Apr 30, 2008

Hornets Advance, Scott Named Coach of the Year

Double congratulations go out to the New Orleans Hornets. First Coach Byron Scott was named NBA Coach of the Year, then the team went on to finish off the Dallas Mavericks yesterday to win the series 4-1. This team is red hot and will have a great shot at advancing even further in the playoffs.

Chris Paul, one of the leading MVP candidates, showed up big time in his first ever playoff series. He was the key factor in each of the Hornets wins. New Orleans made Dallas look old and disjointed throughout the first round and may have cause owner Mark Cuban to think about rebuilding his team, who has lost in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year.

Earlier in the day, Coach Scott was officially named Coach of the Year, his first time winning the award. Scott & Paul have put New Orleans basketball on the map and made the sport relevant in a football hungry state. I had my doubts about the Hornets long-term future in New Orleans after their 18 win season and Hurricane Katrina, but this year showed that New Orleans can be a viable NBA market. From hosting the All Star Game to having the best point guard in the league, New Orleans is a top flight NBA City.

Now the Hornets will face division rival San Antonio in the second round of the playoffs. The Spurs took care of the Phoenix Suns 4-1 in their first round match-up. The Hornets wrestled the Southwest Division title away from the Spurs and will be looking to climb the next hurdle by knocking the defending NBA champs out of the playoffs. It should be a great series.

Apr 28, 2008

New Orleans Saints 2008 Draft Class

The 2008 NFL Draft is in the books. The Saints did some wheeling and dealing with three trades over the weekend, but none of them involved TE Jeremy Shockey. They moved up in the first round, up in the 5th round and back into the 7th round.

Here's a look at the Saints draft:

Round 1, pick 7: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
The Saints were aggressive in their pursuit of the top defensive tackles in the draft, Glen Dorsey and Ellis. When Dorsey fell to #5, the Saints contacted the Chiefs and reportedly offered their 1st, 2nd and 2009 1st round picks, but the Chiefs declined. The Saints then turned their attention to Ellis at pick 7. They moved up to the Patriots spot and got their man.

Ellis was dominant at the Senior Bowl and at the time, many believed he overtook Dorsey as the top DT in the draft, especially with Dorsey's injury concerns. Ellis cooled off a bit at the combine, but always remained a top-10 pick. Ellis is a good pass rusher from the middle, recording 8.5 sacks his senior year. He'll help shore up the Saints run and pass defense and hopefully, take some pressure off the secondary by collapsing the pocket.

Round 2, pick 40: Tracy Porter, CB, Indiana
The Saints stayed close to home with their second round pick and grabbed Tracy Porter, a Port Allen, La., native. Porter is a solid cover corner with special teams skills. He can return punts and play gunner on the coverage teams. He's not a great tackler, but his speed and ball skills make him a solid prospect.

The Saints secondary was terrible last year, so any help is welcomed. Porter will have a chance to compete with guys like Jason Craft, Jason David and Aaron Glenn for playing time.

Round 5, pick 144: DeMario Pressley, DT, NC State
The Saints moved up two spots in the 5th round to grab another DT in NC State's DeMario Pressley. There was a mini-run on DT in the 5th and with the Saints picking just behind the Bengals, they thought that Cincinnati might be targeting the same guy, so they gave Detroit a 7th rounder to swap spots in the 5th. The Bengals ended up taking the DT from Fresno State, so they may have had interest in Pressley as well.

Pressley will add depth and join the Ed Ogeron's rotation on the D-Line. Pressley joins a long list of top D-Line prospects from NC State like Mario Williams and Manny Lawson. He didn't have a great senior year and that caused him to drop to the 5th round. This pick shows the Saints determination to get younger and more athletic up front.

Round 5, pick 164: Carl Nicks, OT, Nebraska
Carl Nicks represented excellent value in the 5th round. Many draft sites had him as a 2nd or 3rd round prospect. He is a big tackle with lots of upside. He doesn't have a lot of experience at OT, having started his college career as a defensive tackle. With the Saints depth at OT, he was a surprising selection, but the value of taking him here was too good to pass up.

