Archive for October, 2007

Cristil clear on Tuesday night

October 31, 2007

Last night in Tupelo, MSU’s legendary “Voice of the Bulldogs” was roasted in Tupelo. Twelve different people shared stories and laughs about Jack Cristil, and while I wasn’t there, Buster Wolfe came out of the bullpen and completed the game in impressive style. Thanks, Mr. Outdoors.

His story offers some insight on the entertaining night that it was. Also, here’s my Wednesday MSU notebook.

A lively bunch of Bulldogs today

October 30, 2007

Prior to today’s practice, it was team picture day at Scott Field. The players were joking around and feeling good about the win. Bowl talk was also the theme.

“I’ve been on the internet, seeing how the other teams are doing and comparing records,” running back Anthony Dixon said. “Knowing we are a win away from being bowl eligible, that’s extra motivation.” (on Friday, I’ll have a story on Dixon and why he thinks he’s been fumbling a lot).

Also, when Dixon walked up to Sylvester Croom to have his pic taken, Croom intentionally dropped the football. Laughter ensued.

Then it was on to practice. Spirited. Lively. And short. Not even two hours. However, Croom felt the team was feeling a little too good and he was worried about the focus. So, he ran them pretty good at the end to get their attention.

 He also said he’ll run them to death on Wednesday.

Wearing red cross jerseys were offensive linemen Johnny Carpenter (ankley) and Michael Gates (cellulitis). What is cellulitis, you ask? According to our good friend, and trainor, Paul Mock, it’s an inflammation of the connective tissue underlying the skin, caused by a bacterial infection. Sounds nasty, if you ask me.

As for the rest of the week, MSU will practice on Wednesday, have an abbreviated session on Thursday and then have a fun run Friday morning before releasing the team for the weekend.

Cristil roast

October 30, 2007

Tonight in Tupelo, MSU voice Jack Cristil will be roasted by administrators, coaches and former coaches. It should be entertaining and fun.

Due to my football commitments, I won’t be there, but the Daily Journal will cover it and have a complete story in Wednesday’s paper (I’ll post the link in the morning).

Obviously, Mr. Jack is an icon when it comes to MSU athletics. Do you have any fond memories of meeting him or great calls you’d like to share?

If so, let’s hear them.

OK. Pick that score

October 29, 2007

I know. I know. It’s open week. But there is a huge, huge game as far as I’m concerned.

 Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots on Sunday. Who wins and what’s the score.

 For those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge Colts fans. I was an intern in media relations office there in 1993 and 1994 and stayed around and helped out until 1999. I grew up a Dallas fan, but my loyalties are now with the Colts.

 I’ll start it off . . .

Indianapolis 38, New England 35.

And no, I won’t take my blue and white glasses off.

Early football again and 50,000 hits

October 29, 2007

Kickoff for the Alabama game on Nov. 10 at Scott Field has been set for 11:30 a.m. and will be televised by Lincoln Financial Sports. I hope you all like early football, because there’s been a lot of it this season.

Also, as of today this blog has reached the 50,000-hit mark. All I can say is thanks. Thanks very much. You guys make it fun, and I look forward to coming here every day interacting with you all.

Hannibal, Carroll receive SEC player of the week honors

October 29, 2007

The Southeastern Conference just announced MSU defensive end Avery Hannibal has earned defensive player of the week honors, while quarterback Wesley Carroll was tabbed freshman of the week.

The 6-foot-1, 240-pound senior from LaGrange, Ga., had two sacks in the Bulldogs’ 31-14 victory at Kentucky this past weekend and five total tackles.

Both sacks came in the second half as MSU was protecting its lead.

On the year, Hannibal has 28 tackles, six for losses.

Carroll was 17 of 28 against the Wildcats for 152 yards and two scores, and he has yet to throw an intereption in 137 pass attempts. He also completed 8 of his first 9 passes and opened the game with back-to-back 80-yard drives.

Time for BlogBag

October 29, 2007

By now, you know the drill. Got questions, fire away and I’ll answer them later in the week.

And since there is no game on Saturday thanks to the bye, there will be no blog to “pick that score.” But, I’ll try to come up with a special interactive replacement blog. If you’ve got any suggestions, let me know. Perhaps we could pick scores of other games. I’ll try to be creative.

Looking at the week ahead

October 28, 2007

Finally, and fortunately, it’s open week. The players need the break, as do the coaches so they can hit the recruiting trails and not to mention all the speaking engagements. And of course, your’s truly isn’t complaining either. I could use a little break myself, because it’s been full throttle since media days back in July (note: that means there may not be a blog every day).

Anyways, MSU is off on Monday, then practices on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning, they’ll do “fun runs” and then be off for the weekend.

Then, my friends, it’s Alabama week. Maybe LSU will do the Bulldogs a big favor and wear the Tiders out. I like State’s chances at home.

So, is everyone still feeling woolly?

And last, I’m giving you all a heads up. There will also be fewer stories in the newspaper this week. So, none of this biased junk some of you like to throw out. Again, it’s open week and availability with players and coaches is pretty much just one day. No teleconference tomorrow and no press conference on Tuesday. For years, I’ve begged them to do one, but to no avail. Of course, I understand their reasoning, which is everyone needs a break, plus the fact that Croom is usually out traveling.

