In short, today got away from me. Heck, I’m still waiting on my supper at IHOP. Anyway, rest assured I will have a Blog Bag for y’all, but not until Saturday night. Thanks for your patience.
Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category
No. 14 Maryland (11-2) beat Mississippi State 80-73.
Dan Mullen keeps adding to his staff …
The Associated Press
STARKVILLE – New coach Dan Mullen has hired two more assistant coaches for his staff at Mississippi State.
Carl Torbush, former head coach at North Carolina and Louisiana Tech, and former Ole Miss and Southern Miss assistant coach Frank Wilson are the new hires.
Torbush returns to major college football after three seasons as assistant head coach at his alma mater, Carson-Newman. Before that he spent five seasons as defensive coordinator for Dennis Franchione at Alabama and Texas A&M. He also was a defensive coordinator at Ole Miss in the mid-1980s.
Wilson joins the staff after a year as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator for Larry Fedora at Southern Miss. Before that, he spent three years on Ed Orgeron’s staff at Ole Miss.
Here are parts of Coach Mullen’s visit to Tupelo. Click box above to watch the video.
From The Associated Press
Nothing else to offer you this morning. Got to go do a radio show in a minute, then it’s off to Starkville for an action-packed day. Don’t forget to drop a question in the Blog Bag.
It’s Egg Bowl Week, which means it’s a short week. Go ahead and send me all your questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them. But just so you know, my deadlines are scrunched up. It’d be a good time to ask about some Egg Bowl history.
Took in some football practice today. They went a little over two hours at the Palmeiro Center. I caught up with cornerbacks coach Melvin Smith and tailback Anthony Dixon. You’ll see their thoughts in the paper later this week.
OK, off to be with me. Ask away.
PS: MSU’s Robert Scribner finished 152nd at the NCAA Cross Country Championships today. He turned in a time of 31:20.8 – 10K course – in his final collegiate race.
Sorry so late with this. Monday was busy. I’m en route to Starkville, so hit me. Yes, I’m blogging and driving. I’m a professional. Don’t try this at home. Or rather, in your car.
On the non-sports side of things, new MSU president Mark Keenum is in Starkville today, and so is the Daily Journal. You can follow updates throughout the day right here.
Sorry I didn’t get the John Cohen questions answered. I’ve got to do better at checking the Blog Bag daily. But here is what I have for this week. Thanks for the questions.
Q: Question to ESPN, CBS, Raycom: Why on earth do you want to put this blowout (MSU-Alabama) on TV?
A: Because it’s No. 1 Alabama. But if Bama loses to LSU, expect it to be on Raycom, which simply has to take what it can get.
Q: What are the future plans for the Dawgzillatron?
A: Greg Byrne is brainstorming on that matter. Perhaps movies, or broadcasts of MSU basketball games if they’re in the NCAA Tournament, for example.
Q: I’ve heard members of the Central Mississippi alumni association saying Al Borges will be the OC in ‘09. Do you or anybody know how true this could or could not be?
A: That rumor just won’t die, will it? I don’t think the people in charge of making such decisions are worried about that right now.
Q: What is the deal with kicker Adam Carlson? Does this guy just kill in practice and choke in the game or is he just not that good all the way around?
A: Said Carlson, on the missed 27-yarder: “In practice I make those all the time. It’s one of those things you just can’t explain.” It’s no secret that he doesn’t have a real strong leg.
Q: How are Robert Elliott and Jamar Chaney doing with their injuries? Do you see Chaney returning next season?
A: It’s too soon to make a real good judgment on Elliott’s recovery. But I saw Chaney walking around the other day without a cast. As for next year, coach Sylvester Croom wants a decision by Dec. 1. Whether Chaney returns could depend on how highly NFL scouts think of him. Of course, the motivation to complete unfinished business in Starkville could be strong.
Well, I’m certainly feeling lazy. Must be the off-week blues or something.
Speaking of the off-week, here is today’s notebook, led by football and what the team worked on this week. Also some stuff in there about cross country, basketball and ice hockey (no joke).
