State Takes on UGA
Rick Stansbury's team, which is riding a 2 game winning streak, looks to continue their run of solid basketball vs UGA tomorrow. After an unusually strong start for UGA Basketball, the Bulldogs have battled their way to a 2-2 mark to start the SEC schedule. UGA has defeated UK and Ole Miss, and have fallen to Vandy and UT. Earlier this week, the Vols beat UGA with a shot at the buzzer, which could act as a positive or a negative for State. Did the Bulldogs show that they are vulnerable at home, or will they come out swinging to defend their home court? We'll find out, when State and UGA tip at 3 tomorrow. Here's a look at UGA's big dogs.
UGA 's Top Performers
Trey Thompkins- 17 ppg, 7 Reb
Travis Leslie- 14 ppg, 7 Reb
Gerald Robinson- 13 ppg, 3 Reb, 4 Ast
Jeremy Price- 7 ppg, 4 Reb
Stans has already mentioned placing on Kodi Agustus on Trey Thompkins, and I don't blame him. This will keep Sidney out of foul trouble and in my opinion not frustrate his game. Thompkins has quite a range in his game and is even stronger with his back against the basket in the paint. He is physical and wears down his opponents. Leslie has a great vertical, he is quick on the drive, and can shoot the 3. Price is UGA's 3rd leading scorer, but his ability to create for his teammates is key to the Dawgs success. If State can play solid D like they D in Oxford and against Auburn, they can win. UGA has perimeter shooters, but play an un-selfish scheme. They would much rather drive or work to get the ball to Thompkins for an 8 footer, than throw up a 3. If State can force shots from behind the line and keep UGA out of the paint, they have a great shot to win. But, which MSU Offense will show up? In my opinion, State will have to score 75 to win this one. UGA may fade down the stretch of the SEC road, but a win in Athens would count as a quality win at this point.
Senior Dawgs & NFL Draft Rankings
Derek Sherrod, KJ Wright, Chris White, and Pernel McPhee capped off their Senior season at MSU with a Gator Bowl victory over Michigan. Now, all of these Bulldogs are looking forward to possible futures in the NFL. CBSsports.com released their 2011 NFL Draft forecast, and here's where they have the former Bulldogs:
Sherrod- #1 OT
Wright- # 9 LB (Outside)
White- #8 LB (Inside)
McPhee- #11 DE
Man I'm gonna miss these guys. I have no doubt that they will give all they've got to play at the next level. Also, don't be alarmed by McPhee's ranking, this is a BIG year for DE's. I think Clemson's DE is going in the top 3.
MSU Recruiting Weekend
There are a number of verbal commits that are visiting Starkville this weekend, including: #30 WR Joe Morrow, #35 OT James Maiden, #44 TE Daniel Knox, #69 TE Rufus Warren, 3 Star DE Barron Dixon, 3 Star CB Justin Cox, 3 Star WR Devin Fossleman, and 2 Star LB Bednarick McKinney. They might as well call this 3 Star Weekend, because every player that is visiting is a 3 Star, with the exception of Morrow (4) and McKinney (2). As for those who are visiting that are not committed to State, I have made a list for you. Personally, I really like the Milton kid
Derrick Milton- 3 Star, RB, Offers: UT, MSU, Ole Miss, Memphis
Xzavier Ward- 3 Star, #40 OT, Offers: Aub, UGA, MSU, Clem, GT, SC, UT, ND, NC State, UF, Bama
Kevin McReynolds- 3 Star, #24 DT, Offers: KSU, Maryland, MSU, Oregon, UCLA
At this time, MSU is ranked #31 in Nat'l recruiting, but only 10thin the SEC. As we all know, everything is subject to change in between now and Signing Day. Chris Wilson spent some time with PJ Jones last night, who we talked about in the last post. CJ Johnson visits TSUN this weekend, but I don't think they have a shot to sign him. It's down to us and LSU in my book. Let's just see if Johnson ends up doing some recruiting for us in Oxford this weekend, like we heard he once would.
That's it boys! Have a great and safe weekend.
