Author Archives: Thomas McCall

About Thomas McCall

Thomas McCall is a reporter for He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, where he served as a reporter for Notre Dame Television. Thomas covered a variety of news and sporting events there, including the 2006 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. He also interned for CNN in its Washington bureau. Thomas is currently pursuing a law degree from the LSU Law Center and resides in Baton Rouge with his wife, Natalie.

White team routs Purple team 37-0 in LSU Spring Game

LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. catches a touchdown pass in the LSU Spring Game.

LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. catches a touchdown pass in the LSU Spring Game.

Heading into LSU’s Spring Game Saturday at Tiger Stadium, many in the college football world hoped to get a preview of what the LSU offense may look like under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Instead, fans were treated to what the LSU offense may look like if Zach Mettenberger has a chance to call the plays.

“It was the first time I’ve ever (called plays),” Mettenberger said. “It was kind of a slow start to get going, but we turned it around and had a pretty good day.”

Mettenberger, who played the first half, completed 12 of 19 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns as the White team, comprised mostly of starters, defeated the Purple team 37-0.

The senior quarterback started the game a little rusty, struggling at times to connect with his receivers. He bounced back in the second quarter though to throw two touchdown passes, including a 79-yard strike to Odell Beckham Jr. that put the White team up 16-0 at the half.

Nevertheless, Mettenberger said he does not expect to be calling plays this coming season.

“(Cameron) just wanted to see what our thought process was,” Mettenberger said. “He wanted to see down and distance and where our head was. I think we managed the game pretty well.”

Backup quarterback Stephen Rivers took over the White team offense at the start of the second half and completed 7 of 10 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Freshman Anthony Jennings handled most of the quarterback duties for the Purple team, which primarily included second and third team players. Jennings completed 8 of 21 passes for 98 yards and also demonstrated his mobility by rushing for 26 yards.

LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger speaks with the media following the LSU Spring Game.

LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger speaks with the media following the LSU Spring Game.

LSU Coach Les Miles said he was satisfied with the overall performance of his team during the game, which was played in front of an estimated 28,000 fans.

“Anytime that you finish spring with a game style of event, it doesn’t necessarily show off everything you can do offensively, defensively, or on special teams,” Miles said after the game. “You just need to be productive. Today was that kind of day.”

Miles was especially pleased with the performances of Beckham and fellow wide receiver Jarvis Landry.

Beckham finished the game with six receptions for 202 yards and two touchdowns, while Landry hauled in six receptions of his own for 132 yards.

“I think those two guys are going to be that style of receiver for us … the big play guys,” Miles said.

White team running back Jeremy Hill led all rushers with 102 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown. Hill also finished the game with 24 receiving yards.

Meanwhile, Saturday marked the debut of an LSU defense looking to fill the shoes of 2012 standouts such as Barkevious Mingo and Eric Reid.

“Defense played well,” Miles said, adding that defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, linebacker Lamin Barrow, and safety Craig Loston “looked like the first team defense.”

Defensive end Danielle Hunter led all defensive players with eight tackles and two sacks. Barrow finished the game with seven tackles, while Loston had six tackles and a fourth-quarter interception in the end zone that ended the Purple team’s best scoring opportunity of the day.

“With the guys we got in the front, no matter what quarterback we are playing, you have about three seconds to get the ball out,” Loston said. “We make sure to take care of our jobs.”

After the game, Miles said that there was one statistic that he was most proud of following Saturday’s contest.

“The key statistic today is that we are not coming away with injury,” he said. “It didn’t appear to me that anyone got hurt, so we go into the summer season with a lot to improve on.”

Beckham said that the expectations for the team this coming season are very clear.

“Coming up short two years in a row is not good enough for us,” he said. “I feel like everyone on the team is smelling roses,” referring to the fact that the 2014 BCS National Championship Game will be played at the Rose Bowl in California.

All-star attorneys suit up to argue future of NFL concussion lawsuit

Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell

Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell

After thousands of former players sued the National Football League (NFL) over its alleged negligence in the handling of concussions, the NFL tapped the star quarterback of the legal world, Paul Clement, to represent the league.

Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush, typically argues high-profile cases, including the recent showdowns before the U.S. Supreme Court on the issues of health care reform and same-sex marriage.

Nevertheless, Clement is not the only all-star attorney involved in the lawsuit. The former players have hired David Frederick, who also regularly participates in important cases, such as those involving consumer protection interests.

Clement argued April 9 that the lawsuit against the NFL should be dismissed, while Frederick tried to convince the judge that the former players’ suit should be allowed to proceed to trial.

Yet, these high-profile attorneys did not square off in the U.S. Supreme Court or even in a federal court of appeals, which are the higher courts where their services are usually employed. Instead, their participation began at the outset of the case, arguing at a hearing before a federal district judge in Philadelphia. This involvement at the lower court level underscores the magnitude of the lawsuit against the NFL and the billions of dollars that are potentially at stake.

“(Clement and Frederick) spend most of their time … at the Supreme Court,” Paul Anderson, a Missouri attorney who tracks the NFL litigation, said in an interview with the Associated Press. “This is really a multibillion-dollar issue. That’s why both parties went out and hired the best of the best.”

After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, Clement clerked for two federal judges, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. It was only a matter of time before Clement made a name for himself in the legal community.

“The buzz in the legal world about Clement is like the buzz in basketball when LeBron James was coming out of high school and turning pro,” Washington attorney Evan Tager told the National Law Journal. “Paul Clement is the Holy Grail of law firm recruiting.”

Frederick boasts an impressive resume as well. Like Clement, Frederick also clerked for two federal judges after law school, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White, who was an All-American halfback at Colorado and the fourth overall selection in the 1938 NFL Draft. Thus, it is fitting that Frederick represents the former players in their suit against the NFL.

According to the Washington Times, over 4,000 former players are represented in the litigation. This includes roughly 300 players who played for the New Orleans Saints at some point in their career, such as Willie Roaf, Joe Horn, and Eddie Kennison.

Louisiana attorney Derriel McCorvey, a former LSU safety who spent one season with the Indianapolis Colts, has assisted a number of former players with their involvement in the lawsuit against the NFL. McCorvey’s clients include former LSU star Justin Vincent and former Southern standout Charlie Granger.

“The league is pretty powerful,” McCorvey said according to Bloomberg News. “Most people don’t have a good chance of taking on the league,” though McCorvey recognized that the arguments of the former players in the current suit against the NFL are strong.

During the April 9 hearing in Philadelphia, Frederick told U.S. District Judge Anita Brody that the efforts by the NFL to handle player safety issues were fraudulent and amounted to a “sham.” According to court filings, the former players believe that the NFL “glorified the hyper-violent collisions most likely to lead to head trauma and orchestrated a disinformation campaign to conceal the resulting brain injuries.”

Meanwhile, Clement argued that the players’ lawsuit should be dismissed because it is “pre-empted” by the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which requires certain disputes to proceed before an arbitration panel as opposed to being heard in court. Clement also stated that the individual NFL teams, as opposed to the NFL itself, were primarily responsible for the safety of the players.

“The (teams) are the ones who had doctors on the sidelines who had primary responsibility for sending players back into the game,” Clement said at a news conference following the hearing.

ESPN Legal Analyst Lester Munson believes the future of the lawsuit may come down to a case that was previously decided by a higher court whose decisions are binding on the Philadelphia court in which the NFL litigation currently resides. The case, Kline v. Security Guards, Inc., involved a group of security guards who sued their employer, alleging fraud and concealment. The court ruled that, because the security guards’ CBA did not expressly cover allegations of fraud or concealment, the case could proceed to trial as opposed to being sent to arbitration.

Frederick argued Tuesday that the CBA of the former NFL players, like that of the security guards, also did not specifically apply to claims of fraud or concealment. Thus, Frederick contended that the former players’ case should be able to proceed to trial.

