Archive for July, 2008

Where do you draw the line

July 31, 2008

It seems like every time you pick up the newspaper or turn on the television, an athlete finds himself in trouble.

You guys have certainly seen it at Mississippi State and Ole Miss, and in the last couple of weeks you read about troubles at Penn State, Alabama, LSU, Kentucky and South Carolina. In fact, just insert any school and you’ll read about wayward athletes.

Yet, nine times out of 10, they find themselves back not only on their respective campuses, but on the team as well.

Are we seeing more and more bad decisions by student-athletes because coaches are happy to issue second chances and those same athletes just aren’t as worried about losing scholarships as they used to be? Are these bad decisions due to the NCAA limiting the time coaches can be around the players? Do the salaries coaches now make and the pressure to win lead to more tolerance on their part?

These are some issues that aren’t going away over night. To be honest, I think it’s time the coaches get a more firm hold on the grip.

Again, when is enough enough? Unfortunately, I’m not sure there really is a definitive answer to that question.

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How about some basketball news in July

July 31, 2008

I know, I know. It’s football.

But there’s some basketball news you might interesting.

Mississippi State hasn’t yet released its complete basketball schedule, but in his weekly column, athletics director Greg Byrne announced the SEC slate.

What you’ll find interesting are the televised games – seven of them.

Saturday, 1/10/09 at Arkansas

Wednesday, 1/14/09 Alabama

Saturday, 1/17/09 Vanderbilt

Wednesday, 1/21/09 at LSU

Saturday, 1/24/09 at Georgia (ESPN/ESPN2)

Saturday, 1/31/09 Ole Miss (Raycom, 12 noon)

Tuesday, 2/3/09 at Kentucky (Raycom, 6 p.m.)

Saturday, 2/7/09 Arkansas (Raycom, 3 p.m.)

Wednesday, 2/11/09 LSU

Saturday, 2/14/09 at Auburn

Wednesday, 2/18/09 South Carolina

Saturday, 2/21/09 at Alabama (Raycom, 3 p.m.)

Wednesday, 2/25/09 at Tennessee (Raycom, 8 p.m.)

Saturday, 2/28/09 Auburn

Wednesday, 3/4/09 Florida (Raycom, 8 p.m.)

Saturday, 3/7/09 at Ole Miss

I expect the rest of the schedule to be announced toward the end of the month.

For those that follow recruiting religiously . . .

July 31, 2008

Athlon just sent me their Top 100 recruits for 2009.

But in the rankings, the magazine also shows how other recruiting publications rank them. It’s pretty interesting.

Also interesting is the lack of Mississippi players. Only two.

Peeping Crooms

July 31, 2008

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

Those of you who read the Six Pack Message Board know what I’m referring to.

Anyway, there was a Sylvester Croom sighting in Nashville on Thursday visiting with the Tennessee Titans during their training camp. And you may recall former MSU tackle David Stewart starts for the Titans.

Stewart, an Alabama native, said it was the first time he’s seen Croom since 2004.

You can read about the visit in The Daily News Journal. Sorry, I have no idea where that newspaper is based out of.

Where MSU has and hasn’t . . .

July 31, 2008

With camp just three days away from getting started, where do you feel Mississippi State has made the biggest improvement?

At the same time, what’s the one area you see no improvement with?

Yesterday, I forgot to post a story I did on Jamar Chaney. So if you didn’t read it, it still stands even if a day old.

Fantasy football . . .

July 30, 2008

Do you participate or not?

And if so, do you lean toward the NFL leagues or college football?

I’ll explain this post later after reading your comments.

Johnson, Prince and Hughes back in school

July 30, 2008

Mississippi State has announced it has re-admitted football players Anthony Johnson, Rodney Prince and Jamon Hughes back to school.

The three withdrew from the university back in the spring following the on-campus shooting incident involving Mike Brown and Quinton Wesley.

Johnson and Prince are back on scholarship and will be allowed to practice with the team this fall when school starts, but they aren’t eligible to play in games. Hughes has been given the opportunity to return as a walk-on.

In a press release, MSU coach Sylvester Croom said, “We are thankful that the university has given these three young men the opportunity to finish their education at Mississippi State. For them, this is a second chance. I hope that all of our players have learned a valuable lesson from this situation and understand there are consequence of making bad decisions and choices.”

The fifth-year coach said he won’t comment further regarding this situation.

Polk, Cohen speak

July 29, 2008

Just got off the phone with Ron Polk, who earlier today was named volunteer assistant at UAB.

He’s excited about his new gig and working again with Brian Shoop, who was an assistant for Polk at MSU from 1983-89. Polk said he’ll be in charge of outfielders and hitting, but won’t do any recruiting, as mandated by NCAA rules on volunteer assistants.

He also got an apartment today and said he’ll report to work on Aug. 13.

“Brian Shoop asked if I would be interested and I said I would be,” Polk noted. “But I’m not going over there to be the head coach and change signals and make it my program. He’s the head coach and I’m impressed with the system he has. I’m just there to help out where needed.”

He said he’ll keep his house in Starkville and plans on returning there once a week to check on mail and pay bills.

John Cohen, who replaced Polk in June, said it’s great Polk is back in coaching. He also said the two have worked out their differences, but remains bothered about comments Polk continues to make in regards to Greg Byrne.

“He needs to be in coaching and working with the players,” Cohen said. “Because he has so much to offer. I think this is great.”

As the case has been the last several years, MSU and UAB are scheduled to play again this season. Polk said he’s not looking forward to that.

Polk back in business

July 29, 2008

Back in June, Ron Polk said don’t be suprised if he pops back up in baseball.

Well guess what? He has.

According to the Birmingham News, Polk is going to be a volunteer assistant at UAB.

The 64-year-old skipper, who retired from Mississippi State this past spring, joins the staff of Brian Shoop, a former Polk assistant at MSU from 1983-89.

Typically, the Blazers and Bulldogs play every year. I don’t know the schedule, but if that is indeed the case again this season, it should be interesting.

One stop shop for SEC football

July 28, 2008

Looking for news and notes on all 12 of the SEC schools?

Check out SEC Football Zone.

Ken Hawkins is the creator and it’s a pretty cool site. Give it a look and lemme know what you think.

Face of MSU athletics

July 28, 2008

On Friday, former Mississippi State baseball great Will Clark will be inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

To be honest, I thought he was already in.

So when coming to the realization that he indeed was not, I got to thinking (dangerous, I know). Is he the face of MSU athletics?

What is your take? If not Clark, then who?

Paul Mock update

July 28, 2008

I just returned from the hospital here in Tupelo following a good visit with Mississippi State head athletic trainer Paul Mock, who was admitted over the weekend following chest pains.

Paul was in great spirits and was his old self in that he was telling story after story. Later this afternoon, he’ll learn whether he’ll need bypass surgery.

He said he’s appreciative of everyone’s thoughts and prayers and that hopefully he’ll be back on the field soon.

In other news, I had a column in Sunday’s Daily Journal about what you can expect from this year’s gridiron Bulldogs. And in case you didn’t know, practice is now just six days away. Yikes!

Live from Tupelo . . .

July 25, 2008

Well, survived media days, and fortunately I return home free of any subpoena. Not everyone can say that.

Interesting three days, but I wouldn’t say any major news was revealed, other than Phillip Fulmer’s subpoena and the fact this event may move to Atlanta or Nashville.

As for the real news, it starts next Saturday when players report.

As for me, this is my last free weekend until Christmas, so I’m going to enjoy it. Unless major news unfolds, I’ll see you guys on Monday. Of course, there will be stories in the paper on Saturday and Sunday. They’re already written and on hold.

Have a great weekend. Feel free to post any grilling recipes. Who knows, I might even try one.

Last time MSU or Ole Miss not picked to finish last?

July 25, 2008

In the Western Division, that is.

Try 2000.

Thanks, Arkansas. The Magnolia State definitely appreciates your help.

Hoover no more? It’s likely

July 25, 2008

Don’t be surprised if the SEC’s media days relocate to a new city.

Nashville? Atlanta?

Chuck Dunlap, a MSU grad who is now the associate director of the SEC’s media relations department, said that while talks are ongoing, no definitive decision has been made.

“We’ve discussed moving the site of football media days out of Birmingham for promotional and other reasons in the past,” the proud Louisville native said. “I’m confident that discussion will occur again in the coming months with the league presidents, athletic directors and decision makers.”

Needless to say, this would be a huge move. When you think of media days, you think of Birmingham, or to be exact, Hoover.

I know some of you don’t care at all about this, but from my standpoint, it would be an interesting move.

For more insight on this story and additional reasons a relocation may indeed happen, check out the column written by the Birmingham News’ Kevin Scarbinsky.

Your SEC order of prediction

July 25, 2008

As voted on by the media . . .

Eastern Division
Florida (45)
Georgia (23)
Tennessee (2)
South Carolina
Kentucky
Vanderbilt
Western Division
Auburn (48 )
LSU (21)
Alabama
Mississippi State
Ole Miss (1)
Arkansas
Overall champion: Florida

MSU All-SEC players
First team

DB Derek Pegues
Second team
RB Anthony DIxon
LB Jamar Chaney

Day 2 . . . It’s in the books

July 24, 2008

Whew! Another day in the books.

And what I like most about Thursdays at media days is the voting.

Yep. It was time to vote the order of finish in both divisions.

So, here’s how I voted:
Eastern Division
Georgia
Florida
Tennessee
South Carolina
Kentucky
Vanderbilt
Western Division
Auburn
LSU
Mississippi State
Alabama
Ole Miss
Arkansas

Your thoughts?

So, how does the SEC really stack up

July 24, 2008

Out of curiosity, I wanted to see the overall records of the 12 SEC teams and where they rank all-time.

I found the results of my research interesting. I think you’ll agree.

1. Alabama 788-312-43 overall (341-159-20 SEC)
2. Tennessee 771-320-53 (308-153-19)
3. Georgia 713-381-54 (283-185-14)
4. LSU 692-378-47 (268-195-22)
5. Auburn 676-388-47 (274-207-18 )
6. Arkansas 646-435-40 (61-65-2)
7. Florida 628-368-40 (256-192-15)
8. Ole Miss 597-460-35 (232-230-15)
9. Kentucky 553-546-44 (147-320-12)
10. Vanderbilt 546-542-50 (114-355-18 )
11. South Carolina 521-523-44 (46-78-1)
12. Mississippi State 481-519-39 (157-316-13)

Up with the good, down with the bad

July 24, 2008

Those were the words from the mouth of Nick Saban.

What’s he talking about, you ask.

Well, he was referring to the fact his team played just one complete game this season – against Tennessee. Then he added that Bama played to level of its competition “Up with the good teams and down with the bad teams.”

Well, coach, who exactly were the bad teams. Of the six foes the Tide lost to, none finished below .500.

Hummmmm . . .

Round 2 . . . Let’s get it on

July 24, 2008

Morning, all. Hope you’re ready for another day that is SEC Media Days.

On tap today are Mark Richt of Georgia, Houston Nutt of Ole Miss (nearly said Arkansas), Phillip Fulmer of Tennessee and Nick Saban of Alabama (didn’t almost say LSU).

Should be another exciting, action-packed day here at the Wynfrey.

As for yesterday’s stories . . .
For Sylvester Croom, it’s not about the money.
• A notebook led with Wesley Carroll.
• A look at LSU and its quarterback issues.