With the exception of Alabama, MSU is not struggling with any of their SEC West brethren. Just ask Arkansas. State topped the Hogs 67-56, to improve to 13-10 (5-4) on the season. Outside of the 2 whippings by the hands of the Tide, State is a strong 4-0 in divisional play. When the Bulldogs face off with Auburn this Saturday, they'll be riding their 2nd winning streak of the season- in SEC play (first streak consisted of wins @Ole Miss and against Auburn). Earlier in the week, Riley Benock brought attention to just how important it is to continue to fight and win the 2nd place spot in the West, which could help out a team's chances such as MSU's-in winning the SEC Tourney. A tourney banner would grant State an automatic invitation to the Big Dance come March. Though many such as myself, have all but written off this season and all the embarrassment it has brought, the Dawgs could still make a run. Stansbury's teams of the past, have a niche for under-acheiving during most of the regular season, only to play to their potential in the latter half. Anyway, it's going to take a heck of a lot more wins to change my mind about this team's odds, but I have to give them credit for winning 2 straight without starter Ravern Johnson (Indefinitely Suspended). I think the perfect gauge for this season, awaits State in Lexington next Tuesday night.
I did not see this one, thanks to the fact that this one was only on ESPN3 (for me), so this will not include my usual game breakdown and analysis, since I did not have a visual on what unfolded. But, here's some things I'm wondering about:
(1) Is Sid Buying in to the TEAM Concept?- I know, I know, it's been 2 games. But in those 2 games, Sid has put up 28 pts, 21 Rebs, and 2 Blk. The funny thing is, the kid is so talented, that he could give us 75% a night and dominate. With his height and frame, all he has to do to play average Defense is to get his hands up, move his feet, and use his body. That's all we need him to do on D and that's what he seems to be doing (NOW). I also like the fact that he is taking fewer shots, which means he is trying to be, key word 'trying' to be...less selfish.
(2) Brian Bryant, Better When Not Handling the Ball?- The last 2 games, Brian Bryant has stepped up and shown his ability to create and score. I've been very critical of Bryant's lack of ball-handling skills, but a lot of that has to with Stans relying on BB for that role. Bryant has the ability to score and create, but needs to be freed up from his reserve PG duties. Get the ball down court for him, then work the ball around to him when he is in. Bryant can shoot the ball and I'd like to see him become more of a focus in our Offensewhen he gives Bost a breather. The fact is, our Offense is extremely simple to run and always looks for the open perimeter man, or Sid when he's guarded one on one.
(3) Kodi Must Protect the Basketball-I really like Augustus. I've stood up for him in the past when others have not, but one thing has never changed with Kodi, and that's turnovers. He had '8' last night. Butterfingers, lack of focus, second-guessing himself on passes, you name it, he can't protect the basketball. He has turned the ball over 66 times this season alone. But, Kodi always seems to find a way to contribute. 4-4 from the FT line, 2 Blks, 1 Stl, 9 Rebs, and 2 Asst. Now, if we can just teach him to settle down and not put him in situations where he has to make too many decisions with the ball.
(4) Wendell Lewis' Where Art Thou?- Last night, Lewis had 8 pts, 6 Rebs, and 1 Blk in just 15 minutes of play. The thing is though, he has played major minutes this season and not come away with those numbers. It's time to set the kid up with chances to score, so that he is ready to take the reigns next season. Sid will more than likely be gone, so expecting Lewis to go from a garbage (put-back) points kind of guy to a scorer is an unfair expectation for the youngster. The fact that he doesn't get more looks, is a pure example of the fact that Stans has done nothing to improve the kid's game and prepare him for the bigger stage. Right now, his job is to get tough boards and make the put-back. Dig into this kid's physicality Rick!
-Bost becomes 33rd MSU player with 1,000+ points
-State had a 23-6 run during a 7 min stretch in the 2nd Half.
-State dominated Arkansas 41-28 in Rebounding. What?!?
-State shot 46%, as compared the Hogs' 33%
-Benock, even though he was not expected to play, pitched in 4 pts, 3 Stls, and 3 Rebs in 22 min of play.
TSUN's New Billboards- Hurting More than Helping?
To me, nothing says 'identity crisis' like these signs. They were put up by the Col. Reb Foundation, in order to support the survival of the school's beloved mascot, while trying to kill the possibility of a Black Bear mascot (We can only HOPE). To me, this only hurts TSUN. State and Mullen have signs that promote state 'dominance', while the Rebs, or Bears, seem more concerned with 'defeating' an internal mascot issue. Anyway, I just think it hurts the school, more than it helps it. I myself am a Southerner and dang proud to be one, but this is just another area that screams how 'delicate' of a situation TSUN is in right now. Besides good recruiting, there's not a lot going good for the University of Mississippi right now.
Recruiting Rumors Surrounding Tobias Singleton
Word is, that an Ole Miss Booster accompanied Singleton on his recruiting visit to UCLA. Conflict of interest? Yep. Guess we'll see how that unfolds.
Thoughts on the win vs Arkansas, TSUN's Billboards, and Singleton rumors?
Well guys, with Basketball going the way it has thus far, and with Baseball season still a few weeks off, I couldn't help but to still find myself thinking about MSU Football. Yesterday's thought process raised an interesting question in my mind, and though it sparked my own intrigue, it's sure to face a variety of opinionated responses and possible laughter from opposing fans. That question was this:
Could MSU and Dan Mullen, find their way to Atlanta next season?
Trust me, I wish I could hear all of your initial responses and internal reactions-when you completed reading that question. For those who are laughing, let's really take a look at 2011, and see how it could possibly shake out. Here's a foe-by-foe look at this upcoming season.
Memphis- W The Tigers are terrible and the town is a huge alumni base and in easy driving range for Bulldog fans. State will paint Memphis Maroon, on their way to crushing Memphis for the second season in a row.
@ Auburn- ? But, NO Cam Newton, Darvin Adams, or Nick Fairley. A fresh and inexperienced QB, and an absent game changer on D, should make for an interesting game. Plus, how much bad blood will brewing before this one? Auburn will win 7 or 8 next season.