Now, for today’s links . . .
• My game story.
• My column.
• My MSU notebook.
• My Christian Ducre sidebar.

From the Louisville Courier . . .
Flat Cats fall to Mississippi State.

From the Lexington Herald . . .
State of shock.
Cats need to work, win after “stinker”.
Cats’ offense stopped in its tracks.

How ’bout that, Dog fans . . .

October 27, 2007

Your final score, Mississippi State 31, No. 14 Kentucky 14.

Your thoughts? Your key plays? Rank this win.

Now that’s some offense

October 27, 2007

After struggling offensively last week at West Virginia in the first quarter, Mississippi State looks like a well-oiled machine, particularly in the opening frame. At the half, the Bulldogs lead 14-7.

Few offensive possessions. The Bulldogs have four and Kentucky three. Strange, but I guess that’s what long drives will do.

Offensively, the Bulldogs have 209 yards and UK 157. Wesley Carroll is 11-of-18 passing for 101 yards and two scores. That’s also 127-straight passes for Carroll without an interception. His scoring passes have gone to Jason Husband and Athony Dixon (first career TD reception for Dixon).

Dixon has 58 yards on the ground, while Christian Ducre has 35.

Your thoughts on this half, particularly from an offensive standpoint.

Answers to the blogbag

October 27, 2007

jaybirdms (why no Midnight Madness): Very little gets accomplished. Rick is more concerned getting down to business right away and with an open practice, that’s just not going to happen. His Midnight Madness will be opening game.

thingreenline (can Rhodes and Gordon play together): Absolutely. The two are good friends and both came into practice with great attitudes. They both talked about the team chemistry, saying it’s the best it’s ever been. And talking with them, you sensed they weren’t feeding you a line of bull.

thingreenline (do the quarterbacks audible): I talked with Wesley Carroll extensively about audibles and he said he has the green light to audible at any time. Then he laughed and said he doesn’t make it a big show like Peyton Manning does.

thingreenldine (top priority of new AD): You’re wearing me out, man. Just kidding. Great questions. Without doubt, raise money. Lots of it. MSU is behind in that category and it has to catch up big time.

statefanatolemiss (basketball predictions): I see a 20-win season and first-place finish in the West. I know Arkansas is the easy pick, but I just like this team Stans has put together. I think it will be a disappointment if the Bulldogs don’t get the Sweet 16. My starters are Jamont Gordon, Barry Stewart, Ben Hansbrough, Charles Rhodes and Jarvis Varnado. Top two off the bench are Brian Johnson and Phil Turner. With that said, it probably will be completely different. LOL! As for Scotty Hopson, he said he’s coming. I know Kentucky is doing their part to change his mind, but we shall see.

imabulldog (mood of team after WVU game): They weren’t happy about the loss and particularly the play of the first quarter. But they did like they way they battled back starting with the second quarter.

To all who asked about reseating at the Hump and tickets: Guys, I know it’s tough. But this is the era we’re in these days. MSU needs money and the bigger the donor, the better the seats. Times a changing, and I know it can be difficult. But again, it’s all about money.

msurwl (video boards at MSU): I imagine it will be at the same place, just bigger. I’ll see if I can get more info from Larry about that later in the week.

Again, good questions this week.

Finally made it to the Bluegrass State

October 26, 2007

And, man, am I feeling blue.

I was supposed to land in Lexington. Funny thing, though. I didn’t. Instead, I landed in Louisville. Thanks, Northwest, for overbooking. Wouldn’t have been so bad had my hotel not been in Lexington, along with the rental car. Oh well, that’s baseball. But, I finally made it. That’s all that counts. Just three hours late.

I may not get to the Blogbag until rather late. I’ll do my best. If not tonight, then before the game.

Have I missed anything? I left Tupelo at 6, so I feel I’ve been gone all day.

As for the local paper, the Lexington Herald-Leader, here is Story No. 1 on Andre Woodson. Here is Story No. 2 on Andre Woodson.

And from the Louisville Courier, here’s a piece on on backup running back Derrick Locke, who is starting for the injured Rafael Little.

James Taylor, you are the man!

October 25, 2007

Those of you who saw the national anthem at the start of Game 2 of the World Series between Colorado and that New England team know what I’m talking about. Wow! Was that awesome or what?

Not going to watch the game, though. Virginia Tech-Boston College is far more enticing. Plus, I just can’t stand to watch the Tea Party goers waltz through this thing.

A cheerleader blog? Really?

October 25, 2007

Normally, I don’t write or blog about cheerleaders. But there’s always an exception to the rule.

Earlier today, Joe Galbraith of the MSU media relations office sent me this cheerleader link, so I thought I would pass it along for you all to view. It’s pretty neat. Plus, a few pics of cheerleaders will always brighten a rainy day. Or a sunny day, for that matter.

Joe said the MSU girl is Kylie Estes, who was Miss MSU this year.

