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Who Is Lloyd Lake? The strengthening case against Reggie Bush is based on the testimony of an ex-felon, Lloyd Lake, who appears for all the world in the story as an opportunistic con man whose fledgling, one-man sports agency business ultimately couldn't even land that one man. So where Bush was able to pay for the silence of alleged co-conspirators Michael Michaels and LaMar Griffin, Lake is going for broke - first in crucial testimony to the NCAA in November, as a well-compensated source in Don Yaeger's damaging exposé and in a lengthy talk with USA Today, which tried to explain why this shady character might be believable:

Why is Lake -- described by his attorney as having been "affiliated" with the Emerald Hills Blood Gang, who has been arrested seven times, spent several years in jail and is characterized as a career offender in a U.S. District Court Southern District of California presentence report that he gave the book's authors and is detailed in the book -- speaking out now?

He said he was tired of being accused of extortion, as he was by Bush's lawyer, David Cornwell. "A lot of people asking me, 'Man, why are you trying to extort Reggie Bush?' " Lake says. "In looking at my past, you can believe it. So my attorney told me, 'Let's do the book.' "

Watkins says, "He had to clear his name.""
Lake says his motivation for participating in the book, for cooperating in the NCAA investigation and for speaking to USA TODAY is not to hurt Bush, Bush's family or USC. All he has ever wanted, Lake says, is to be reimbursed for the money he says in court papers that he spent on Bush, Bush's family and their New Era business venture. He said some of the money he originally gave Bush came from his mother and sister.

"People blow it out of proportion, like I'm the guy trying to take 'SC down and trying to make Reggie lose his Heisman Trophy," Lake says. "I just wanted my money back. That's all I ever wanted from Day 1."
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With the Yaeger book, he's getting it, and stands to get more in his suit against Bush, which he used as a reason to deny USAT access to the shrewd tapes he said he made of Bush and his stepfather, the same tapes for which Yaeger paid well as a foundation of his investigation. The line here between "jilted businessman" and "corrupt opportunist" is virtually nonexistant, so the paper adds a little family angle in a sidebar pushing Lake's story that he was trying to go straight and enlisted his mother and sister - a local TV anchor in San Diego - to help him get off the ground with the best connection he had:
"We both saw a way that we could keep Lloyd on the straight and narrow, because with his past record it's difficult for him to get a job," [his mother] says.
"You know your child, you know when he's got that faraway look when things aren't going right, and he was getting to be quite irritable," Gunner says. "I sensed something wasn't right. ... He was panicking, mainly about his sister's money and my money. He had lost our money. (He was thinking), 'They trusted me. Here I am again in another situation where I've let them down.' "

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That's very honorable, after the fact, but it doesn't suddenly make Lake the one person in the story worth rooting for. If his deal hadn't fallen apart, he'd probably be just what he set out to be: a corrupt agent who undermined the system for his own gain. From the outside, there are no good guys.

At Least Somebody's Happy. Pitt's message to Auburn fans re: the Tigers' new defensive coordinator, via the descriptively-named (and triumphant)

The game in question is a 497-yard, six-touchdown night by Navy in a 48-45, double overtime Midshipmen win last October. A commenter in a long thread of mostly Rhoads-hatin' at Pitt Blather has a more specific list of crimes perpetrated by Rhoads' units. Summary: "Auburn, you are in the SEC. This is the best coach you could get. Thank you for an early Christmas present." (Uh, turn the period after "get" into a question mark to complete the thought)

Across the SEC West, a new name surfaces in LSU's defensive coordinator search, per the L.A. Daily News' Scott Wolf: how about Ed Orgeron back home in dat der bayou? No Louisiana outlet has picked up on the "Orgeron option," but with Les Miles apparently locked in for the forseeable future, it's safe to say we all want this.

Yes yes yes.
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Against the Wall? Spread `em. Penn State hasn't finished in the top half of the country in passing yards or pass efficiency this decade, largely because of its problems with completion percentage and attendant inability to take advantage of its big play talent at wide receiver, and given the choice, most Lion partisans would be content to see First Son Jay Paterno move out of his role as passing game coordinator. Alas, while his name and connections could serve JayPa well, he's more interested in fixing what's broken (and he could too be a head coach!):
Jay Paterno feels that some day he could be a head coach, too, just like his famous father.

For now, though, he said his only priority is helping Penn State move to more of a spread-style offense next season and getting his dad and boss, Joe Paterno, more wins.

"Most people tell me there is no lack of confidence in me," said Jay Paterno, the Nittany Lions' quarterbacks coach who helps call passing plays. "But I'm just worried about next year."