Round 6, pick 178:
Taylor Mehlhaff, K, Wisconsin
It's no secret that the Saints have been trying to upgrade their kicking game for a few years now. With John Carney nearing the end of his career and not having the leg strength to kick-off, the Saints parted ways with him last year and traded for Olindo Mare, which was a major mistake. Mare was terribly inconsistent. He did kick off well, but couldn't make field goals. A late season injury allowed the Saints to bring in Martin Grammatica, who kicked well in New Orleans.

Grammatica will be back, but Mare was released. The Taylor Mehlhaff selection shows that the job won't be handed to anyone. These two will compete and the best kicker will win the spot, but the team is probably hoping that the rookie will show enough to get the job. Some fans won't be excited about drafting a kicker, but it's the 6th round. If you take a player in the 6th that will most likely make your team and make them better, why not do it? Mehlhaff has a strong leg and has experience kicking in bad conditions. Playing in a dome should help him look even better. He's left-footed too, so Saints fans may have visions of Morten Andersen dancing in their heads when Mehlhaff kicks.

Round 7, pick 237:
Adrian Arrington, WR, Michigan
The Saints traded away their 7th round pick to move up for DT Pressley but were able to get back into the round by giving up a 2009 6th round pick to Green Bay to select Adrian Arrington.

The Saints reportedly had a 3rd round grade on Arrington. They traded in to get him because they didn't feel he'd consider New Orleans as an UDFA since the team has a lot of depth at WR. Arrington will likely be competing with the likes of Terrance Copper, Devery Henderson and Lance Moore for a roster spot as the 4th-5th receiver on the team. Arrington has good size at almost 6'3" and was productive as the #2 WR at Michigan.

Overall the Saints had a good draft. They filled some needs and got solid value with all the selections. They still have need areas, most notably at safety, center, & tight end, but with the improvements at other areas in the draft and free agency, 2008 looks to be a good season for New Orleans.

Draft grade: B

The team traded away its 2008 4th round pick for LB Jonathan Vilma, and if you factor that into this draft, then the grade could go up to an A.

Apr 25, 2008

NFL Draft Tomorrow

It's less than 24-hours until the start of the NFL Draft. The Miami Dolphins took all the suspense out of the #1 pick when they signed OT Jake Long earlier this week, but that's doesn't mean the top of the draft will be boring.

The Rams are sitting at #2 and have multiple options including trading down (perhaps with the Saints). There's also the intrigue of the first QB off the board, Matt Ryan. He could go anywhere from picks 3, 5, 8 or take a Brady Quinn-like dive into the middle/lower potions of the round.

Here's how I project the draft to play out tomorrow (I didn't project trades, but you can bet, there will be a few):


  1. Miami: Jake Long, OT, Michigan
  2. St. Louis: Glen Dorsey, DT, LSU
  3. Atlanta: Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
  4. Oakland: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
  5. Kansas City: Chris Long, DE, Virginia
  6. New York Jets: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
  7. New England (from San Francisco): Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State
  8. Baltimore: Brandon Albert, OT/OG, Virginia
  9. Cincinnati: Keith Rivers, LB, USC
  10. New Orleans: Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
  11. Buffalo: Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State
  12. Denver: Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
  13. Carolina: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
  14. Chicago: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State
  15. Detroit: Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
  16. Arizona: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State
  17. Kansas City (from Minnesota): Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh
  18. Houston: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon
  19. Philadelphia: Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
  20. Tampa Bay: Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
  21. Washington: Kenny Phillips, S, Miami
  22. Dallas (from Cleveland): Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
  23. Pittsburgh: Gosder Cherilus, OG/OT, Boston College
  24. Tennessee: Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee
  25. Seattle: DeSean Jackson, WR, California
  26. Jacksonville: Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson
  27. San Diego: Quentin Groves, DE/OLB, Auburn
  28. Dallas: Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
  29. San Francisco (from Indianapolis): Kentwan Balmer, DT, UNC
  30. Green Bay: Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville
  31. * New England (forfeited)
  32. New York Giants: Dan Conner, LB, Penn State