LSU- ?Thursday night game, Davis Wade will be rocking. State will be catching LSU at the beginning of the season. Jordan Jefferson is back, but No Kelvin Shepard, Patrick Peterson, Terrance Tolliver, or Micheal Riddley. Many are saying that LSU is going to be the Preseason #1. Just imagine the atmosphere that a game of that magnitude will create. Not to mention, what it could do for MSU's ranking and national attention.
La Tech- W
@ UGA-State won last season in Starkville, but UGA will be better. Still, not a stretch to win in Athens. Btw, AJ Green Akeem Dent, Kris Durham, and Darryl Gamble are gone.
@ UAB- W The Blazers gave State a run for their money in 2010, and a Tommy West Defense will only make UAB better. But, yet another road game close to home, should give the Dawgs a slight home field feel. Plus, State knows not to overlook them now.
USC- W The Gamecocks are as schizophrenic as anyone in college football. Who knows 'who' will show up. Advantage MSU, this one is in Starkville. WR Tori Gurley is leaving early for the NFL.
@ UK- WState won in Lexington in 2009, with just a 5 win team. Another Cat and Dawg fight, as always. Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb are gone, which should deal the UK Offense a major blow. Not to mention, UK has and will continue to struggle on Defense.
Bama- ? NO McElroy, Juilo Jones, Mark Ingram, but still the Tide will be loaded. Still, Starkville gives State a better chance than T-Town.
@ Ark- ? Little Rock hasn't been friendly to State, but anything can happen. Ryan Mallet and DJ Williams are gone, but the Hogs return pretty much everyone.
TSUN- W 3 in a row. Mullen will not lose to the Bears.
So to recap, this year is what I call State's beneficial rotation year, in which it gets Bama, LSU, and TSUNat home. Though the foe isn't any different, the SEC road is still tough for teams visiting Starkville. Mullen was 5-1 last season at home and has proven in his first 2 seasons that he is indeed engraining a 'road warrior' mentality in the Bulldogs.
One other thing you have to think about, is that the SEC is going to experience the most 'pairity' it's seen in over 5 years. The West's winner, could be a 2 or three loss team in Conference play. This will truly be a season in which the SEC beats up on each other. Bama, Auburn, and Arkansas will all have a different look in the West, but the East should keep their identity intact from last season, with the exception of a new look Gator team. In my opinion, the West will shake out like the East did last season. No undefeated teams in the SEC next season. In fact, at a minimum, all SEC teams will have 2 losses.
Bulldog Basketball: Stansbury & Johnson/ Andy Katz Weighs In
I hope you guys didn't mind me not writing up a game rewind on the LSU matchup. A weekend of travel and a Sunday night spent watching the Super Bowl cut into my writing time. But, a win over the SEC's worst team is nothing to waste time on. On the other hand, State has a competitive Arkansas squad coming to town tomorrow night. The Hogs (14-8, 4-5) took down Vandy last week, only to fall @ UGA by 1, and the @ TSUN by 9.
As it turns out, the Rick Stansbury and Ravern Johnson saga is an on-going matter. Stans released that after Johnson's one game suspension was made public, the Bulldog player pretty much "disappeared." On Monday, the two met to talk things over and Stans had this to say: “Actions speak louder than words, so we’ll see. He seemed to be very remorseful for things, but, again, there’s accountability if you don’t do things right.” Johnson was allowed to practice last night and will play when 'he' is ready according to Rick. “He’ll make the decision, if and when he ever plays." Many such as myself, can't understand how Ray got the hook, but Sid didn't. Sidney not only re-tweeted Ray's status, but added negative comments towards fans just like Johnson did. ESPN's Andy Katz shared his thoughts about the issue:
[Sidney should be fortunate that any fans are still in his corner after two suspensions, an embarrassing nationally televised fight in which he literally could have put some innocent fan in the hospital with his wild swings, and this latest debacle. Sidney played in a win over LSU on Saturday. He at times looked dominating inside, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in 31 minutes in the 58-57 win. Great. But if Johnson didn’t play, why exactly did Sidney? Stansbury decision was worse than the one that reinstating Sidney after the fight. If Johnson was out of line for tweeting critical comments, then so was Sidney. The double-standard here lessens Stansbury’s credibility with the fan base, the rest of his colleagues in the league, and one would think the players in the locker room. Stansbury has had a tremendous run at Mississippi State, especially given the limitations of the school. But this wasn’t one of his finest hours. This season can’t end soon enough for the Bulldogs.]- Andy Katz
Anyway, your thoughts on State and Mullen possibly winning the SEC West in 2011?
Did Stans handle the Johnson situation poorly? Should Sid have been suspended as well? I completely agree with Katz...
As far as the decommitted recruits (ex. Johnson, Whitehead, Brassell, and Singleton): “I guess a commitment in my mind, and maybe the media’s mind, is very different. A commitment in my mind is someone coming to Mississippi State and not taking a visit. If you’re visiting other places, I never considered you committed in the first place...I view it as a guy that’s committed is someone that is coming to Mississippi State, that’s where I’m going, I’m not taking any other visits, that’s where I want to be at school, hold my spot for you. If they’re taking visit, I don’t really count them.”
What's the right word for a 'soft verbal'?: “A reservation? Right? I mean, if you make a reservation to a restaurant they don’t hold you to getting there, you know."
What did Mullen felt he got, talent wise?: "As I view it, the two top safeties, the top three DBs or top four in the state if you talk to the coaches were Kendrick Market one, Dee Arrington two, Zach Jackson three, and Justin Cox four. That’s how I viewed it.”
How he grades a recruit: “I listen to our coaching staffs and our needs, and where we think we are. Are there more players we want? Sure. It’s hard. I have to meet with kids sometimes and I wish we had more scholarships to give because there are a lot more kids I’d like to give scholarships to. It just becomes that tricky balancing of need and position that you fill those needs.”
Mullen on NOT Grey-Shirting players: "You hear all this talk of grayshirting and of all the people oversigning. That’s not our program. We have a distinct plan in what we do for young men. When you hear about how unethical some of those things are, you know, it’s hard for me to tell our guys we’re going to be a man of our word and then I’m not a man of my word during the recruiting process of these young men. That’s not the type of program we are. For us, that’s how we looked at it.”
