Archive for March, 2008

More On David Toms Pulling Out Of Zurich
March 25, 2008

courtesy: Shreveport Times

Former LSU golfer David Toms has pulled out of this week’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans. The Shreveporter has been plagued by a back injury this season.“Unfortunately I had to withdraw from the Zurich Classic today,” Toms said in a statement through his Shreveport-based foundation. “This tournament means so much to me and I hate that I will not be able to compete this year.” Toms has played in only five PGA Tour events this season, cashing a check in two. His best finish is a tie for 17th at the World Match Play event, where he also withdrew after defeating Zach Johnson in his first match Feb. 20.“I’m fighting a lower back injury that only gets slightly better each day,” Toms said. “It wouldn’t be fair to the great golf fans in New Orleans if I tried to tee it up and I wasn’t 100-percent healthy. I will be taking next week off as well and feel confident that I will be ready to play in The Masters.”The Masters begins April 10.Check Wednesday’s editions of The Times for more on this story.

Toms Withdraws From The Zurich Classic
March 25, 2008

Toms withdraws from the Zurich Classic
David Toms withdrew on Tuesday from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Toms is one of the players that you think of when you hear the Zurich Classic mentioned, however he has been fighting a sore back since the WGC-Accenture Match Play. He has been replaced in the field by Martin Laird, who has missed three out of his last four cuts.

New Info On Shockey Deal
March 25, 2008

Posted by Mike Florio on March 24, 2008, 10:20 p.m.
In response to our blurb regarding a report in the Newark Star-Ledger that the New Orleans Saints offered a second-round pick and safety Roman Harper for Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey, a source with knowledge of the discussions tells us that the Giants wanted a two and Harper, and that the Saints refused.
We don’t know what if anything the Saints offered for Shockey. But the fact that the Giants articulated a trade request for Shockey tells us that they’re willing to move on without him.
And for good reason. He has been a disruptive influence in the organization, and we think it’s no coincidence that quarterback Eli Manning came of age once Shockey was done for the year with a broken leg.

Fletch’s Bracketology
March 20, 2008

If you’re filling out a last minute bracket here’s my Final Four.

And for the record….I’m one of those people that chooses crazy upsets….because what fun is it to pick all #1’s?
East: #1 North Carolina

Why: I don’t love the Tar Heels as much as I have no confidence in any other team in the east regional. I think Tennessee and Louisville are frauds. Washington State peaks my cusiosity, St. Joseph’s has always been one of my favorite schools and I watched Butler destroy Tulane….but I don’t think any of those clubs can upset UNC, a team playing every regional game in North Carolina.
West: #1 UCLA

Why: I Love Xavier and had them going to the final 4 simply because I think UCLA keeps teams close and that the Musketeers would pull off an upset in the elite 8. But the more I thought about it, UCLA just seems too good for this weak regional. If Kevin Love and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are healthy the Bruins won’t be beat!
South: #2 Texas

Why: D.J. Augustin is a local kid from Brother Martin High School and the Longhorns are deep. I’ve taken Memphis to reach the Final Four each of the past 2 seasons and they’ve let me down so now I’m officially off their band wagon. In fact, I don’t think Memphis will get past Pitt. in the sweet 16 of this midwest regional. I think Texas will have a tough time with the Panthers but that they will win.

Midwest: #6 USC

Why: I’m playing with my heart and not my head here. I’m taking the Trojans simply because I always loved Tim Floyd at UNO and when he coached the Hornets. The guy is a great coach. Plus, I really believe O.J. Mayo is going to use the big dance to show that his moves are more than NBA ready.

First round upsets I like:
#9 Oregon over #8 Mississippi St.