  1. (32) Miami: Chad Henne, QB, Michigan
  2. (33) St. Louis: Calais Campbell, DE, Miami
  3. (34) Atlanta (from Oakland): Sam Baker, OT, USC
  4. (35) Kansas City: Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona
  5. (36) New York Jets: Tyrell Johnson, S, Arkansas State
  6. (37) Atlanta: Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue
  7. (38) Baltimore: Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware
  8. (39) San Francisco: James Hardy, WR, Indiana
  9. (40) New Orleans: Trevor Laws, DT, Notre Dame
  10. (41) Buffalo: Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech
  11. (42) Denver: Curtis Lofton, LB, Oklahoma
  12. (43) Carolina: Reggie Smith, CB/S, Oklahoma
  13. (44) Chicago: Early Doucet, WR, LSU
  14. (45) Detroit: Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers
  15. (46) Cincinnati: Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC
  16. (47) Minnesota: DaJuan Morgan, S, NC State
  17. (48) Atlanta (from Houston): Justin King, CB, Penn State
  18. (49) Philadelphia: Carl Nicks, OT, Nebraska
  19. (50) Arizona: Cliff Avril, DE, Purdue
  20. (51) Washington: Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma
  21. (52. Tampa Bay: Pat Sims, DT, Auburn
  22. (53) Pittsburgh: Matt Forte, RB, Tulane
  23. (54) Tennessee: Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State
  24. (55) Seattle: Fred Davis, TE, USC
  25. (56) Green Bay (from Cleveland): Patrick Lee, CB, Auburn
  26. (57) Miami (from San Diego): Tavares Gooden, LB, Miami
  27. (58) Jacksonville: Marcus Harrison, DT, Arkansas
  28. (59) Indianapolis: John Carlson, TE, Notre Dame
  29. (60) Green Bay: Chilo Rachal, OG, USC
  30. (61) Dallas: Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan
  31. (62) New England: Chevis Jackson, CB, LSU
  32. (63) New York Giants: Tracy Porter, CB, Indiana

The Shape of Things to Come

Lost returned with a bang with The Shape of Things to Come last night. The episode covered a ton of information and raised many more questions.

Jack's Illness...The Sickness?
The episode starts off with Jack looking through the medicine suitcase and taking some antibiotics. He claims he's taking them for a stomach bug, but I had my doubts. At first I was thinking that this was when his pill-popping days started, but screen caps online show that he really was taking antibiotics. Could Jack be catching the sickness?

From what we've seen previously, Mikowski and Desmond experienced the sickness off island and began jumping through time. But what if someone on island gets it? Would it start out as a stomach bug? These theories likely won't hold up, especially with the trailer for next week's episode hinting at appendicitis for Jack.

"When" is a Relative Term
Bernard and Vincent discover Dr. Ray's, the freighter doctor, corpse washed up on the shore. He has stitches on his cheek and his throat is slit. Faraday tells them that he was on their boat and was fine when he last saw him. Jack asks when was that? Faraday replies that when is a relative term. So what is this all about? More on this topic in a bit.

Australia's the key to whole the game
When Sawyer, Hurley and Locke are playing Risk at the Other's barracks, Hurley mentions that Australia's the key to the whole game. Is this a clue related to what's happening on the island? It's right after this scene that Alex enters the emergency code in the sonic fence and Code 14J is repeated on the telephone when Locke answers, so they didn't get a chance to finish their game or elaborate on Australia.

Traveling Man

Ben wakes up in the Sahara Desert and looks surprised to be there. He is wearing a parka with a new Dharma logo on it and the name Halliwax (one of the aliases used by Dr. Marvin Candle of the Swan orientation video). Was Ben transported there? Is this how the Others are able to travel from the island? Remember, Charlotte found a polar bear in the desert and many speculated that it was teleported there as well. Also, in the Orchid video, a rabbit is teleported around the room, causing Candle (using the name Edgar Halliwax) to freak out.

If Ben is being teleported off the island, is he also traveling through time? When he arrives at his hotel, he asks the date, including the year. So what year did Ben travel from? What events are taking place on the island when he leaves? Is this just after the raid by Keamy's men that we saw in this episode? Later in the episode, Sayid questions him on how he got off the island and Ben says that he used Desmond's boat and took a plane after.

Sayid Jarrah at Your Service
One of the fans major questions was answered when it was revealed that Sayid was able to find Nadia when he left the island, and they were married. But with this being Lost and knowing there's always a twist, Nadia was murdered by one of Widmore's men. The question arises, as Sayid asks, why would they want to kill her? With Sayid being part of the Oceanic 6 and not working for Ben when he gets off the island, why would he and Nadia be a target. Is this part of Widmore's plan to find the island. Does he torment any of the rest of the Oceanic 6?