Speed in this class: “When you look at a Justin Cox, at camp…lightning fast. Really, really fast. Any player that plays quarterback and leads his team to two state championships is a pretty good football player. We had him in camp, he ran great times for us. Josh Robinson the same way, he ran one of the fastest times we had at any of our camps this year, Josh did as a pretty stout running back. Derek Milton came in in the same way. So I think we’ve added some speed at those skill positions. And Darius Slay is a guy we recruited a couple of year s ago, a very dynamic player in the return game, played a lot in the secondary this year; you don’t get to see him to a lot because I think people stayed away from him up at ICC this year."
TSUN finished in the Top 25, your thoughts on that?: “Good. I thought we did pretty well, too. I guess we’ll find out next Thanksgiving. Just like the last two Thanksgivings.”
(1)We've said it before here on the site, and I have to believe that Mullen does indeed have an eye for talent. Like Mullen said, throw the internet recruiting sites out the window, and give me what coaches around the state have to say about certain players. I believe that Mullen signed some guys that are going to have a strong impact on the program in the future. Guys that are strong teammates, who make those around them better, and those that have leadership qualities.
(2) Mullen shared his thoughts on the issue, I'm glad that we do not practice grey-shirting players, and feel that-that method is a poor way to handle relationships with kids and their futures. I'm pretty sure that will earn Mullen praise in recruits' living rooms across the south, when parents can bank on the fact that their child is being taken care of. Like Mullen said, if a kid gives us their word, we must give them the same from our side.
(3) I really like what Buzzard calls Mullen's- line in the sand mentality. You are either for us or against us. The one thing that makes fans' and coaches' stomachs turn is a committed player who continues to take visits. Either wait til the end to commit and sign, or sign early and stay committed. The perfect way for a kid to get the media's attention off of himself is to commit to your favorite school, rather than commiting and then continuing to milk the process til the very end. Of course, those that want all the attention do the exact opposite. Anyway, I don't want any kid who's not excited or sure about coming to MSU-to actually come (Montrell Conner). Like Herbstriet said on tv yesterday, so many of these kids need to put their selfishness aside and play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the back. College is not the NFL, where you worry about yourselves, but the team as a whole. Something tells me that Auburn and TSUN better watch out, because some of their signees did this.
(4) Finally, I love Mullen's swagger. Just like I mentioned earlier this week, Mullen will decide things on the field, which is the only place where you can earn a victory in football. "I guess we’ll find out next Thanksgiving. Just like the last two Thanksgivings.”
Bama Pounds MSU AGAIN
Well, there's no doubt who the best team is in the West-if not the SEC as a whole. Not UT, not UF, not Vandy...but Bama. Any time you play blue-collar, physical, unselfish basketball, you are going to win almost every time out. Bama beat State by 18 earlier in the year in Starkville, and capped off their season sweep by a margin of 14 last night. This one wasn't on tv, so I can't critique the game like I usually do. Looks to me like it came down to fundamentals, and our inability to rebound, play D, and protect the basketball. When is the last time State was 11-10 (3-4 SEC)? I don't know and don't care, I just want a new coach by this time next season. Say...Anthony Grant? I say we hire young Pitino off of Donovan's staff at UF.
Did you see the game? Thoughts?
Your thoughts on Mullen's comments about the signing class?
National Signing Day 2011 is here! That means it's time to welcome aboard some new Bulldogs. Below, I've listed 23 solid MSU commitments, who have already given their word to Dan Mullen (CJ Johnson not included). Before we get to that list, that includes some of my thoughts on a few of the players, here's a look at a few players that you should keep an eye on throughout the day, in order to see where these players who these players will sign with.
(1) Kevin McReynolds #24 DT 3 Star- still uncommitted, but has offers from Oregon, K-State, Syracuse, etc. But, was rumored to have been talking smack to an Auburn recruit, about beating the Tigers. In case you haven't figured it out yet, no one except MSU is playing Auburn next year. Scout's Steve Robertson, said MSU's chances are favorable.
(2) Leon Mackey3 Star Juco DE- it is down to UT and MSU.
(3) Jermaine Whitehead 4 Star #24 CB- Still undecided, but MSU is still a part of his decision making process. Not coming in my opinion.
Bulldog Recruits by Position (#= Position Rank)
3 Star #70 Dak Prescott- My fellow bloguin writer Kris from the LSU site, has raved about this kid from day one. He is a slimmer version of Chris Relf, with a better arm and a more finesse running style. Don't get me wrong, Dak can take a beating, but is more of a Vince Young type runner than the rough, hard-nosed style of Relf. Very athletic and a natural play maker. Keep in mind, Patterson won the top award at MSU's Big Dawg Camp last year.
3 Star Derrick Milton- Sleeper! Spent his Senior year at Hargrave Military Academy to improve his academics. Milton is 5-11 and weighs just over 200 lbs, and has the tools to be a quality back. Quick feet, patient behind blockers, explosive even on weak side runs, quick to the edge, and has enough speed to pull away in the open.
2 Star #152 Shaq Perry
3 Star #79 Josh Robinson- This kid is also a major sleeper in my opinion. Started the season unranked at his position. He's quick to the outside, then he hits the burners. He will torch you on the sideline, looks for contact and drives through. In my opinion, he has a lot of Dicenzo Miller in him, but with more break away speed. Could be a household MSU name.
3 Star #53 Devon Scott
4 Star #30 Joe Morrow- No explanation needed. A Stud.
3 Star #188 Devin Fossleman- Even though he doesn't carry Morrow's resume' around, the kid is sure handed and is not afraid to catch the football in traffic. Only 5-9, Fossleman reminds me of ex-Bulldog Larry Huntington, because of his feet and moves in one on one situations. He may not break loose for a 70 yarder, but his feet will get you a first down when you need it.
3 Star #44 Daniel Knox- Knox will move to OT more than likely. Came from a run-heavy offense in high school. Great blocker, plays to the whistle, seals the edge, and redirects defenders with his strength. Not a guy that's fun to face off with for 4 Qtrs.
