Disappointed USA Women’s Volleyball Team Settles for Silver

The American women were untouchable through seven matches, winning each one en route to the Gold Medal Match and an anticipated first-ever Olympic gold medal.

But it was not meant to be.

Team USA won the first set handily and perhaps got ahead of themselves before running into a Brazilian buzzsaw and dropping three straight sets to the defending Olympic champions from Beijing in 2008. Brazil reclaimed the gold medal, defeating the United States 11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17.

The second set proved the turning point of the match, as Brazil look bewildered at the American onslaught in the first set. However, the Americans’ power game deserted them, as Brazil managed to handle nearly every American spike and break through each block attempt. Without the benefit of the block from Destinee Hooker and others in the front row that the USA relied on throughout its first seven games in London, libero Nicole Davis was nearly helpless, and the USA back row foundered.

Service errors compounded the Americans’ issues on offense, as did errors up front, with a couple of net touches and seemingly open scoring chances being powered out of bounds or into the net antenna (also out of bounds). Even veteran Logan Tom, for many the face of USA Volleyball, succumbed to uncharacteristic errors.

Team USA put on a handful of small runs to try to get back in the match in the last two sets, but Brazil never surrendered the lead to USA from the first point of the second set, allowing the Americans to only tie once. At times, it seemed like the Brazilians had ten women on the court, each seven feet tall, the Americans were so defenseless against their attacks. Fabiana was magnificent on the block, earning all of her team’s blocks with seven and contributing 14 points. Jaque led her team with 18 points on 18 spikes, and Sheilla was also a force, scoring 15 points. Brazil outspiked USA, totaling 61 spike points to USA’s 46.

Hooker and Tom led Team USA with 14 points each, followed by Foluke Akinradewo’s 11, but the U.S. missed Hooker’s blocking ability as she finished the match with none. Team USA finishes with the silver medal for the third time in the Olympics, having also won a bronze medal.


2012 Summer Olympics – August 11 Schedule

As we wind on down the road…

The Games end tomorrow, and there is much left to be decided. Today is a huge medals day for Team USA in track and field and other sports, so let’s get right to it!

Team USA Women’s Basketball hasn’t lost in the Olympics since God knows when, and they look to continue ownership of the Olympic gold medal when they take on France at 3 p.m. CT, live on NBC Sports Network. Team USA also has a shot at its first-ever Women’s Volleyball gold medal if they can get by Brazil at 12:30 p.m. CT. Track and field largely finishes up today, with Team USA going for medals in five major events during the afternoon and the women’s and men’s long walks, both “run” in the morning. The only event remaining will be the men’s marathon, run Sunday.

We’ve also got Americans competing for gold in women’s cycling, men’s canoe/kayak and the Men’s Modern Pentathlon – an interesting combination of events like fencing, swimming and riding. Americans are also competing in earlier rounds in three weight classes of men’s freestyle wrestling and in the men’s 10m platform diving event that culminate in medal rounds today, I’ve listed all times below so keep tabs on them if you wish.

And in high-profile world events, Brazil faces Mexico in the men’s soccer Gold Medal Match, Thailand has possibly its last shot for gold at these Games in men’s boxing, medals are awarded in men’s field hockey and women’s handball, and the bronze medal finals of women’s basketball and volleyball feature Australia vs. Russia and Japan vs. South Korea, respectively.

Enjoy!  After tomorrow, the Games will be gone for two years until the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.


