Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dorsy, Jackson Named to Walter Camp Watch List

Dorsey, Jackson on Walter Camp Watch List
BATON ROUGE -- Two LSU defenders – senior Glenn Dorsey and junior Tyson Jackson – have been named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation 2007 Player of the Year Watch List, the organization announced on Wednesday.

The Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List consists of 35 players across the nation, including just nine players on the defensive side of the football.

“We are proud to continue the great work of Walter Camp and recognize the best college football players in the nation,” Foundation president John Barbarotta said. “This watch list is a great start to what is shaping up to be another exciting year of college football.”

Dorsey and Jackson are both key members of an LSU defense that ranked among the top five nationally in five categories last year, including a No. 3 ranking in total defense (242.8 yards per game) and No. 4 in scoring (12.6 points per game).

Dorsey, from Gonzales, La., enters his final season with the Tigers in 2007 with 110 career tackles, 14.5 tackles for losses and six sacks. Dorsey was a First-Team All-America selection a year ago.

Jackson, a junior from Edgard, ranked among the SEC leaders with 10 tackles for losses and 8.5 sacks in 2007. A Second-Team All-SEC pick in 2007, Jackson has 50 career tackles, 12 tackles for losses and 10.5 sacks to his credit.

The watch list will be narrowed to ten semi-finalists in early November. The 2007 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, which is voted on by the 119 NCAA Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors, will be announced on the ESPN/Home Depot College Football Awards Show in December. The winner will then receive his trophy at the Foundation’s annual national awards banquet on January 12, 2008 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven.

Last year’s recipient was Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith.

Walter Camp, “The Father of American football,” first selected an All-America team in 1889. Camp – a former Yale University athlete and football coach – is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation ( – a New Haven-based all-volunteer group – was founded in 1967 to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and to continue the tradition of selecting annually an All-America team.

2007 Walter Camp Player of the Year “Watch List”

Anthony Alridge, RB, Senior, Houston
Travis Beckum, TE, Junior, Wisconsin #
Earl Bennett, WR, Junior, Vanderbilt
Yvenson Bernard, RB, Senior, Oregon State
Tommy Blake, DL, Senior, TCU
John David Booty, QB, USC
Colt Brennan, QB, Senior, Hawaii #
Jasper Brinkley, LB, Senior, South Carolina
Brian Brohm, QB, Senior, Louisville
Dan Connor, LB, Senior, Penn State
Chase Daniel,QB, Junior, Missouri
James Davis, RB, Junior, Clemson
Jarett Dillard, WR, Senior, Rice #
Glenn Dorsey, DL, Senior, LSU
Michael Hart, RB, Senior, Michigan #
Omar Haugabook, QB, Senior, Troy
Jonathan Hefney, DB/KR, Senior, Tennessee
P.J. Hill, RB, Sophomore, Wisconsin
Chad Henne, QB, Senior, Michigan
DeSean Jackson, WR/KR, Junior, California *
Lawrence Jackson, DE, Junior, USC
Tyson Jackson, DL, Junior, LSU
Ian Johnson, RB, Junior, Boise State
James Laurinaitis, LB, Junior, Ohio State *
Nate Longshore, QB, Junior, California
Mario Manningham, WR, Senior, Michigan
Colt McCoy, QB, Sophomore, Texas
Darren McFadden, RB, Junior, Arkansas *
Kalvin McRae, RB, Senior, Ohio
Matt Ryan, QB, Senior, Boston College
Ray Rice, RB, Junior, Rutgers #
Steve Slaton, RB, Junior, West Virginia *
C.J. Spiller, RB, Sophomore, Clemson
Tyrell Sutton, RB, Junior, Northwestern
Limas Sweed, WR, Senior, Texas
Aquib Talib, DB, Junior, Kansas
Pat White, QB, Junior, West Virginia

Cory Actis Named Candidate for Dave Rimington Trophy

Ole Miss’ Corey Actis was among 54 candidates named Thursday on the updated Watch List for the Dave Rimington Trophy, which is in its eighth year of recognizing the most outstanding Center in college football.

A former first team All-America at Bakersfield Junior College, Actis started all 12 games at center in his debut season with the Rebels. The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder helped pave the way for BenJarvus Green-Ellis to become the third 1,000-yard runner in Ole Miss history.