Don’t forget, since there’s no football game Saturday, you can go catch the MSU basketball team play an exhibition against Oklahoma City, which has won the last two NAIA Division I national titles. Check ‘em out.
And, of course, gotta have something on this week’s big Bama-LSU game. I keep getting this nagging feeling that LSU will win, but I totally didn’t go with it and picked the Tide. Hope that doesn’t come back to haunt me. To the links!
• Here’s a fairly lengthy piece from The Birmingham News about Alabama coach Nick Saban returning to what is now hostile territory.
• The Mobile Press-Register informs us that Bama is preparing to face LSU freshman quarterback Jordan Jefferson.
• Perhaps the biggest news of the day comes via the Baton Rouge Advocate, which tells us that LSU mascot Mike the Tiger might be on the inactive list come Saturday. His handlers have had trouble coaxing him into his cage lately, and he’s missed the last two home games. He must have a different feeling about this game than I do.
It’s an off week, which means no press conferences or anything, but considering the dire state of things with the football team, seems worth our time to have a Blog Bag this week. But feel free to toss in some baseball and basketball questions.
FYI, the Alabama game will be on TV, just not sure which channel or what time yet. We’ll find out Sunday if it’s CBS, ESPN or Raycom.
I have a column done for tomorrow. Might get a few folks worked up, but that’s OK. A tease: I basically predict an 0-3 finish.
By the way, what do y’all think of me posting an Election Day thread tomorrow? Heh, just keep it civil. And go vote!
Fill it up, people. Football, basketball, and what the heck, baseball. I’m hoping to catch up with John Cohen this week. The Diamond Dogs wrap up fall drills this weekend. The Maroon/White World Series will be played Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.
And speaking of baseball, I’ve somehow failed to post their 2009 schedule on here. So in case you’ve not seen it yet, here’s the link.
Sorry I didn’t get more of your questions answered, guys. Been a crazy week what with basketball in Birmingham. Didn’t speak much with coach Sylvester Croom or players besides on Tuesday. But here’s what I’ve got.
Q: What’s realistic expectations for the basketball team, as young as they are?
A: Well, the media picked the Bulldogs to finish fourth in the West, and coach Rick Stansbury thought that was generous. I think there is plenty of talent, enough to get MSU back to the NCAAs soon, but I don’t know if it’ll be this year. I expect State to be a bubble team but probably get an NIT bid.
Q: Who are the first eight or so players?
A: Stansbury: “Pretty tough right now because we’ve got so much balance. It’s probably going to be more parity now, six through 10 or 11 or 12, than I’ve had. I need some of those guys to separate themselves, and that’s good and bad when everybody’s the same.”
Q: Is there any chance the hockey team will be incorporated into the official athletics program in the future, rather than being relegated to a club team?
A: I’ve got no inside info on that, because it’s hockey. And my guess would be, no. Because it’s hockey.
Q: How are the $12,000/pair courtside seats going?
A: At least half have been sold. Going pretty well, I suppose. But sorry, no Kias.
Q: Brad, many fans have become weary of the “players are just not executing” excuses. Do you get any sense from the players that they are tired of the blame being placed solely on them?
A: If the players are irked by that, they disguise it well. I’ve heard nary a discouraging word. In fact, these guys remain astonishingly upbeat and are sometimes quick to take blame themselves. I do wonder what’s up with Tay Bowser, though, and if his situation has to do with any frustration. He’s listed second on the depth chart this week, but I’d be surprised to see him take the field.
• A few lineup changes for MSU: On defense, Kyle Love starting at DT in place of Jessie Bowman, and Karlin Brown replacing Terrell Johnson at WLB. On offense, Jamayel Smith for Aubrey Bell at WR, Eric Hoskins for Brandon Hart at FB.
• For Vandy, Justin Wheeler for Jamie Graham at WR, Adam Smotherman for T.J. Greenstone at DT.
• Conditions: Clouds moving in, but no rain in the forecast. It’s currently 77 with an expected high of 81.
