• 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:
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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"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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• At Least Somebody's Happy. Pitt's message to Auburn fans re: the Tigers' new defensive coordinator, via the descriptively-named (and triumphant) FirePaulRhoads.com:
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!):
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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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:
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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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:
Keywords: college football, crime, aggression, alcohol, drinking
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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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As always, if you have a tip for the Hub, don't be shy: e-mail at sundaymorningqb-at-yah00, etc.