WBRZ https://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ Sports Sports en-us Copyright 2022, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Wed, 10 Aug 2022 HH:08:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ https://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 LSU Football unranked in Coaches Poll for first time in 22 years https://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-football-unranked-in-coaches-poll-for-first-time-in-22-years/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-football-unranked-in-coaches-poll-for-first-time-in-22-years/ Sports Mon, 8 Aug 2022 1:07:45 PM Michael Cauble LSU Football unranked in Coaches Poll for first time in 22 years

The last time the LSU Tiger football team was unranked in the preseason Coaches Poll, an outsider was taking over the team after it had hit rock bottom.

Then it was Nick Saban in 2000 taking over for Gerry Dinardo, fast forward 22 years and it's Brian Kelly replacing Ed Orgeron and the Tigers have no national expectations for early success. 

Back-to-back non-winning seasons will do that for a proud program, but one glance at the USA Today/ AFCA Coaches Poll shows that the Tigers are earing some disrespect for their past two seasons following the 2019 National Championship.

Once again Alabama has been picked to be the team to beat in college football after receiving 54 of 66 first-place votes.  This is the seventh time Alabama has been ranked at the top of the poll in the last 13 years.

The defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs are the next highest ranked SEC team checking in at third.

As for LSU, the Tigers are receiving votes and would be ranked 30th if the Poll extended that far. It's also safe to say that LSU will finish much higher than some of the teams ranked above them in this preseason poll, as this poll appears to be a ranking of past success and failure as much as it is about this upcoming 2022 Fall football season.

RANK        TEAM                RECORD  POINTS  1ST        PREVIOUS  CHANGE   HI/LO

1             Alabama              0-0         1634      54           NR          —           1/1

2             Ohio State           0-0         1564      5             NR          —           2/2

3             Georgia               0-0         1542      6             NR          —           3/3

4             Clemson              0-0         1356      0             NR          —           4/4

5             Notre Dame        0-0         1284      0             NR          —           5/5

6             Michigan             0-0         1232      0             NR          —           6/6

7             Texas A&M          0-0         1219      0             NR          —           7/7

8             Utah                   0-0         1134      0             NR          —           8/8

9             Oklahoma           0-0         1027      0             NR          —           9/9

10           Baylor                 0-0         891        0             NR          —           10/10

11           Oklahoma State   0-0         859        0             NR          —           11/11

12           Oregon               0-0         734        0             NR          —           12/12

13           NC State              0-0         726        0             NR          —           13/13

14           Michigan State     0-0         711        0             NR          —           14/14

15           Southern Cal.      0-0         602        0             NR          —           15/15

16           Pittsburgh            0-0         450        0             NR          —           16/16

17           Miami                 0-0         433        0             NR          —           17/17

18           Texas                  0-0         383        1             NR          —           18/18

19           Wake Forest        0-0         381        0             NR          —           19/19

20           Wisconsin            0-0         369        0             NR          —           20/20

21           Kentucky              0-0         353        0             NR          —           21/21

22           Cincinnati            0-0         339        0             NR          —           22/22

23           Arkansas              0-0         334        0             NR          —           23/23

24           Mississippi           0-0         327        0             NR          —           24/24

25           Houston               0-0         257        0             NR          —           25/25

Iowa 248; Penn State 246; Tennessee 163; Brigham Young 152; Louisiana State 143; Auburn 98; Central Florida 55;

North Carolina 34; San Diego State 25; Fresno State 21; Mississippi State 19; Florida 17; South Carolina 5; UL Lafayette 2; Florida State 1.

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BJ Ojulari awarded legendary No. 18 jersey https://www.wbrz.com/news/bj-ojulari-awarded-legendary-no-18-jersey/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/bj-ojulari-awarded-legendary-no-18-jersey/ Sports Sat, 6 Aug 2022 11:00:36 PM WBRZ Sports BJ Ojulari awarded legendary No. 18 jersey

"He's what you want when you want someone to represent your program."

That was LSU head coach Brian Kelly at SEC Media Days, glowing about Tigers defensive end BJ Ojulari. Seemingly that speech in Atlanta was providence since Ojulari was awarded the legendary #18 jersey on Saturday.

BJ Ojulari, a preseason All-America candidate, has represented the LSU football program at a NCAA Leadership Symposium as well as participating in numerous community service events.