Starkville may be quiet, but Philadelphia, MS was not yesterday evening. Star LB and MSU commit- CJ Johnson was visited by Les Miles and 3 other LSU Def. Assistant Coaches. Johnson is a 4 Star and currently ranked as the 4th best LB in the country. From looking at the wording of Scout's story on the visit, it appears that MSU might have a reason to step up their game in pursuing the highly touted recruit. Vocabulary such as 'trust' and 'comfortable' was thrown around by Johnson, concerning his relationship and feelings towards Miles and the other accompanying staff. CJ even mentioned that the fact that LSU has hung with him throughout the recruiting process, has indeed made an impression. According to the report, Johnson said he still remains open to MSU, TSUN, and LSU. Don't expect a decision on this kid til Signing Day. (See more in Comments Section)
Will the visit from Miles hurt MSU's chances?
Scout.com and a few other recruiting outlets have an eye on what might be a 'sleeper' recruit, in WR Jontavious Carter. He is 6-4, 200 lbs, and as lanky as a player as you've ever seen. Apparently though, he is quite athletic despite his frame. He hails from Crisp County, GA and just completed his first year of playing high school football. His 40 time is clocked at 4.5, and he caught 49 passes for 650 yds and 7 TDs. He said, quote- 'he said', that recruiters from MSU, Auburn, Wake Forest, UF, and UGA might be offering soon. I haven't been able to find any video on the kid, so we'll have to see what surfaces.
Remember RB Montrell Conner, the stud recruit and ex-MSU player? He is in the middle of his own recruitment once again, and has offers from Oregon, La-Lafayette, La Tech, Cincy, and apparently UT and UNC are beginning to talk to him as well. TCU, Okl, and Auburn are starting to show interest as well. Still don't see why the kid left. I wish him well until he ends up on the opposite sideline.
And in Basketball news, 2 recently departed MSU players found new homes. TwanyBeckham will enroll at UK as a walk-on and Elgin Bailey signed with La-Lafayette. In fine print, that means that Beckham will never again turnover the ball in a Maroon and White uniform, which means I'm happy. I wish Bailey the best, always appreciated the effort and heart, but not the right hooks.
Is MSU better without them?
Keep in mind that State can do a lot for their March Madness stock, with some quality wins vs their next 3 opponents: UGA, Vandy, and UF. All 3 teams have an RPI of 38 or better, which would act as steriods for State's RPI (191).
That's all today boys!
Here's Chris Low's top SEC Football moments of the 2010-2011 season. MSU makes the list. Link
Sidney Shines Again- 15 points is just a taste of what Sid can do, but it's nothing compared to his 25 point performance vs TSUN. But, with that said, he scored those 15 in just 22 minutes of play and found other ways to be a factor. Sid had 3 Ast, 6 Reb, 2 Stl, and 2 Blk. Sid's supporting cast was not ready for some of his touch passes in the paint vs TSUN, but this time around Augustus, Johnson, and Lewis played a more alert game. All 3 expected passes from Renardo and finished underneath. Sidney truly is an X-Factor, and continues to display his vast skill set.
Benock Shows Confidence-I'm starting to feel like a sports prophet, and if my last point, this point, and the one to follow doesn't convince you then...oh well. Anyway, last week I said that 'IF' Riley would realize that he is an important part of our Offense and take open shots when he had them, then he could give us somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12 points a night. Benock shot the ball with confidence and finished with 11 points, on 4-5 shooting, which included a 3-4 mark behind the arc. He's hitting 43% from downtown...not bad, and Benock's defense is usually pretty strong.
Jalen Steele? Anyone...Anyone?- This kid is the next big thing at State. I've been arguing that he should play a whole lot more than Brian Bryant, and it's starting to show. He handles the rock with confidence in traffic and in the press and he knows when to pass and when to shoot. Those last 2 points means that he understands something that Bryant doesn't, and that's his role in the offense. Steele scored 9 points in a 2 minute span, and finished with 10 for the game. For a Freshman, Steele has a ton of poise and confidence.
Wendell Lewis is Coming Along- It seemed that last season and the start of this season, Lewis somehow would 'fumble' the ball away. He'd get that lead pass, and then either lose the ball, make a poor pass, or not finish around the rim. Things seem to be changing for this youngster, as he continues to show some confidence in his abilities. If Lewis' play can continue to force turnovers and transition opportuities for State, he become a valuable bench player. I like what I'm seeing in 2011.