Team USA 

* – Medal Event

  • 2:45 a.m.: Modern Pentathlon, American Dennis Bowsher competes in the Men’s Fencing event
  • *3:00 a.m.: Track and Field, American John Nunn “races” for gold in the Men’s 50km Walk
  • *3:30 a.m.: Canoe/Kayak, American Tim Hornsby rows for gold in the Flatwater Men’s K-1 200m Sprint Finals
  • 4:00 a.m.: Diving, Americans Nick McCrory and David Boudia dive in the Men’s 10m Platform Semifinal
  • *6:30 a.m.: Cycling, Americans Georgia Gould and Lea Davison race for gold in the Women’s Mountain Bike Final
  • 7:18 a.m.: Wrestling vs. EGY Egypt, Round of 16 – American  Tervel Dlagnev wrestles in the Men’s Freestyle 120kg/264.5 lbs
  • 7:20 a.m.: Modern Pentathlon, American Dennis Bowsher competes in the Men’s Swimming event
  • 7:27 a.m.: Wrestling vs. KOR South Korea, Round of 16 – American Coleman Scott wrestles in the Men’s Freestyle 60kg/132 lbs
  • 8:03 a.m.: Wrestling vs. CUB Cuba, Round of 16 – American Jake Herbert wrestles in the Men’s Freestyle 84kg/185 lbs
  • 8:30 a.m. Wrestling, American  Tervel Dlagnev may wrestle in the Men’s Freestyle 120kg/264.5 lbs Quarterfinals (pending earlier results)
  • 8:39 a.m.: Wrestling, American Coleman Scott may wrestle in the Men’s Freestyle 60kg/132 lbs Quarterfinals (pending earlier results)
  • 8:03 a.m.: Wrestling, American Jake Herbert may wrestle in the Men’s Freestyle 84kg/185 lbs Quarterfinals (pending earlier results)
  • 9:06 a.m. Wrestling, American  Tervel Dlagnev may wrestle in the Men’s Freestyle 120kg/264.5 lbs Semifinals (pending earlier results)
  • 9:15 a.m.: Wrestling, American Coleman Scott may wrestle in the Men’s Freestyle 60kg/132 lbs Semifinals (pending earlier results)
  • 9:15 a.m.: Wrestling, American Jake Herbert may wrestle in the Men’s Freestyle 84kg/185 lbs Semifinals (pending earlier results)
  • 9:20 a.m.: Modern Pentathlon, American Dennis Bowsher competes in the Men’s Riding event
  • *11:00 a.m.: Track and Field, American Maria Michta “races” for gold in the Women’s 20km Walk
  • *11:45 a.m. Wrestling, American  Tervel Dlagnev may wrestle in the Men’s Freestyle 120kg/264.5 lbs Bronze Medal Match (pending earlier results)
  • *11:45 a.m.: Wrestling, American Jake Herbert may wrestle in the Men’s Freestyle 84kg/185 lbs Bronze Medal Finals (pending earlier results)
  • *11:45 a.m.: Wrestling, American Coleman Scott may wrestle in the Men’s Freestyle 60kg/132 lbs Bronze Medal Finals (pending earlier results)
  • *12:30 p.m.: Volleyball vs. Brazil Brazil, Team USA looks to win its first-ever Olympic gold medal in the Women’s Gold Medal Match
  • *12:45 p.m.: Modern Pentathlon, American Dennis Bowsher competes in the Men’s Combined Run/Shoot event (final event)
  • *12:46 a.m.: Wrestling, American Coleman Scott may wrestle in the Men’s Freestyle 60kg/132 lbs Gold Medal Finals (pending earlier results)
  • *1:00 p.m.: Track and Field, Americans Chaunte Lowe and Brigetta Barrett leap for gold in the Women’s High Jump Final
  • *1:21 p.m.: Wrestling, American Jake Herbert may wrestle in the Men’s Freestyle 84kg/185 lbs Gold Medal Finals (pending earlier results)
  • *1:30 p.m.: Track and Field, Americans Bernard LagatLopez Lomong and Galen Rupp race for gold in the Men’s 5000m Final
  • *1:56 p.m. Wrestling, American  Tervel Dlagnev may wrestle in the Men’s Freestyle 120kg/264.5 lbs Gold Medal Match (pending earlier results)
  • *2:00 p.m.: Track and Field, American Alysia Johnson Montano runs for gold in the Women’s 800m Final
  • *2:25 p.m.: Track and Field, Team USA runs for gold in the Women’s 4 x 400m Relay Final
  • *2:30 p.m.: Diving, Americans Nick McCrory and David Boudia may dive in the Men’s 10m Platform Final (pending earlier results)
  • *3:00 p.m.: Women’s Basketball vs. France France, Team USA looks to continue its unchallenged dominance in Olympic play in the Women’s Gold Medal Game
  • *3:00 p.m.: Track and Field, Team USA runs for gold in the Men’s 4 x 100m Relay Final


World Notables

  • *5:30 a.m.: Volleyball, Japan Japan vs. South Korea South Korea, Women’s Bronze Medal Match
  • *9:00 a.m.: Soccer, Brazil Brazil vs. Mexico Mexico, Men’s Gold Medal Match
  • *9:30 a.m.: Field Hockey, Australia Australia vs. Great Britain Great Britain, Men’s Bronze Medal Match
  • *11:00 a.m.: Basketball, Australia Australia vs. Russia Russia, Women’s Bronze Medal Game
  • *11:00 a.m.: Handball, South Korea South Korea vs. Spain Spain, Women’s Bronze Medal Match
  • *2:00 p.m.: Field Hockey, Germany Germany vs. Netherlands Netherlands, Men’s Gold Medal Match
  • *2:30 p.m.: Boxing, THA Thailand’s Kaeo Pongprayoon boxes CHN China in an attempt for his country’s first gold medal in London in the Men’s Light Flyweight Gold Medal Final
  • *2:30 p.m.: Handball, Norway Norway vs. Montenegro Montenegro, Women’s Gold Medal Match


