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Steve Geller

"WWL First News" Sports Anchor
Weekdays 5am-10am

"Sports Talk" Producer
Weekdays 4pm-8pm

Twitter: @stevegellerWWL
Email: steve@wwl.com


Steve: What will it take for Pelicans to make the playoffs?

They're baaaaack! The All-Star break is OVAH and the Pelicans return to action to host the Houston Rockets. It's been quite some time since there has been this much excitement over the Pels playing. The team is 11 games under .500 but it's the addition of DeMarcus Cousin that has folks anxious to see if the newly formed "Big Easy Big 3" can rally for a playoff push.

Cousins joins Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday in the quest to achieve the eighth seed in the Western Conference; which is currently 2.5 games out of reach with 25 games left to play in the regular season.

2.5 games may not seem like a lot of ground to make up, but some have estimated the team needs to win 15 of their remaining games to have a shot at a spot in the postseason. The "Voice of the Pelicans" Joel Meyers feels that total needs to be even high.

"You not only have to catch Denver, but there are a couple of other teams between you and Denver," Myers said. "You're 3 back in the loss column, you are bunched in with a few other teams that you've got to hop over and I think you have to be north of 15-10. More like 18 wins."
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Steve: 5 games in 6 days for LSU baseball

Baseball season for LSU is off and running. The Tigers went 3-0 opening weekend and don't get to ease into things as they must now must deal with 5 games in the next 6 days. The Tigers travel to 3-0 UNO tonight, then go back home to host Hofstra for another mid-week match-up on Wednesday and will then welcome Maryland into Alex Box for a 3 game weekend series.

Senior southpaw Jared Poche was named the SEC's pitcher of the week after tossing a 7 inning no-hitter this this past Saturday. Poche struck out four while walking not a single soul in a 6-0 shutout of Army. In fact the only batter to reach base was on an error. Its was the 6th no-no in school history and the first for LSU since 1979.

5 members of the Bayou Bengals battery really stood out this past weekend. 2nd baseman Cole Freeman is leading the team with a .600 batting average while fellow senior Kramer Robertson is right behind him hitting .556. Freshmen Jake Slaughter and Josh Smith didnt waste any time getting comfortable at the plate. They combined to go 7 of 15 while plating 8 RBIs. Then there is junior Greg Deichman who didn't let surgery following a busted cheekbone cause him to be hesitant at the plate. The outfielder launched 2 homeruns and had 5 RBI and is hitting .444.

We'll see if those bats stay warm when LSU takes on UNO in Maestri field this evening at 6:30pm. The Tigers have won eight straight games over the Privateers, but their head coach Blake Dean has the program on the rise in his 2nd year as skipper. Dean played for LSU and coach Paul Mainieri from 2007-2010.
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The Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert predicts Patriots in SBLI

Football season is about to be over, as the NFL finale is set for 5:30pm in Houston's NRG Stadium. Once again we have the New England Patriots representing the AFC. Coach Bill Belichik and Tom Brady have made it to this game now seven times and have held up the Lombardi trophy in four of those chances. To get number five they'll have to shoot down the Falcons from the ATL who earned the NFC crown. The Dirty Birds offense can pour on the points and looks just as deadly as the Saints offense did in 2011.

What does the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert feel about Las Vegas having New England as 3 point favorites?

"I think the point spread is about right. I have it 27-24 Patriots. Some fans say they want to see the Falcons get crushed; I don't think that's going to happen. If the Falcons were playing any other AFC team, I'd pick Atlanta."

The age old question of which is better to have will be on display Sunday. Atlanta owns the top scoring offense putting put 34 points per game while New England is the league's top defense surrendering a mere 16 points per contest.

EA Sports' "Madden" Super Bowl simulation has the final score dead on to Hebert's prognostication:



Good news for Falcons haters. Madden has correctly predicted the victor of the big game 9 out of 13 times. See Bobby and Deke talk about their predictions below:

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Steve: Saints training camp will not be at Greenbrier in 2017

Saints GM Mickey Loomis said at the Senior Bowl that the team had not finalized a location yet for training camp this coming season, and it looks like you can scratch the Greenbrier in West Virginia off the list.

