LSU's Steve Kragthorpe diagnosed with Parkinson's

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Aug. 4 2011 11:38 p.m. MDT

Steve Kragthorpe

Associated Press

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BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU assistant coach Steve Kragthorpe has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and is relinquishing his duties as offensive coordinator, but is remaining on the Tigers' staff.

Kragthorpe, who was hired during the offseason, will remain as the quarterbacks' coach while offensive line coach Greg Studrawa has been elevated to offensive coordinator.

"Our concern is for Steve and his family," Miles said Thursday, the same day LSU held its first practice of fall camp. "We are all hopeful that he will have the opportunity to coach for a number of years and be at LSU and continue the things he has gotten started here.

"We will do whatever we can as an LSU football family to help Steve and his family during this difficult time."

Kragthorpe, 46, is the former head coach at Louisville (2007-09) and at Tulsa (2003-06). He gave up an assistant coaching position at Texas A&M last summer when his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but decided to get back into coaching when LSU hired him last January.

He replaced Gary Crowton on the LSU staff after Crowton left to become offensive coordinator at Maryland. Kragthorpe has built a reputation for working well with quarterbacks, and LSU was looking for more production out of Jordan Jefferson in his senior season after the Tigers ranked last in the Southeastern Conference in passing in 2010.

"This is obviously a bit of a blow to myself, but by the same token we're a family of great faith and will be exactly where God wants us, and that is at LSU," Kragthorpe said. "I am very excited to coach the quarterbacks. ... I hope for the next 10, 12 or 14 years that I can be here at LSU coaching the quarterbacks. It is a place that I love. I love the team, the staff and working for Les."

LSU opens its regular season on Sept. 3 in a neutral-site clash with Oregon in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Miles said he is confident Studrawa is ready for his expanded role on the staff. Studrawa, who will call the plays, is a former offensive coordinator at Bowling Green.

"I feel very comfortable in the direction we're going," Miles said. "This promotion for Greg gives us reason to not miss a beat and to continue on. First, Kragthorpe is going to be in every huddle, every play call and in the press box. He will assist fully with game plan and the passing game will be called with him and (receiver's coach) Billy Gonzales's thumb on it. Coach Studrawa will understand how to get it done."Miles intends to have Kragthorpe coach the quarterbacks every day. Kragthorpe will be in the press box on game days.

"Unfortunately, it's not what we want," Miles said. "It could have been a big curve ball, but it was not. What changes is that we took away some duties from (Kragthorpe) which may have been taxing. For example, he won't have to write out the game plans."

Miles acknowledged that he considered promoting Studrawa, 46, to the offensive coordinator position when Crowton left following the Cotton Bowl.

Studrawa came to LSU as offensive line coach in 2007. Before that, he was an assistant coach at Bowling Green for six seasons.

For the first two years, Studrawa was the offensive line coach under Urban Meyer. When Meyer left for Utah, Studrawa became the offensive coordinator under new coach Gregg Brandon.

"Greg Studrawa was a successful play-caller at Bowling Green with less talent," Miles said. "I told Greg that this is a battlefield promotion."

OKLAHOMA GETS COACHES' NOD AT NO. 1: Oklahoma is the preseason No. 1 in the USA Today coaches' poll.

The Sooners received 42 of 59 first-place votes to easily outpoint No. 2 Alabama, which received 13 first-place votes. Oregon, which lost last season's BCS championship game, is third and LSU is fourth.

The Ducks and Tigers will open the season against each other at Cowboys Stadium on Sept. 3 in Arlington, Texas. They each received two first-place votes in the coaches' poll.

Florida State is fifth, followed by Stanford, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin.

Defending national champion Auburn starts the season ranked 19th in the coaches' poll.

After a tumultuous offseason, Ohio State is ranked 16th. Notre Dame is No. 18.

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