Medal Events

* – Team USA participation pending

  • 3:00 a.m.: Track and Field, Men’s 50km Walk
  • 3:30 a.m.: Canoe/Kayak, Men’s Flatwater K-1 200m Sprint Finals
  • 3:47 a.m.: Canoe/Kayak, Men’s Flatwater C-1 200m Sprint Finals
  • 4:14 a.m.: Canoe/Kayak, Women’s Flatwater K-1 200m Sprint Finals
  • 4:41 a.m.: Canoe/Kayak, Men’s Flatwater K-2 200m Sprint Finals
  • 5:30 a.m.: Volleyball, Women’s Bronze Medal Match
  • 6:00 a.m.: Sailing, Women’s Elliott 6m Bronze Medal Match
  • 6:30 a.m.: Cycling, Women’s Mountain Bike Final
  • 7:05 a.m.: Sailing, Women’s Elliott 6m Gold Medal Match
  • 7:30 a.m.: Rhythmic Gymnastics, Final (rotations begin at 7:30 a.m., 8:03 a.m., 8:37 a.m., and 9:10 a.m.)
  • 9:30 a.m.: Field Hockey, Men’s Bronze Medal Match
  • 9:00 a.m.: Soccer, Men’s Gold Medal Match
  • 11:00 a.m.: Handball, Women’s Bronze Medal Match
  • 11:00 a.m.: Basketball, Women’s Bronze Medal Match
  • 11:00 a.m.: Track and Field, Women’s 20km Walk
  • *11:45 a.m. Wrestling, Men’s Freestyle 120kg/264.5 lbs Bronze Medal Match
  • *11:45 a.m.: Wrestling, Men’s Freestyle 60kg/132 lbs Bronze Medal Finals
  • *11:45 a.m.: Wrestling, Men’s Freestyle 84kg/185 lbs Bronze Medal Finals
  • 12:30 p.m.: Volleyball, Women’s Gold Medal Match
  • 12:45 p.m.: Modern Penthathlon, Men’s Final Event (Combined Run/Shoot)
  • *12:46 p.m.: Wrestling, Men’s Freestyle 60kg/132 lbs Gold Medal Finals
  • 1:00 p.m.: Track and Field, Women’s High Jump Final
  • 1:20 p.m.: Track and Field, Men’s Javelin Throw Final
  • *1:21 p.m.: Wrestling, Men’s Freestyle 84kg/185 lbs Bronze Medal Finals
  • 1:30 p.m.: Track and Field, Men’s 5000m Final
  • *1:56 a.m. Wrestling, Men’s Freestyle 120kg/264.5 lbs Gold Medal Finals
  • 2:00 p.m.: Field Hockey, Men’s Gold Medal Match
  • 2:00 p.m.: Taekwondo, Women’s Heavyweight Bronze Medal Finals
  • 2:00 p.m.: Track and Field, Women’s 800m Final
  • 2:15 p.m.: Taekwondo, Men’s Heavyweight Bronze Medal Finals
  • 2:25 p.m.: Track and Field, Women’s 4 x 400m Relay Final
  • 2:30 p.m.: Handball, Women’s Gold Medal Match
  • 2:30 p.m.: Boxing, Men’s Light Flyweight Final
  • *2:30 p.m.: Diving, Men’s 10m Platform Final
  • 2:45 p.m.: Boxing, Men’s Bantamweight Final
  • 3:00 p.m.: Track and Field, Men’s 4 x 100m Relay Final
  • 3:00 p.m.: Basketball, Women’s Gold Medal Game
  • 3:15 p.m.: Boxing, Men’s Light Welterweight Final
  • 3:45 p.m.: Boxing, Men’s Middleweight Final
  • 4:15 p.m.: Taekwondo, Women’s Heavyweight Gold Medal Final
  • 4:30 p.m.: Taekwondo, Men’s Heavyweight Gold Medal Final
  • 4:15 p.m.: Boxing, Men’s Heavyweight Final

Horsing Around: Equestrian Events Explained with 2012 Results


McLain Ward on Antares - London 2012 Olympic Games
Famed American rider McLain Ward, recovering from a broken kneecap injury from January, rides Antares in the Equestrian Jumping event August 7 in London. (Source: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe)

Editor’s Note:  I know next to nothing about equestrian events other than they feature horses. That’s why I outsourced my equestrian coverage to Brittany Fisher, a former schoolmate of mine from Ocean Springs who is an avid, long-time horselover and equestrian competitor. She is currently studying for her DVM at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss. Consider this a definitive explanation of all things equestrian at the Olympics.

Editor’s Second Note:  I am assuming that, when Brittany says “non-horse people,” she is referring to people who don’t consider themselves horse aficionados and is not referring to regular people as opposed to centaurs. 😉

Equestrian disciplines are the only Olympic events that allow men and women to compete equally in the same divisions. There are three equestrian disciplines that compete in the Olympics: eventing, dressage, and show jumping. While to most non-horse people these just look like people sitting atop horses as they jump over obstacles or dance in an arena doing movements that look funny, these equestrian events have their roots in military cavalry.


What is now known as “3-day eventing” was a trial for horses to see which ones were brave enough and had the stamina to stand up in battle going “across country” terrain –  jumping ditches, banks, fallen trees, or anything that stood in their path for days on end and being “fearless” to anything they may come across. Until 1952, only active military officers were allowed to compete in the event. The eventing sport has gone through several phases over the last half century, gradually excluding parts of the competition such as the steeplechase and roads and track phases. Today, what you will see in the Olympics is considered the “short” format and is known as a triathlon for horses and the ultimate equestrian sport.

Day 1 – Dressage

On day one of the competition, riders will compete in dressage. This is considered “ballet on horseback,” as riders must memorize a test in which they must execute certain maneuvers at very specific points in a 20- x 60-meter arena. They are judged on each movement by a panel of judges scoring them from zero to 10, with zero being not performed, and 10 being perfect.

These points are collected into an equation and the final score is a collection of penalty points, so the goal in the whole competition is to get the lowest score possible, or the lowest amount of penalty points. The point of dressage in eventing is to show the horse’s obedience and overall classical training.

Day 2 – Cross Country

Day 2 is cross country day, the most exciting and exhilarating of all the phases, even for those that aren’t horsey people. It tests both the horses’ and riders’ stamina and bravery, as riders must navigate a course of immoveable jumps over varying terrain, much like the cavalry horses used to encounter. These horses must jump over ditches, up and down banks, and into and out of water. These jumps at maximum are 4 feet high and 11 feet wide, and the down banks or drops are 6.5 feet that the horse must jump down.