The Saints trained at the resort for the past three seasons, but with Houston making plans to use the facilities, the Black & Gold must look elsewhere. While the weather and the resort in White Sulfur Springs is beautiful, the season outcome for New Orleans was not. They wound up 7-9 after each stint they spent in WV causing many fans to call for a return home to Metairie.

Details on what exactly the Saints plan on doing is still not known.

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Steve: Saints WR coach headed to Jets?

It looks like Saints head coach Sean Payton has another assistant coaching position to replace:
In total, Morton has 13 years of NFL experience, but was only an offensive coordinator in college.  He held that position with USC from 2009-2010. Morton spent the past 2 years in New Orleans and helped to mold the the likes of Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas and Willie Snead. 

The Saints still have not named any new assistants after five were let go earlier this month. 

Photo via USA Today
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Steve: Grambling WR Chad Williams making most of Senior Bowl opportunity

If you weren’t invited to the party, crashing it and taking over is always fun.  Well, Chad Williams hasn’t exactly done that, but he was a late invite to the Senior Bowl and has definitely shown he belongs by being one of the standouts here. The wide receiver is looking to become the first player drafted out of Grambling since 2006 when defensive end Jason Hatcher was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 3rd round.
 
He’s got the size, standing 6ft1, 204 pounds, to make it in the NFL.  More importantly his positive progression every year in school makes scouts take notice.  As a sophomore he caught 45 passes for 572 yards and 5 touchdowns. He jumped up to being a 1,000 yard guy his junior year after hauling in 64 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Then he wrapped up his college career last season with 90 receptions passes for 1,337 yards with 11 TDs. He has looked like the most consistent WR in Mobile, AL so far, as he’s been able to showcase his impressive timing and concentration.
 
Williams is a Baton Rouge native that played high school ball for Madison Prep.  If he can keep up his solid practice session at the Senior Bowl and have a good game on Saturday, it will certainly help boost his stock.  Williams will likely be a late round selection in April’s NFL draft.

Photo via USA Today
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LSU's Tre'Davious White meets with Saints at Senior Bowl

While cornerback might not be the Saints' biggest need in this year’s NFL draft, they did meet with LSU’s Tre’Davious White at the Senior Bowl. Most football analysts believe that he will be a first round selection, and New Orleans owns the 11th overall pick.  

His superior ball skills are what really stands out about and White showed that off in the first practice session in Mobile, Alabama by picking off Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs in team drills.  He also came close to hauling in two other passes when covering receivers in one-on-ones. This year’s crop of CBs entering the draft is considered deep, so White is using every chance he can get to make a lasting impression.

"I just want to leave no question," White said. "I'm out here to compete. Coming from LSU, that's all we do."

The biggest knock against him is that he stands 5ft11, 190 pounds and isn’t considered a physical corner.  Year one in the NFC South could be a huge trial by fire going up against the likes of Julio Jones, Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin twice a year.

Last season in Baton Rouge he tallied 35 tackles, four for loss, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and a touchdown. The Shreveport native would have been a fairly high selection had he opted to come out last year, but he decided to stay in school.

"I wanted to come back and be a better student of the game. Film work, formations and things like that," White said. "I think last year I was ready physically, but it was mental. I want to be a Day 1 starter once I get there. I feel like I can ball with the best of 'em."

In addition to being a great football player, White seems to be a very smart and mature young man.  He says all the teams that have met with him so far have asked him more deep questions, since his game film speaks for itself.

“It’s all been about background,” said White. “They want to know about my upbringing, my history, any past troubles, and anything like that. I’m a pretty clean guy and they like that about me.”

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Steve: NFL releases date for Saints' game in London

We haven't even gotten to the Super Bowl yet and mock drafts are starting to roll out. We even got some schedule news this morning as the NFL announced the Saints will play the Dolphins in London on October 1st, which will be either week 3 or week 4 of the season,  
 
Miami will lose one of its home games for this contest, leaving New Orleans with 8 to play in the Superdome.  The Black & Gold's last match-up in London came back in 2008 when the beat the Chargers.  Tickets will go on sale on January 31st. #WHODAT!
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Steve: 5 players Saints could have eyes on at Senior Bowl

In 2016, the Saints were able to get an in-depth look at Sheldon Rankins at the Reese's Senior Bowl, which helped solidify the defensive tackle as the team's 12th overall pick in the Draft. Some of college football's top prospects will be in Mobile, Alabama next week for this year's event, and here are five players I think could grab the Black & Gold's attention.

