got enough depth and talent there, they won’t miss him.”

On more pressure on State’s receivers:
“For us to be successful, we’re going to have to make some things happen at receiver. There’s no question about it. And we will have some opportunities, and we’ve just got to take advantage of it.”

On getting more guys involved:
“There’s nothing in particular we’re trying to do, we’re just going to get them out there on the field and just try to get them into the rotation and let them go through the process of the offense.”

Blog Bag: The Answers

September 26, 2008

Well, I’m sufficiently stuffed after dinner at Mike Anderson’s. I’ve actually had better catfish, but it was very fresh. And I tried oysters for the first time. Not bad.

Didn’t have a lot of questions this week. The Blog Bag sort of devolved into a pissing contest between a few posters. I know that happens sometimes, but personal attacks aren’t going to be tolerated here. So can it.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got.

Q: When is OL Derek Sherrod supposed to be back to 100%?
A: Line coach J.B. Grimes: “I’d say he’s pretty close.” Sherrod: “I’d have to say I’m full 100 percent ready to go.”

Q: Offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey’s health.
A: They don’t want to talk about it, but he’s doing OK.

Q: Why in the fifth year of Coach Sylvester Croom do we look the same as the first year?
A: Croom: “Any time you go into building a program or rebuilding a program, it’s a long haul. I knew there were certain things we were going to have to go through. One was, did I really want to go on that journey, and was everybody going to be on board for going through the process we had to go through. … I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a very difficult task. I’ve enjoyed it, and I’m still enjoying it, and the process continues. … I felt like we’ve made tremendous progress. If my tenure was to end today, this program would be a lot better off than when I came.”

Q: Why does MSU run the West Coast offense when so many schools don’t?
A: Croom: “I think a lot of people, first of all, a lot of people do run, in all these offenses, are running West Coast concepts. Nobody runs the entire system … A lot of quarterbacks are coming from the spread offense in high school, and that makes it extremely difficult to train a guy under center and learn the drops. It’s easier to just back a guy into the shotgun and throw from there.”

On the Links

September 26, 2008

Good morning, faithful readers. A beautiful day for driving, which I’ll be doing shortly after lunch. But first, to the links:

• My story on MSU’s offensive line and its troubles.

• And from our friends at The (Baton Rouge) Advocate, a story about a very optimistic Brandon McRae, the State WR. One thing I like about this kid, he’s always upbeat.

• And here’s an Advocate story on the huge task facing MSU’s defensive line.

I will post the Blog Bag answers later this evening, after I have arrived in Baton Rouge and sufficiently stuffed myself with the finest in Cajun cuisine. So have an excellent Friday, and if you’re going to Red Stick, I’m told by a Cajun friend that Hwy 16 at Amite is a good shortcut between I-55 and I-12. Of course, he could’ve been messing with me.

Basketball: Legends Classic

September 25, 2008

Tickets for this Legends Classic men’s basketball tournament go on sale Friday at http://www.ticketmaster.com and, I imagine, at the MSU box office (the release didn’t say). MSU is one of the regional hosts. Kind of a weird setup, but here are the games y’all will care about:

Starkville Regional Rounds
Humphrey Coliseum
Nov. 20, 22

North Alabama vs. Mississippi St.
Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Mississippi St.

Championship rounds
At Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
Semifinal Doubleheader
Nov. 28, 4:30 p.m.

Mississippi St. vs. Washington St.
Pittsburgh vs. Texas Tech
Championship Doubleheader
Nov. 29, 4:30 p.m.

Consolation Game
Championship Game

MSU-LSU: Predictions Thread

September 25, 2008

OK, the line on this game, at last check, is 24 points. A night game at LSU on television – it could turn ugly, and fast.

But I do believe, in some lonely corner of my mind, that if the Bulldogs survive the first quarter, they can actually beat the spread and turn in a respectable showing. It’s going to depend on which defense we see: the one that kept Auburn out of the end zone, or the one that got trampled for 500 yards by Georgia Tech. And it’s going to depend on somebody on offense being a playmaker. Brandon McRae is the closest MSU has to one right now, but he hasn’t scored the last two games.