Talk about ultimate bravery! These riders approach these jumps with the horses going up to 30 mph sometimes, and the horse has to clear the jump…that’s a long way in the air for the rider, who must really have ultimate trust in his or her horse. The course will be several miles long and have up to 30-40 jumps on course, and if that isn’t enough, this must be done within a certain time limit. Riders collect penalty points for any refusals towards jumps (20 points per jump) and any time over the optimum time limit given. Any fall by the horse or rider, and the pair is eliminated from the competition.

Day 3 – Stadium Jumping

The third day is stadium jumping. This phase is to show the horses’ willingness to go on after a grueling test of cross country the day before. There is an obstacle course set up of pretty fences with poles that, if touched even in the slightest way by the horse, will fall down. Riders collect penalty points for every rail down (4 points) and any refusals (4 points). There is also a time component here too, as any seconds over the optimum time given will collect as penalty points. The team or individual with the smallest score at the end of competition wins.

2012 London Olympics – Eventing Results

This year, Germany won gold in team eventing, as they tend to dominate the sports of eventing and dressage. Host nation Great Britain came home with silver, and New Zealand won bronze. Team USA finished seventh overall, with the highest individual ranking U.S. team member being Karen O’Connor riding Mr. Medicott in ninth place. Germany’s Michael Jung took individual eventing gold, with Sweden’s Sara Algotsson Ostholt taking silver and Germany’s Sandra Auffarth the bronze.


Dressage is a separate competition also with roots in military. All military horses were trained in dressage, and the most advanced movements -“airs above ground” – were movements performed by the horse in battle the fend off enemies. In the olympics, the airs above ground are not performed. Instead, horses compete at the highest level of ground work:  Grand Prix. Horses that compete in only dressage are considered specialists and will perform more complex maneuvers than those seen also in the dressage phase of eventing. These maneuvers include: piaffe, passage, piroeette, half pass, and tempi changes.

  • The piaffe is a movement where the horse trots in place.
  • Passage is a forward moving trot, but slower and with more suspension in the air phase of the movement. It used to be considered the king’s march.
  • A pirouette is a turn the horse does at a canter (a controlled, three-beat gait, a natural gait for horses), turning a circle with the hind legs staying in the same place.
  • The half pass can be performed at a trot or canter, and the horse travels both forward and sideways across the arena at the same time.
  • Tempi changes are done at a canter. Torse changes leads, or what leg is leading, every other stride or every stride. It looks like a the horse is skipping.

These movements, along with extension and collection of the walk, trot, and canter, are all combined into a test that the rider must memorize and execute at specific areas of the arena. It is judged the same way as dressage in eventing, with judges scoring each movement performed from zero to 10. The difference in scoring, however, is that the points collected are not penalty points. When plugged into a specific equation, they are execution points, or rather can be compared to grading a test in school and how well the test was performed. The rider with the highest score wins.

As far as the Olympics go, each horse and rider compete in the Grand Prix – the specific test given to them they must memorize and perform to perfection. In the Grand Prix Special, the Grand Prix movements are rearranged. There is also a free style portion, or Grand Prix Freestyle. In the freestyle, the riders can create their own test as long as the special movements are performed somewhere in the routine. They choreograph these maneuvers to music the horse performs to. This is where dressage gets the nickname “horse ballet,” as it does look like the horse is just dancing to music while the rider sits atop the horse looking like a passenger.

However, do not be fooled, the riders are working as hard as the horses are. It takes years or decades to achieve the level of riding where it looks like you’re “doing nothing” up there. The same with the horses too. most horses competing in dressage are in their mid to late teens, as it takes years of training and strength building to reach the ultimate level of Grand Prix. So try to watch it and see if you can pick out some of these maneuvers. Maybe after a little understanding of the sport it’s not like watching paint dry, as I’ve been told.

2012 London Olympics – Dressage Results

This year, dressage has gained a little more publicity than usual, as Ann Romney’s mare, Rafalca, ridden by Jan Ebeling, competed. The pair was the first ride for USA and had a magnificent test in the Grand Prix, earning a 70.243 before being eliminated in the Grand Prix Special. Tina Konyot also qualified for the Special but was eliminated, riding Calecto V. Adrienne Lyle, riding Wizard, failed to advance past the Grand Prix.

Great Britain won two individual dressage medals, with Charlotte Dujardin winning gold and Laura Bechtolsheimer winning bronze. Dutch rider Adelinde Cornelissen won silver. The highest-ranked individual American at the finish was Steffen Peters aboard the famous Ravel, finishing in 17th place with a 77.286 in the Freestyle. Steffen and Ravel have gained numerous titles together, including individual fourth place at the Beijing Olympics.

In team Dressage, Team USA sat in fifth place after the Grand Prix and finished sixth overall. Great Britain won gold, Germany won silver and the Netherlands won bronze.

Show Jumping

Show jumping is the last of the equestrian disciplines performed at the Olympics. It’s a lot like the stadium jumping in eventing, except the jumps are higher and more technical, as these horses are jump specialists. The jumps are a colorful arrangement of gates, walls and poles decorated to the extreme to distract the horse or rider. Maximum jump size in the olympics is 5’3″ in height and 6’6″ in width…..that’s a big jump! These jumps are set as an obstacle course that involves quick turns, lead changes and precise navigation by the rider.