A California native, Actis was chosen as the Rebel Quarterback Club Trench Player of the Week for the Arkansas game and received the J. Richard Price Courage and Compassion Award in the spring, which is presented annually to the rising senior lineman who, in the opinion of his coaches, has demonstrated extraordinary courage and unusual compassion in their dedication to the team and to Ole Miss.

The Rimington trophy is presented by Canon, the Cornhusker Marriott in Lincoln, Neb., and Logitech. The award is presented by the Boomer Esiason Foundation. Esiason created his foundation in 1993 to support research and treatment of cystic fibrosis. Esiason and Dave Rimington were teammates on the Cincinnati Bengals from 1984-87. Rimington, the award's namesake, was a consensus first team All-America center at Nebraska in 1981 and 1982 during which he became the John Outland Trophy's only double winner as the nation's premiere college interior lineman.

The winner is selected by determining the consensus All-America Center pick from four existing All-America Teams: American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News and Football Writers Association of America

Because the selectors of these four All-America teams can place Centers in a "mix" of offensive linemen that includes guards and tackles, their 11-man first teams can often have two Centers. The policy is to count all players that play primarily the Center position for their respective teams as Centers, even though they maybe listed as guards or tackles on the four All-America teams.

The Center with the most first-team votes will be determined the winner. If there is a tie with first team votes, the Center with the most second team votes will win. If there is still a tie, the winner will be determined by the Rimington Trophy committee.

The winner will be honored at an awards banquet at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska on January 12, 2008.

West Virginia University's Dan Mozes won the 2006 Rimington Trophy and is currently playing for the Minnesota Vikings. Other recipients include Minnesota's Greg Eslinger, Michigan's David Baas (2004 co-winner), LSU's Ben Wilkerson (2004 co-winner), Virginia Tech's Jake Grove, Miami's Brett Romberg, Ohio State's LeCharles Bentley, and Nebraska's Dominic Raiola.

2007 Rimington Trophy Watch List
Corey Actis Ole Miss Senior 6'5" 290 lbs.
Kenny Alfred Washington State Sophomore 6'2 "293 lbs.
Sete Aulai BYU Senior 6'0" 290 lbs.
Royce Blackledge Mississippi State Senior 6'4" 293 lbs.
Tim Bond Wyoming Junior 6'4" 296 lbs.
Jason Bosley Auburn Junior 6'2" 280 lbs.
Brett Byford Nebraska Senior 6'3" 300 lbs.
Antoine Caldwell Alabama Junior 6'3" 288 lbs.
Marcus Coleman Wisconsin Senior 6'6" 317 lbs.
Jim Cordle Ohio State Sophomore 6'5" 275 lbs.
Mike Dent West Virginia Junior 6'4" 285 lbs.
Alex Derenthal Temple Junior 6'4" 294 lbs.
Kyle DeVan Oregon State Senior 6'2" 310 lbs.
Rafael Eubanks Iowa Sophomore 6'3" 288 lbs.
Robby Felix UTEP Junior 6'3" 295 lbs.
Juan Garcia Washington Sophomore 6'3" 315 lbs.
Dominic Green Nevada Junior 6'3" 295 lbs
Blaine Guenther Air Force Senior 6'2" 270 lbs.
Kyle Gunther Utah Senior 6'4" 304 lbs.
Antron Harper Navy Senior 5'11" 272 lbs.
Brett Helms LSU Junior 6'2" 283 lbs.
Adam Hill Louisiana-Monroe Senior 6'1" 325 lbs.
Chris Joseph UCLA Senior 6'5" 282 lbs.
Steve Justice Wake Forest Senior 6'4" 280 lbs.
Adam Korby Idaho Junior 6'2" 292 lbs.
Robbie Krutilla Western Michigan Senior 6'3" 308 lbs.
Doug Legursky Marshall Senior 6'3" 308 lbs.
Scott Lenahan North Carolina Senior 6'1" 290 lbs.
Kory Lichtensteiger Bowling Green Senior 6'3" 300 lbs.
Jordy Lipsey Virginia Senior 6'3" 280 lbs.
Jonathan Luigs Arkansas Junior 6'4" 305 lbs.
Alex Mack California Junior 6'5" 295 lbs.
Tim Mattran Stanford Senior 6'5" 300 lbs.
Ryan McDonald Illinois Junior 6'5" 300 lbs.
Josh McNeil Tennessee Sophomore 6'4" 280 lbs.
Drew Miller Florida Senior 6'5" 297 lbs.
Trey Miranne Army Senior 6'0" 273 lbs.
Justin Paysinger San Jose State Junior 6'1" 295 lbs.
Mike Pollak Arizona State Senior 6'4" 300 lbs.
Robbie Powell Purdue Senior 6'5" 307 lbs.
Daniel Sanders Colorado Junior 6'3" 305 lbs.
Blake Schlueter Texas Christian Junior 6'3" 272 lbs.
Kevin Sheridan Boston College Senior 6'3" 295 lbs.
A.Q. Shipley Penn State Junior 6'1" 293 lbs.
Adam Spieker Missouri Junior 6'4" 310 lbs.
John Sullivan Notre Dame Senior 6'4" 290 lbs.
Ryan Tonnemacher Utah State Junior 6'3" 272 lbs.
Lafu Tuioti-Mariner Hawaii Junior 6'0" 279 lbs.
Kevin Tuminello Georgia Tech Senior 6'4" 290 lbs.
Cody Wallace Texas A&M Senior 6'4" 296 lbs.
Ryan Wendell Fresno State Senior 6'2" 285 lbs.
Austin Wilkinson Rice Junior 6'2" 270 lbs.
Eric Wood Louisville Junior 6'4" 301 lbs.
Ben Wyss Indiana Senior 6'1" 280 lbs.

