Early look at LSU Tigers 2014 schedule

LSU TigersThe LSU Tigers are coming off somewhat of a let down from last season, they ended the year on a three game win streak and won their Outback Bowl appearance against Iowa. But for most fans this was far short of National Championship expectations, but ending the season 10-3 is a solid record. Les Miles will look to have a vast improvement going into this season, especially since Alabama will be breaking in a new quarterback and may not be as dominant as they have been. Continue reading

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Mustangs use 2nd half run to whip Tigers

MustangsThe SMU Mustangs defeated the LSU Tigers on Wednesday night in front of a sold out and crazy Moody Coliseum. While the final score was 80-67, the game wasn’t always in hand for the Mustangs. The Tigers seemed to control the first half and kept the game in their control for the better part of the first half.  Continue reading

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Tigers look to rebound in 2013

The LSU Tigers are coming off of a 10-3 season that was capped off by a loss to Clemson in the Chick-fil-a bowl. They were stacked to return most of the team intact, but a few players ended up leaving early for the draft, which has only left them with 12 returning starter’s total. But Les Miles always seems to find a way to get the best out of his teams.

LSU has been able to win to win in recent years without stellar play from the quarterback position. This year Zach Mettenberger is a senior this year and is coming off a good year where he threw for 2,609 yards. Along with back up Stephen Rivers, this year looks to be one of the best years of quarterback play the Tigers have had in a while. Add in the fact they are returning running backs Jeremy Hill, Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue. They should be able to take some of the pressure of Mettenberger to keep the Tigers moving down the field.

Also add in the fact the top 4 receivers return this year, led by Kadron Boon and Odell Beckham. The passing game has been weaker because of spotty quarterback play, but with some experience at QB and the experienced receivers, look for them to put up some big numbers this season. It will be tough for Mettenberger to just sit back and survey the field because the offensive line is less experienced this season and will probably have a tougher time preventing someone to slip through and get their hands on the QB. Overall the Tigers have a strong offensive unit and will be able to put points up in bunches.

The defense took the biggest hit with a lot of players leaving for the draft, there is no senior leadership on the defensive line, and it is basically three juniors and a sophomore. This unit will have to grow up fast to be able to make their mark in the grueling SEC. Luckily the linebackers have some experience returning and can hopefully pick up the slack for the d-line. Led by seniors Lamin Barrow and Tahj Jones, they will need to be a big time unit because the offenses in the SEC will take every opportunity to exploit any and all weakness.

The secondary looks to be at least as strong as last year with two returning starters and will be lead by senior safety Craig Loston. I think this unit can be a game changer for the Tigers because LSU has had a history of good athletic corners and safeties. If that tradition holds true, then this unit could be the difference of one or two losses in conference play.

The LSU tigers have a fairly favorable schedule this year with most of their toughest games being at home in always dangerous Tiger stadium. There are only two games on the road the tigers have to really be careful about, that is one trip to Alabama and an early season trip to Georgia. If the Tigers can make it out of those venues with a win, then they may have a shot at the SEC and National Championship. But losses there could relegate them back to the Chick-fil-a bowl.

8/31-TCU – W
9/7-UAB- W
9/14-Kent St. – W
9/21-Auburn – W
9/28-At Georgia – W
10/5-At Miss St – W
10/12-Florida – W
10/19-At Mississippi – W
10/26-Furman – W
11/9-At Alabama – L
11/23-Texas A&M – W
11/30-Arkansas – W
2013 Record: 11-1

Is Nick Saban one of the greatest coaches ever?

Nick-Saban-TrophyNick Saban just recently won his fourth national championship as a head coach, and the third in four years at Alabama. Which has led me to wonder if Nick Saban will start needing to be named as one of the greatest of all time? I’m not quite ready to call him one of the greatest college coaches but he is slowly making his case with each passing season.

It is funny to think Nick Saban had no dreams or intentions of joining the coaching ranks coming out of College at Kent State. His Coach at Kent State Don James convinced Saban to become a graduate assistant while he waited for his wife to finish her degree.  Saban spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Kent State and got promoted to a defensive assistant in 1975. This was just the beginning of Saban’s coaching career.

Nick Saban spent the better part of the next decade bouncing around jobs between Syracuse, West Virginia, Ohio State, Navy, and Michigan State in the college ranks as well as one stop in the NFL to be an assistant coach on the Houston Oilers. In 1990 Saban got his first opportunity to be a head coach when he accepted the Toledo Rockets job. In his first and only season as head coach he took the Rockets to a 9-2 record and the Rockets were co-champions of the Mid American Conference. Following the season Saban accepted the Defensive Coordinator job with the Cleveland Browns.