#10 St. Mary’s Over #7 Miami

#11 St. Joseph’s over #6 Oklahoma

Dear Rev. Kevin WM. Wildes, S.J.
March 19, 2008

Dear Rev. Kevin WM. Wildes, S.J.
As a former Loyola University baseball team captain (’97) I think I speak on behalf of all current and former student athletes and coaches when I say, please form an exploratory committee to research the possibility of moving the athletics program into the NCAA.
I could go on and on about the up and down history of Loyola athletics but why bore you and anyone else reading this.
Keeping this blog entry short and sweet I just want to say that it’s time for the school to make a decision.
Either get in or get out.
And please don’t tell me that moving athletics up in classification is too hard, or not possible. Seattle University is a small Jesuit University that’s currently in the process of adding sports and joining the NCAA division I.
Seattle’s decision to go division I was lead by University president Rev. Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J. He and the board of trustees made the decision that moving into the highest classification of collegiate athletics makes the entire university better.
Arguably the most recognizable Jesuit colleges and universities are Georgetown, Boston College, Marquette, Gonzaga, Xavier and Fordham.
Why? Because all have achieved national athletic recognition.
How many people log onto the Gonzaga University website each year during the NCAA’s March madness?
Probably a lot more than the Loyola New Orleans website.
Of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities playing sports, 21 are NCAA division I.
5 other Jesuit schools are division II or III.
Only Loyola New Orleans and Spring Hill College are members of the NAIA.
Rev. Wildes, if you get behind the idea of moving athletics to a new level, advancing into the NCAA can happen.
I had numerous conversations with your predecessor, Bernard Knoth, but he never seemed very interested in pursuing this idea.
So I ask that you make athletics part of your legacy.
Now, if you did get behind this idea, would certain university factions stand against you? Absolutely.
But moving athletics up to the NCAA level helps the university. Just like in Seattle, more students and alumni would join your cause than oppose you.
An idea that may garner even more support would be to partner with Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama and apply for NCAA membership together with the intentions of moving into the same conference.
2 schools with high academic standards and tremendous history in their respective cities would make the NCAA and prospective conferences take notice.
I’ve even found 2 new conferences (that do not sponsor football teams) that would welcome Loyola and Spring Hill with open arms upon NCAA division I admission.

The Atlantic Sun Conference and the Summit League.

The Summit League consists of 10 schools representing 9 states and these universities are all over the place….from Louisiana to North Dakota! (3 private universities and 7 public universities form the Summit League)
Centenary College of Louisiana, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, University of Missouri-Kansas City, North Dakota State University, Oakland University, Oral Roberts University, South Dakota State University, Southern Utah University, Western Illinois University
Am I dreaming to believe that a Loyola president and the board of trustees will get behind the idea of Division I athletics? Probably, but I’ve been on this soap box since 1995…and I’m not ready to step down yet!

Thanks for reading.

Brady To Arkansas State
March 18, 2008

Arkansas State is expected to hire former LSU coach John Brady as its men’s basketball coach on Wednesday, multiple sources told
Arkansas State called a news conference for noon ET to announce the hiring.
According to multiple sources, Brady has agreed to the deal in principle and is expected to be in Jonesboro for the news conference.
Dickey Nutt resigned as coach of ASU last month after 13 seasons. The Indians finished 10-20 overall, 5-13 in the Sun Belt conference.
Brady was abruptly fired on Feb. 7, less than two years after guiding the Tigers to the Final Four. A year ago, LSU was depleted by injuries, most notably to Glen Davis. Tyrus Thomas left early for the NBA and last year’s squad finished 17-15, 5-11 in the SEC.
Brady was 8-13 this season, 1-6 in the SEC when he was fired. Before arriving at LSU, he coached Samford in Alabama.
LSU assistant coach Butch Pierre finished the season for Brady. The Tigers ended the year 13-18, 6-10 in the SEC.
LSU is still searching for Brady’s replacement. Arkansas State had interviewed former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson before a deal with him fell through.

My Bracket Sleeper Picks!
March 17, 2008

Yeah yeah yeah….everyone is an expert when it comes to filling out the NCAA tournament bracket.

But if you’re reading this and are interested in a few sleeper teams that might make some noise….keep reading, and maybe fill your bracket out with these teams winning at least 1 game in the big dance.

St. Mary’s College
The Gaels are 25-6 and I think the best of the 3 teams from the West Coast Conference. I’m still picking Gonzaga in it’s opening game but keep an eye on SMC

The Runnin’ Rebels are 26-7 overall and bomb away from 3-point land. This team made some noise last year….plus, UNLV was one of the schools I loved watching as a kid growing up.
The Ducks are just 18 and 13 overall but I really believe the Pac-10 is a strong basketball conference. Oregon has a tough opening round game against Mississippi State…but I think all the SEC teams are totally overrated so go ahead and start chanting “quack, quack!!”

