From today's Morning Advocate: By GLENN GUILBEAU [email protected] Advocate sportswriter Sooner or later most of you silly people out there are going to realize that this John Brady guy is one heckuva basketball coach. Since most people are slow to admit when they are wrong, it will probably be later, like when the streaking Tigers (17-9, 6-8 Southeastern Conference) play in the NCAA Tournament this season. Those who watch basketball closely and/or are close to the LSU men's program have known Brady's coaching prowess for years. He had little talent his first two years in 1997-98 and '98-99 and somehow made the Tigers competitive, though they didn't win much. He had lots of talent in 1999-00 and won big. He had critical injuries and losses the next year and returned to the bottom. Last season, there was another critical injury, this time to Collis Temple III, but LSU recovered, made a late run much like this season and finished in the NIT. All the while, Brady was operating under inherited NCAA sanctions and limited scholarships. Few are the coaches who have reached and advanced in two national tournaments while on probation. The probation shackles came off before this season. For the first time since the sanctions hit in 1998, Brady and staff had a full supply of scholarships to offer. And boom, LSU's 2003 recruiting class is already being called No. 1 in the nation. Recent commitment Brandon Bass' signing in April will secure No. 1. Yet, I have been asked numerous times this season by media people and fans, many of whom are misinformed, if Brady's job is on the line. I've heard people calling for his firing on radio shows or asking what it would take for such a scenario. Trust me, it's not going to happen. One publication took a poll on Brady's job status. It was 60 percent for him while in a losing streak, which questions the merits of the poll in the first place. Now, there was reason for some discontent. LSU proved it had enough talent and experience to beat No. 1 Arizona and then-No. 7 Mississippi State early in the season, yet then could not beat Ole Miss at home or Arkansas on the road. (Ole Miss and Arkansas are at the bottom of the SEC West today.) LSU had a losing record in January for the third straight year. A five-game losing skid stretched into February, and the hawks came out: "Brady can't coach talent. He berates his players, stripping them of confidence and they're afraid to shoot. He over-coaches. He needs to let his players play." I also questioned Brady's coaching. I didn't say he couldn't coach. I merely brought up the question of his coaching since he was picked to contend in the West and was at the bottom at the halfway mark of the season with a good team. First, LSU is not abundantly talented. Ronald Dupree is as talented as anyone in the league. Torris Bright and Collis Temple III are good. But they're seniors, and abundantly talented players usually don't stay for their senior year. Jaime Lloreda has been a valuable addition, but he's no Stromile Swift or Jabari Smith. Brady does rip into some players. So do many other successful coaches. But he probably should pick and choose better here. Lately, the Tigers are running more and more. Tennessee was run out of its own building on Saturday in an 88-67 loss, which was its worst in the SEC since the middle of last year and worst ever at home to LSU. The Tigers scored five fast break buckets in the first 11 minutes in taking a 30-11 lead over the Vols. The question remains, though, if LSU is playing this well now, why didn't it play this well all season? It's a crazy league, and they're making their shots now. That's it. And that helps all other facets of the game. LSU, which has been uncanny from 3-point range and all over the floor in its last two games, may go cold at Ole Miss on Wednesday, but it still has other aspects to its game it can fall back on. Teams like Tennessee and Alabama can't necessarily say that. They're not coached as well as LSU is. Brady has made small changes. Xavier Whipple is playing point guard so Torris Bright can shoot more. There's some new plays for Ronald Dupree to shoot from the outside. But the motion offense is the same. Collis Temple III is taking the same shots he did when LSU was losing. He's just making them now. "Coach Brady deserves a lot of credit," said Temple, who feuded briefly with his coach early this season. "He's made it easier for guys to take shots lately. He's not on us as much when we miss. When I know I have my coach's confidence, I shoot better. He's been extremely confident." Temple's also shooting much better. So is it the chicken or the egg? SEC former coach/game analyst Eddie Fogler boiled it down more after LSU's magnificent display of offense and defense in the first half Saturday. "It's all coaching," said Fogler, who once feuded with Brady. "And you tell Brady I said that. All coaching."