After Nadia's murder, Ben reveals who killed her and Sayid seeks his revenge by killing the assassin in what looks like a set up conjured up by Ben. After the murderer is killed, Ben wants to part ways with Sayid, but Sayid says that he has nothing to go back to and joins up with Ben's cause. Of course this was Ben's plan the whole time and you have to wonder if Ben wasn't really behind Nadia's murder. He keeps claiming to be the good guy, but the more we see of him (killing the two guys in the Sahara Desert for instance), the more he looks like he's capable of anything to get what he wants.

Changing the Rules
Keamy threaten to kill Alex if Ben didn't come out the house and Ben called his bluff. Unfortunately, Keamy wasn't bluffing and he shot Alex in the head in front of Ben. Ben's first response was the he changed the rules, with he being Charles Widmore. So what are these rules? When were they set up? What kind of history do these two have together? Was the rule that they couldn't kill each other's family? The show is changing direction and we'll see more of the Ben/Charles relationship and history in the near future...like later in this episode.

Ben's Room & Smokey
So Alex is killed and Ben rushes off into his secret room. He goes for a secret door in the room that has drawings and hieroglyphics all over it. He comes back moments later and his clothes and face are dirty. He tells the others to run out of the house when he says to. Then the house starts shaking and we hear the Smoke Monster returning and it is P.O.ed, big time. Everyone runs out to see an even bigger Smoke Monster than we've seen before and it goes straight for Keamy and his men. It throws them around like it did Mr. Eko and Ben just looks on.

Questions abound after this scene. What kind of control does Ben have over the monster? He claimed he didn't know what it was and Locke calls him out on that here. Is it locked in that room? Does it share the same feeling as Ben because it really looked angry this time? Also, where did Ben go while he was in the room. Is that the teleportation room (or Orchid station)?

The Body Count
This episode didn't shy away from killing off people. There were deaths galore throughout The Shape of Things to Come -- Dr. Ray, Alex, 3 Losties in Othersville, Keamy's men by Smokey. I started to wonder if there's going to be anyone left on the island after the Oceanic 6 get off. With all the killing taking place, there won't be many people left in the end.

Everyone's lying about something
Miles said this line to Michael as he boarded the boat in Fiji, and it looks like this is a definite truth about the freighter crew. They're all liars. When Faraday used Morse Code to contact the freighter, he lied about what they replied. Faraday said they didn't say anything about the doctor, but your friends are fine and the helicopter's coming back in the morning.

Bernard saved the day by being able to understand Morse Code. The actual message said, "What are you talking about? The doctor is fine." This ties back to Faraday's comment about "when" being a relative term discussed above. Is it possible that the doctor that washed ashore is from the future and in present off island time, the doctor is fine and walking around the freighter? I don't know how this will be explained, but it wouldn't be a surprise in the world of Lost.

Then there's the big revelation for Jack and the beach camp. After pressing Faraday, Jack gets him to admit that they were never planning to take them off the island.

The Split
Locke's camp split after the raid of Othersville. Sawyer, Clair/Aaron and Miles are heading back to the beach to meet up with Jack's camp. Hurley was going to go, but Locke and Ben need him to help locate Jacob's cabin. Guns were pulled and words were exchanged, but in the end, Hurley doesn't like to ruffle feathers so he agrees to stay with Locke and Ben. Sawyer tells Locke that if Hurley gets hurt, he'll kill him.

We know from Hurley's flashforward that he gets off the island OK. But he regrets going with Locke. I think this is the starting point for that regret. The raid on their camp was bad and some of the "extras" got killed, but I think something's going to happen to Claire and/or Sawyer on the trip back to the beach and it's going to weigh on Hurley big time. Either that or he'll regret finding Jacob's cabin for Locke and Ben. What is up with these two anyway? They go from sworn enemies to teaming up in a matter of minutes. Locke always had an affection for the Others and deep down, he's right where he always wanted to be, at Ben's side.

