?YA GOTTA LOVE THIS GUY
North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato is a persuasive recruiter, and last Friday he successfully pitched his program to a bowl committee. The Wolf-pack finished 7-4 (4-4 in the ACC) but lost to Clemson, which finished 6-5 (4-4). When N.C. State athletic department execs heard last week that their counterparts at Clemson were making their case to the Tangerine Bowl in an attempt to secure the conference's slot in that Dec. 20 game, they pulled Amato off the high school recruiting trail in Florida and sent him to Orlando. Amato and two other N.C. State reps arrived unannounced last Friday at the offices of the Florida Citrus Sports Association, which runs the Tangerine Bowl. They handed out Wolfpack T-shirts and caps and made sure the game's organizers knew how much the Wolfpack wanted a Tangerine Bowl berth. It also helped that N.C. State had won four of its last five games, with the loss coming in the waning seconds to No. 7 Maryland. Because of all that, the Wolfpack got the bid to play Pittsburgh in Orlando, and Clemson was left hoping for a spot in the Humanitarian Bowl, against Louisiana Tech, in Boise on New Year's Eve.
An NFL scout assesses Oklahoma junior strong safety Roy Williams (6'1", 221 pounds), who finished the season with five interceptions and 99 tackles, II for a loss.
"He's built like a linebacker. Because he can't play in the Senior Bowl, people will want to work him out, watch him move around and see how he judges the ball downfield. He didn't play the back end of the field very much this season, because he played the run so much. He'll go in the first round, but a safety won't go until late in the round, unless he's a Kenny Easley type."
?WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
When Auburn concludes pregame warmups, its players congregate near mid-field. Last Saturday night, before the start of their game at Louisiana State, they began chanting and stomping on the Tiger logo at midfield. To prevent fights that might be precipitated by such incidents, pregame taunting like stomping on the host's logo isn't allowed. The game officials penalized Auburn 15 yards and marched off the yardage before the opening kickoff. Because it was booting from midfield instead of its 35, LSU tried an onside kick and recovered it, drove for a touchdown and never trailed in a 27-14 win that sent Louisiana State into its first SEC title game.
?HEAD TO HEAD
LSU linebacker Trev Faulk versus Tennessee tailback Travis Stephens
Last year Faulk had 113 tackles, the most by a Tiger in more than a decade; this season the 6'3", 230-pound junior made 115. Faulk has a motor that never stops, and he'll need it against Stephens. The 5'9", 190-pound senior, who ran for 226 yards against a Florida defense that had given up only 859 rushing yards in its previous 10 games, is particularly effective in the fourth quarter. That's when Volunteers coach Phil Fulmer, who prefers a balanced offense, relies on the ground game to work the clock. If the Tigers are to avenge their 26-18 loss to Tennessee on Sept. 29, Faulk will have to handle Stephens late in the game.