Lester Sent to Portland

Red Sox lefty Jon Lester was sent down to Double-A Portland today. Lester is 2-0 with a 5.67 ERA in six starts since being recalled from Pawtucket on July 23.

Lester will miss one start and is scheduled to return to start for the Red Sox on September 2.
Julian Tavarez is expected to take Lester's start on Sunday.

The team recalled lefthanded pitcher Javier Lopez from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Lopez is 2-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 17 appearances with Pawtucket this season. He has not allowed a run in his last seven outings with the PawSox, covering 3.1 innings. The lefthander will be making his third stint with the Red Sox this season and is 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA in 44 appearances.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Practice Heats up As First Game Approaches

BATON ROUGE -- LSU picked up the pace on Tuesday as the second-ranked Tigers continued their preparations for next week’s season-opener against Mississippi State with an extended workout here at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.

The Tigers will conduct a morning workout on Wednesday before giving the players the day off from practice on Thursday.

“It was a good long (practice),” LSU coach Les Miles said. “We are obviously getting a lot of things done. Tomorrow morning we’ll give them another good go and then give them a break. We’ll let the players get off their feet and relax for a day and a half to two days. We’ll get some legs back and get into our game week routine.”

With the Mississippi State game being held on a Thursday, the Tigers will begin their game week routine starting on Friday.

Tuesday’s workout again had the Tigers practicing in weather that saw the temperatures near the 100 degree mark. Miles said it’s something that his team needs to get used to.

“The weather has been hot and that has benefited us,” Miles said. “You have to play in this (heat). You have to condition in it. The players need to recognize how it feels to perform in these conditions.”

The Tigers have used the first two days this week to begin its preparations for the Bulldogs as LSU has gone against the scout squad during team drills on both days.

“The tempo (of practice) has to be faster,” Miles said. “We can’t accept two-a-days’ style of practice. It’s got to be a quick, upbeat tempo. We really round them into shape these next three practices, and when they come back, the tempo will speed up yet again.”

Against Mississippi State, the Tigers will face a much-improved squad from last year’s team that posted a 3-9 overall mark. LSU beat the Bulldogs, 48-17, in week five last year in Tiger Stadium. Miles said his team understands the challenge of next week’s contest against Mississippi State.

“I know we are playing a quality team,” Miles said of the Bulldogs. “You don’t have to tell me. Our football team understands it too, playing at their place. There is enough warning just watching the film that we are preparing for a quality opponent.”

“Their defense will be sticky. Offensively, they have a veteran line and a big tailback, and they are playing at home in their first game. We expect that we will get their best shot.”

Rebel Quarterbacks Shaky in Saturday's Workout

Ole Miss fans’ first chance to see the Rebel football team this season didn’t leave many fans — or coach Ed Orgeron — with a good taste in their mouths about the team’s ongoing quarterback battle.