I say the oddsmakers are dead on. Prediction: LSU 34, MSU 10.

Go.

On the Links, On Tap

September 25, 2008

• Had a story this morning on LSU running back Charles Scott, who entered the Heisman discussion after his big game against Auburn.

• Today in The Advocate (Baton Rouge), there was a story on the Tigers’ punter, Brady Dalfrey, and the reason behind him and LSU’s other punter both wearing No. 30 last week. Also from The Advocate, a couple of stories on MSU: coach Sylvester Croom saying how much progress the program’s made, and a notebook.

Today is writing day for me. I’ll have a story on MSU’s offensive line in tomorrow’s paper. I spoke with line coach J.B. Grimes as well as linemen Derek Sherrod and J.C. Brignone. Gotta finish up my GameDay stuff, too, because I’m leaving Friday after lunch for Red Stick.

SEC Power Rankings, Quotes & Notes

September 24, 2008

Brad’s SEC Power Rankings
Team (Pvs): Comment
1. Florida (1): Just wait until Tim Tebow really gets cranked up.
2. Georgia (2): OK, I’ll drink the Georgia Kool-Aid now, but I’m keeping the Tums handy.
3. LSU (3): Removed any doubt with the Auburn win that they’re BCS title contenders.
4. Auburn (4): Their showing vs. LSU should make MSU fans feel a little better.
5. Alabama (5): Still not drinking the Tide-flavored Kool-Aid.
6. Vanderbilt (9): Oh, why not? Because, hey …
7. Tennessee (6): … the Vols really stunk it up last week.
8. Ole Miss (9): Jevan Snead came back to Earth against Vandy, but for how long?
9. Kentucky (8): Since Louisville, it’s been Norfolk St., Middle Tennessee, Open Date, and now Western Kentucky. Pansies.
10. South Carolina (10): Bounced back with a win over … Wofford.
11. Mississippi State (11): Open Date can’t come soon enough.
12. Arkansas (12): Man, they’re bad.

Some tidbits from today’s SEC teleconference:

• Many SEC coaches have taken issue with the new 40-second play clock. Count LSU coach Les Miles among that group. The Tigers are averaging 65 offensive players per game and had a season-high 67 against Auburn. “In years gone by, 72s to 78s were really strong days; 82s to 84s, you had an exceptional day,” he said.

He went on to say, “They’ve changed the clock rule three times in probably four years. I just wish they would settle on a good quality format that would not change the college game significantly.”

By the way, MSU had 80 offensive plays last week.

• Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, on bouncing back after that six-turnover loss to Vanderbilt: “What we try to put an emphasis on is, we love your effort, but what we want to eliminate is beating yourselves. We want somebody to beat us without giving them gifts.” Sounds like a familiar refrain to y’all, doesn’t it?

• Georgia coach Mark Richt, when asked if he thought his defense is underrated: “I think coach (Willie) Martinez is one of the most underrated defensive coordinators in the country. … We threw a bunch of young pups in there. We decided, let these boys play. We had a bunch of guys that weren’t ready to play, but we wanted to give them experience.”

Now for some notes and numbers from around the league:

• Trivia time: What is the only team in the country that’s yet to commit a turnover? (Hint: It’s an SEC team.) Answer at end of notes.

• Alabama’s two interception returns for touchdown marked the first time in school history that has happened.

• Bright spot for Arkansas: It’s 4-for-6 on fourth downs this year.

• Kentucky has won 12 straight non-conference games, currently tied for the third-longest streak in the country. Pansies.

• LSU running back Keiland Williams threw a TD pass against Auburn. The last time a Tiger running back did that: Oct. 26, 1996, against MSU (Kevin Faulk).

Mike Wallace’s 202 return yards against Vandy was an Ole Miss record.

• Speaking of the Commodores, they’re 4-0 for only the second time since 1984. You’ll remember 2005, which ended terribly for them.

• MSU ranks 11th in red zone offense, scoring on 7 of 15 tries. Auburn is last (7-16).

• Kentucky is tops in red zone defense. Opponents are 0-for-3. Uh, yeah – pansies.

• MSU has scored nine points off seven turnovers.

• Trivia answer: Florida. The Gators have forced nine turnovers.