For LSU, Lee stands for ‘Leedership’

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Jordan Jefferson had his chances.

Locked in a two-quarterback system for the past year with Jarrett Lee, the senior finally solidified himself as the guy for LSU this past spring. It was exactly for what anyone bleeding gold and purple — or anyone frustrated by perennial underachievement — could have hoped.

All news was good news for Jefferson. It was like he was in a dark room searching for the light switch, and suddenly, he found it. And what Jefferson saw in that room were opportunities: an opportunity to lead the Tigers to another SEC, and potentially, BCS championship; an opportunity to be the hero, the big man on a SEC campus.

Practically the only thing missing were the cheerleaders swooning over Jefferson underneath one of the campus’ historic live oak trees.

“I think he wants to lead this team,” Les Miles said following the Tigers’ spring game. “He wants to take the team at a time when he can provide leadership and make them better. He’s more knowledgeable, certainly more capable.

“I think winning is the key piece and I think that’s what Jordan Jefferson is — a winner.”

And then Jefferson screwed up.

It doesn’t matter in what capacity he was involved in a bar brawl late last week. It doesn’t matter who threw the first punch. Unless it’s proven Jefferson was trying to break up the fight, what matters is that he failed to conduct himself in the way a senior leader should.

Now, Jefferson has been suspended indefinitely, and the leadership role must fall on Lee, a fellow senior.

His stats don’t induce excitement, but what Miles and the Tigers need right now a week before opening up their season against a top-five opponent in Oregon is a level head, not a high quarterback rating. LSU has endured too much too close to the beginning of this season not to have someone who knows a thing or two about difficult situations.

No matter what anybody says, off-the-field distractions can and do affect a team. The opportunity to provide leadership to a group that clearly so desperately needs it is there for Lee. He just has to seize it.

That’s why quarterbacks become quarterbacks, right?

LSU’s predicament brings to mind their season-opening opponent a year ago, North Carolina. The Tar Heels were entering 2010 on a wave of controversy over NCAA investigations of impermissible benefits received and academic misconduct that sidelined over a dozen players.

Leading that team was senior quarterback T.J. Yates, a man who faced plenty of hardships in his own time at Chapel HIll. But, even in a loss, Yates showed guts and determination, nearly executing a last-minute, game-winning drive.

LSU needs that kind of leadership from Lee. They don’t need him to win the game — there’s plenty of talent around him to do that — they just need consistency.

That hasn’t been Lee’s strength in the past, but he’s getting another opportunity in his final season. In fact, the Tigers might actually be better off with someone under center who wants to make the most of it.

After all, the guy before him certainly didn’t.

Longtime UCLA staffer Angus McClure’s hire one of two announced by Nevada

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The departure of a longtime UCLA staffer has officially been confirmed.

Late last week, reports surfaced that Angus McClure was leaving UCLA for a position at Nevada.  Tuesday, the Mountain West Conference football program confirmed that McClure has been hired as Jay Norvell‘s new offensive line coach.

McClure had been with the Bruins since 2007, serving at various times as position coach for both sides of UCLA’s lines as well as special teams.  Most recently, McClure had served as recruiting coordinator for the Pac-12 school.

McClure and Norvell have a prior working relationship as they were both on the same staffs at Nebraska and UCLA.

In addition to McClure, David Lockwood was announced as Nevada’s new safeties coach.  Lockwood was on the UNLV staff last season after spending the previous three years as the cornerbacks coach at Arizona.

“I think we made our staff stronger with these two veteran hires,” Norvell said in a statement. “I’m excited about the experience and expertise that we have added to the Wolf Pack coaching staff.”

Former Kansas State head coach Jim Dickey dies at 84

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Former Kansas State head coach Jim Dickey died on Saturday night at the age of 84.

A Texas native, Dickey played quarterback at Houston in the 1950’s and started his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater. From there he took assistant jobs at Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas and North Carolina before landing the K-State job ahead of the 1978 season. He went 25-53-2 in seven-plus seasons on the job, which doesn’t look like much at first blush until one takes stock of where the Wildcat football program was at the time.

Dickey took Kansas State to the Independence Bowl in 1982, a 14-3 loss to Wisconsin, which was the first bowl appearance in program history. He was named the Big 8’s Coach of the Year for that season.

After back-to-back 3-win seasons in 1983 and ’84, he was let go after an 0-2 start to the 1985 campaign. The program would remain historically down until future College Football Hall of Famer Bill Snyder built the program up in the 1990’s.

Dickey finished out his career as an assistant on the pre-Steve Spurrier Florida teams before retiring in 1989. He lived at a rest home in Houston at the time of his passing, according to the Manhattan Mercury. Dickey’s son, Darrell Dickey, is the former head coach at North Texas and currently the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

Mario Cristobal reportedly reuniting with former assistant in Eugene

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The Oregon coaching staff is going to have a specific South Florida flavor to it. Head coach Mario Cristobal is a Miami native, a former Hurricanes player and assistant, and the former head coach at Florida International. On Tuesday, Cristobal moved to bring a fellow South Floridian with him to the Pacific Northwest.

According to Grant Traylor of the Huntington (W. Va.) Herald-Dispatch, Marshall offensive line coach Alex Mirabal is leaving the staff to reunite with Cristobal in Eugene.

Sports Illustrated‘s Bruce Feldman added Mirabal will work under Cristobal, who will handle the offensive line.

Mirabal is also a native of Miami and a Florida International graduate. He spent the first decade-plus of his career working in Miami’s high school ranks before joining Cristobal’s FIU staff as tight ends and later offensive line coach from 2007-12. He landed at Marshall in 2013 after Cristobal was forced out at FIU, where he remained until Tuesday.

Under Mirabal’s guidance, Marshall finished fourth nationally in sacks allowed at just 0.85 per game. Oregon finished 54th nationally in that same metric.

Trio of players transferring from Missouri

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As we trudge deeper into the college football offseason, roster attrition across the sport has shown no signs of slowing down.

It was confirmed Tuesday that three players have decided to take their leave of the Missouri football program.  Two of the departees are defensive backs (redshirt freshman Jerod Alton, redshirt sophomore TJ Warren) while the other is a wide receiver (redshirt junior Ray Wingo).

All three of the transferring players were three-star recruits coming out of high school.  Wingo, who moved to receiver after his redshirt season in 2014, was the highest-rated of the group, with 247Sports.com pegging him as the No. 24 cornerback in the country and the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Missouri.

After catching five passes for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2016, Wingo didn’t record a reception at all in 2017.  He’ll finish the Mizzou portion of his playing career with 167 yards and those two touchdowns on his nine receptions.

Warren played in 18 games the past two seasons, including six last year.  He started one of those games, with that coming during the 2016 season.

Alton took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.