Ravern Johnson is BACK- Just last week, Johnson was leading the SEC in scoring, but had only scored 14 points in his last 2 games combined. Ray's strong 21 vs Auburn is the kind of game we need from him. Ray might be the most versatile scorer we have, with his ability to drive, pull up, and his 3 point shooting.
Ravern Johnson- 21 pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast
Renardo Sidney- 15 pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk
Riley Benock- 11 pts, 2 Stl, 2 Ast
Dee Bost- 9 pts, 8 Ast, 3 Reb, 2 Stl
Jalen Steele- 10 pts, 2 Ast
Wendell Lewis- 4 pts, 3 Blk, 3 Reb
As yall know by now, this was a pretty big weekend for MSU as far as recruiting goes. Dan Mullen and his staff spent this weekend making the best possible impression they could on the visiting recruits, since it will be their final opportunity to host that particular line up of athletes. Though the weekend did not necessarily reel in any new commitments, it did solidify some recruits' feelings about Starkville and the Bulldog Football Program. OL Justin Malone (2 Star), RB Josh Robinson (3 Star) and S Kendrick Market (2 Star), said that this weekend strengthened their commitment to MSU. And, highly touted DL P.J. Jones stated that MSU was #1 on their list as of right now. He is till going to make his visits to Arkansas and Ole Miss, but stated that he might not even wait til signing day to commit officially to State, but rather after his visit to Fayetteville.
That's all I got today boys. no comments
It was ugly. It was sloppy. It was hard-fought. It was a war. But most importantly, it was a huge win for Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs (9-7, 1-1). State topped their arch rival Ole Miss, 69-65 on Thursday night. The home crowd thought they were ready for Renardo Sidney's visit to Oxford, but as it turns out, the signs, boos, and chants were not enough to sidetrack the Sophomore. Sidney dropped 24 on the Rebels, showing excellent touch from everywhere on the floor. Sidney wasn't the only story of the night for MSU, as Dee Bost added 25 of his own in just his second game back. Ole Miss (12-5, 0-2) entered the game as winners of 4 of their last 5, while MSU had lost 5 of their last 6. Both rivals lost their SEC opener, State to Alabama and Ole Miss to Florida. The Rebels haven't had any trouble scoring this season (ranked 38th in Scoring), but were held to their 2nd lowest point total on the season (64). Ole Miss got yet another strong performance from Chris Warren, who matched Bost's 25, and Zack Graham added a timely 13.
The Rebels held a 7 point lead (30-23) with 2:45 to play in the 1st half, but Dee Bost put the Dawgs within 2 (34-32) with his 26 foot 3 pointer at the buzzer. After the Half, State took a 1 point lead (39-38) with just over 17 minutes to play. But, Ole Miss would once again stretch a their regained lead to 7 with just 9:50 to play (54-47). State fought to take back the lead at the 4:19 mark (61-60), but the lead would change hands 4 times until State finally took the lead for good, with 19 seconds left (66-64). Kodi Augustus was fouled on 2 consecutive inbounds plays for MSU and sunk a 4 of his free throws. With Kodi's clutch shooting from the charity stripe, the Bulldogs walked out of the Tad Pad (aka Sad Pad), with a 69-64 victory.
Dee Bost's Leadership- Dee was named the Team Captain earlier this week, and show why last night. Bost took smart shots, did his best to create scoring opportunities for his teammates (8 Assists), fought for rebounds (6 Rebs), cut off the passing lanes (3 Steals), and made his Free Throws (4-4). He still needs to be smarter with the ball at times, but few times have I seen a player shoot the ball as confidently as Dee did last night. His 3 before the half and driving lay up in the final minutes were clutch.
Sidney's Skill Set- Renardo showed us why he was so highly touted last night. He attacked the basket early on, and when the Rebs went to the double-team down low, he dominated with his mid-range jumper and the occasional 3 ball. Great touch from the FT line, which is rare for most big men. One thing our players have to start doing, is prepare for a pass from Sid. The kid is somewhat unselfish, and looks to dish the ball in double-team situations. The guy can pass, our Dawgs just have to keep their eyes up and expect a pass.