The episode ends with Ben sneaking into Widmore's Penthouse apartment. He's there to deliver a message, you killed my daughter, I'm going to kill yours -- Penelope. Fans gasped when Ben threatened to kill Penny. How does he not know that Penny has been searching for the island as well because of Desmond? Just when it looked like there would be a happy ending to the Desmond/Penny saga, Ben is thrown in the mix. Widmore's reply is that he'll never find her. So where is Penny? Does Widmore have her locked up somewhere?

There was a lot more to this conversation. These two certainly have a history. Ben asks Widmore when he started sleeping with a bottle of scotch by the bed and Charles replies when the nightmares started. So were these two friends at one time? Charles comments that everything Ben has, he stole from him and that he knows who Ben is, what he is. So is Ben more of a what then a who? The other big reveal is that Ben can't kill Widmore. Is this the same as with Michael not being able to kill himself? Is the island keeping both Ben and Charles alive? What's their purpose? What work do they have left to do?

What is Charles' tie to the island? He tells Ben that the island is his, always was and will be again. So Widmore has been to the island before? What does he mean the island is his? Was he one of the first to find it? How old is Widmore anyway? Could he have been part of the original group on the island or was he there when Ben was brought to the island. Could Widmore's affection for Black Rock be because he was part of the Black Rock crew?

Man, this last scene brought Lost to a whole new level. We thought we were getting answers, but it raised hundreds of more questions. I see the dynamic of the show changing. It's going away from a show about rescuing the 815 survivors to now the history of the island and the Ben/Charles war.

Next on Lost: Something Nice Back Home
*Photos from Lost-Media.com

Apr 24, 2008

Lost Returns with "The Shape of Things to Come"

Lost returns tonight after a five-week layoff. The rest of season four looks to be jam packed with action and information. With the writer's strike cutting the season short, the writers had to cram as much info as possible into these last few episodes and the fans can't wait.

It all starts with "The Shape of Things to Come." Here the preview trailer:

Apr 17, 2008

Rumors, Rumors, Rumors

With the NFL Draft less than 10 days away, rumors and false information are flying around about every team, especially the New Orleans Saints. The Saints hold the 10th pick in the upcoming draft and there's been lots of speculation about what they'll do with the pick.

Here are a few rumors going around:

Jeremy Shockey Trade: The rumor getting the most play is that the Saints are trying to trade for NY Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey. There was a report a few weeks ago that the Saints offered a 2nd round pick for him, and the Giants asked for a 2nd and safety Roman Harper. Since Harper is the Saints top safety, they refused. New reports have Shockey shopping for real estate in New Orleans and telling friends that he's excited to go to the Saints and play with Drew Brees and Reggie Bush.

This trade makes sense for the Saints because Sean Payton's offense utilizes the tight end position and he hasn't had a solid one since he arrived in the Big Easy. Guys like Eric Johnson, Billy Miller and Mark Campbell can only get you so far. Shockey would open up the field and give Reggie Bush more space to run wild. There are some issues with Shockey's attitude. Does he fit the high character locker room that the Saints have established? He didn't show much support for his teammates during their Super Bowl run and instead of being on the sidelines for the game, he was drinking cocktails in the box seats.

I'm not sure how he would fit, but I'm all for the deal if the Saints don't have to give up too much to get him.

Trading for CB Lito Sheppard: When the Eagles signed former Patriots CB Asante Samuel to a huge free agent contract, everyone wondered how much longer would Lito Sheppard play for Philadelphia. Sheppard is a former first round pick and Pro Bowl player, but he missed most of last season with injuries. Sheppard now wants a new deal and the Eagles aren't likely to pay top dollar to two cornerbacks. There are rumors that the Eagles want to move up in the draft from the #19 pick to get one of the top offense lineman available. The Saints pick at #10 would be a likely place to jump.

It would be a good move for the Saints to drop back nine spots and pick up a Pro Bowl cornerback in the process. Many mock drafts have the Saints taking a corner with their first pick anyway, so why not get a proven player and still keep a mid-1st round pick in the process? If this deal is on the table, I hope the Saints jump all over it.

Moving up in the First Round: The NFL Network reported yesterday that the Saints have made inquiries to teams in the Top 5 about what it would take to move up in the draft. The speculation is that the Saints want to get one of the top defensive players, Glenn Dorsey or Vernon Gholston.