In a scrimmage that began outside at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and had to be moved inside to the IPF after lightning moved into the area, the defense dominated for most of the day.

And none of the four players competing for quarterback — Seth Adams, Michael Herrick, Brent Schaeffer or Billy Tapp — looked overly impressive.

“It is a little disappointing that we are not further along with our quarterback,” Orgeron said. “That is what we have. We are going to continue to get better and hopefully we can find a guy that is going to be consistent.”

Things did get better in the second half, something Orgeron noted. Adams, who had the best day of the four, led the Rebels on three late touchdown drives, including a pair of touchdown passes.

“I was really pleased to see the offense at halftime get it together a little bit and come in have Seth move the offense down the field a little bit and score,” Orgeron said.

“You know, if you go out and perform like we did in the first half, you dig yourself a hole. We’re not that good of a team. We can’t afford with the schedule we have and the teams that we play to go out and dig ourselves a hole.”

Adams better during second half

Adams completed 14 of 26 passes for 120 yards, after starting 0-for-4. His two touchdown passes were 10-and 5-yard strikes to Greg Hardy on fade patterns on which Hardy reached up above multiple defenders to grab the ball. Most of Adams’ completions were short — 10 of them went for 10 yards or fewer — and many went to Dexter McCluster, who had six catches for 64 yards.

Herrick completed four of 10 for 39 yards, and Schaeffer connected on two of 6 for 40 yards and one score.

Orgeron said the offense would be “two, three, two, three, pop (a big play)” and there were big plays by the offense scattered throughout the scrimmage.

There was Schaeffer rolling out of the pocket and hitting Markeith Summers in stride for a 37-yard touchdown pass. Marshay Green juked several defenders — including a sudden stop at the 10-yard line — on a 25-yard touchdown run on a reverse. Running backs BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bruce Hall and Derrick Davis all had carries that went for over 10 yards.

Green-Ellis carried 14 times for 56 yards, and Hall led the way with 10 carries for 71 yards. Cordera Eason had 11 rushes for 38 yards.

“We have some big play guys back there,” Orgeron said. “You look at BenJarvus, look at Bruce, look at Cordera, those guys just keep on pounding. When we get our offensive line back together, we’re going to get in better sync and we’re going to have bigger plays from our backs.”

The Rebel offense was missing center Cory Actis, right guard John Jerry and left guard Reid Neely, as well as tight end Robert Lane and receiver Shay Hodge. Orgeron said that missing those players — whom he said should all be ready for Ole Miss’ Sept. 1 season opener against Memphis — did hurt the offense’s production. He also said that the drop-off from first team to second team offensive line is “night and day.”

“There is so much of a drop off,” Orgeron said. “That is the biggest dropoff on our team from first team offensive line to second team offensive line.”

The defense was also missing several players, including defensive ends Kentrell Lockett and Chris Bowers and linebackers Jonathan Cornell and Allen Walker, but looked especially impressive up front.

Linemen Jerrell Powe, Peria Jerry, Daverin Geralds and Marcus Tillman all contributed to quarterback sacks, as did linebacker Jamie Phillips.

Orgeron was pleased with the play of Powe, whose improving conditioning allowed him to be on the field longer Saturday.

“We’re giving him as much as he can handle,” Orgeron said. “I think it helped a lot that we were indoors and the conditions weren’t as much as they would be outside, but he is getting better and is loosing weight and he played probably his best day. You could see at times that he can be a force.”

Palmer shines in scrimmage

Another defensive player who stood out was linebacker Ashlee Palmer, who had several big hits.

“He was all over the field, and he really used his speed,” Orgeron said. “He played with tenacity, and by far, it was his best day.”

True freshman safety Johnny Brown was back on the field too, one day after he was officially cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Ole Miss began the scrimmage by doing special teams work, something they were hampered from doing much of once things moved inside.

In fact, quarterback Jevan Snead, who is ineligible this season after transferring from Texas in the off-season, served as the kick-off guy, throwing the ball down field to the returner.

Orgeron was later asked if he’d like to see a rule changed to allow Snead, who also threw a 22-yard touchdown pass in his short action, to throw the ball on kickoffs all season.

The coach asked for something else.

“If they change the rule, let him play (quarterback) this year,” Orgeron said. “That is the rule I want. If we are going to change the rule, let’s go for it.”