“The No. 18 is the player who brings all those traits of someone who leads in an extraordinary manner,” Kelly said. “The attention to detail, great focus, represents the program in a positive way in the classroom, in the community and on the field." 

Ojulari, a junior from Marietta, Georgia, joins an elite list of former Tigers who have had the honor of wearing the number. Most recently, linebacker Damone Clark and kicker Avery Atkins wore No. 18 for the Tigers in 2021.

Entering his second season as s starter for LSU in 2022, Ojulari has twice earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors during his career. He’s recorded 71 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in his previous two seasons with the Tigers.

LSU’s tradition of No. 18 began in 2003 when quarterback Matt Mauck guided the Tigers to their first national championship since 1958. Mauck, now a dentist in Denver, passed his number down to running back Jacob Hester, who went on to lead the Tigers to the 2007 national title.

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Catholic's Shelton Sampson pledges to LSU https://www.wbrz.com/news/catholic-s-shelton-sampson-pledges-to-lsu/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/catholic-s-shelton-sampson-pledges-to-lsu/ Sports Sat, 6 Aug 2022 9:37:13 PM WBRZ Sports Catholic's Shelton Sampson pledges to LSU

Senior 5 star wide receiver Shelton Sampson made his commitment official Saturday afternoon, pledging to Brian Kelly and LSU. His final four came down to Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida State and the Tigers.

The Seminoles were thought to be a huge player in Sampson's recruitment since former Catholic head coach Gabe Fertitta is now on staff at FSU. Sampson saying that relationship made it tough and that he really didn't finalize his choice until earlier this week.

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Dolphins owner suspended for tampering with Sean Payton, Tom Brady https://www.wbrz.com/news/dolphins-owner-suspended-for-tampering-with-sean-payton-tom-brady/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/dolphins-owner-suspended-for-tampering-with-sean-payton-tom-brady/ Sports Tue, 2 Aug 2022 12:13:43 PM Associated Press, WBRZ staff Dolphins owner suspended for tampering with Sean Payton, Tom Brady

The NFL has suspended Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and fined him $1.5 million for tampering with Tom Brady and former Saints Head Coach Sean Payton following a six-month investigation stemming from Brian Flores’ racial discrimination lawsuit against the league.

The league’s investigation found the Dolphins did not intentionally lose games during the 2019 season but the team had impermissible communication with Brady and his agent, Don Yee. The league announced the findings of the investigation on Tuesday.

The probe also found the team had talks with Yee, who's also Sean Payton's agent, about hiring Payton as Miami's coach without seeking consent from the Saints and before Payton announced his plans to step away from New Orleans. 

The Dolphins will forfeit a first-round selection in the 2023 NFL draft and a third-round selection in the 2024 draft. Ross is suspended through Oct. 17. He may not be present at the team’s facility and may not represent the club at any team or NFL event. He also may not attend any league meeting before the annual meeting in 2023, and he is removed from all league committees indefinitely.

Dolphins vice chairman/limited partner Bruce Beal was fined $500,000 and may not attend any league meeting for the remainder of the year.

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AP sources: NFL suspends Browns QB Deshaun Watson 6 games https://www.wbrz.com/news/ap-sources-nfl-suspends-browns-qb-deshaun-watson-6-games/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/ap-sources-nfl-suspends-browns-qb-deshaun-watson-6-games/ Sports Mon, 1 Aug 2022 7:32:28 AM Associated Press AP sources: NFL suspends Browns QB Deshaun Watson 6 games

The NFL suspended Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for six games on Monday for violating its personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct made against him by two dozen women in Texas, two people familiar with the decision said.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been publicly released. Watson, who played for four seasons with Houston before being traded to Cleveland in March, recently settled 23 of 24 lawsuits filed by massage therapists alleging sexual harassment and assault during appointments in 2020 and 2021.

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LSU baseball announces signing of five transfers https://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-baseball-announces-signing-of-five-transfers/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-baseball-announces-signing-of-five-transfers/ Sports Fri, 29 Jul 2022 1:32:02 PM Corey Rholdon LSU baseball announces signing of five transfers

BATON ROUGE - The Portal King makes it official: LSU head coach Jay Johnson announced the signing of five high-level transfers that will join the Tigers for the 2023 season. 

The transfer class will include right-handed pitcher Christian Little of Vanderbilt; third baseman Tommy White of NC State; shortstop Carter Young of Vanderbilt; right-handed pitcher Thatcher Hurd of UCLA; and right-handed pitcher/utility player Paul Skenes of Air Force.