Clement attempted to distinguish the Kline case from the current suit against the NFL. He argued that, unlike the CBA of the security guards, which did not mention the subject of their dispute, the CBA of the former NFL players did provide for disputes concerning health and safety provisions.

The judge’s emphasis on the Kline case during the hearing could be a bad sign for Clement and the NFL.

“It is always difficult to predict the outcome of a legal argument by parsing the questions the judge asks during the hearing,” Munson wrote on, “but (Judge) Brody’s focus on the Kline case was clearly good news for the players.”

While Brody’s ruling likely will not determine which side actually prevails in the lawsuit, the ruling could control whether a jury or a panel of arbitrators ultimately decides the case.

That factor alone could have a major impact on any eventual outcome.

“Juries in general are much more sympathetic to injured players and former heroes, and there’s no limit on how much they could provide in damages,” Anderson said in an interview with ABC News. “But if the NFL is able to get the cases in front of an arbitrator whose sole job is to interpret the contracts, they’ll most likely rule in favor of the league.”

Brody’s decision is not expected for a few months.

Regardless of whether the case is ultimately heard by a jury or an arbitration panel, both sides will have their all-star attorneys ready to suit up if their number is called.

Tulane offense shines in final spring scrimmage

Courtesy of Tulane Public Relations

Courtesy of Tulane Public Relations

Former Tulane standouts Shaun King and Mewelde Moore happened to be in attendance at Tulane’s final spring scrimmage on March 9. Based on the way the Green Wave performed on the field, one might have thought King and Moore were actually playing in the game.

Tulane quarterbacks Devin Powell and Nate Montana combined for four scores and wide receiver Ryan Grant hauled in two touchdowns as the Green Wave capped off spring practice with a 65-play scrimmage at the Saints Indoor Facility in Metairie.

“I thought today was outstanding,” Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said in a news release following the scrimmage. “Overall, we are light years ahead of where we wanted to be at the end of spring practice.”

The quarterbacks, in particular, received high marks from Johnson.

“Devin Powell had a big, big day with several touchdowns, and I thought Nick Montana moved around well and was very accurate,” Johnson added.

King and Moore were among the former Green Wave stars who returned to New Orleans for Tulane’s alumni weekend. According to Tulane, Moore is the Green Wave’s all-time leading rusher.

The Green Wave also participated in an outdoor spring game at City Park’s Tad Gormley Stadium the week before the final scrimmage, where the Tulane offense accounted for 309 total yards and four touchdowns, according to a news release issued after the game.

Defense is key to Saints moving past struggles of 2012

Photo courtesy of JaseMan

Photo courtesy of JaseMan

The moment the commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) walks onto the stage to begin the annual NFL Draft symbolizes the start of a new season for every team that hopefully culminates with a Super Bowl victory ten months later.

On April 25, when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell approaches the podium at New York’s Radio City Music Hall to announce the start of the 2013 draft, no other team will be more anxious to put the 2012 season firmly behind them than the New Orleans Saints.

For the Saints, 2012 marked a year of hardship both on and off the field. First, the NFL announced it had obtained evidence of a “cash-for-hits” program operated by the Saints, which led to the imposition of sanctions that included the suspension of head coach Sean Payton for the entire 2012 season. Then, when the season began, the team struggled on the field, finishing 7-9 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Defense will be crucial to the Saints’ success in 2013. While the draft is not for another two weeks, the Saints have already begun to revamp a defensive unit that surrendered over 440 yards per game during the 2012 regular season, the most of any NFL team.

In particular, the Saints landed cornerback and New Orleans native Keenan Lewis earlier this offseason and signed veteran safety Jim Leonhard this week after missing out on free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The Saints also signed linebacker Victor Butler and defensive lineman Kenyon Coleman.

In particular, the addition of Lewis, along with returning cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Patrick Robinson, should give the Saints secondary a needed boost.

“I think that can be a trio of decent cornerbacks,”’s Pat Yasinskas said, “if the Saints’ pass rush gives them some help.”

Additionally, many draft analysts predict the Saints will select a defensive player with the fifteenth overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft later this month.