Types of Jumps:

  • Vertical – a jump with a gate or poles in a straight vertical line the horse jumps over
  • Oxer- a jump that is spread in width so that the horse must not only jump up, but the emphasis is getting over the spread of the jump
  • Combination fences known as a double and triple combinations- a set of two or three jumps set as a combination together and can be any arrangement of verticals or oxers, with 1-2 strides in between them
  • Water jump – a giant spread of water up to 13 feet the horse must jump over. If a foot lands in the water, it’s considered the same as knocking a rail down.

Scoring is based on whether or not the rails stay up. Any rail down or any refusal is a 4-point penalty. After three refusals, the horse and rider pair are eliminated. Again, like with eventing, the riders and horses are racing against the clock, and any seconds over the optimum time given are collections of penalties.

There are several rounds in show jumping. The first is the qualifying round, where everyone jumps. After, the best 60 rides go on to Round 2. Here, the best 45 rides using combined scores of round 1 and 2 can proceed to the Round 3. Here, the best 35 rides, using combined scores from all three rounds, can go on to Round 4. Again, same rules apply until the fifth and Final Round, where the best 20 horse and rider pairs compete for the win. If there is a tie, there is a jump off. This is where riders and horses jump only selected fences from the course and still race against the clock.

The difficulty in show jumping is being able to navigate the course and ride your horse to each jump in perfect stride and timing to not knock down any rails, and yet still be quick enough to make the clock. It’s a lot harder than it looks! The horses must be bold, athletic, quick and have a lot of scope.

2012 London Olympics – Jumping Results

Show jumping is usually a strong point for Team USA; however, a few rails down kept us a little lower in the competition. This year, Reed Kessler and her mare, Cylana, joined the USA’s show jumping team as the youngest member of an Olympic equestrian team at the age of 17. Special interest came with American show-jumping superstar, McLain Ward, who shattered his kneecap hitting a jump this past January.

Swiss rider Steve Guerdat won the individual jumping gold medal. Gerco Schroder of the Netherlands won silver, and Ireland’s Cian O’Connor won bronze. Ward, riding Antares, was eliminated after Final Round A, finishing in 29th place. American Rich Fellers, riding Flexible, finished eighth. Kessler finished 37th, and fellow American Beezie Madden finished tied for 72nd on Via Volo.

Great Britain again flexed its equestrian might, winning the Team Jumping gold medal. The Netherlands won silver, and Saudia Arabia won bronze. Team USA tied for sixth place with Sweden.

2012 London Olympics – Total Medals

Great Britain nearly ran the table in medals, winning three golds, a silver and a bronze in five of the six total equestrian events. Germany and the Netherlands each won four medals, with Germany taking two golds. Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand each won a single equestrian medal. The United States was shut out of the medals, but here’s looking ahead to Rio de Janeiro in 2016!


Reaction from LSU’s Release of CB Tyrann Mathieu

Immediate reactions from the news of Tyrann Mathieu being dismissed from the team, in order of occurrence.

1) Unsurprising Disappointment

Really, anyone could have seen this coming. Mathieu has been in trouble before and has seemingly, publicly, adopted the “Honey Badger Don’t Care” mentality the world has attributed to him. You come to expect behavior trends sometime, so instead of total shock and awe at hearing about the press conference today, it was not a bombshell of news. Still, you’re disappointed and upset. I know Charles Barkley said he wasn’t meant to be a role model, but we’re not just talking about impressionable kids here. True, devoted fans of a team or school come to revere the culture, reputation and spirit that comes with that fandom, and it’s disappointing when they don’t. And in the end, it was this clashing with rules and culture that sent Mathieu packing.

2) Fighting Tigers Will Fight All the Way

LSU is going to be FINE. Tyrann Mathieu benefited a great deal from having Morris Claiborne in the secondary with him and even showed some weaknesses at times last season, notably in the “championship” game (yeah, still bitter). Sure, Mathieu is a fantastically talented player, and we’re better with him than without him, but in reality there would probably have been a bit of a dropoff from last year’s cornerback performance. A bit, even if miniscule.  Mathieu made his name on big, capitalistic plays because the ball came at him often, though to his great credit he made some insanely awesome plays on his own, creating turnovers and killing it on returns.

It’s time for Craig Loston to come into his own at strong safety, and the human highlight reel Eric Reid is still back there, ready to do some damage. The LSU defensive front threatens to be elite and will put additional pressure on opposing quarterbacks, so that helps, but throwing teams like Arkansas may in fact pose problems down the stretch. Tharold Simon is thrust into the limelight as LSU’s most experienced corner, with two freshmen Jalens taking on added roles at DB as well, though redshirt freshman Jalen Collins is larger and has been with the team longer than Jalen Mills. O’Dell Beckham is a breakout player waiting to happen, and we’ll probably see him more on returns.

But regardless of losing a star player, the team largely remains intact, with new hope at the quarterback position, a pummeling running attack and strong playmakers on defense, and should be right up there with the best of them. But really, what matters most is…

3) The Player is a Person

It actually saddens me that this was not the very first reaction I had, as I’m sure was the case for most people who are following this story. We all think about the outlook of our fall and the success of our team, what bowl game we’ll be playing in, but we don’t think about the personal lives of these players.