3 Star #69 Rufus Warren- Warren was used in more of an outside WR role in high school. Caught 17 passes for 243 yds. His height and frame could be a valuable asset across the middle.
2 Star JUCO Joey Trapp
2 Star #147 Justin Malone
3 Star #35 James Maiden
3 Star #47 Nick Redman- Great feet, physical, and hard working. Should be able to use his 6-5 300lb frame to drive defenders away from ball carriers, which will only aid MSU's rushing attack in the future. Like what I've seen and heard from this kid. Just needs to smooth out his rough edges, keep a level head, learn his position rather than relying on his natural strength.
3 Star #43 PJ Jones- Quite possibly State's biggest pick up on D. PJ has a quick first step, sheds blockers with ease, and finds a way to disrupt any play that requires time to develop. In the tackle spot, he reminds you a lot of Nick Fairley and his skill set. When blocked low, he has the athleticism and control to regain his footing and attack the play. From the DE position, his quickness around the edge is a mismatch for many. It's easy to see why 6 SEC teams were after him.
3 Star #127 John Harris
2 Star #171 Preston Smith
2 Star Taveze Calhoun
2 Star #148 Kendrick Market- I really like the fact that Market is either always around the ball or finds a way to get involved in a play. He is a great low tackler, has the ability to meet a bigger player head on-without giving up too much ground.
4 Star #9 Darion Arrington- I'm not quite ready to rule out the fact that Dee won't help out on Offense while at State. 1,200 yds rushing, almost 300 in receiving yds, this kid can fly. On the Defensive side, he does a good job from the Safety position. Attacks plays before they become big gainers, has a nose for how the play will unfold, and can deliver a decent hit. He finished with over 100 tackles, 4 INTs, and forced 4 fumbles.
3 Star #71 Zachary Jackson
3 Star JUCO Darius Slay
3 Star #95 Justin Cox
Not a bad class, especially when you place these recruits beside the other players at their respective positions. Just think of Joe Morrow's company: Bumphis, Heavens, Carr, Clark, Smith, Lewis, and Johnson. Or PJ Jones with Cox, Boyd, Fergeson, McCardell, Stigers, and Jones. Dee Arrington with Whitley, Bonner, Banks, and Broomfield. And finally, Derrick Milton, Devon Scott, and Josh Robinson with Ballard, Perkins, and Griffin. These players will fill areas of need one day, and they are going to have some excellent players to make them better and teach them the ropes.
Any thoughts on any of these commits that I haven't talked about? I just wanted to highlight a few that I really liked and feel really good about. I'm sure yall have your own opinions.
Would picking up McReynolds and Mackey change your feelings about this class to an extent?
Any shot Whitehead signs with MSU today?
MSU vs Bama Tonight in T-Town @ 7pm
MSU has to play unselfish basketball and strong defense, if they expect to win tonight in Tuscaloosa. Bama beat State earlier this season by 18 in Starkville, so tonight will be all to familiar, tough game with the Tide in T-Town. Bama is 1st in the West with a 5-1 mark, fresh off a 70-46 win over LSU. State on the other hand, will be trying to build off of their 71-64 win over UF this past weekend.
Can State win in Tuscaloosa?
Well guys, National Signing Day is 24 hours away.
I still feel that there is some panic amongst the Bulldog Family, so I feel that I must once again do my best to calm everyone.
This will be my final viewpoint on the whole recruiting battle. After today, I'm finished talking about it and will only bring this up again, when it all comes to pass. So...
In what started out as a stellar 2011 class full of top-notch commitments for MSU, it appears that it's going to end with Dan Mullen and Bulldog fans having witnessed some of that star studded talent de-commit and choose other schools such as TSUN and Vandy. Former MSU recruits CJ Johnson, Nick Brassell, Tobias Singleton, Jermaine Whitehead, and Baron Dixon are the bulk of that talent, none ranking lower than a 3 Star. Rumors have flown about the recruiting or should I say 'mud slinging' strategies used by Houston Nutt in order to pull the state's best recruits to Oxford. Nutt is doing his best to promise recruits a bright future and all the praise the grove could offer, as compared to what he is forecasting as a down trodden and probation clouded Starkville, due to the Cam Newton saga. What we have here, is a man who is desperate to save his job. After stomping MSU 45-0 in 2008, Nutt rolled over Sylvester Croom's Bulldog squad on the way to the Cotton Bowl. A few weeks later, Croom was out the door, the Maroon Nation was left in a state of confusion.
But, from the very dust of the Egg Bowl's stomping- rose Nutt's worst nightmare. Since his first day on the job, Dan Mullen has been a thorn in Nutt's side. Nutt has had no answer for Mullen- on or off the field. To put it simply, whether verbally or between the lines, Mullen has owned Nutt and Ole Miss. Dan has even claimed that a MSU team coached by himself, will never lose to TSUN, and I believe him. While dominating the University of Mississippi is a drop in the bucket compared to what I hope MSU can accomplish in the long run, it's a start. You see, you have to establish yourself as the number one school in a given state before you move on to topping your division, your conference, and eventually competing on the national level. Mullen appears to have gained the upper ground in everything but recruiting, when it comes to the rivalry. But, as I mentioned just the other day, there is a big difference in reeling in the top recruits and actually being able to coach them.
So, I ask you once again Bulldog fans to rest easy. I'm not trying to minimize this current, significant loss in talent, but just be patient and let it all unfold. Allow TSUN fans to temporarily relish what is relatively a small victory, that will ultimately be the fall of Houston Nutt and send Oxford into a back slide. After all, it's all they have. Looming in the distance is a date in late November where recruiting battles, propaganda, and the lies of Nutt won't matter. MSU will make it 3 in a row over their arch rival, and those recruits who turned their backs on Mullen and the Bulldogs, will have their first taste of their mistakes. Nutt will have to answer the questions of back-to-back losing seasons, that began with top 25 recruiting classes, and will more than likely lose his job. State is going to win the right way, with kids of character and young men who gave us their word. Not with kids who bought a lie or whatever Houston Nutt and UM sold them.