This one move has now labeled Saban under the Bill Belichick coaching tree; He stayed with the Browns from 1991-1994 and got another opportunity as a head coach when he took over the struggling Michigan State Spartans in 1995. Beginning with his first season in East Lansing, there was moderate improvement and mild success. It wasn’t until the 1999 season when he led the Spartans to a 9-2 record, which was the best season for the Spartans since 1965. Saban now had some interest from various jobs opening up, and he decided to head down to Baton Rouge to take the LSU head coaching job.

From the time he took over in 1999 it just seemed like it would be a matter of time before he helped get LSU over the top. That first flash of brilliance happened in 2001 when LSU won it’s first outright SEC championship since 1986. While the team took a slight step backwards in 2002, there was something special from the early going of 2003 as LSU went through the season with only one loss and won their 2nd SEC championship in three years and finishing the season at #2 in the BCS and getting a bid to play #1 Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. The Tigers took advantage of playing close to home winning their first national championship since 1958, and capturing Saban’s first title as a head coach.

2004 was a step backwards for the Tigers and after suffering a heartbreaking loss in the Capital One bowl, Nick Saban resigned to take a shot at the NFL and the Miami Dolphins head coaching job. This would be Saban’s third stint in the NFL, but his first opportunity as a head coach. It was short lived, after his first season and some surprising succsess, the team took a huge step backwards in his second season and Saban suffered his first losing season as a head coach. At this time the rumors started swirling around Saban and the newly vacant coaching position at Alabama.Saban

Even though Saban denied the reports repeatedly, he finally met with owner of the Dolphins on January 3rd 2007 and notified the owner of his intentions to take the Alabama job. He was announced on January 4th as the 27th head coach of the Alabama Crimson tide. His first season in Birmingham was a rocky one finishing the season at 6-6.  His second season is when things turned for the best, Saban helped the Crimson tide reach #1 in the polls during the regular season for the first time since 1980, and Nick Saban finally got his first undefeated season as a head coach, but the first loss would come to eventual national champion Florida Gators in the SEC championship game.  Then Saban’s Crimson tide suffered an embarrassing loss to Utah in the Sugar Bowl. But all of that didn’t stop the excitement for the next season as expectations were high.

2009 is when things really started to take off for Saban at Alabama, he had his second consecutive undefeated system and Alabama’s first back to back undefeated regular seasons since 1973-1974. The Crimson tide beat Florida in an SEC title game rematch against Florida, which now put Saban in rare company with Paul “Bear” Bryant as one of only two coaches to win an SEC championship at two schools. Saban and the Crimson tide carried that momentum into the National Championship game against the Texas Longhorns where Saban was able to capture his 2nd National championship as a head coach.

Saban now had the distinction as being the only coach who won National Championships at two different schools.  Don’t forget the fact he did it at Two SEC Schools. The 2010 season was another strong one for Saban and the Tide, but lost to eventual national champions Auburn in the Iron bowl. The past two seasons Saban was able to get his 3rd and 4th National championship, which now puts him in more rare company as the first coach since Tom Osborne to win three or more national titles and he is the first to do it in the BCS era.

Say what you want about Nick Saban, but he has proven to turn programs into winners. He didn’t win great everywhere, but since he took over Alabama, he has won three championships and will probably have a team that is favored in 2013. Now the question I have, is Nick Saban one of the best coaches of all time? Or is he just the best of recent history? I am figuring he has to be close to being one of the best of all time, but that is my opinion, and I guess you could say “proof is in the pudding”.

UNT Job better, Thanks to Johnny Jones

Now that Johnny Jones has left North Texas for his “dream job” at LSU. There is a lot of speculation and debate over who will be the next coach of the Mean Green men’s basketball program. While names can be thrown around and debated on endlessly, there is one simple fact that everyone can agree on. Johnny Jones left UNT’s program in far better shape than when he arrived back in 2001.

When Jones arrived the basketball program was in horrible shape, and it was the type of job a coach would take just to get some head coaching experience. But during his tenure, there started to be a revitalization of the program, and there was a beam of hope for success. Over the next 11 years Johnny Jones took the UNT men’s basketball program to unprecedented heights.

He had five consecutive seasons of 20 wins or more, took the Mean Green to two NCAA Tournament appearances and had UNT become a contender in the Sun Belt Conference. He even made it popular for local talent to give UNT a hard look and even brought in some great talent to make the turn around all that more spectacular.

The next head coach of the Mean Green will have a far easier job than Johnny Jones did and they will have an easier time getting fans into the “Super Pit” because of what Jones was able to accomplish. The UNT job is no longer a job that is taken just because; it is now a seen as a quality job and could be a great step up for the right assistant or small program head coach.

No matter whom the next head coach is, he will be able to do more than Jones did in his first few seasons, but at the same time he will now have more pressure to keep the program up to the standard it has been at and improve it. Now when UNT calls to inquire with a coach about the job, the coach will listen.

UNT fans and alumni should not hold any ill will towards Johnny Jones for moving on, they should be thankful he took the program from a wasteland to respectable in 11 years. Things are looking up for the Mean Green and Jones is the one to thank for that.

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