Papilbon Makes History with 30th Save

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jonathan Papelbon made history Tuesday night, but it wouldn't have been so had his teammates not come together to put him in the perfect situation.
By closing out the Red Sox's 8-6 win over the Rays to notch his 30th save of the year, Papelbon is the first pitcher in franchise history to record at least 30 saves in two different seasons. Just 10 Boston pitchers can claim one 30-save season.

"It's a huge honor for me," said Papelbon, who struck out three of the four batters he faced. "When I moved into this role, it was a goal that I set for myself to go out there and be a dominant closer, to do this not only just one year, but year after year. I want to stay on my work and stay healthy, and break records. That's what I'm all about."

The victory, coupled with the Yankees' 18-9 loss to the Angels, gives the Red Sox a six-game lead in the American League East.

The 26-year-old seems to be in a much better position this season than during his rookie campaign, too.

"[This year], I feel like I've got my legs, I've got my arms and less headache," said Papelbon, who saw his 2006 campaign end prematurely with a fatigued right shoulder in September. "Last year was a grind for me. I really grinded and grinded until I couldn't grind any more, and this year I'm knowing my body and the system better. ... I feel [very] near 100 percent at this part of the season."

A lot of things had to happen for Papelbon to be in line for the save, though, and the battle started with Andy Sonnanstine.

The Red Sox last saw Sonnanstine six days ago, when the rookie righty held them to three runs over 6 2/3 innings for the win. He stifled Boston's offense then, allowing just four hits during his watch and seeming to exude the confidence the Major League's best team lacked on that day.

The Red Sox were more than happy on Tuesday, as they exposed Sonnanstine's weaknesses away from Fenway Park.

Sonnanstine has used a variety of arm angles and deliveries to fool opponents this season, but knowing what to expect the second time around, and facing him for the second time in less than a week, gave the Red Sox an advantage.

"I think the first time you face somebody, the pitcher definitely has an advantage," Francona said. "Seeing them in person certainly has to help your comfort level, but that doesn't mean you're going to hit them."

On Tuesday night at least, that's exactly what it meant. The win pushed the Red Sox's record to 76-50, matching their second-best start in franchise history. Just four other times since 1951 has Boston won at least 76 of its first 126 games, including 1975 (76-50), 1978 (79-47), 1979 (76-50) and 1995 (76-50).

Opposing Sonnanstine on the mound was Jon Lester, who was saved from his inconsistency by a super-charged offense. Although the southpaw allowed the Rays to score five runs, he still walked away a winner thanks to one big inning.

Lester lasted just 5 1/3 innings and was hurt mostly by the long ball -- a three-run shot in the fifth and a two-run blast in the first amounted to the total damage. He threw 97 pitches, 54 for strikes, walked four and recorded four punch outs.

"At times I was really good, and at other times I was really bad. I don't know why," Lester confessed. "Luckily, bullpen picked me up ... [and] so did the offense.

"It was a good team win."

The Red Sox flexed their muscles in the fourth to bury the Rays in a hole too deep to climb from.

With the game tied at 2, David Ortiz singled. After Manny Ramirez struck out, Mike Lowell was struck with a pitch on his left hand to put runners on first and second. J.D. Drew singled to load the bases, and then Jason Varitek connected for a bloop single to score Big Papi and give Boston a 3-2 lead.

Coco Crisp added to the cushion with a two-run double to right field, and former Ray Julio Lugo followed suit with a double of his own to push the score to 7-2.

Each man in the Red Sox starting lineup finished with at least one hit.

"When you get something from 1 through 9 [hitters], it enhances your chances to win," Francona said.

Boston would need nearly all of those insurance runs by the fifth inning, when Akinori Iwamura took a full-count pitch from Lester and put it in the left-field bleachers for a three-run homer that brought the Rays back to within two.

"We kept coming back," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Aki's home run was big for us. We had opportunities, but that five-run inning is so hard to overcome. ... To score that many runs on that few hits is very quirky."

Also out-of-the-ordinary was Ortiz, who banged out his first triple since Sept. 8, 2006, in the first to push across a run. He scored a moment later on Ramirez's sacrifice fly to hand Boston a 2-0 lead out of the gate. The burly designated hitter also hustled to beat out an infield single in the fourth inning.