All of us State fans need to take a step back and let Mullen settle this on the football field, which is the only place where victories matter. No knees! No mercy! We cannot afford to get so caught up in losing these 4 recruits, that we forget about the solid kids we have on roster and that we are signing on Wednesday. It's great that our expectations have changed, but one season does not change everything. Another season like 2010 or better, will leave no doubt in the minds of recruits and those around the country, that MSU and Mullen are for real.
State Faces Bama Tomorrow
Even though there is just 2 games difference in their overall records, Bama (5-1) holds a 2 game advantage over MSU (3-3) in SEC play. That includes a win over MSU already this season. Tip is at 7pm tomorrow night. Big game, and I hope this new MSU team shows up in Tuscaloosa.
Your Final Thoughts Today? Tomorrow, we welcome in our newest Dawgs and we will not rain on their big day with 'what ifs'.
Anyway, as always, here's some positives and negatives from Saturday...
Kodi August- On Friday, I called on Kodi to step up, become more selfish in his shot choice, and re-insert himself into State's Offense. Kodi scored 11 right off the bat, fueling the Dawgs 25-15 start. Kodi started the game 4 of 5, including 3-3 from 3pt Land. Kodi finished with 16 pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, and 1 Blk. That's was what we all had in mind for Kodi this season, after a strong 2009-2010 season. His block was the #8 play of the day on Sports Center.
Dee Bost is Top Dawg- Since Dee re-joined the team in January, he has spotted games of 14, 25, 9, 20, 18, and 24. His lowest output of 9, was in a blowout win over Auburn. Bost is improving his 3pt shooting, and his average would be even better if not for all of the 'in and outs' over the past 2 games. Either way, Bost's play is key to MSU's success and his leadership is more evident now than ever before. Dee is also learning to finish around the rim, especially in situations where he is trying to draw contact and throw up a decent shot. He isn't drawing many whistles, but is making some very acrobatic shots. And as I've said before, he is shooting as confidently as ever. Dee is also the only player that seems to have a connection to the home crowd, which feeds off of his energy. Dee, who is getting front teeth pulled on Thursday, finished with 24 pts, 3 Reb, and 5 Ast.
Ravern Johnson Contributes- Even when Ray isn't hot from 3, the kid finds ways to pitch in-in a big way. I also like the fact that Ravern shoots enough to realize if he has the touch on a given night or not, and then looks for ways to have an impact. He was 1 of 5 from 3, but used his driving and mid-range game to score points. Ray was also 4-4 from the FT line and challenged UF's tough combo of Tyus and Macklin for boards, coming away with 8 for the game. He probably shoots more than anyone else on the team when no one is down low to rebound, but I like his drive to contribute.
Sidney Gives us a Glimpse- All year long, Sid has settled for the jumper, until Saturday. After a few fouls on Big Baby Uno, Sid commanded possession of the ball, backed in UF's big men, and finished around the rim. Strong spin moves and use of his 6-9 figure, resulted in 16 tough earned points on the night. That's what we need more of, a presence in the paint. Why step back for 10-12 footers, when you can lean on the opposition for short baskets. High percentage shots will open up the jumper when you need it. The kid also plays better with a chip on his shoulder, as he did Saturday and in Oxford. I still say though, that the kid has only given us a glimpse. Finally, I'm also impressed with his FT shooting ability. Never have I seen a big guy with so much touch. Sid is 73% from the line and that will only improve. His performance on D though, will make the Negatives list.
Home Crowd- Much better than the Vandy game, didn't wait til the final minutes to get involved. I was just glad to see butts in the seats, so that the t-shirt gimmick didn't go to waste. Props to Scott Stricklin who continues to impress me as an AD and as a PR person.
Weak in the Paint / Rebounds- We still give up way too many easy baskets in the paint. Sidney fears the relationship he has built with officials will get him in foul trouble and rightly so. But, smaller players that are driving into the paint, are not going for contact, but rather the floater. So, Sid has to use that separation to his advantage and swat some shots. It's different to hold back when a driving player is seeking contact, but when they're not, you have to attack the shot. State got outscored 38-16 in the paint. That's unacceptable. State also gave up 17 offensive rebounds, and at one point late in the game-had surrendered 24 second chance points. Also, unacceptable.
Stansbury Cannot Hold a Lead- Losing 8 and 9 point leads cost State vs Vandy, and almost did again on Saturday. A 10 point lead is when you go for the jugular, and at worse you allow the opposition to get within 5. Stans has terrible timing in bringing in subs, and usually does so when we have a lead. For instance bring in Smith, Bryant, Riek, and Steele when we have a big lead, and you are asking for trouble. He has ALWAYS done this in the past, but needs to get up a healthy 15 or so point lead, and then bring the subs in. Then, if the subs struggle, bring the starters back in. Anyone else noticed the #1 way to lose a lead?...Brian Bryant.
Steele in Place of Bryant, PLEASE?!?- I don't know when Stans is gonna realize what we already know, that Steele is10x better than Bryant. He handles the ball better, especially under pressure, and the kid contributes on O and D. Steele had 2 crucial steals on Saturday, and though he didn't score, he didn't hurt us. Bryant only played 2 minutes, while Steele played 16 minutes, so maybe Stans is starting to see that. But, watch our O when Bryant is in: long possessions, worrisome ball handling, and he is never able to work around the defense to set the play up. And, we usually settle for a terrible deep shot that is lucky to hit the rim, since the shot clock horn is sounding.
-Per Gregg Ellis
(1 State is shooting 80% from the FT line this season.
(2 Augustus leads State with an 87% mark from FT
(3 Only 4 Bullldogs scored on Saturday
Did I miss anything, your thoughts?
Taveze Calhoun is the most recent Bulldog commit. The Safety from Morton is rated as a 3 Star by Rivals. At Morton, he saw time at WR and DB. He finished with 90 tackles and 6 INTs in his Senior season. From what I saw on tape, I like the kid. He anticipates the ball well, jumps and meets the ball at the highest angle between him and the Wideout, and seemed to have the ability recognize a route before the snap, you could see this with his stance. This may just be one of those overlooked kids that Mullen can coach up to a valuable asset. Calhoun was also recognized with 3A- All State 1st Team honors.