Nevertheless, even before this past season’s Super Bowl had taken place, Saints quarterback Drew Brees was already focused on putting the 2012 season in the rearview mirror.

“It would be easy to sit here and be angry (about 2012),” Brees said during an appearance at an event preceding Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. “We’re professionals and we’ve moved past that … Sean’s back, all the pieces are in place, and now it’s time for us to put ourselves in a position to make a run.”

Regardless of the past, the Saints will need their defense to drastically improve in 2013 if such a run is going to be made.

Unclear who Saints will select in first round of NFL Draft

Photo courtesy of Infrogmation

Photo courtesy of Infrogmation

When the New Orleans Saints make the fifteenth overall selection in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft, it’s anyone’s guess as to which player will don the black and gold cap.

In fact, six experts who have published mock drafts predict that the Saints will take six different players, though five of the six believe the Saints will select a defensive player.

At the least, ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay agree that the Saints could select a former Georgia linebacker, though Kiper believes it will be Jarvis Jones while McShay projects that the Saints will pick Alec Ogletree.

Four experts who participated in a mock draft published by predicted four other selections that could be made by the Saints. Rob Rang thinks the Saints will take former LSU linebacker Barkevious Mingo, Dane Brugler projects the Saints will select former Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, and Pat Kirwan thinks the Saints will pick former Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro.’s Pete Prisco is the only expert in the mock draft who projected that the Saints will take an offensive player, predicting that the Saints will draft former Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Watson.

The 2013 NFL Draft begins on April 25.

2013 NFL preseason schedule announced

blog_box_featureFormer LSU quarterback Matt Flynn is now officially an Oakland Raider, but he will be back in Louisiana to face the Saints early in the 2013 NFL preseason.

The Saints matchup against the Raiders is one of four preseason games for New Orleans before the start of the 2013 season, the NFL announced Thursday.

The Saints kick off the preseason when they host Kansas City and new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. New Orleans will then host Flynn and the Raiders during Week 2 of the preseason, followed by road matchups against Houston and Miami.

The Saints contest against the Texans will be televised nationally on FOX on Aug. 25, the NFL announced. The other three Saints games will be carried regionally on CST, according to the Saints.

The Saints said that the exact dates and kickoff times of the Chiefs, Raiders, and Dolphins games would be released at a later date.

The NFL also said that the entire slate of 11 nationally televised preseason games features every team who made the playoffs in 2012.

The 2013 preseason kicks off on Aug. 4 with the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio between the Cowboys and Dolphins.

Know the rules: educating LSU athletes on NCAA regulations

The LSU Office of Compliance maintains an informative website to educate LSU athletes on NCAA regulations.

The LSU Office of Compliance communicates with athletes in creative ways.

March Madness is upon us, and college basketball fans know what that means.

Time to fill out a bracket.

But if you are an LSU athlete who chooses to partake in this American tradition, the LSU Office of Compliance has an important message for you: Don’t bet on it.

“Wagering on a pool of any kind would be considered gambling or sports wagering in the eyes of the NCAA,” said Jayson Santos, Director of Compliance at LSU, referring to the prohibition of college athletes gambling on events sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

This is just one of the many regulations enforced by the NCAA, and it is up to Santos and his colleagues in the Office of Compliance to educate LSU athletes on these rules.

“We do a beginning … and end of the year session,” Santos said, referring to training provided to LSU football players. “We talk about … what (athletes) can and can’t do from an NCAA standpoint.”

Santos said that social media use is one of the main topics covered in the training sessions. In fact, according to a study published by the Institute for Public Relations, sports organizations and players are now increasingly using social media platforms “to update their fans and promote parasocial relationships between players and fans,” which occurs when a fan knows a great deal about the player, but the player does not know a lot about the fan.

Nevertheless, LSU encourages its athletes to be cautious when using social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

“If you tweet about something that may seem insignificant to you, it may become significant to ESPN,” Santos said. “Although (players) have the right to say whatever they want, they should know … they represent (LSU).”