If the rumors are true that this was a third failed drug test, then that’s sad. I’m not saying he made great decisions, or that he shouldn’t be criticized for not honoring the responsibilities asked of him, but the bulk of us have no inkling of an idea what’s going on with his personal life. It’s really none of my business whether or not Mathieu has a drug problem, but I have first-hand experience witnessing people grapple with addictions, and it is a lifelong, daily and taxing struggle. Mathieu has exhibited signs of not being willing to, or being unable to, comply with rules required of him. You have to hope and pray for him and his family to overcome these struggles, because we all endure struggles in our own times, and you always have to hope to be able to overcome them.

But we have to remember this is a person’s life, a life that impacts many people on greater levels than it impacts our enjoyment of a game or ability to brag about our school.

4) Miles Flexes Disciplinary Muscle

I think Coach Miles has been struggling with being known as a player’s coach, conforming with the community and establishing a solid disciplinary culture within the team. Granted, LSU is not the bad boys of the old “U” Miami days, not by a long shot, but last offseason’s Shady’s incident was very troubling. As much as we revere our favorite players and star athletes, we also envy them, and it’s naive to think people don’t have a target on them when they see them in public. Being at a crappy bar late at night – at a time when fights are known to occur in Tigerland – was not a smart decision on the part of the players last year, so they put themselves in a certain situation. Whether that’s just naturally poor decision-making or it’s lackadaisical life coaching by the coaching staff, I’m unsure.

I truly don’t think Les Miles is failing his players or the community, but I think he did struggle with the desire to win last season by having Jordan Jefferson in the fold and the need for discipline after the incident, but consider that there were also legal ramifications going on that made the nature of the incident more vague. But the ongoing situation was indeed a distraction and a lot of people still have issue with the light punishments. Then there were other drug violations. It seemed at times the team was reeling its way through a classic season.

But at some point Miles had to get control of the team, so whatever rule Mathieu broke, enough was enough. Miles laid down the law, but did so in a calm, fatherly manner. He didn’t want to see Mathieu go but knew that the integrity of the program and the school was more important than one player. To propose cutting a former Heisman finalist is downright ballsy, and I applaud Coach for doing it shamelessly.

2012 Summer Olympics – August 10 Schedule

The fun is winding down as we head into the last weekend of Olympics action. *tear*

Real tears by the way.

Team USA is comfortably in the lead for medals but still has a shot to break 100, and there’s plenty of action left in these Games for the Americans, and for the rest of the world. Here’s what’s on tap for today.

LeBron, Kobe, CP3 and Team USA Men’s Basketball take on Manu Ginobili and Argentina at 3 p.m. for a shot at the gold medal against either Russia or Spain, who also play today. In track and field, USA goes for gold in men’s pole vault, women’s 1500m and 5000m, the women’s 4 x 100m relay and the men’s 4 x 400m relay. We also have a shot to go for gold in BMX Cycling and Taekwondo events today if they qualify and will be competing for medals in sailing and the men’s open water swimming event. (YEP, SWIMMING IS STILL HERE!)

Team USA will also have qualifying events in diving, rhythmic gymnastics and canoe/kayak (flatwater), final matches in women’s field hockey and men’s water polo for bragging rights.

In world events, the men’s soccer bronze will be decided, as will medals in women’s field hockey. Semifinals in men’s boxing, water polo, volleyball and handball are all today (none featuring Team USA). Wrestling will also award men’s freestyle medals today.



