Archive for February, 2008

Make that five and counting for Garrett

February 29, 2008

Nearly a week after LSU offered him a full scholarship, Tupelo quarterback Chris Garrett receiver another offer on Friday. 

This time it’s Florida State.

Garrett, who committed to Mississippi State last fall, has participated in camps in the past with FSU offensive coordinator, Jimbo Fisher, who served in the same capacity at LSU until this past season. 

The senior-to-be at THS also has offers from Colorado and Ole Miss.

Live from Orlando . . .

February 29, 2008

OK. All the Florida stereotypes are true. There are large, large population of old people. LOL! 

Oh well, they’ve got to go somewhere.

Anyway, It’s good to be on the ground. I think I’m only two hours away from Gainesville. I’m staying somewhere off Universal, and there are a ton of people. You’d think it’s spring break.

Did I miss anything. More surgeries? More arrests? Hopefully not.

Anyway, big game tomorrow for the Bulldogs. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the biggest since 2004 considering all that’s on the line. Do you agree?

Those friendly skies

February 29, 2008

Ok, sports fans. I won’t be available much today due to my travels to Gainesville via Orlando.

So until I check in, go ahead and predict the score. And for fun, who ya got on Tennessee and Kentucky?

You all try to behave now!

Carpenter out for the spring

February 28, 2008

Offensive lineman Johnny Carpenter, who is in a battle for the starting nod at center, is out for the remainder of the spring due to a shoulder injury.

He is scheduled to have surgery on Friday.

Tough day for the Bulldogs. First, Jamon Hughes is suspended, then Carpenter.

Practice resumes on Friday in full pads.

Hughes suspended

February 28, 2008

Junior linebacker Jamon Hughes, who played in all 13 games last year and drew one start, has been suspended indefinitely.

Bulldogs coach Sylvester Croom wouldn’t say why the suspension was levied, but noted the penalty will be carried over into the fall.

Last year, the Rolling Fork native recorded 65 tackles, including 5.5 behind the line of scrimmage.

Despite the suspension, he will continue practicing.

If the SEC tournament started today . . .

February 28, 2008

Here’s how it would shake out.

• First and foremost, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee would all have opening-round byes.
• And the first-round matchups on Thursday would be:
[W4] Auburn vs. [E5] South Carolina
[E3] Vanderbilt vs. [W6] Ole Miss
[E4] Florida vs. [W5] LSU
[W3] Alabama vs. [E6] Georgia
• Then there’s Friday’s second round:
Auburn/South Carolina winner vs. Tennessee
Vanderbilt/Ole Miss winner vs. Arkansas
Florida/LSU winner vs. Mississippi State
Alabama/Georgia winner vs. Kentucky

For the record . . .

February 28, 2008

No SEC team has ever won 10 league games and not make the NCAA Tournament. 

And note, Mississippi State is 10-3 in the SEC and atop the Western Division standings.

MSU-LSU to be televised

February 28, 2008

The SEC just announced Mississippi State’s regular-season finale against LSU at Humphrey Coliseum on March 8 will be televised by Raycom (WCBI for you local folks).

Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.

Three up with three to go

February 28, 2008

With 27 games now in the book, Mississippi State holds a three-game lead over Arkansas in the Western Division standings with just three to play.

There’s also the overall picture, which has MSU trailing Tennessee by just a game. Well, technically two, because the Vols topped the Bulldogs in Starkville back in January.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that two State’s final three games are on the road – at Florida Saturday and at Vanderbilt on Wednesday. Neither venue has been too kind to the Bulldogs. In Gainesville, MSU is 12-35, while in Nashville the Dogs are 8-42.

In its last 10 outings at both places, Mississippi State is 4-6 at Florida and 3-7 at Vandy. That’s not too bad.

But with the way this team is playing, and the confidence it exudes, I wouldn’t be surprised if MSU at least split.

As for Wednesday night’s win against Auburn, Charles Rhodes was simply dominant with his 30-point performance.

It’s a career-high for C-Rhodes

February 27, 2008

Senior forward Charles Rhodes hit the 30-point mark against Auburn, a career best.  

More importantly, Mississippi State turned back Auburn 89-78 to collect its 10th SEC win of the season.

For Rhodes, he’s now scored 20-plus points seven times this season and 19 for his career. His previous career high was 27 points, which came two seasons ago at Georgia.

State, which is now 19-8 overall, returns to action Saturday at Florida. See ya Gainesville.

Six minutes from a possible title

February 27, 2008

If Mississippi State hangs on to beat Auburn and Alabama maintains its lead against Arkansas, the Bulldogs will clinch at least a share of the Western Division title, their second in as many years.

And right now, MSU is enjoying a 73-62 lead.

Dogs up on the Tigers at the half

February 27, 2008

At the Hump, it’s MSU 42, Auburn 35.

Call it a barn burner. Literally.

The Bulldogs have hit 16 of their 27 shots and are 7 of 13 beyond the arc. Jamont Gordon has three of the treys and has totaled 11 points, while Charles Rhodes has 12.

Quan Prowell leads Auburn with 20 points and has drained five 3-pointers.

Dogs, Tigers tangle – again

February 27, 2008

For the second time this season, Mississippi State and Auburn meet on the hardcourts. This time, the showdown in Starkville. Last time on the Plains, the Bulldogs cruised 83-64.

What about this time? What’s your score? Key player?

Dogs move indoors

February 26, 2008

Trust me. It’s not spring outside. Not even close. Dang cold, you might say. And that’s why Sylvester Croom decided to move practice indoors for Day 2.