Santos acknowledged that some players do not always follow the advice provided to them. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger echoed those remarks.

“We have a guy that comes to teach us about what we can say (on social media),” Mettenberger said, “but as you’ve seen … some guys don’t really listen in those meetings.”

Santos pointed out that violations have occurred when football players have “tweeted” photos of interactions between alumni and prospective athletes, which is against NCAA rules.

Mettenberger said he has found an easy solution to avoid improper usage of social media during his time at LSU.

“I just try to stay away from it,” he said, noting that Twitter accounts registered in his name do not belong to him.

In addition to players, LSU football coaches are also subject to NCAA regulations when using social media.

And the rules are very specific.

For example, according to NCAA regulations, an LSU football coach may not post on a recruit’s Facebook “wall” until the prospective athlete signs a national letter of intent to attend LSU; however, it is permissible for the coach to communicate with a prospective athlete by sending the recruit a Facebook message, which is delivered to the e-mail inbox feature on the recruit’s Facebook page and is not visible to the public.

On the other hand, prospective athletes themselves are not subject to the same regulations. “If (a recruit) takes a picture while on a visit with Coach Miles and tweets it, that’s fine,” Santos said. An LSU coach would not be allowed to “like” the photo on Facebook, “retweet” it on Twitter, or post it to any other social media channel during the recruiting process.

Coaches are not the only ones taking advantage of social media when recruiting prospective athletes. Sports agents have also used social networking to market themselves to LSU football players.

“(Agents) will use runners or third parties to Facebook message our athletes directly,” Santos said. “Agents are not supposed to have third parties on their behalf contact athletes, so if they are doing that, we have reported that.”

Santos remains convinced that the best way to educate LSU athletes on NCAA social media regulations is, ironically, by promoting the rules through social media channels.

In fact, Santos himself stars in a series of YouTube skits that are produced by the LSU Office of Compliance and entitled “Most compliant man in the world,” which is a parody of the Dos Equis “Most interesting man in the world” commercials.

In the videos, Santos encounters various compliance-related dilemmas that could impact athletes at LSU and provides advice in an informational and comedic way.

For example, in one episode that highlights NCAA regulations on extra benefits that may be offered to college athletes, Santos remarks, “Whoever said the best things in life are free apparently didn’t work for the NCAA. Stay compliant, my friends.”

Nevertheless, while NCAA rules do not allow LSU athletes to bet on games during March Madness, Santos confirmed that athletes may still fill out a bracket and cheer for their favorite team.

“I have exactly zero dollars wagered on the event,” he said. “I’m a pride guy, not a money guy.”

Contributing: Farren Davis.

College recruiting process should wait until high school

Dylan Moses is currently an eighth-grader at University Lab School.

Dylan Moses is currently an eighth-grader at University Lab School in Baton Rouge.

It’s not unusual to see two powerhouse college football programs like Alabama and LSU fighting over a talented recruit.

Yet, there is something unusual about the battle in which Alabama and LSU are currently engaged in the recruitment of Dylan Moses, who has been offered a scholarship by both schools.

Moses is in the eighth grade.

Thus, unlike his classmates, this 2017 prospect will begin high school at University Lab School not asking if he will play college football, but simply wondering where it will be.

College football occupies a special place in the hearts of its fans. In the fall, any given Saturday could be the best or worst day of a fan’s year based on the performance of a group of athletes in their late teens or early 20s. Whether they like it or not, the pressure on these players to perform is already very high.

This kind of pressure should not exist in the life of an eighth-grader. Yet, the recruiting process has now manipulated its way into the halls of middle schools.

“I think it’s a concern,” said U-High football coach Chad Mahaffey, “because for a lot of these kids … (the attention) hurts them just being able to enjoy being with their team and playing football like every other high school kid gets to do.”

Given the increasing marketability of the college recruiting process, one should not be surprised to hear of more athletes like Moses who receive scholarship offers before they set foot in a high school classroom.  With this publicity will likely come an onslaught of Facebook fans and Twitter followers who suddenly have a vested interest in the athletic performance of an eighth-grader.