"He felt that triple for about five innings," Francona joked. "He can get going when he needs to. He had fresh legs. It's not fun to give guys the day off [Monday], but it really helps."

A critical error by Dustin Pedroia with two on and two outs in the seventh saw Tampa Bay claw back to within two. Pedroia botched a hard-hit liner from Carl Crawford that allowed Josh Wilson to scamper home from third.

Wilson was hit by a pitch from reliever Manny Delcarmen earlier in the inning, but otherwise the bullpen was concrete.

"My front side was real good, and my delivery was sharp," Papelbon said. "And I was staying behind the ball tonight. We ... came in and shut the ballgame down tonight. Hopefully that becomes a familiarity for us -- not that it isn't already, but hopefully we keep things going."

Monday, August 20, 2007

2008 Tiger Football Committments

Tiger Commitments
Class of 2008
Updated 8/20/07

Darron Thomas, QB, 6'4", 195, Aldine Texas. Thomas received over 20 offers and chose LSU over Miami, Minnesota, and Oklahoma State. As a junior, Thomas passed for 1,000 yards, threw 16 touchdown passes and rushed for over 500 yards.

Derrick Bryant, DB, 6'0", 183, Peachtree Ridge , Georgia. Bryant chose LSU over Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State and VA Tech.

Kyle Prater, LB, 6'2", 215, Kerrville, Texas. Prater chose LSU over Oklahoma, Nebraska, TCU, Texas Tech and 12 other schools.

Ryan Baker LB, 6'0 1/2", 212, 4.5 from Blountstown, Florida. Baker chose LSU over offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Auburn, Arkansas and 11 other 1-A schools.

Tim Molton, WR, 6'3", 185, 4.4, Destrehan, LA. The very speedy WR was also recruited by Tennessee, Miami, Auburn and Michigan.

Cordian Hagans, DT, 6'5", 290 from Northview high school in Duluth, Georgia. Hagans chose LSU over 20 offers including Auburn, VA Tech, Boston College, North Carolina and South Carolina.

DeAngelo Peterson, ATH, 6'2-1/2", 4.5, Desire Street Academy, Baton Rouge. Peterson chose LSU over Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia, Tulane, LA Tech and Ole Miss.

Ryan St. Julien, CB, 6'1", 175, 4.49, Catholic of New Iberia. Chose LSU over Tulane, UL-L, La Tech and Nebraska.

Thomas Parson, OL, 6'7", 275, Spring Branch, Texas. Parson chose LSU over Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and other 1-A schools.

Matt Branch, TE, 6'7", 240, Sterlington high school, Sterlington, La. Branch has all the tools to be a great college tight end or could be a great offensive tackle. Branch chose LSU over Alabama, Ole Miss, LA Tech, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida and several other 1-A schools.

Rocky Duplessis, S, 6’2”, 185, Belle Chase. Duplessis chose LSU over Ole Miss, LA. Tech and received interest from several SEC schools.

Jhyryn Taylor, ATH, 6’1”, 200, 4.5, Franklinton, La. Has all the tools to be a big time Wide Receiver or Safety. Jhyryn Taylor received interest from Florida, Auburn, Colorado and others.

Brandon Taylor, ATH, 6’0”, 175, 4.5, Franklinton, La. Brandon will likely play cornerback at LSU and chose the LSU Tigers over several SEC schools.

Kellen Theriot, ATH, 6’1’1/2 228, Episocpal High school, Bellaire, Texas. Theriot received over 20 scholarship offers and selected LSU over UCLA, Alabama and Houston.

Clay Spencer, OL, 6'6", 289, Parkview Baptist. Spencer chose LSU over Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Texas and others.

P. J. Lonergan, OL, 6'4", 290, Rummel. Lonergan chose LSU over Auburn, Ole Miss, KSU, Texas A&M and others.

Sox Loose to Angels 3-1 as Yanks Close the Gap to 4 Games

BOSTON -- By nearly any measure, Red Sox spot starter Julian Tavarez deserved better: a backslap, a Big Papi bear hug, perhaps the eternal thanks of his manager. Instead, he got a loss.
Asked to spell a rotation and a bullpen stretched thin, Tavarez delivered six innings of two-hit ball, allowing two first-inning runs. But the Red Sox lost, 3-1, splitting an up-and-down weekend with the Los Angeles Angels that turned testy on the series' final day.

