LSU Notebook: Green gets honors, but little respect
Thursday, October 06, 2005
By Scooter Hobbs
Baton Rouge — Skyler Green was named the SEC’s special teams player of the week, but he’s getting little respect and a lot of ribbing from his teammates.
“Coaches, too,” Green said Tuesday.
Green, who led the nation in punt returns two years ago and leads the SEC this season, has had four punt returns of 25 yards or more in the last two games. He figures there have been at least five this year in which he had just one last defender to beat to score a touchdown.
“Every time I broke one I’ve been tackled by the punter,” he said sheepishly.
“I’m still ironing some things out,” he said. “It’s going to get there. I’ve just got to get that punter out of the way and make him miss so I can get to the end zone.”
Teammates have noticed.
“Oh yeah,” Green said. ‘They say, ‘Man, that’s a 42-year-old man you’re letting tackle you.’”
Green’s last punt return for a touchdown came last year against Vanderbilt, a 65-yarder.
DEBUT: Former Barbe star Ryan Miller didn’t have time to get nervous before seeing his first college action at center against Mississippi State.
Miller, a redshirt freshman, didn’t play in the Tigers’ first two games and didn’t have much time to think about it when he was forced into duty when starter Rudy Niswanger twisted an ankle midway through the second quarter.
“I always wondered how it would be the first time,” Miller said. “I figured I’d be nervous. But I wasn’t, I wasn’t nervous at all.”
Maybe it was better that Miller had to hurry on to to the field in the middle of a drive instead of being told he’d be in the next series.
“Nobody had to tell me to get in,” Miller said. “I was watching and saw Rudy limping off. I was out there before anybody told me to.”
Niswanger tried to return the following series, but was still obviously limping and Miller played the remainder of the game.
“I felt like I did pretty good,” Miller said.
Fellow Lake Charles native and three-year starter at guard Nate Livings gave Miller high marks.
“In films you didn’t notice he was in the game — and that a good thing,” Livings said. “It meant you didn’t notice that Rudy wasn’t in there.”
Niswanger, a senior, was impressed.
“I think he did great,” Niswanger said. “He went into a tough situation, down by the goal, on the road in an SEC game. He graded out really well. I was really impressed and proud of him.”
Niswanger is expected to be back in the starting lineup this week.
WOUNDED TIGERS: LSU also expects to get WR Buster Davis back for Vanderbilt. Davis didn’t make the trip to Mississippi State with a foot injury.
Backup OL Peter Dyakokwski and Brett Helms are expected to miss a second straight game and LB E.J. Kuale, who hasn’t yet played this year due to an ankle injury, is also questionable.
STRAIGHT A’s: LSU DT Kyle Williams figures LSU has some players who could meet Vanderbilt’s strict academic requirements.
“Rudy, for sure,” he said, speaking of Niswanger, who graduated in May with a 4.0 GPA in pre-med and has already been accepted into medical school.
“Actually, we’ve got a few guys who could go up there and be successful academically,” he added. “I don’t think I’m one of them.”
Niswanger, a first-team Academic All-American last year, is a finalist for the Draddy Trophy, which is known as the “Academic Heisman.”
Niswanger actually was recruited by Vanderbilt out of Ouachita Christian High School in Monroe.
“Not a chance,” he said of going to Vanderbilt. “I was a Tiger at birth.”
TUBING: LSU and Vanderbilt will make a rare appearance on network television when ESPN2 carries Saturday’s game with a 6 p.m. kickoff.
The 1992 game was telecast regionally as the SEC game of the week, but the only other television appearance by the two was in 1984 when the Tigers beat Vandy 34-27 on ESPN.
ESPN2 will have Sean McDonough and Mike Gottfried in the booth.
Also, CBS announced that it will televise the Oct. 15 LSU home game against Florida, moving kickoff up to 2:30 p.m. CBS will have an SEC doubleheader that day, but hasn’t decided if the other will be Ole Miss-Alabama or Vanderbilt-Georgia.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW:
LSU QB JaMarcus Russell had already set an LSU record for completion percentage with more than 20 attempts in a game by going 20 for 23 (.870) against Mississippi State.
After reviewing the films, the Mississippi State stat crew awarded Russell an additional completion on a pass to Skyler Green on a play that was originally ruled a lateral and therefore a running play. So Russell ended up 21 of 24 (.875).
Green also got an additional reception — giving him nine for the game instead of what was already a career-high eight.