Team USA 

* – Medal Event

  • 2:30 a.m.: Field Hockey, Team USA takes on Belgium Belgium for final bracket placement in the Women’s Field Hockey Tournament
  • 3:00 a.m.: Taekwondo, American Paige McPherson competes in the Women’s Welterweight Preliminary Round
  • 3:15 a.m.: Taekwondo, American Steven Lopez competes in the Men’s Welterweight Preliminary Round
  • 3:30 a.m.: Canoe/Kayak, Tim Hornsby competes in the Men’s Flatwater K-1 200m Sprint Qualifying Heats
  • 4:19 a.m.: Canoe/Kayak, Carrie Johnson competes in the Women’s Flatwater K-1 200m Sprint Qualifying Heats
  • 5:16 a.m.: Canoe/Kayak, Tim Hornsby may compete in the Men’s Flatwater K-1 200m Sprint Semifinals (Pending earlier results)
  • 5:51 a.m.: Canoe/Kayak, Carrie Johnson may compete in the Women’s Flatwater K-1 200m Sprint Semifinals (Pending earlier results)
  • *6:00 a.m.: Swimming, American Alex Meyer swims for gold in the Men’s Open Water
  • 6:00 a.m.: Rhythmic Gymnastics, American Julie Zetlin competes in the Individual All-Around Qualification
  • *7:00 a.m.: Sailing, Americans Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan race for gold in the Women’s 470 Medal Race
  • #8:00 a.m.: Sailing, Team USA’s match-up against Netherlands in Women’s Elliott Classification Racing was cancelled.
  • 8:20 a.m.: Water Polo vs. Spain Spain, Team USA plays its final men’s water polo match for classification
  • 9:00 a.m.: Cycling, Americans Brooke Crain and Alise Post ride in the Women’s BMX Semifinals
  • 9:00 a.m.: Taekwondo, American Paige McPherson may compete in the Women’s Welterweight Quarterfinals (Pending earlier results)
  • 9:08 a.m.: Cycling, Americans Connor Fields and David Herman ride in the Men’s BMX Semifinals
  • 9:15 a.m.: Taekwondo, American Steven Lopez may compete in the Men’s Welterweight Quarterfinals (Pending earlier results)
  • *10:30 a.m.: Cycling, Americans Brooke Crain and Alise Post may ride for gold in the Women’s BMX Finals (Pending earlier results)
  • *10:40 a.m.: Cycling, Americans Connor Fields and David Herman may ride for gold in the Men’s BMX Finals (Pending earlier results)
  • 11:00 a.m.: Taekwondo, American Paige McPherson may compete in the Women’s Welterweight Semifinals (Pending earlier results)
  • 11:15 a.m.: Taekwondo, American Steven Lopez may compete in the Men’s Welterweight Semifinals (Pending earlier results)
  • 1:00 p.m.: Diving, Americans Nick McCrory and David Boudia dive in the Men’s 10m Platform Prelims
  • *1:00 p.m.: Track and Field, American Brad Walker leaps for gold in the Men’s Pole Vault Final
  • 1:10 p.m.: Track and Field, Team USA runs in the Women’s 4 x 400m Relay Round 1
  • 1:45 p.m.: Track and Field, Team USA runs in the Men’s 4 x 100m Relay Round 1
  • *2:00 p.m.: Taekwondo, American Paige McPherson may compete in the Women’s Welterweight Bronze Medal Finals (Pending earlier results)
  • *2:05 p.m.: Track and Field, Americans Molly Huddle and Julie Culley run in the Women’s 5000m Final
  • *2:15 p.m.: Taekwondo, American Steven Lopez may compete in the Men’s Welterweight Bronze Medal Finals (Pending earlier results)
  • *2:40 p.m.: Track and Field, Team USA runs for gold in the Women’s 4 x 100m Relay Final
  • *2:55 p.m.: Track and Field, Americans Shannon Rowbury and Morgan Uceny run for gold in the Women’s 1500m Final
  • 3:00 p.m.: Basketball vs. Argentina Argentina, Men’s Semifinal
  • *3:20 p.m.: Track and Field, Team USA runs for gold in the Men’s 4 x 400m Relay Final
  • *4:15 p.m.: Taekwondo, American Paige McPherson may compete in the Women’s Welterweight Gold Medal Finals (Pending earlier results)
  • *4:30 p.m.: Taekwondo, American Steven Lopez may compete in the Men’s Welterweight Gold Medal Finals (Pending earlier results)


World Notables

  • Note:  Men’s Boxing Semifinals will commence in all weight classes beginning at 7:30 a.m. and continuing throughout the day, with the super heavyweight matches closing the day beginning at 4:30 p.m.
  • 9:00 a.m.: Volleyball, Bulgaria Bulgaria vs. Russia Russia, Men’s Semifinal
  • 9:30 a.m.: Field Hockey, New Zealand New Zealand vs. Great Britain Great Britain, Women’s Bronze Medal Match
  • 9:40 a.m.: Water Polo, Croatia Croatia vs. Montenegro Montenegro, Men’s Semifinal
  • 11:00 a.m.: Basketball, Spain Spain vs. Russia Russia, Men’s Semifinal
  • 11:00 a.m.: Handball, Hungary Hungary vs. Sweden Sweden, Men’s Semifinal
  • 1:30 p.m.: Volleyball, Brazil Brazil vs. Italy Italy, Men’s Semifinal
  • 1:45 p.m.: Soccer, South Korea Korea vs. Japan Japan, Men’s Bronze Medal Match
  • 1:50 p.m.: Water Polo, Italy Italy vs. Serbia Serbia, Men’s Semifinal
  • 2:00 p.m.: Field Hockey, Netherlands Netherlands vs. Argentina Argentina, Women’s Gold Medal Match
  • 2:30 p.m.: Handball, France France vs. Croatia Croatia, Men’s Semifinal