"All five are great talents and solid people that will blend well with our returning players and incoming recruiting class in ability, chemistry and program fit," Johnson said.

Christian Little played two seasons for the Commodores, where he made 32 appearances and posted a 4.65 ERA with 95 strikeouts.

Tommy "Tanks" White is coming off an incredible freshman season at NC State, where he was named the ACC Freshman of the Year, hitting an average of .362 with 85 hits, 12 doubles, 27 home runs, 74 RBIs and a .757 slugging percentage, setting the NCAA freshman record for homers in a season. 

Shortstop Carter Young blasted a team-high of 16 homers and drove in 52 runs in 2021.

Former Bruin Thatcher Hurd posted a 2-0 record with a 1.06 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 34 innings as a freshman.

Finally, Paul Skenes recorded a 2.96 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 85.2 innings, limiting opponents to a .224 batting average. He also hit .314 with 10 doubles, 13 homers and 38 RBI. In 2021, Skenes posted a 2.70 ERA while batting .410 with 11 homers and 43 RBI.

The Tigers are scheduled to report to campus by mid-August, and fall semester classes begin at LSU on Monday, August 22.

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LSU baseball lands dual-threat player in the portal with Paul Skenes https://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-baseball-lands-dual-threat-player-in-the-portal-with-paul-skenes/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-baseball-lands-dual-threat-player-in-the-portal-with-paul-skenes/ Sports Thu, 28 Jul 2022 10:02:19 PM Corey Rholdon LSU baseball lands dual-threat player in the portal with Paul Skenes

BATON ROUGE - The portal king strikes again — this time as Jay Johnson lands Air Force catcher and pitcher Paul Skenes. The dual-threat player received first-team honors by D1 Baseball and Collegiate Baseball.

Skenes pitched a 2.73 ERA with 96 strikeouts while starting 51 games at catcher, batting .314 with 13 home runs and 38 RBI.

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Saints WR Michael Thomas activated from PUP list, practices on Wednesday https://www.wbrz.com/news/saints-wr-michael-thomas-activated-from-pup-list-practices-on-wednesday/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/saints-wr-michael-thomas-activated-from-pup-list-practices-on-wednesday/ Sports Wed, 27 Jul 2022 2:17:48 PM Corey Rholdon Saints WR Michael Thomas activated from PUP list, practices on Wednesday

METAIRIE - After nearly two years absence from an ankle injury, Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas was back out on the practice field.

The All Pro showed the progress that coach Allen and the Saints training staff wanted this morning, allowing him to be out on the field.

Thomas did not participate in any team drills, just individual work and walk-throughs, as the Saints look to gradually get him back in the flow with the offense. 

The last time we saw Thomas out on the field he was the best wide receiver in the NFL, winning Offensive Player of the Year. The Saints are counting on him being at that level again in 2022. 

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Joe Burrow undergoes emergency surgery right before Bengals training camp https://www.wbrz.com/news/joe-burrow-undergoes-emergency-surgery-right-before-bengals-training-camp/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/joe-burrow-undergoes-emergency-surgery-right-before-bengals-training-camp/ Sports Tue, 26 Jul 2022 1:53:07 PM Michael Cauble Joe Burrow undergoes emergency surgery right before Bengals training camp

Cincinnati Bengals and former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is undergoing emergency surgery for abdominal issues. 

Ian Rappoport of the NFL Network reported Tuesday afternoon that Burrow will have an appendectomy right before training camp starts with the Bengals.

Burrow helped lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl in just his second season, a game they lost to the Los Angeles Rams. 

Cincinnati's veterans have already reported for training camp, and the team's first official training camp practice Wednesday.

Cincinnati is coming off its first AFC championship and Super Bowl appearance in 33 seasons. Last year, Burrow completed 70.4% of his passes for 4,611 yards, 34 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

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Video: LSU using social media hashtag to pursue one of the state's top recruits https://www.wbrz.com/news/video-lsu-using-social-media-hashtag-to-pursue-one-of-the-state-s-top-recruits/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/video-lsu-using-social-media-hashtag-to-pursue-one-of-the-state-s-top-recruits/ Sports Sun, 24 Jul 2022 9:43:51 PM Corey Rholdon Video: LSU using social media hashtag to pursue one of the state's top recruits

BATON ROUGE - The BK Takeover has stormed the college football recruiting world as LSU has gotten 13 commitments since the start of July.