There's a new draft trade chart floating around that doesn't value high draft picks as much as the old one, since most teams don't want to pay the high contracts that these picks require. If the Saints can get in the top 5 (most likely at #2 since they'll have to jump Atlanta to grab Dorsey) without giving up too much, I'd like that deal. This team is built to win now and doesn't need a ton of rookies on the roster. One or two solid defenders could help the defense so that it can at least hold its own while the offense wins the games. I doubt they are looking at Gholston though, as he is one of the most over rated players in this year's draft and isn't great value at the 2nd spot. It's more likely that they're targeting Dorsey or USC DT Sedrick Ellis.

Trade Back with Detriot: Detriot has the 15th pick and wants to move up for RB Rashard Mendenhall. The Lions would trade up with New Orleans for the 10th pick and OT Jon Stinchcomb and give the Saints the 15th pick and their 3rd. I think this trade is more speculation by the Detroit media than anything. There's no way the Saints give up their starting RT and move back just to gain a 3rd round pick. This deal will not happen.

Deuce's Future: Deuce McAllister restructured his contract earlier this week to stay with the Saints at least through training camp. It will be interesting to see how the Saints handle Deuce in the preseason. With his health, will he get enough carries in the games to show that he's back to 100%? What happens if the Saints spend a high draft pick on a RB? Will Deuce move down the depth chart and eventually be let go? Fans are hoping to see the old Deuce line-up for the Saints this year, but after having surgery on both knees this offseason, there are no guarantees that he'll be able run away from anyone or cut like he needs to.

Who knows how much of these rumors are true? At this time of the year, teams feed bits of info to the media just to see how other teams react. Will someone else try to trade in front of you to make sure they get their guy? Will someone call with a better trade offer? Until the commissioner steps in front the podium on April 26 and announces the Saints draft pick, the speculation will continue.

Apr 16, 2008

Congratulations Hornets!

The Hornets beat the Clippers last night to clinch the franchise's first ever division title, the Southwest Division, and the #2 seed in the West. Congratulations to the Hornets on a great year and good luck in the playoffs. Looks like the first round match-up will be against division rival Dallas.

Cool Lost Commercial

This is a commercial for the first season of Lost that aired in the UK:

Apr 15, 2008

NFL Releases 2008 Schedule

The NFL released the 2008 NFL schedule. The Saints received three nationally televised primetime games and will open the season at home in for the first time since before Hurricane Katrina. Here's the Saints schedule:

Sept. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 p.m.

Sept. 14 at Washington Redskins 1 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Denver Broncos 4:05 p.m.

Sept. 28 San Francisco 49ers 1 p.m.

Oct. 6 (Mon.) Minnesota Vikings 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 12 Oakland Raiders 1 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Carolina Panthers 1 p.m.

Oct. 26 San Diego Chargers (in London) 1 p.m.

Nov. 2 Bye

Nov. 9 at Atlanta Falcons 1 p.m.

Nov. 16 at Kansas City Chiefs 1 p.m.

Nov. 24 (Mon.) Green Bay Packers 8:30 p.m.

Nov. 30 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 p.m.

Dec. 7 Atlanta Falcons 1 p.m.

Dec. 11 (Thurs.) at Chicago Bears 8:15 p.m.

Dec. 21 at Detroit Lions 1 p.m.

Dec. 28 Carolina Panthers 1 p.m.

Saints Hang on to Deuce

Yesterday was supposed to be D-Day for the Saints and Deuce McAllister. It was either pay Deuce his $1 million bonus or let the Saints all-time leading rusher loose. In a move that is sure to please Saints fans, the team and McAllister have reached an agreement on a restructured deal that will keep him in New Orleans at least through this season (or just training camp, if he fails to recover from his two knee surgeries).

As one of the all-time favorites to ever put on the Black and Gold, McAllister is a key to the Saints success. After he went down with a knee injury early last season, the Saints running game was non-existent. Deuce provides the power running game to compliment Reggie Bush's flashy style. Reggie can get tough yards, but he isn't built to run up the gut 20-25 times a game. Deuce provides that and more.

Saints fans were fearing the worst when McAllister went down last year. Many analyst felt that fans had seen the last of him in a Saints uniform. Luckily, the team realized his importance not only to the team but also the Southern Louisiana. Deuce does a ton of charity work in the community and is one of the players who truly loves playing in New Orleans. And fans truly love having him here.