Ryan Anderson - Outside linebacker / defensive end - Alabama
This 6ft2, 255 pounder finished last season with 61 total tackles, nine sacks, three passes broken up, one interception and four forced fumbles. Be sure to add 19 big tackles for loss to that pile of stats.  Anderson is both a talented pass rusher and solid against the run which makes him an attractive all around guy, similar to Cameron Jordan.   



Desmond King - Cornerback - Iowa 
Standing 5ft10, King might not have the prototypical size of an NFL cornerback but his production on the field during his college career stood tall.  He racked up 12 interceptions, 8.5 tackle for a loss, 33 passes defended, 1 forced fumble and 3 defensive touchdowns in 4 years as a Hawkeye.  His footwork is impressive but dont think for a second this kid is all finesse. King is a physical force that doesn't mind coming up to make a tackle in run coverage.  The only knock against him may be a lack of top notch speed.  



O.J. Howard - Tight end - Alabama
The Saints invested big money in Coby Fleener, but he did not have the impact many expected his first season in New Orleans.  That could improve, but why not bring in this physical specimen? Howard is 6ft5, 245 pounds and has amazing speed along with body control for a guy his size. If committed to improving his technique and blocking ability, Howard could become a dynamic TE in the pros. 



Takkarist McKinley - Outside linebacker - UCLA
An article I read on NFL.com likened McKinley to the great Demarcus Ware. Boy, could the Saints use a guy like that! McKinley stands 6ft2, 265 pounds and is a pass rushing specialist who had 10 sacks last year to go with 18 tackles for loss and 3 forced fumbles.  His natural talents of  power, quickness, and closing ability should have onlookers salivating.



Jarrad Davis - Linebacker - Florida 
This kids ability to cover a lot a ton of ground on the field could sure be of assistance to New Orleans linebacking corps. Davis is 6ft, 238 pounds and always seems to be in pursuit of the football.  His likes to dish out hard hits when he tackles and has the abilty to rush the passer in blitz packages.  No real weakness in his game, but did miss some time this season with an ankle injury.

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Steve: LSU's final spot in AP Poll is highest since 2011

The final AP college football poll of the season is out and Clemson holds the top spot after knocking off Alabama in the National Championship.  The Crimson Tide wind up in 2nd place while 4 other SEC teams round out the top 25.  LSU is one of them coming in at  #13.  It's the Tigers' highest finish to a season since 2011. 

Not a bad accomplishment for a team that started out 2-2, fired its head coach and played the majority of the season without its top offensive player. But what can we expect from the Bayou Bengals next season? Will the Tigers be able to replace the likes of Jamal Adams, Tre’Davious White, Ethan Pocic, Kendell Beckwith, Duke Riley, Dwayne Thomas and Davon Godchaux? Also, WR Malachi Dupre could join that mix if he decides to enter the NFL draft. 

Ed Orgeron's first full go as head coach will start with the same ole question in Baton Rouge... what will LSU get out of its offense? New coordinator Matt Canada will need to develop more of a passing attack.  The question will quickly turn to quarterback and if Danny Etling will be able to hang on to the starting job or will someone else step up to unseat him.  

Meanwhile, the running back position in in good shape even though Leonard Fournette is gone.  Derrius Guice wound up the SEC's leader in yards with 1,387 yards in only 12 games. Over on defense, we can expect the Tigers to rank in the upper tier once again in.  DC Dave Aranda has a bevy of talent to mold and unleash on the purple and gold's opponents.  Will 2017 be the year of the LSU Tigers making the College Football Playoff? 

LSU football 2017 schedule
Sept 2 BYU (at NRG Stadium in Houston) 
Sep 9   Chattanooga  
Sep 16   at Mississippi St.         
Sep 23   Syracuse         
Sep 30   Troy    
Oct 7    at Florida         
Oct 14    Auburn 
Oct 21    at Ole Miss 
Nov 04   at Alabama 
Nov 11   Arkansas 
Nov 18   at Tennessee 
Nov 25   Texas A&M 
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