But one thing the class is missing is a 5 star prospect. Good thing there is one just a few minutes from campus in Catholic High wideout Shelton Sampson.

Sampson is not only ranked as the second-biggest recruit in the state, but the 4th rated receiver in the entire country. Sampson told WBRZ he's made one thing clear: he is going to take his time deciding what school he will play for this fall.

"No matter who's in front of me, I feel like if it's a go route, I'm going to go get it. If it's a slant, I'm going to go get it," Sampson said.

Standing at six-feet-four-inches with the elite speed and hands, Shelton Samson is a nightmare for opposing defenses, which is why LSU is doing everything they can to try and keep him in Baton Rouge.

"Somebody actually texted me and told me there was like 'Go to Twitter and type in #Sheltonstays.' So I typed it in and I just started scrolling. I was like this crazy," Sampson said.

It's not often that a program starts a Twitter hashtag trying to keep a player in the state, but Samson still isn't letting that affect his decision. He said he's looking for the school that fits him the best.

"This is an for this opportunity of a lifetime, because everybody don't get the opportunity to go to these places, visits, having fun, looking for offense I think that I could fit well in, the relationship with the coaches, a genuine a place I feel like I can call home."

Sampson got some advice from former Bears lineman Emory Jones, who now plays at LSU.

"He told me take it slow, make the best decision for me. Don't let nobody pressured me into making no decision. Do what's best for me and my family," Sampson said. 

Sampson also says he plans on making a commitment before the season starts, as he wants to get any distractions out of the way to help the Bears win another state title. 

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Former Southern safety Danny Johnson looking to make his mark in year 5 in the NFL https://www.wbrz.com/news/former-southern-safety-danny-johnson-looking-to-make-his-mark-in-year-5-in-the-nfl/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/former-southern-safety-danny-johnson-looking-to-make-his-mark-in-year-5-in-the-nfl/ Sports Sun, 24 Jul 2022 5:12:19 PM Corey Rholdon Former Southern safety Danny Johnson looking to make his mark in year 5 in the NFL

BATON ROUGE - As NFL players are starting to report to training camp, there are a few Southern Jaguars looking to make their mark this season. 

Rookie offensive tackle J'Atyre Carter will be pushing to make the Bears roster. Drafted in the 7th round this past year, Carter was the first Southern draft pick since 2004.

Danny Johnson, the former East Feliciana Tiger, is entering his 5th season with Washington. Johnson broke through a bit last year, playing a lot of nickel and on special teams. This season, Johnson is trying to show he can be a consistent player in the league.

"I've gotten older just playing for Washington, I learned how to do things. I've gotten more comfortable, and I'm trying to continue to keep building."

In his first couple of seasons in the league, Johnson was constantly being waived and put on practice squad, but he finally started to catch his footing last year—having 21 tackles for the Commanders.

And in 2022 Johnson is hoping he can put it all together.

"My goals for this season, is to continue to play even more. I played a good bit last year and now for me it's just continue to play from the start and just, you know, have a great season this year." 

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VIDEO: Saints DT Malcolm Roach looking for a breakout season in 2022 https://www.wbrz.com/news/video-saints-dt-malcolm-roach-looking-for-a-breakout-season-in-2022/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/video-saints-dt-malcolm-roach-looking-for-a-breakout-season-in-2022/ Sports Sat, 23 Jul 2022 5:56:44 PM Corey Rholdon VIDEO: Saints DT Malcolm Roach looking for a breakout season in 2022

BATON ROUGE - The Saints veterans will report to training camp on Tuesday, but in the meantime defensive tackle Malcolm Roach held his 3rd annual Kicks 4 Kids giveback, giving out free shoes to local boys and girls in Baton Rouge.

Last season, Roach started two games for the Saints defensive line that was one of the best in the league. After injuries hampered his sophomore campaign, Roach now feels fresh and ready for a breakout year in 2022. 

"I want to step into that starter role well, you know. I'm ready to take over that responsibility to become that leader the same way I was in college. And just dominate," Roach said.

While Roach wants a bigger role next season, he understands part of his job as a D-Tackle is to free up the holes that allows other players to make the plays.

"I am going to take all the licks for them on the defensive line. If they are making the plays then I'm doing my job right."

And the Saints defensive line has been doing their job the past few years, consistently having one of the lowest rushing yard averages in the league. Roach believes his unit has the perfect combination of work ethic, scheme and chemistry.