Tavarez also provided the fireworks on a quiet, breezy afternoon in which the Red Sox managed just six hits and one run against Angels starter Joe Saunders.

In the third inning, Tavarez threw an inside fastball that grazed the jersey of Los Angeles shortstop Orlando Cabrera. That prompted Cabrera to walk angrily to first, yelling and pointing at Tavarez. The benches cleared as Boston catcher Kevin Cash directed Cabrera, a member of the 2004 world champion Red Sox, back on a path toward first.

"If there was bad blood or anything like that, I didn't know about it," Cash said after the game. "Obviously, we're not going to try to hit a guy that's hitting in front of Vladimir Guerrero."

In his postgame press conference, Tavarez recounted a short history that went back only to the first week of August, when the teams faced in Anaheim. Other than a brief exchange then, Tavarez said, "I've never traded one word [with Cabrera].

"I've never said hello to this guy," Tavarez said. "I've never shaken hands with him. I don't know what kind of person he is. Most of the guys who play with him say he's a nice guy."

In Anaheim, Tavarez thought Cabrera was looking into the catcher's crouch to steal signs.

"Stop doing it," Tavarez said he told Cabrera, "because I will hit you if you're doing that. Let's play the game the right way."

When Tavarez hit Cabrera on Sunday, he insisted, it was unintentional, a tailing fastball thrown while trying to pitch inside.

"I'm the kind of guy," Tavarez said, "that I've been here doing whatever the Red Sox want me to do. I've been in the bullpen, [as] the long man, waiting 10, 15 days, 13 days, eight days, without pitching. I'm not going to go down there and put guys on base for Vlady Guerrero.

"I'm not going to go out there and hit guys, you know?" he continued. "Because it's not good for me. I'm a free agent guy. I'm looking to do my job out there. I'm not looking for to give up runs out there."

Tavarez said Cabrera "overreacted."

"You know, he just started saying things to me," Tavarez said. "I didn't know what he said. And I said, 'Instead of walking to first base, why don't you just come right here so we can finish this.' And he just went to first base."

Tavarez walked the next batter, Guerrero, and proceeded to retire 11 Angels in a row.

"That was my plan," Tavarez said. "My plan was to give six innings and give our team a chance to ... keep the team in the game."

Perhaps most important: "We didn't win the game," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said, "but we didn't go through our bullpen."

Los Angeles got on the board early. The first three Angels reached base in the first, with a run scoring on a Guerrero single. Another first-inning run scored on a forceout.

Then, Tavarez established his sinking fastball. He prevented home runs, he kept balls out of the gaps and let infielders like Dustin Pedroia make plays in the holes.

"After we got through that first inning, which was a little rough, [Tavarez] got comfortable with me and then I got ... comfortable with him," Cash said. "So we got the sinker going and that opened up his breaking ball and changeup. And then it became effective for him the last couple of innings when maybe he hadn't thrown that many pitches, I don't think, in a long time."

In all, Tavarez threw 87 pitches, 47 for strikes. He hadn't thrown six innings in a game since June 20 in Atlanta, when he was entrenched in the starting rotation.

The Angels added an insurance run in the top of the seventh on a wild pitch by Red Sox reliever Kyle Snyder.

New Red Sox outfielder Bobby Kielty impressed the home crowd with a first-inning, over-the-wall catch and collected two hits, but it wasn't until Mike Lowell roped an RBI single in the eighth that Boston got on the board. Francisco Rodriguez got the save for Los Angeles with a scoreless ninth.

Ultimately, the game belonged to Saunders, whom Francona called "too impressive."

"He threw the ball great," Pedroia said. "He was cutting the ball in on righties. He was doing it to lefties, too."

"Very, very effective," Francona added.

With the loss, the Red Sox's lead over the American League East shrunk back down to four games.

After the game, Pedroia and third baseman Mike Lowell downplayed the race with the Yankees.

Lowell, a member of 2003 Marlins, who won the NL Wild Card and then the World Series, said: "The division means nothing, you know? I know it's a good feather in your cap, but if you guarantee me every division winner gets to the World Series, then it'll mean something. But it doesn't mean anything."

Said Pedroia with a laugh, "We've got the best record in baseball. Let off the panic button a little bit, you know what I mean?"