A few notes from media days

October 25, 2007

• Jamont Gordon called Charles Rhodes the most improved player this year. Unlike season’s past, he said Rhodes hasn’t taken a day off and that he brings it every day. I guess he’s been somewhat humbled by testing the NBA waters last spring.

• Rhodes said John Lucas was a huge help when he was looking at the NBA. He said Lucas encouraged him to come back for his senior year.

• All the other players and coaches raved about Jamont Gordon. They said he’s clearly the best point guard in the SEC, if not the country.

• Rick Stansbury said if he had a vote, he’d pick Arkansas to win the West, too. “They’ve got eveyone back,” he said. “They should be picked.”

• Stansbury said he likes the fact the NCAA is going to enforce coaches stay in their box and watch their language. He said it will be more difficult for some. He wouldn’t name names, though.

There wasn’t much that came out of this event. I’ll be honest, I’m not even sure why they have it. I’d say there weren’t even 150 reporters there.

How is Croom doing this season?

October 25, 2007

With four games left to go, I’d like to hear from you all on your opinion of Sylvester Croom’s job performance this season.

Give me a letter grade, with a plus or minus if needed, and a brief summary why you issued the grade you did.

SEC a la carte

October 24, 2007

1. LSU: Les Miles, you’re one gutsy fellow.

2. Florida: On an neutral field, the Gators may be the best team.

3. Kentucky: Tough loss at home.

4. South Carolina: Vanderbilt? Seriously.

5. Auburn: Wow! What a tough, tough loss at LSU. I mean, tough.

6. Georgia: Bring on the Gators!

7. Alabama: Now, that was a Big Orange Crush!

8. Tennessee: Nice showing at Alabama. Really nice.

9. Arkansas: Thank goodness for Ole Miss.

10. Mississippi State: Nice first quarter at West Virginia. That was awful.

11. Vanderbilt: How did the ‘Dores pull off the win at South Carolina? Seriously.

12. Ole Miss: What’s there to say? Really.

 How would you rank the SEC?

Football schedule and some more basketball

October 23, 2007

OK. We had hoped to hear about the football schedule by now, but we were just informed by Larry Templeton that there is still no answer. I think he really enjoys not telling us any info on this stuff. He smiles everytime.

Now, let’s switch gears real quick to basketball. The SEC just announced the preseason media polls and All-SEC team. Mississippi State was picked second in the West, while Jamont Gordon made first-team All-SEC and Charles Rhodes second team.

Eastern Division
Tennessee
Kentucky
Florida
Vanderbilt
Georgia
South Carolina
Western Division
Arkansas
Miss. State
Alabama
Auburn
LSU
Ole Miss

FIRST TEAM ALL-SEC
Richard Hendrix, Alabama
Patrick Beverley, Arkansas
Jamont Gordon, Mississippi State
Chris Lofton, Tennessee*
Shan Foster, Vanderbilt

SECOND TEAM ALL-SEC
Steven Hill, Arkansas
Charles Rhodes, Mississippi State
Tasmin Mitchell, LSU
Dwayne Curtis, Ole Miss
Tyler Smith, Tennessee

OK. Pick that score

October 23, 2007

Saturday, Mississippi State battles No. 14 Kentucky in Lexington. Can the Bulldogs snap a streak of 13-straight losses to ranked teams? What’s your score and the ONE key to victory.

As for the game, here’s today’s Lexington Herald-Leader stories:
Cats still have shot at SEC title.
SEC East anyone’s race, even Vandy’s.
This QB matchup lived up to its billing.

Now for the Louisville Courier-Journal
Cats say they won’t let down against Bulldogs.

And finally, if you’re wondering what Jackie Sherrill is doing these days, here’s your answer.

Thanks, Jackie! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

A little basketball

October 22, 2007

This afternoon, we traded football for basketball. For the first time since practice started, Rick Stansbury sat down with the media and talked about his team.

Here are a few highlights . . .

• The projected starting five are Jamont Gordon at the point, Ben Hansbrough and Barry Stewart at the two guard slots and Jarvis Varnado and Charles Rhodes inside.

• The likely first two off the bench will be Brian Johnson and Phil Turner.

• Stansbury said the offense has looked really, really good and that the defense is coming around.

• He’s working on not saying freshmens. He even caught himself several times saying it, and of course, we all laughed.

• Ben Hansbrough, Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes all talked about how much closer the team is, particularly off the court.

• Stansbury called guard Riley Benock the biggest surprise, saying, “He handles the defensive aspects as well as anybody, and he can shoot it in the hole.”

• Did I mention he’s working on not saying freshmens anymore.

• At 4 p.m. on Saturday, there will be a scrimmage that’s open to the public.

• Stansbury quote: “Like early in all practices, the biggest thing we’re trying to establish is the energy you have to play with, the toughness you have to defend and rebound with. That’s what we’re trying to establish right now. It’s obvious we have a long way to go, but I do like the progress we’ve made with those young kids defensively. We scrimmaged this past Saturday after one week. Offense didn’t seem to be our problem. Defensively we just have to get better in all those areas, and that’s kind of what you expect early.”