"It's kind of like a college feel, you know. A group of guys that love each other. We all know each other families, things like that, and anytime it's time to go to war with those guys, we ready," Roach said.

Roach takes pride in being from Louisiana and repping that black and gold. He's happy that he finally has some other Louisianians to share that passion with.

"Now we have more guys with with Tyrann and Jarvis. You could just see the passion that we play with and being able to do it for the Saints is a dream come true."

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Poll: LSU picked to finish 5th in SEC West https://www.wbrz.com/news/poll-lsu-picked-to-finish-5th-in-sec-west/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/poll-lsu-picked-to-finish-5th-in-sec-west/ Sports Fri, 22 Jul 2022 3:41:56 PM Corey Rholdon Poll: LSU picked to finish 5th in SEC West

ATLANTA - The LSU Tigers are picked to finish fifth in the SEC West in the conference's preseason media poll.

The Tigers did not receive a vote to win the division. Alabama was picked to win the West and conference with 158 votes. 

SEC East

1. Georgia (172)

2. Kentucky (4)

3. Tennessee (1)

4. Florida

5. South Carolina (3)

6. Missouri

7. Vanderbilt (1)

SEC West

1. Alabama (177)

2. Texas A&M (3)

3. Arkansas (1)

4. Ole Miss

5. LSU

6. Mississippi State

7. Auburn

SEC Champion

Alabama (158)

Four LSU Tigers were projected to make the All-SEC team, with wideout Kayshon Boutte, and defensive end BJ Ojulari making the first team; defensive lineman Ali Gaye was on the 2nd team, while defensive tackle Maason Smith made the 3rd team.

The coaches' picks will come out next week. 

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Georgia's Kirby Smart becomes highest-paid college football coach with 10-year $112.5 million extension https://www.wbrz.com/news/georgia-s-kirby-smart-becomes-highest-paid-college-football-coach-with-10-year-112-5-million-extension/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/georgia-s-kirby-smart-becomes-highest-paid-college-football-coach-with-10-year-112-5-million-extension/ Sports Thu, 21 Jul 2022 4:45:03 PM Corey Rholdon Georgia's Kirby Smart becomes highest-paid college football coach with 10-year $112.5 million extension

ATLANTA - Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart becomes the highest-paid college football coach with a 10-year $112.5 million extension. The National Championship-winning head coach will get $11.25 million per year, as he passes USC's Lincoln Riley's salary for the top spot.

In the SEC, Alabama's Nick Saban makes around $9.7 million a year, LSU's Brian Kelly earns around $9.5 million, and Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher makes $7.5 million.

Smart has been the head coach of the Bulldogs since 2016.

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Saints WR Michael Thomas, DE Marcus Davenport won't start camp, placed on PUP list https://www.wbrz.com/news/saints-wr-michael-thomas-de-marcus-davenport-won-t-start-camp-placed-on-pup-list/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/saints-wr-michael-thomas-de-marcus-davenport-won-t-start-camp-placed-on-pup-list/ Sports Thu, 21 Jul 2022 4:24:40 PM Corey Rholdon Saints WR Michael Thomas, DE Marcus Davenport won't start camp, placed on PUP list

NEW ORLEANS - The Saints placed WR Michael Thomas and DE Marcus Davenport on the PUP list to start camp. Thomas is still recovering from his ankle injury, but there is optimism that he will be cleared soon. As for Davenport, he's recovering from a shoulder surgery and amputated half pinky.

To be clear on the rules for the PUP list, a player can be moved off the PUP list to the active roster at any time prior to the start of the regular season. But a player cannot be placed on the PUP list once he has taken the field for a practice or game.

Thomas has played just seven games since 2020, missing the entire 2021 season. The last time we saw the wideout completely healthy was back in 2019, when he won the Offensive Player of the Year, breaking the NFL's single-season record for receptions 149 and leading the league in receiving yards 1,725.

The Saints veterans report to training camp on Tuesday.

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Southern a preseason favorite to win the SWAC West https://www.wbrz.com/news/southern-a-preseason-favorite-to-win-the-swac-west/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/southern-a-preseason-favorite-to-win-the-swac-west/ Sports Thu, 21 Jul 2022 1:34:46 PM Corey Rholdon Southern a preseason favorite to win the SWAC West

BIRMINGHAM, Ala - The Southern football team is the preseason favorite to win the SWAC West, with rival Jackson State picked to come out of the East.