Apr 9, 2008

LSU Makes Their Choice?

Local media outlets are reporting that LSU has chosen Stanford's Trent Johnson as its next men's basketball coach.

Johnson led Stanford to the Sweet 16 this year and led Nevada to the Sweet 16 in 2004. His career record is 159-122.

His Wikipedia page has already been updated, saying that he's the LSU coach so you know the report must be true. As Michael Scott says, "Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information."

Edit: LSU introduced Trent Johnson as men's basketball head coach on April 10.

LSU Coaching Search Heats Up

Now that LSU has hired a new athletic director, the school can turn its attention to finding John Brady's successor as basketball coach. Numerous names have been floated as possible candidates and more will surface in the near future.

While at the Final Four, LSU officials talked to a few candidates, reportedly including Washington State's Tony Bennett and Standford's Trent Johnson. Bennett has since released a statement stating his intentions to remain as Washington State. The other top candidate for the job was UMass coach Travis Ford, but in an email release last night, he said that "I do not want to be considered for the job." Another coach who pulled his name from consideration is Clemson's Oliver Purnell. So where does that leave LSU's search?

Throughout the season, Virginia Commonwealth's Anthony Grant was the hot candidate. Basically, everyone in Tiger Town thought it was a done deal that Grant would be on the LSU sidelines next year, especially with Grant being a former Florida assistant and LSU System President John Lombardi's ties to Florida. Since the season ended and VCU didn't make the NCAA Tournament, Grant buzz has died down. It's unclear if he's even still being considered, but with other candidates withdrawing their names, Grant's name may resurface.

With new AD Joe Alleva come to LSU from Duke, many former Duke players and assistants are being mentioned as possibilities. Guys like Duke assistant Johnny Dawkins and Notre Dame Mike Brey have surfaced as candidates this week. Other names that have been thrown around include Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, Baylor coach Scott Drew, North Texas coach Johnny Jones or even interim LSU coach Butch Pierre.

With the landscape of college basketball being what it is today, LSU needs to have more of a sense of urgency with its coaching search. LSU was one of the first schools in the country to have a coaching vacancy, yet many other programs have hired coaches in the past few weeks. The LSU job still sits unoccupied. With recruits wondering who the coach will be and players like freshman Anthony Randolph deciding to enter the NBA draft, it's key that LSU get a coach in place sooner rather than later.

I'm not saying the new coach could have convinced Randolph to stay at LSU, especially with him being projected as a top 5-10 pick, but it wouldn't have hurt for him to know that a top-notch guy was in place if he wanted to stay at LSU.

Apr 1, 2008

NFL Schedule to be Released April 3

The NFL schedule will be released later this week, but the league has already announced their primetime games for opening weekend:
  • Redskins vs. Giants (Thursday opener)
  • Bears vs. Colts (Sunday Night)
  • Vikings vs. Packers (Monday Night Football)
  • Broncos vs. Raiders (Monday Night Football)
These match-ups eliminate six teams as possibilities for the Saints 2008 season opener, along with the Chargers who the Saints will play in London. Here's the games that are left as the possible first game for New Orleans:
  • Panthers (home)
  • Falcons (home)
  • Buccaneers (home)
  • 49ers (home)
  • Panthers (away)
  • Falcons (away)
  • Buccaneers (away)
  • Chiefs (away)
  • Lions (away)
I hope the Saints get to open up at home this year, especially after having to play the first two weeks on the road the past two seasons. Looking at the list of opponents, I'd like for it to be the 49ers. The other options are division opponents and it's always good to get a game or two under your belt before playing a division game. With that being said, the Saints will probably get a division opponent on the road, the worst scenario the league could hand them.

Update: The schedule wasn't released April 3 but should come out in the next week or so.

Five in a Row!

Congratulations to the LSU Lady Tigers, who advanced to the Final Four last night after beating #1 seed North Carolina. This marks the fifth straight Final Four for LSU, and it's the first trip for Coach Van Chancellor.

In the team's previous four tries, they lost in the semifinal game. This year, they'll play the winner of Tennessee/Texas A&M. To get to the championship game, it would be so much sweeter to beat Tennessee, who the Lady Tigers beat during the regular season and loss to in the SEC Championship.

Good luck ladies and GEAUX TIGERS!