"They're still in consideration, but I'm very open. I'm gathering all the information I have."- Rumor was Ole Miss, but now it appears that Auburn just claimed him. Say goodbye yall.
Mullen Speaks Out About Recruiting
“This is the craziest time of the year as a coach. I love being around the team and things we control, which is our hard work, our effort. And that’s really important to us. There’s no shortcut to the top of the mountain. Nothing is given to you in this world and our kids know that. They know nothing is going to be given to them for them to succeed. In recruiting, right now, you’re telling guys that. I think they can see that in the program and you never know how 17-year-olds’ minds are thinking to make decisions...We’ll work as hard as we can. You see everything about our program. We’re going to do things the right way and win through hard work. There are no shortcuts to the top and that’s how we’re going to do things. I worry about our program. I don’t worry about other things.” I couldn't help but think one of those lines was directed towards TSUN. Man, I love our coach!
Your Thoughts on Recruiting?
(1) Poor Officiating- I usually don't call out the officials, but the Zebras completely controlled the outcome of the game. I counted 6 or 7 missed traveling calls on the Dores and to make it worse, they would get away with the travel and score after being fouled. That's a big deal when we are talking continual 3 point swings, when compared to what should have been 6 or 7 more possessions for MSU. That was one of the worst officiated games in the history of the Humphrey Coliseum, and ranks right up there with the UK game last season. You would have thought that Vandy was the home team and that the officials were entertaining a huge audience with their calls, but it turns out the only cheering was coming from the Vandy bench. Cheap foul after cheap foul kept Vandy on the line and allowed them to work their way back into the game with the clock stopped. The Dores had 31 opportunities from the charity stripe, which was 14 more than State. What we saw was a ranked SEC East team, being protected on the road. The final 6 minutes were hard to watch, as the whistle-blowers clearly influenced the final minutes. In the midst of eyeing calls for Vandy, one of the biggest no-calls if the night, was on a Brian Bryant lay up in the closing seconds. Bryant appeared to fouled going up for an easy basket that would have put the Dawgs within one. The missed calls on the travels were what killed me the most. Sidney and Augustus were picked on early, and their foul trouble led to easy baskets underneath, due to the fear of fouling out. That really hurt us. State could hardly go for a rebound or contest a shot without a whistle, especially in the 2nd half.
(2) Poor Coaching...Once Again- (A) When State went up 7 with 9:50 left, Vandy decided to full-court press the Dawgs. After a few possessions of turnovers, forced shots, and bad decisions, Stans did nothing to adapt the offense to Vandy's press. We were lucky to get the ball across half court, but when we did, you could count on a rushed 3 point shot with 3 seconds on the shot clock, followed by poor attempts to rebound the shot for second chance points. We should have put the game away at that point, instead we went without a FG for 3+ minutes. Stans' teams have never played well with a lead. (B) We run very few set plays, which is evident when you have 2 confused big men come out to set a screen at the same time, or when we throw up a jump shot with no one under the basket rebound. Vandy played a lot of zone, but never did I see Stans make the adjustment of moving Sidney, Lewis, or Augustus around to break up the zone and find the open shooter. Instead, they just stood in the paint, which makes the zone really easy to defend. (C)There's a lot of teams that I would like to ask, "what's it like to have a coach make changes or draw up a play during a timeout, and then see your players execute it?" The sad thing is, the players made it somewhat easy on Stans last night by hanging with Vandy and eventually leading by 9, forcing him to only earn his money in that final 9 minute stretch. (D) I completely disagree with Rick's strategy to double team John Jenkins, which left Vandy players open on the wings and down low. That led to exactly what we witnessed, easy open shots for the nation's #20 scoring offense. I could have told him that Tinsley and Taylor wouldn't miss open shots. (E) Our players continually try to defend around an on-coming screen, rather than cutting inside the screen or trying to draw a foul. You cannot give players like John Jenkins any room to shoot, and it would be nice to see us draw some fouls on the defensive end. (F) Why on earth, in the most crucial possession of the game, do you inbound the ball to Brian Bryant rather than your playmaker and PG Dee Bost??? Stans handed the ball to a kid known for not handling the press well, in an evident situation that called for tough defense. Not very smart.
(3) Kodi Augustus' Play, or Lack Thereof- I like Kodi, so don't get me wrong, but what is he doing? For some reason he can hardly ever finish around the rim anymore. His poor passes and carelessness with the basketball cost us 2 possessions-late in the Vandy game. He·was hesitant to take advantage of opportunities in the paint, and looks as if his confidence is gone. I miss the Kodi that was selfish with the ball and gave us 15-20 points a night, who took the open 3 from way out, but now I just don't get it. His play this season reminds me of Romero Osby's first season. Timid, unconfident with the basketball, trouble finishing in the paint, etc. I really hope Kodi can bounce back, we need him. Maybe he can watch some film from the last 2 seasons and remind himself that he can be a strong player.
(4) Vandy's Jeffrey Taylor- What a freakin' thug. Act like you have made a shot before. Not only that, but act like you play·for a consistent, winning program. All the kid does is yell obscenities after making every shot. And after his dunk in the closing seconds, he should have been T'd up for his celebration and lack of sportsmanship. You Mr. Taylor, are a thug. Go pro, where you can get paid to act like a fool.
(5) Home Crowd-If I lived within 30 minutes to an hour of Starkville, I'd be at every game. Not only would I be there but I'd make some noise. Our weak crowd didn't show up until there was 4 minutes left in the game. The ones who show up just·sit on their hands and contribute nothing. I know this team has underachieved and many are just as mad as I am with how the year has unfolded, but last night's crowd and attendance was an embarrassment for our school. So bad, that it made the Tad Pad look intimidating. I know Stans isn't giving anyone anything to cheer about, but still, it's our team.
(6) Sidney- I know the officials called some poor fouls on you, but did you peak in Oxford? I'm starting to think so.
Dee Bost- He tries to do too much by himself at times, but he is the motor of this team. He's a warrior if you ask me. Dee is shooting the ball with more confidence than ever, but I'd still like to see him drive to the basket more and draw some fouls. Everyone does it to us, time to return the favor.