  1. Jackson State - 116 points
  2. FAMU - 108 points
  3. Alabama A&M - 87 points
  4. Alabama State - 60 points
  5. Bethune-Cookman - 56 points
  6. Mississippi Valley State - 35 points


  1. Southern - 111 points
  2. Alcorn State 110 - points
  3. Prairie View A&M - 82 points
  4. Grambling State - 77 points
  5. Arkansas-Pine Bluff - 42 points
  6. Texas Southern - 40 points

Five Southern football players were named to the Preseason All SWAC team. Offensive linemen Dallas Black was on the first first team, alongside defensive linemen Jason Dumas, and Jordan Lewis. While offensive linemen Brian Williams, and Jeremiah Stafford made the second team.

Head Coach Eric Dooley, Cameron Peterson, and Dallas Black represented the Jaguars at the SWAC media day on Thursday. Southern will open the season at home against Florida Memorial University on Sept. 3. 

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Despite quarterback uncertainty, Southeastern enters 2022 with high hopes on offense https://www.wbrz.com/news/despite-quarterback-uncertainty-southeastern-enters-2022-with-high-hopes-on-offense/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/despite-quarterback-uncertainty-southeastern-enters-2022-with-high-hopes-on-offense/ Sports Wed, 20 Jul 2022 7:37:15 PM WBRZ Sports Despite quarterback uncertainty, Southeastern enters 2022 with high hopes on offense

Southeastern entered Wednesday's Southland Conference Media Day in Lake Charles as the conference preseason favorites. Frank Scelfo, in his 5th season in Hammond, has a quarterback battle to figure out before he can even begin to think about hoisting a trophy. But he was quick to point out Wednesday that despite uncertainty under center, he's very sure of the wide receiver room's ability and production, led by All-Southland selection CJ Turner.


The Lions report back to the campus on Aug. 2 with the team’s first practice set for Aug. 3. Southeastern will open the 2022 season with a 6 p.m. game Sept. 3 at UL Lafayette. The five-game home schedule begins with a 6 p.m. Sept. 17 contest versus Central Connecticut State.

2022 Southland Conference Football Preseason Poll
School (First-place votes) - Points
1. Southeastern (7) - 90
2. UIW (7) – 86

3. Nicholls (2) – 79

4. McNeese – 61

5. Northwestern State – 44

6. Texas A&M-Commerce – 39

7. Lamar – 25

8. HBU - 24


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Florida head coach Billy Napier bringing what he learned from UL-Lafayette to Gainesville https://www.wbrz.com/news/florida-head-coach-billy-napier-bringing-what-he-learned-from-ul-lafayette-to-gainesville/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/florida-head-coach-billy-napier-bringing-what-he-learned-from-ul-lafayette-to-gainesville/ Sports Wed, 20 Jul 2022 6:31:25 PM Corey Rholdon Florida head coach Billy Napier bringing what he learned from UL-Lafayette to Gainesville

BATON ROUGE - There are two new head coaches in the SEC this year, and both with Louisiana ties.

Because Scott Woodward passed on Billy Napier for Brian Kelly, these two coaches may be compared for the rest of their SEC careers. 

"Brian's an unbelievable coach. Got nothing but respect for him--nothing but respect for LSU. So, you know, I'm focused on University of Florida, and we put together a great group of people," Napier said. "But I will tell you this, I am so appreciative of the experience I had in that state."

Napier had it good in Lafayette, now he's in Gainesville where he's basically starting a program over again. 

"We're a work in progress, much like we were in year one there. We got a lot of work to do to improve. But I'm confident we've got the resources and the people to do that," Napier said.

Despite being in a talent rich state, the athletic department and specifically the facilities have been rather poor for years. 

"I think that the administration was willing to collaborate, they believed in our plan, they've given us the resources to execute our plan."

Along with facility upgrades, Napier made sure to bring some Louisiana people with him to Gainesville to get up and running. Former LSU Tigers Rob Sale is his offensive coordinator, and he grabbed Corey Raymond from LSU to help his defense. 

"Corey brings a ton of wisdom," Napier said. "I just think he's a savvy veteran and always a guy that you know, you get, he's gonna be consistent, and you're gonna get his very best."

WBRZ asked Billy if he wanted the LSU and Florida rivalry to continue with the new scheduling format coming out, he said he didn't think that was a permanent option with the new 8 or 9 game schedule. 