Good move on his part, which is probably one reason he rakes in over $1 million a year.

This is what we know . . .
• Croom has been studying various offenses on film to “steal” some ideas. After spring drills conclude, he’s going to visit some coaches at other schools to get more advice. He wouldn’t go into detail as to which schools.
• Very little new stuff has been introduced. However, of the new formations that have been implemented, quarterback Wesley Carroll said he likes them. And yes, it’s still going to be the West Coast offense.
• Speaking of the quarterbacks. They are off limits to defenders. In fact, Croom said there’s a two-foot halo no one is allowed to enter. If they do, their scholarship is dissolved. I think he was kidding.
• Carroll said he has spent countless hours since the Liberty Bowl working on his footwork. A better stance in the pocket, he notes, has given him more confidence. He’s also gained 10 pounds. Hey, so have I.
• Nine players were awarded their jersey numbers (a Croom tradition that says they’ve played well enough to earn their numbers) – Wesley Carroll, Brandon Hart, Christian Ducre, Keith Fitzhugh, De’Mon Glanton, Dominic Douglas, Jamar Chaney, Jasper O’Quinn and Eric Hoskins.

It’s time for blogbag

February 26, 2008

Got questions about MSU athletics? Fire away. I’ll provide answers later in the week.

Now, for some things to note . . .
• The MSU baseball team has its home opener today against UAB. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
• The Bulldogs return to the practice field for the second day of spring drills at 3 p.m. today. On Monday, MSU coach Sylvester Croom wasn’t the least bit happy with the quarterback/center exchange.
• Tomorrow, of course, Mississippi State hosts Auburn at Humphrey Coliseum.
• The Bulldogs were mighty close to returning to the Top 25 polls on Monday.

First day of spring in the books

February 25, 2008

Spring football opened with a bang on Monday. Well, sorta.  

Sylvester Croom said he liked the enthusiasm, especially with the defense.

As for the offense, little was accomplished because of constant problems with the center-quarterback exchange.

To say it drove Croom nuts would be an understatement.

J.C. Brignone was the most consistent and is now listed as the starter, with Johnny Carpenter listed as the backup. Also in the battle to replace Royce Blacklege are J.C. Looney and Chris Spencer.

If there was a positive on offense, Croom said it was improved footwork by the quarterbacks and the play of Co-Eric Riley.

Also, Wade Bonner has officially been moved from safety to halfback.

It’s not spring, but it’s time for some football

February 25, 2008

Yep. It’s still February. But today, Mississippi State hits the practice fields for the start of spring drills.

Didn’t preparations for the Liberty Bowl just end? Geez. It sure does seem like it.

Anyway, last week I had the chance to sit down with new defensive coordinator Charlie Harbison for a story in today’s newspaper. Here’s what he had to say about the Bulldogs’ new defense, which is going to look a lot like it did under Ellis Johnson.

Ranking the SEC

February 24, 2008

1. Tennessee

2. Mississippi State
3. Vanderbilt
4. Kentucky
5. Arkansas
6. Florida
7. South Carolina
8. Georgia
9. Auburn
10. LSU
11. Alabama
12. Ole Miss

Clearly, Tennessee is the best in the SEC. Several steps ahead of anyone else in the league.

Answers to the blogbag

February 24, 2008

bigdraws (will non-conference games be on radio): Most of the time, only the conference games will be on the network stations. There are occasions where there will be an exception. However, WFCA out of French Camp will carry all of the games.
jaybirds (when does spring football practice): Monday, Feb. 25. Yikes.
jbuzz74 (what’s the deal with Tyler Moore): It just takes time to break in. It’s a big adjustment from JUCO to the SEC.
bdog13 (what would keep Jamont Gordon from entering the draft): At the end of the season, he’ll sit down and look at the projections and talk to key scouts and then he’ll make a decision. If he’s told he’ll definitely go in the first two rounds, I’d have to think he’ll bypass his senior year.
farley (how is the tennis team looking): They’ve won some matches, and dropped some heartbreakers too. Right now, the men’s team is 4-2, while the women are 5-1.
dc31 (routine for basketball team): Unlike the football team, they don’t stay in hotels on the night before home games. That would just be too expensive. Most players get to the arena around 2 1/2 hours before tip. The pregame meal always features pasta, salads, fruit, juice, tea and sometimes fish. Lasagna is always a big hit. And there’s always ice cream.
2thdoc (how many SEC wins will it take to get to the NCAA tournament): I say an overall total of 20 would be automatic, which means 11 SEC wins would be the magic number.
dc31 (which signees are going to JUCO route): Still not sure of that answer. We’ll know more in April. On signing day, Croom wouldn’t divulge that information. Not sure why he wouldn’t.
statedog (what’s happened to Phil Turner’s playing time): As you know, he’s barely gotten any. I think his confidence is shaken, and quite honestly, others have stepped up. Perhaps the big shot he nailed against South Carolina will restore his confidence.

Dogs in first, clinch bye

February 24, 2008

Not only did Mississippi State extend its lead in the Western Division to two games over Arkansas, it clinched a bye in the SEC Tournament, which begins two weeks from Thursday in Atlanta.

If the regular season ended today, Tennessee would be the top seed in East, followed by Kentucky at No. 2. In the West, the Bulldogs would be first and Arkansas second.Later today, I’ll have the answers to the blogbag and my weekly SEC rankings.

We had a stringer from Columbia, Seth Emerson, cover the South Carolina game for us. My many thanks to Seth.

As for the RPI figures, the Bulldogs moved up to 41. Again, huge win for MSU on Saturday, at least as far as the RPI is concerned.