Tigers Headed To Capital One Bowl; Coaching Rumors; New Commitment

As expected, LSU is officially headed to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando to face Penn State.  This was the best possible scenario for LSU, and it gives them a marquee match-up in what is probably the most exciting non BCS bowl game out there.  Penn State is ranked #9 while LSU is ranked #13. 

The other SEC bowl game match ups are as follows:

BCS Championship Game – Alabama vs. Texas
Sugar Bowl – Florida vs. Cincinnati
Cotton Bowl – Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma State
Outback Bowl – Auburn vs. Northwestern
Chick-Fil-A Bowl – Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech
Music City Bowl – Kentucky vs. Clemson
Liberty Bowl – Arkansas vs. East Carolina
Independence Bowl – Georgia vs. Texas A&M
Papajohns.com Bowl – South Carolina vs. UCONN

As the game approaches, I’ll have more on Penn State. 

RECRUITING

LSU picked up their second running back for the Class of 2010 in Hahnville product Alfred Blue.  We’ve talked about Blue quite a bit over the last several months, and he finally chose the Tigers over Ole Miss.  Blue visited LSU this weekend and was able to meet new running backs coach Frank Wilson which apparently sped up his decision.  He also had offers from Arkansas, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Colorado and some smaller schools.   Blue is 6’2″ 205 pounds and has decent speed which is listed at 4.5.   Many speculate that Blue could grow into a linebacker, or that he could even play some wide receiver.  He finished his senior season with 1,695 yards and 29 touchdowns.  He also caught 13 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns.  He averaged 6.65 yards per carry.   Blue reminds me a lot of former Tiger Rondell Mealey, and I’m excited to have him on board.  Both Scout and Rivals rate Blue as a three star running back. 

I hope to do a full recruiting recap later this week. 

COACHING CHANGES

Over the weekend, Frank Wilson accepted LSU’s offer to become the Tigers’ next running backs coach.  I discussed Wilson in Friday’s update, and I think this is a home-run hire for Les Miles.   Wilson is a great recruiter, he has Louisiana ties, and he looks to be a pretty good coach too. 

The writing is on the wall that LSU wide receivers coach DJ McCarthy will not be retained.  His involvement in potential NCAA violations have him on the way out.  The rumor mill has started to get going regarding potential replacements for McCarthy.  TigerSportsDigest.com reported that Buffalo Bills wide receivers coach and former LSU player, Tyke Tolbert, is talking to LSU about taking the job.  I first mentioned Tolbert as a possibility way back in mid November.  Tolbert coached tight-ends and was recruiting coordinator for Ron Zook at Florida before going to the NFL.  He spent one season coaching the receivers for the Arizona Cardinals before going to the Bills.  Tolbert would be another fantastic hire if Les Miles can get it done, and I’m hearing that it’s pretty close to happening.

It’s still a little unclear when Frank Wilson will start, but he’s reportedly already on the job.   Larry Porter will supposedly coach LSU in their bowl game.  Since Wilson can’t start unless an opening exists, I can only conclude that DJ McCarthy is already gone and that both Wilson and Porter will be on staff for the Capital One bowl. 

The status of offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and offensive coordinator Gary Crowton is still unknown.  Remember that the defensive coordinators were not let go until after the bowl game in 2008.  Just because nothing has happened yet doesn’t mean that it won’t.  I’m still hopeful that LSU will change offensive coordinators, but nobody seems to know what LSU will do right now. 

Looking around the SEC and the nation, some other rumors are interesting to note. 

It seems that Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong is the heavy favorite to get the head coaching job at Louisville.  Could that have affected Florida’s play on Saturday in Atlanta?

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is on the short list to be the defensive coordinator at both Georgia and Florida State.  Smart went to school at Georgia, and he coached with Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher as assistants at LSU.  With Alabama in the BCS championship game, it will be interesting if that turns into a distraction.  

Tennessee running backs coach Eddie Gran is considering taking a position with Florida State.  Gran is one of the Vols’ top assistant coaches and one of their chief recruiters.  Some rumors exist that Vols’ defensive line coach Ed Orgeron is considering a few other possibilities as well, including a return to USC. 

It looks like Virginia will hire Richmond head coach Mike London.  Charlie Strong was also a candidate for that job. 

Kansas is targeting Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin to replace Mark Mangino.

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