Wendell Lewis-In 19 minutes of play, Lewis had 6 points on 3-3 shooting, 6 Rebs, 1 Stl, and 1 Blk. I really like the fight he shows under the basket. He will be valuable this season and in the future.
Ravern Johnson- Welcome back Ray, we missed ya. Even though Johnson hit just 2 of 7 from 3, he drove and tried to create, and made his FT's. Not to mention a pretty good night on D.
Rebounding-State was only out-rebounded by 3 last night, which is a major improvement from the UGA game, in which the Dawgs got crushed on the boards. The rebounding deficit in that game, was the worst in Stans' tenure.
Ravern Johnson- 19 pts, 4 Rebs, 2 Blk
Dee Bost- 18 pts, 6 Asst, 5 Reb
Kodi Augustus-10 pts, 5 Rebs, 1 Asst
Wendell Lewis, Renardo Sidney, and Riley Benock- 6 pts
Your Thoughts on the Vandy game?
Recruiting Weekend- (Visitors with an Offer)
Jevante Watson- #123 CB, 3 Star, Medium Interest
Chandler Rogers- #118 QB, 2 Star, Medium Interest
Lauren Jackson- DE, 2 Star, High Interest
Terrell Pinson- Wr, 2 Star, Medium Interest (Walk-On Offer)
Darius Slay- CB 3 Star, JUCO
Shaq Perry- #152 RB, 2 Star
Preston Smith- DE, 2 Star
Thoughts on these visits?
As for Vandy, keep an eye on these guys...
John Jenkins- 18 ppg, 3 Reb
Jeffery Taylor-14 ppg, 5 Reb, 2 Ast
Festus Ezeli-12 ppg, 6 Reb, 2 Blk
Brad Tinsley- 10 ppg, 4 Reb, 4 Ast
Lance Goulbourne- 8 ppg, 8 Reb
Stansbury has already made it known that State will abandon the 2-3 Zone, which I completely agree with. #1 The Zone style is for unselfish players, which is the opposite of what we have this season. #2 We are way too sluggish and undisciplined to play the zone effectively. This is by far Stans' best decision of the season and I hope it yields results. Vandy has the inside game and outside game, and continuous motion by their wing men would confuse the Dawgs in the 2-3. Ravern Johnson played the most solid man-to-man the has ever played earlier this year. Throw in
Rest Easy Bulldog Fans
One thing came to mind last night when I caught myself thinking about all this recruiting mess, and I have to say it's was quite comforting. I really think that bringing in all this talent is actually going to hurt Houston Nutt, rather than help him.·The last 2 years, we've seen·what the Reverend was able to accomplish with the crumbs left over from Orgeron's table. Back to back 9 win seasons and consecutive Cotton Bowl trophies. As for 2010, it couldn't have been worse. 4-8 overall, with only one conference win, a controversial QB situation, and the SEC's worst Defense. Since Nutt took over, TSUN has had its' share of suspensions and over-signings, which means that some of the talent he has inked has not seen and in some cases-will never see
Your thoughts on the Vandy game and its' importance?
Will the talent backfire on Nutt, considering Mullen is clearly out-coaching him? no comments
Derrick Milton Chooses MSU
I have a few sleepers on my list in this 2011 Class and Milton is one of them. Milton is a 3 Star RB, who spent his Senior year at Hargrave Military Academy to improve his academics. Milton is 5-11 and weighs just over 200 lbs, and has the tools to be a quality back. Quick feet, patient behind blockers, explosive even on weak side runs, quick to the edge, and has enough speed to pull away in the open. In his own words: "I liked Mississippi State from the beginning. When I went to the camp I really liked everything about it and then after spending the weekend down there it was just time. I·am not going to visit Tennessee this weekend. I am done with recruiting and I am committed to Mississippi State." Nice pick up for State! Welcome aboard Derrick.
Devaunte Sigler to Decide Today: Bulldog or Tiger?
Today is the day that Devaunte Sigler will decide between MSU and Auburn. Sigler is a 3 Star recruit and is ranked as the #44 DE in the country. Sigler 6-3 and weighs in at 250 lbs, with a 4.8- 40 time. "At Auburn and Mississippi State I feel like I am at home because of the environment and the people I am around there." Sigler will make the decision at his high school in Mobile. Hope to see ya in Maroon and White Devaunte!
Kevin McReynolds High on MSU
We'll see how things shake out, but after this weekend the #24 DE in the country (3 Star) was quite impressed with Mullen and MSU. He still has KSU, UCLA, Oregon, Maryland, and Syracuse on his list. He visits KSU on Thursday, but will announce his choice at the US vs The World game this weekend.
CJ Johnson to Sign with TSUN
Well boys, here we go again on the recruiting trail. Yesterday, Philly LB CJ Johnson, who was State's first commitment for this 2011 signing class (2009 verbal), made it known that he plans to sign with rival Ole Miss on Signing Day (Feb. 2). After a long commitment to MSU, it appeared that if anyone was going to steal away the state's #1 recruit when he re-opened his recruitment, it would be LSU. After 2 face to face visits with Johnson in the last 3 weeks, Les Miles and staff seemed somewhat confident in the relationship they had built with the Johnson family. MSU fans such as myself, were just holding out that CJ would choose the top program in Mississippi, and he'll just have to deal with the fact he didn't- every Thanksgiving weekend. Anyway, here's where I laugh, shake my head, and do my best to consider an 18 yr old's train of thought. You have to wonder how TSUN is recruiting so well, but I have to chalk this up to recruits having the opportunity to play immediately and some under-the-table dealings we'll probably never hear about. Sorry, I mean what home game could have possibly impressed a TSUN recruit this season? Was it the Auburn whooping, or the awesome loss to Jacksonville State? I know, it was that Homecoming win vs Lafeyette right? I'll go with "What are under-the-table dealings for $500 Alex!"