St. Joseph’s
The Hawks are 21-12 overall. I’ve always liked St. Joseph’s and heard ESPN analyst Digger Phelps says never rule out one of the city schools from Philly (St. Joe’s, Temple, Villanova and LaSalle)! He convinced me they’re going to give Oklahoma a run!

And The Next LSU Basketball Coach Is…..
March 14, 2008

Now that LSU’s basketball season is mercifully over…..the search for a new head coach is on.

Interim Head Coach Butch Pierre will get consideration but I doubt he’s the guy.
Sources tell us the 3 men listed below are the top candiates.
Anthony Grant
Virginia Commonwealth University
WHY: Grant was hired last year by The University of Florida to replace Billy Donovan. But 24 hours after leaving UF for the Orlando Magic, Donovan decided to return to coach the gators. None the less, Grant is still a hot commodity. Grant is also a former UF assistant coach who knows the SEC.
Sean Miller
Xavier University
Xavier is constantly one of the chalk teams in the A-10 and a tournament team. Miller has developed players and run a clean program at a private Jesuit University.
He respects academics and is ready to coach in a major conference.
Travis Ford
University of Massachusetts
WHY: A former University of Kentucky player Ford had a breakout season last year when his minutemen finished 24-9 overall and beat Alabama in the first round of the NIT.
(and when I mean super wild cards….I mean, no chance at all!!!!!)
Tim Floyd
WHY: I only put his name on this list to spark conversation. I love Floyd and think he’s a tremendous coach but can’t imagine him leaving USC for LSU.
Robert Montgomery “Bobby” Knight (The General)
(Retired…but says he’ll coach again)
WHY: Same as Floyd….no chance of coming to LSU, but why not let fans hope and dream. On a personal note, I think Bobby Knight is one of the greatest coaches ever….in any sport! I love the discipline, the passion…I love it all!
Andy Kennedy
Ole Miss
WHY: Better yet, why not…the reigning SEC coach of the year. Right now, Ole Miss is a better basketball program then LSU. Kennedy is a Mississippi native who I can’t see leaving his home state for a program in transition.

Saints Sign Brunell
March 14, 2008

The New Orleans Saints have added a quarterback.
According to Jason LaCanfora of the Washington Post, veteran Mark Brunell has agreed to terms with the Saints.
Brunell reportedly drew interest from the Falcons and the Packers. He actually started his career in Green Bay, spending two years there before landing in Jacksonville. After nine seasons with the Jaguars, Brunell ended up in Washington, where he had been ever since.
But Brunell slid to No. 3 on the depth chart last year, and was released prior to the start of the 2008 league year.
The starter with the Saints is Drew Brees, and he is backed up by Jamie Martin and Tyler Palko. Since Martin is 38, he likely will be the odd man out.

Thank You Steve Gleason
March 12, 2008

Saints special teams stand out Steve Gleason has retired.

Gleason told me tonight he wants to leave the NFL with his health intact.
The former Washington State University linebacker missed all of 2007 with a knee injury.
Gleason will marry Michelle Varisco in May and then spend several months traveling the world (which seems just about right for him).

{This article was originally written and published on this blog September 26th, 2006. The day after the Saints beat Atlanta to reopen the Superdome.
That night Steve Gleason made a play that made people in this region forget all the pain, heartbreak and tragedy that they’d been feeling for 12 months since Katria changed our lives forever. }
Steve Gleason is the King of New Orleans! Make no mistake, Gleason is one of us.
Last night he became a made man, a true yat!
The guy was already a fan favorite due to his gritty gutty style of play but last night he took it to a higher level.
When you think about it, Gleason is everything good about New Orleans. He’s the little man, the underdog, the guy who’s had to work harder than anyone else to stick around in the NFL and succeed.
Gleason is a common man with an uncommon knack making big plays.
His efforts make us all feel better and realize what’s possible through hard work.
People rebuilding and needing inspiration – look no further than Gleason. If he can do what he did you can certainly rebuild!
Gleason gets this town. He lives in a historic neighborhood, he loves Jazz Fest, the guy constantly brags about the food, music, culture and architecture of this city.
I almost cried when he blocked that kick last night. Historically, his play will be a mere footnote in Saints sports history but to me, in some small way, what Steve Gleason did last night will be one of the most fulfilling sports moments of my life.

Thanks Steve!
To Watch Gleason’s amazing play click on the link below: