Archive for January 23rd, 2009

Blog Bag Answers Aplenty

January 23, 2009

Y’all filled this week’s Blog Bag to overflowing, and I did my darndest to provide satisfatory answers. Can’t say I hit 1.000 on that, but some questions will be more precisely answered in time. On with it:

Q: Any update on the indoor basketball practice facility?
A: Athletics director Greg Byrne: “We’re making progress. The goal is still to try to get it going after the season. But like many others, we’ve felt the impact of the economy.”

Q: Any update on the expansion of Humphrey Coliseum, Dudy Noble Field or Davis Wade Stadium?
A: Byrne: “Right now we’re trying to finalize a master plan for all of our facilities.”

Q: What are the chances of the Dudy Noble bleacher stands all being made chairbacks?
A: Byrne said if that happens, it’ll be worked out in the aforementioned “master plan.”

Q: Is there any chance new president Mark Keenum puts a stop to this crazy logo change?
A: Logos are all set. If you haven’t seen them yet, here they are: mississippistate-logo-usage3.

Q: Have you had the chance to interview Dr. Keenum on his take on all that has happened in the athletics department?
A: Not yet, but I want to soon. He’s so busy, though, our news editor hasn’t even been able to secure an interview with him yet.

Q: How are things with baseball coach John Cohen and the team? I’ve seen them practice a little this winter.
A: I haven’t spoken with Cohen lately, but I’m going to try to catch up with him next week.

Q: What is the word on the pitching rotation and starting lineup for the baseball team?
A: I’ll let you know what I find out when I talk to Cohen.

Q: What was that video that was playing on the MooTron before the Vandy game?
A: Didn’t see it. Something for the recruits, I heard.

Q: When are they gonna schedule alternative uses of the new video board (movies, etc.)?
A: Byrne said that hasn’t found its way up the priority list yet, so nothing to report.

Q: Who do you think would just complete the puzzle for us in football?
A: One word: Quarterback. And an offensive line. And a pass rush. And speedy wideouts. And a reliable kicker. Dude, there are lots of issues.

Q: When will we ever see Mississippi State with a winning football team?
A: If you’ve seen me try to predict games, you’ll know my opinion on that is worthless, so I won’t bother.

Q: I keep hearing football coach Dan Mullen is expected to pull out one or two more key recruits before signing day. Who’s left that has State on their list? We’re at 23 commits, how many more can we sign?
A: State can sign 25 this year. I don’t know who Mullen is looking at most closely – he obviously can’t tell us – but we might can draw clues from a by-position breakdown of current commitments (star ratings from Rivals.com):
• QB: Tyler Russell, Meridian HS (4 stars)
• RB: Darius Slay, Brunswick, Ga., HS (2 stars); LaDarius Perkins, St. Joseph HS (3 stars); Montrell Conner, Ouachita Parish, La., HS (4 stars); William Shumpert, Itawamba AHS (3 stars)
• WR: Chad Bumphis, Tupelo HS (4 stars); Leon Berry, East Miss. CC (3 stars); Maurice Langston, East Central Miss. CC (4 stars); Chris Smith, Meridian HS (3 stars)
• OL: Gabriel Jackson, Amite Co. HS (3 stars); Sam Watts, Salem HS (Conyers, Ga., 3 stars)
• DE: Pernell McPhee, Itawamba CC (4 stars); Johnathan McKenzie, Starkville Aca. (2 stars); Fletcher Cox, Yazoo City HS (4 stars)
• DT: Josh Boyd, Philadelphia HS (4 stars)
• LB: Chris White, Miss. Gulf Coast CC (4 stars); Deontae Skinner, Noxubee Co. HS (3 stars)
• DB: Dennis Thames, Louisville HS (3 stars); Nickoe Whitley, Provine HS (3 stars); Johnthan Banks, East Webster HS (3 stars); Cameron Lawrence, Magnolia Heights HS (3 stars)
K: Sean Brauchle, Miss. Gulf Coast CC (3 stars)
P: Heath Hutchins, Itawamba CC (3 stars)

Q: Are there any more offensive linemen in our sights for the few remaining scholarships?
A: At least a couple of linemen have been offered by State but haven’t committed: Olive Branch’s Aubrey Phillips, who according to Scout.com has given Tennessee a soft verbal; and Randall Fowler of Banneker (College Park, Ga.). It would make sense to get a couple more linemen.

Q: Any word on Pat Patterson (Noxubee County WR) coming to MSU?
A: Nothing solid, but a story I linked up in my previous post has a Rivals.com dude saying he thinks Patterson is coming to Starkville.

Q: How do coaches decide how many scholarships to offer above the limit?
A: I’ll ask Dan that question whenever I can get him on the phone.

Q: What coaches did Mullen keep from Sylvester Croom’s staff?
A: Rockey Felker, Melvin Smith, Reed Stringer and David Turner.

Q: When are you going to change the header on this blog page?
A: When somebody makes me one. I got no Photoshop skills.

Q: What is the meaning of life?
A: Cashews.

Q: Twenty wins in basketball used to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament. Still so? If not, how many, and do you see MSU getting there?
A: MSU is 13-6 (3-1 in SEC) with 12 games left, plus the SEC tourney. I’d say at least – at least – eight more wins plus a strong tourney run. Winning the West sure wouldn’t hurt.

Q: I heard that Leo Seal Jr. left the athletic department a sizable gift when he passed away in November. When will this gift be announced, and what are the plans for the donation?
A: I’ll go with imabulldog’s answer: “Think it’s private, and by that I mean assigned to cover expenses concerning the coaching staff and changes needed. I may be wrong, though.” I’ve heard nothing on an announcement.

Q: Any chance that the club hockey team gets more support, or is this a dead issue due to Title IX?
A: Byrne said that the foreseeable future holds no change in the team’s club status.

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Lady Bulldogs Win; & Loads o’ Links

January 23, 2009

I kind of wish I’d stayed in Baton Rouge another night. Then I could’ve seen MSU’s women knock off LSU, 38-36, Thursday night. Armelie Lumanu‘s 15-footer at the horn lifted the Lady Bulldogs (15-4, 3-2 SEC) to their first win at LSU in 20 tries. Robin Porter led State with 10 points.

I’ve got some links I want to share with you, some of which I wanted to post last night, but Comcast had some sort of meltdown, and the Internet is still off at home. Anyway, from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, David Paschall writes about Dan Mullen‘s recruiting haul of in-state athletes, calling it “the SEC’s most surprising class of commitments.” This 2009 class is ranked 17th in the nation by Rivals.com, and it could go higher, according to the Web site’s national editor, Jamie Newberg. He told Paschall that he thinks Noxubee County WR Pat Patterson, the state’s No. 1-rated prospect, will wind up in Starkville.

Now to the Sporting News, where Matt Hayes lists the top five player-coach partnerships that must be developed during spring practices. At the top of the list is Florida QB Tim Tebow and his position coach, Scot Loeffler. “Don’t underestimate the loss of Dan Mullen to Mississippi State,” Hayes writes. “Mullen not only was Tebow’s position coach, he was his confidant and the mentor who – more than anyone – had Tebow prepared for every possible scenario on and off the field.”

Sticking with football, if you’re going to the Senior Bowl in Mobile to watch Derek Pegues or whoever, get down there today.

In our SEC news item of the day, Auburn’s new football coaching staff has basically booted its punter to the curb. Clinton Durst, who walked on and promptly became one of the best punters in the SEC and the nation, is not getting the scholarship promised him by the Tommy Tuberville regime.

And a quick men’s basketball note: MSU has an RPI of 86 even after that bad loss to LSU. The Bulldogs are about 100 spots ahead of where they were at the start of the month. They travel to Georgia on Saturday, and I’ll have a look at that game in tomorrow’s Journal.