Nevertheless, the good news for Moses is that he still has plenty of time to decide where he wants to play college football.

Miles begins spring practice with a familiar face at his side

LSU head coach Les Miles

LSU head coach Les Miles

LSU kicks off spring practice today, and Les Miles is hoping an old friend can transform the Tigers’ offense in 2013.

Miles introduced Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Feb. 15 after a decision to move Greg Studrawa back to his former position as offensive line coach.

Miles, who coached with Cameron at Michigan from 1987-1993, said the former Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator has adjusted well to his new role in Baton Rouge during his first month on the job.

“He’s done a great job already … (with) the offense and how we see ourselves,” Miles said Wednesday at a news conference.

John Chavis returns as defensive coordinator, but he will be without the likes of defensive end Barkevious Mingo and safety Eric Reid, who were among the 11 LSU underclassmen who declared for this year’s NFL Draft.

Miles expressed his confidence in Chavis and applauded his work as defensive coordinator, referring to him as “one of the premier coordinators in college football.”

Thomas McGaughey is back as special teams coordinator and looks to replace punter Brad Wing and placekicker Drew Alleman.

Miles, who enters his ninth season as LSU’s head coach, provided an outlook on the 2013 season.

“We are by no means in position to predict a grand season,” Miles said, “but this is the style of team that … can compete for the title.”

One other change to note is that former quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe has shifted to an administrative position with the team as he continues to battle Parkinson’s disease.

Louisiana Tech well represented at NFL Combine

Photo courtesy of Westside Shooter

Photo courtesy of Westside Shooter

This may surprise you.

Louisiana Tech has more players participating in the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine than Michigan and Texas combined, as the Bulldogs make their presence known this week on a national stage in Indianapolis.

“It’s great to have so many players at the combine, and it’s important to continue to push our name out,” said Patrick Walsh, Associate Media Relations Director at Louisiana Tech.
“This further shows what we’ve been able to do at Louisiana Tech on the gridiron.”

The annual NFL Combine, an invitation-only event that brings together the nation’s top professional prospects, allows NFL teams to observe over 300 players as they undergo a series of physical and mental tests.

Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen, quarterback Colby Cameron, offensive lineman Oscar Johnson, offensive lineman Jordan Mills, and wide receiver Quinton Patton all received invitations to attend the combine.

Walsh said the number of combine participants this year is a record for Louisiana Tech.

The most anticipated prospect in the group is Patton. He hauled in 183 receptions for 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns during his two seasons with the Bulldogs, leaving first-year Tech coach Skip Holtz to find a new target for the Bulldog offense.

“I thought he had a really solid day,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Sunday following Patton’s workout. “He ran faster than people thought he would, he catches the ball very naturally … I think he’s a solid second round pick.”

Charley Casserly, who has served as general manager of the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans, also weighed in on Patton’s performance.

“The best thing he does is the ability to run after the catch and (separate) from defenders,” said Casserly, who now works as an analyst for NFL Network. “Those things don’t necessarily show up in a workout like this.”

Before playing for Louisiana Tech, Patton attended Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan., where he garnered first team all-conference honors as a wide receiver and second team all-conference honors as a punter.

Mayock noted that, while Patton did not face Southeastern Conference-caliber defenses week in and week out during his college career, he excelled against quality competition when given the opportunity.

“He had 21 catches against Texas A&M,” Mayock said, referring to Patton’s 233 receiving yards and four touchdowns last season against the eventual Cotton Bowl champions. “(He) dominated the football game.”

When asked about the criticism regarding his lack of playing experience against higher quality opponents, Patton shrugged off the question.

“I really don’t care what people say,” he said Saturday when addressing the media. “I’m just a ballplayer.”

Patton made it clear that he has only one objective during his trip to Indianapolis.

“I’m just out to put on a show here,” Patton said. “Then it’s up to the football gods after that.”

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. ranks Patton as the fourth-best wide receiver prospect in this year’s NFL draft. Mayock lists Patton as the fifth-best receiver in the draft.