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Alabama takes spotlight of day two of SEC Media Days https://www.wbrz.com/news/alabama-takes-spotlight-of-day-two-of-sec-media-days/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/alabama-takes-spotlight-of-day-two-of-sec-media-days/ Sports Tue, 19 Jul 2022 5:50:58 PM Michael Cauble Alabama takes spotlight of day two of SEC Media Days

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is no stranger to the spotlight, but when SEC Media Days rolls around each year the Alabama head coach commands the attention of what feels like every media outlet in the state.

SEC Media Days may be in Atlanta this year, away from it's usual home of Hoover, Alabama just outside of Birmingham for just the second time, but you wouldn't guess it from the throngs of Alabama media that make the short trek to hear their winningest head coach talk.

Once again Saban and his Alabama Crimson Tide team is expected to rule not only the SEC, but all of college football and a large reason for that is two impact players that Saban has on each side of the ball returning as starters.

Heisman winning quarterback Bryce Young is back for his junior season after breaking the Alabama record books for both yards passing and touchdowns tossed in 2022.  SEC Defensive Player of the Year Will Anderson is back for his junior year after leading the nation in tackles for loss with 34.5 and 17.5 sacks last season.

"To have two players that make such a significant impact on our team as those two guys, I don't recall ever having a circumstance like that," Saban said of his star players.  "We've had some great impact players, but never one on offense, one on defense, of the caliber that these guys have been able to play on a consistent basis."

Anderson later echoed his coaches sentiments as he understood the importance of playing the lead role for this Tide defense.  "You have to command, you’re put in that position to lead, you’re put in that position to help others, and you know right from wrong, you know how to go through the system, you know the standards," Anderson told the television media on Tuesday.

As for Young, his 4,872 passing yards and 47 touchdowns thrown were a great start, but he feels like there is room to improve his game.  "Winning a Heisman is a huge honor, but winning it doesn’t mean I’m entitled to anything, it’s an award for one season, because of that I don’t feel like I’m where I need to be, I don’t feel like I’m a finished product by any means, there’s a lot of things I need to keep getting better at," added Young about his desire to keep moving forward.

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LSU Tigers run the show on Day 1 of SEC Media Days https://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-tigers-run-the-show-on-day-1-of-sec-media-days/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-tigers-run-the-show-on-day-1-of-sec-media-days/ Sports Mon, 18 Jul 2022 9:28:51 PM Michael Cauble LSU Tigers run the show on Day 1 of SEC Media Days

Brian Kelly and the LSU Tigers were the talk of the town on the first day of SEC Media Days in Atlanta on Monday. 

Kelly is one of two new coaches in the SEC this season and most have not given Kelly a shot at being successful in the South let alone at LSU. 

Since arriving on campus late last year, Kelly has been criticized for his accent, dancing and general fit at LSU.  But on Monday Kelly fired back, flashing that poise and command that he's developed as a signature trait.

"I think fit is about the ability to run a program at the highest level. I've done it for 32 years," Kelly said on Monday afternoon at the main stage podium.

"I've had success at Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Central Michigan, wherever I've been. So running a program and then player development, I think those are the most important things. I don't think that needs to be geographical in a sense. I've gotten to love where I'm at in Baton Rouge. I love the people. They love football. They love family. They love food. That fits me really well. I guess I should have been in the South all along."

Kelly is clearly getting more and more comfortable every time he steps in front of a camera and microphone and having a chance to address some of his critics face-to-face was just another step for the rookie SEC coach to prove he has what it takes to belong to the nation's best football conference.

Kelly touched on a number of notes with his Tiger team, adding that he feels like LSU is on pace with the rest of the country when it comes to NIL, saying he welcomes eventual SEC members Texas and Oklahoma and filling everyone in on the Tiger quarterback race.

"We're really going to have to set the offensive structure and its installation to the skill set of the particular players," Kelly said of the ongoing quarterback competition between veteran Myles Brennan, new transfer in Jayden Daniels and upcoming Garrett Nussmeier.

Kelly listed three main attributes that they will look at when deciding a starter for the opener against Florida St.

"Number one, they got to take care of the football. Number two, they have to get the ball to play-makers. I have play-makers on offense that are already in place. They've got to get the ball to the play-makers. Number three, they've got to make plays. I think all of these guys can do that. We'll have to put them in that position so we can evaluate that."

LSU will report for Fall camp starting the first week of August and they open the season against Florida State in the Superdome on September 4.

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