Tobias Singleton Faces Criminal Charges
Another TSUN recruit, Tobias Singleton, made the news yesterday as well, but let's just say it's not the kind of attention you want being drawn to your program. Singleton is facing possible criminal charges, after being accused of punching his ex-girlfriend and doing damage to her mother's car. At this time, Tobias' lawyer is claiming that the story is false and that the incident happened over a month ago. "Steve Montagnet, the attorney for Tobias Singleton, issued a statement a few minutes ago in which he says the names of Singleton and his family are being "disparaged" by the girlfriend. Montagnet says the incident grew from Singleton's intention to end the relationship, that the girlfriend escalated the incident by hitting Singleton's car with a tire jack. There are witness to confirm this, he said."- Parrish Alford (DJ)...The lawyer went on to add that "The girlfriend alleged that Tobias assaulted her and blamed the damage to her car on Tobias and his family. After observing the girl and conducting interviews, the police found there was no cause to arrest Tobias or any member of his family,”- (DJ)...Singleton who at one time was eyeing MSU, made his final decision to become a Rebel a few weeks ago on Nat'l TV. It will be interesting to see how this all turns out.
Your thoughts on recruiting thus far?
On Milton, Sigler, and McReynolds?
CJ Johnson to TSUN? How's Nutt doing it?
MSU players did not necessarily turn heads at the Shrine Game. Link
Once again, Rick Stansbury got out-coached. Once again, MSU got out-hustled and out-played. From a fan's perspective, one can't help but to question Stansbury's performance in light of how the 2010-2011 season has unfolded. Earlier this season, Stans lost back to back games by 20+ points for the first time in his career (VT and WSU). To start SEC play, State lost their SEC opener to Alabama by the worst deficit since 1996, in an SEC opener- another first for Stansbury. Against UGA on Saturday, another stat jumped off the final tally sheet, rebounds. 48-23...anyone? MSU who has been one of the better rebounding teams in the SEC for the past 13 seasons, suffered its' worst defeat on the boards during Stansbury's tenure (13 yrs). Throw in the fist fights in Hawaii, the catering to an extremely skilled but lazy Renardo Sidney, and play that has been anything but 'characteristic' of MSU Basketball, and you have something that appears to be crumbling. With that last statement in mind, the one thing that is and has been 'characterisitc' of a Rick Stansbury team is under-achieving teams and bad coaching. I've always been back and forth on how I feel about Rick, but I'm officially done with him. I like the guy, but State should have at least another Final 4 banner hanging from the rafters of the Hump by now, and would if another coach had access to all the talent that come through Starkville the last 13 years. People make the argument of considering what he has done for the program and I can understand that, but in the same way that Dan Mullen has asked us to change our mindsets about expectations surrounding our Football Program, it's time we do the same with our Basketball Program. Otherwise, here's what you can look forward to until Stansbury retires:
(1) Losing to inferior teams before SEC play starts, that cost you credibility in March.
(2) Finishing 1 to 3 games over .500 in SEC play, and barely winning or losing out on the West Title.
(3) Being out-coached on a nightly basis and failing to make adjustments.
(4) Losing BIG leads when the Dawgs actually have one. This year we haven't had a lead to lose.
(5) Invitations to the NIT, because of missing the Dance by one quality win or a poor resume' loss.
(6) Strong play in the SEC Tourney, which makes you question the play during the regular season.
(7) Maybe, just maybe an invite to the Dance, and losing in the 1st round.
(8) Extremely talented players, who's talent goes undeveloped and never see an NBA floor.
(9) The occasional big or surprising win that makes you second guess your feelings towards Stansbury.
(10) Being able to see everything that is wrong with this team from your couch, that Stans can't see from the court.
You Agree or Disagree?
I'm not going to dive into why we lost to UGA, but here's why we did in a few lines:
(1) Poor Decisions/Poor Rebounding- We take shots when no one is underneath the basket to rebound. When guys are present, their first tendency is to get back on D, rather than fight for a second chance on the possession. UGA had 12 second-chance points in the first half alone.
(2) Renardo Sidney is lazy- He doesn't box out and doesn't contest shots that require him moving towards a shooter. He gets away with standing still on D, tries to do too much when we are down, and his play-be it GOOD or BAD, effects the entire team. Why bust your rump, if the star player doesn't have to right? Btw, I hope he leaves after this year, because I've never been more annoyed by just looking at a player than him...Ok, Cousins and Wall. And I'm extremely happy that he isn't talking to the media. He has so much talent, but considering that he can make us immediately better or worse, is a scary asset that he brings come game time.
(3) Stansbury Out-coached- Why did we stay in the zone with UGA running a wide triangle on the perimeter, that stretched our ability to cover all 3 shooters in the 2-3, and leave the paint open for cuts and the probably the most talented big man in the SEC (Thompkins).
(4) Unselfish Beats Selfish Everytime- Like I said on Friday about UGA, they are unselfish and look for the extra pass. We jack up 3 pointers when we need 2, never take a charge, we don't win the loose ball, and hardly ever actually work for a basket. UGA and Bama do all of these things, and will win their respective Division Titles. Take notes Rick.
With all that said, we have 2 huge games this week. Vandy and UF will both visit Starkville (Thursday & Saturday), but don't be surprised if Stans somehow wins them both. Wouldn't that be just like Rick?
Joe Morrow Will Sign with MSU
After worrying the past few weeks about recruits jumping ship or de-committing, Mullen has reeled in PJ Jones and solidified the commitment of WR Joe Morrow. Morrow was one of a few that visited Starkville this past weekend, but many were wondering if Arkansas might win the recruit over in the coming days. But, Morrow had this to say after meeting with Mullen and some current Bulldogs: "He said he wanted me to be sure about my decision. I told him that I had been committed for like seven months and I am not going to change my mind in like ten days. I am going to be signing with Mississippi State on signing day." Morrow went on to speak highly of Coach Mirando and his player hosts over the short stay. "They all like Coach Mirando. They say he's young, but he's a real good coach. The Ocean Springs standout reports that he had several conversations with Coach Angelo Mirando during the weeks leading up the weekend and during his visit. Coach Mirando told me about my role in the offense and I really like him. He knows what he is talking about. He said that he is ready for me to get up there." Morrow is a 4 Star and is rated as the #30 WR nationally.
Welcome to the Bulldog Family Joe!
How big of a pick up is Morrow for Mullen's Offense in the near future?