Joe Paterno said after the Alamo Bowl late last month that his son has the ability to be a head coach, "but I don't think Penn State would be a good place for him right now." Having his son succeed him would make it seem as if "I programmed the whole thing," JoePa said.
Next season might bring a different look to the Penn State offense. Coaches have said the Nittany Lions will go back to more of the spread-style attack used in 2005, when run-pass threat Michael Robinson started at quarterback.
Jay Paterno said the team's goal is to both run and pass for 200 yards each game out what has been dubbed the "Spread HD."

"It's not a philosophical shift, but more of a personnel shift," he said. "It's a different system than people have seen the last couple years, but the whole idea is to give us the best chance to win."

He understands that he is sometimes a target of fans critical of the play-calling and the quarterback's performance. Perhaps with that in mind, he joked about what the "HD" stood for in the Nittany Lions' spread plans.
"It could stand for 'high-definition' or 'highly diverse,"' Jay Paterno said. "As long as it doesn't stand for `huge dud."'

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Robinson, the only even moderately athletic PSU quarterback of the last two decades, at least, was a Heisman finalist on a Big Ten championship team that was one second from an undefeated season despite sub-Morellian passing skills, a fact that - assuming the move is coming too late to sway Terrelle Pryor - probably gives Darryll Clark an edge on the position over more "traditional" pocket passer Pat Devlin. This will depend mainly on whether the emphasis is on spreading to run or to pass - Clark ran for 60 yards in the Alamo Bowl but didn't attempt to throw - but past history and general trends in Happy Valley and nationally suggest the running quarterback is the most likely option.

In addition, Penn State and Michigan are both adopting the spread as a base offense, and if Pryor winds up at Ohio State, the Buckeyes could move back in that direction, too. Yeah, the novelty is officially the norm.

Not So Fast My Friend! Part Deux. At least somebody's paying attention: a day after I suggested undersized, lightly regarded (by draft scouts) Oregon safety Patrick Chung was proceeding hastily by foregoing his final year of eligibility, he reconsiders the move:

Junior rover Patrick Chung, the University of Oregon's leading tackler last season, has opted against this year's NFL draft and will finish his senior year in Eugene.

Chung had filed paperwork this week with the NFL as a precautionary measure and had until Friday to withdraw.

"I love our fans, I love our coaches, and I love the atmosphere here," Chung said. "How could I leave? Once I have earned my degree, I will pursue my dream of playing in the NFL."
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So much love, so much head-knockin' from momma. Get that piece of paper, son, and try your luck next year.

Chung is the second early-entering flip-flopper in as many days: Michael Oher reversed his decision to jump from Ole Miss on Wednesday.

Data Confirms Instincts. A study of 26 I-A schools released earlier this month by the University of Colorado concludes football causes crime – or losing football does, anyway, as summarized in the abstract:

There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence that college football games can lead to aggressive and destructive behavior by fans. However, to date, no empirical study has attempted to document the magnitude of this phenomenon. We match daily data on offenses from the NIBRS to 26 Division I-A college football programs in order to estimate the relationship between college football games and crime. Our results suggest that the host community registers sharp increases in assaults, vandalism, arrests for disorderly conduct, and arrests for alcohol-related offenses on game days. Upsets are associated with the largest increases in the number of expected offenses. These estimates are discussed in the context of psychological theories of fan aggression.

Keywords: college football, crime, aggression, alcohol, drinking
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[HT: FanBlogs]

This veers suspiciously close to what Orson Swindle earlier this week dubbed "duh studies," especially for SEC fans – large crowds of disproportionately young people crammed against one another in a contentious atmosphere, drinking and making every attempt to "go crazy," etc. – but at least attempts to explain why this isn't the case:
Some portion of the relationship between home games and offenses may be mechanical in nature, due to the fact that home games often attract a temporary, but substantial, influx of people from outside the host community. However, the results with regard to upsets suggest that fans react to the outcome of games. In the next section we discuss the potential links between sporting events and crime, paying special attention to the psychological theories of spectator aggression.
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It's an interesting study, if you're okay with the term "binomial regression," and the upshot is this:

The charts for vandalism, DUI, diorderly conduct and liquor law violations are identical. It is true that these events at football games are probably like shooting fish in a barrell for vigilant, concentrated college town police compared to everyday instances that might be more likely to fall through the cracks under normal circumstances, but to suggest this doesn't reflect a reality on gamedays, you know, duh.

Unenrolled. Starting quarterback Jameel Sewell, who progressed as a game manager as a sophomore, if nothing else, is not enrolled in classes at Virginia, and therefore will probably miss Spring practice. Ditto Notre Dame defensive tackle Pat Kuntz (heh), who is sitting out for "personal reasons" but expects to be back in the fall.

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