Medal Events

* – Team USA participation pending

  • 6:00 a.m.: Swimming, Men’s Open Water
  • 6:00 a.m.: Sailing, Men’s 470 Medal Race
  • 7:00 a.m.: Sailing, Women’s 470 Medal Race
  • 7:30 a.m.: Boxing, Men’s Light Flyweight Semifinal
  • 8:00 a.m.: Boxing, Men’s Bantamweight Semifinal
  • 8:30 a.m.: Boxing, Men’s Light Welterweight Semifinal
  • 9:00 a.m.: Boxing, Men’s Middleweight Semifinal
  • 9:00 a.m.: Synchronized Swimming, Team Free Routine Final
  • 9:30 a.m.: Boxing, Men’s Heavyweight Semifinal
  • 9:30 a.m.: Field Hockey, Women’s Bronze Medal Match
  • *10:30 a.m.: Cycling, Women’s BMX Finals
  • *10:40 a.m.: Cycling, Men’s BMX Finals
  • 11:45 a.m.: Wrestling, Men’s Freestyle 55kg/121 lbs Bronze Medal Match
  • 11:54 a.m.: Wrestling, Men’s Freestyle 74kg/163 lbs Bronze Medal Match
  • 1:00 p.m.: Track and Field, Men’s Pole Vault Final
  • 1:03 p.m.: Wrestling, Men’s Freestyle 55kg/121 lbs Gold Medal Match
  • 1:35 p.m.: Track and Field, Women’s Hammer Throw Final
  • 1:45 p.m.: Soccer, Men’s Bronze Medal Match
  • 1:50 p.m.: Wrestling, Men’s Freestyle 74kg/163 lbs Gold Medal Match
  • 2:00 p.m.: Field Hockey, Women’s Gold Medal Match
  • *2:00 p.m.: Taekwondo, Women’s Welterweight Bronze Medal Finals
  • 2:05 p.m.: Track and Field, Women’s 5000m Final
  • *2:15 p.m.: Taekwondo, Men’s Welterweight Bronze Medal Finals
  • 2:30 p.m.: Boxing, Men’s Flyweight Semifinal
  • 2:40 p.m.: Track and Field, Women’s 4 x 100m Relay Final
  • 2:55 p.m.: Track and Field, Women’s 1500m Final
  • 3:00 p.m.: Boxing, Men’s Lightweight Semifinal
  • 3:20 p.m.: Track and Field, Men’s 4 x 400m Relay Final
  • 3:30 p.m.: Boxing, Men’s Welterweight Semifinal
  • 4:00 p.m.: Boxing, Men’s Light Heavyweight Semifinal
  • *4:15 p.m.: Taekwondo, Women’s Welterweight Gold Medal Finals
  • *4:30 p.m.: Taekwondo, Men’s Welterweight Gold Medal Finals
  • 4:30 p.m.: Boxing, Men’s Super Heavyweight Semifinal

2012 Summer Olympics – August 9 Schedule

Hey Y’all! Mornin’!

I’m on the road back to DC today so I’m unable to post a full schedule, but here’s what you need to know today.

Team USA women’s soccer goes for gold today against Japan at 1:45 pm CT – and retribution for the heartbreaking loss in last year’s World Cup Final in penalty kicks. Stream it live or watch on NBC Sports Network or NBC.

Also, Team USA is in the gold medal match in women’s water polo against Spain at 2 pm CT. The women’s basketball team plays for a shot at the gold medal in the semifinal at 11 am CT against Australia.

Women’s volleyball is also in the semis against South Korea at 9 am CT, and middleweight boxer Claressa Shields goes for gold at 11:15 am CT against Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova in the inaugural Olympics for women’s boxing.

We’ll be back later tonight with content, including a guest post on equestrian and recaps of women’s soccer and track and field. Stay tuned!

2012 Summer Olympics: Schedule for August 8

The Games are winding down, and I know all of you are as sad as I am. But why cry when there’s plenty of fun left!

Some events have already completed, but here are the times for the rest of today’s events. All Times Central.

Team USA right now on the court against Italy in an elimination quarterfinals match in men’s volleyball and plays an elimination quarters match against Croatia later in men’s water polo. The premier event today is the all-USA women’s volleyball gold medal match, pitting Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh against April Ross and Jen Kessy for the gold medal (the loser takes a silver). Team USA men’s basketball also battles with Australia in an elimination quarterfinal match, and track and field competition is highlighted by the women’s  long jump finals, as well as the 400m hurdles and 200m finals, where Team USA threatens to sweep both.

Team USA 

* – Medal Event

World Notables

  • NOW: Basketball, France France vs. Spain Spain, Men’s Quarterfinals
  • 1:00 p.m.: Beach Volleyball, BRA L. FRANCA / J. FELISBERTA  vs. CHN XUE C. / ZHANG X, Women’s Bronze Medal Match
  • 1:30 p.m.: Volleyball, Poland Poland vs. Russia Russia, Men’s Quarterfinals
  • 2:00 p.m.: Basketball, Brazil Brazil vs. Argentina Argentina, Men’s Quarterfinals
  • 2:00 p.m.: Field Hockey, Argentina Argentina vs. Great Britain Great Britain, Women’s Semifinal
  • 3:30 p.m.: Volleyball, Bulgaria Bulgaria vs. Germany Germany, Men’s Quarterfinals

Medal Events

* – Team USA participation pending

  • 11:45 a.m.: Wrestling, Women’s Freestyle 48kg Bronze Medal Finals
  • 11:45 a.m.: Wrestling, Women’s Freestyle 63kg Bronze Medal Finals
  • 1:00 p.m.: Beach Volleyball, Women’s Bronze Medal Match
  • 1:03 p.m: Wrestling, Women’s Freestyle 48kg Gold Medal Finals
  • 1:03 p.m.: Wrestling, Women’s Freestyle 63kg Gold Medal Finals
  • 2:00 p.m.: Taekwondo, Women’s Flyweight Bronze Medal Finals
  • 2:05 p.m.: Track and Field, Women’s Long Jump Final
  • 2:15 p.m.: Taekwondo, Men’s Flyweight Bronze Medal Finals
  • 2:45 p.m.: Track and Field, Women’s 400m Hurdles Final
  • 3:00 p.m.: Track and Field, Women’s 200m Final
  • 3:00 p.m.: Beach Volleyball, Women’s Gold Medal Match
  • 3:15 p.m.: Track and Field, Men’s 110m Hurdles Final
  • 4:15 p.m.: Taekwondo, Women’s Flyweight Gold Medal Finals
  • 4:30 p.m.: Taekwondo, Men’s Flyweight Gold Medal Finals