• This is MSU’s second day game of the season. The Bulldogs lost the first one to Georgia Tech, 38-7.
• Rafael Palmeiro, the former MSU baseball standout turned major leaguer turned steroids pariah, is here today being inducted into the MSU Sports Hall of Fame. He just got a huge ovation. Former footballer Hoyle Granger is also being inducted.
• Vandy is 1-5 in Starkville all-time.
A little love for the MSU women’s golf team. After two rounds at the Johnnie Imes Invitational in Columbia, Mo., freshman Hannah Weathersby is 2-under, good for fourth overall. It’s just her second collegiate tournament. As a team, the Lady Bulldogs are in fifth place. Round two, shortened by nightfall Monday, was to be completed this morning.
Also, since the MSU football team is off this week, so is Blog Bag. So you’ve got plenty of time to work up some good questions for me for next Monday.
I was laying out the sports section at The Robesonian newspaper in Lumberton, N.C., on Sept. 11, 2001. I don’t remember exactly who said what, but I found myself in front of the small TV in the break room watching one of the Twin Towers burn and smoke like a giant refinery chimney. I had to go back to my desk, but I returned after the second tower was hit. I honestly don’t remember if I made deadline that day; I’m sure the news side didn’t (it was an afternoon paper).
I remember it was a clear blue sky above us, just like it was in New York that day. I took some comfort in that for some reason, ironic though it was. Seven years later, I look outside and see blue skies again. It gives me hope that God has brighter days in store for this country.
Beyond the obvious shock and horror that everyone experienced, the tragedy gave all of us sports fans a jolt, gave us some perspective on athletics and its place in this country. It helped us realize that games aren’t all that important, but it also affirmed that sports is an important endeavor. Results mattered less than the mere act of playing and/or seeing others play. Many say sports has helped the healing process.
I’d like to know what y’all remember about that day, and how 9/11 might have re-shaped your perspective on sports.
“Sports, you see, really do matter. No, not the games themselves, not even the players—but the harmonizing effect of sports upon our society.” – Frank DeFord, Sports Illustrated
Good gosh, is it only Tuesday?
It has been a crazy, exciting two days. Day 1 in Starkville went well. Met some nice folks – hope I remember their names – and got the lay of the land. Since taking over for Gregg on Monday, my feelings have swung between excitement and nervousness. The dominant emotion now is excitement, and I expect it will remain that way.
I was walking across campus today, taking in its sprawling beauty – there’s just something about a college campus – and felt like I was in the right place.
Anyway, yes, farley, I was born in Oxford and lived a while in Ruston. Ironic, no? I’ve been with the Journal since 2002 and would like to stay here a while. I love the area, I love my state.
What I have learned by observing Gregg’s coverage of this beat – and it’s been driven home thanks to the blog – is that this isn’t “my” beat. I can’t do this job alone, and I’m not doing it just for me. I have a university and a broad, passionate fan base to answer to. My goal is to provide fair, thorough coverage, without being a homer. There is a fine line between being a cheerleader and an advocate. I wish nothing but the best for MSU and its people, but I won’t be one to sugarcoat whatever misfortunes may befall them. I think that is the approach Gregg took, and he set a fine journalistic example.
I have covered high schools for several years, but never a college team exclusively. I have no doubts I can make the transition; my main concern is getting settled in during the most hectic time of the year. But it’s also a fun time of year, so I’m sure my stress will be counterbalanced by the joy my job brings me.
Another thing Gregg did well that I want to emulate is the way he weaved himself into the MSU community, and that begins by building relationships. I look forward to getting to know Sylvester Croom and the rest of the coaching staff, Mike Nemeth and his athletic staff, the players, and you. I’ve come to appreciate the passion and knowledge y’all bring to this beat. (Huh? There’s what on my nose? Hold on …)
One more thing I bring to the table, and I might actually surpass Gregg in this department: my giant noggin. A 7 1/2 cap size, baby. And that’s with a shaved head.
If you’ve got any questions, I know you won’t hesitate to ask. Talk to you tomorrow.