Kodi Augustus and Ravern Johnson's Character- Let's face it, neither player had a 'good' game. Both were cold shooting, but when it counted, these 2 Bulldog Veterans delivered. Ravern had two clutch 3's on the home stretch, one to keep the Dawgs in the game, and another to give the Dawgs a 61-60 lead late. Kodi struggled with 'butterfingers' the entire night, and responsible for 5 turnovers. But, his strong rebounding throughout the game, his physicality at the end, and his clutch FT shooting help seal the game for State.
Stansbury's Adjustments- I know that OM still made some 3's in the 2nd Half, but deepening the zone about 2 feet beyond the perimeter, forced OM to take deeper and more difficult 3 point shots. Nice coaching Stans (did I just say that?).
Great Shooting- The Bulldogs finished 49% on the night, 34% from 3 ('ok', not great), and 81% from the FT line (13-16). State shot 57% in the 2nd Half.
Weak on D- I know, I know, I'm used to seeing Varnado swatting shots and contesting anyone who enters the paint, but we are weak. The fact is, as good as Sid is on Offense, he slacks off on D. I can't tell you how many easy 5 foot jumpers, lay ups, and dunks we saw from OM last night. I know Sid didn't want to draw fouls on some of those, but he is going to get our other guys in foul trouble when he takes a play off. I could tell Kodi was not happy last night, when Sid just let guys go by and did nothing to try and catch up with the play. We are weak in the middle, and allow too many players to penetrate the middle of the floor when we are playing zone, which frees up someone for an open 3. Bost, Benock, and Johnson really struggle to anticipate and find their way around screens. Teams know that if they can hide their shooters behind a big man, our guys cannot fight through and contest the 3.
Brian Byant- In my opinion, he just doesn't look ready for SEC ball. I personally think that we will get more offensively and defensively from Jalen Steele. Bryant looks lost, and cannot create when a play breaks down. Steele can shoot the 3 and drive for 2 if we need it. I think he will get better, but as for right now bring in Steele.
Riley Benock's Second Guessing- Shoot the ball! Riley has to see himself as more of a part of this offense. The kid can flat out shoot, but doesn't anticipate getting the ball, and doesn't realize that he needs to take a shot. That leads to him throwing up a prayer the next time-to make up for the missed opportunities. Then out of nowhere, he buries a big 3? If we could finally get his confidence up, the kid could give us 12 a night.
What a great night overall. Nothing like walking into your rival's house- that they had packed for the first time this season just to beat you. The fact is, TSUN had their chance to finally beat State in basketball and couldn't. The Rebs came in as the better team on paper, but the Bulldogs overcame 19 turnovers and a somewhat hostile crowd, and came away with the 'W'. Btw, Stans is 19-6 all time vs TSUN, and that win continues our dominance over the Bears in Football, Baseball, and Basketball. Ever since the 2009 Egg Bowl, State has OWNED TSUN. Great feeling.
Anyway, your thoughts on this game and what it means for our season?
Agree or Disagree with me?
Your thoughts on Bost and Sidney? Start of something SPECIAL?
Barron Dixon Commits to MSU
In the middle of de-commits and players re-opening their recruitment from MSU to the field, Mullen and Coach Wilson pulled in a big one yesterday. Barron Dixon, not only shares 2 famous MSU names, but has all the tools to be a special part of the Bulldogs' future D. Dixon is rated as a 3 Star and is ranked as the #47 DE in the country. And, what I like the most about this kid, is that he is pumped to be a Bulldog! Dixon on his commitment: “I came to watch Mississippi State play Arkansas and I got a good feeling about them from that point on. It was a high-energy atmosphere at their stadium and you could see how supportive their fans are with this program. I mean, who wouldn’t want to play in front of that crowd and hear those cowbells? I loved that atmosphere and can’t wait to play for those fans. I can’t describe the feeling I have today. I get to go play for Coach Mullen and Coach Wilson and it doesn’t get any better than that. The stars just aligned right today and the stars have me going to Mississippi State to play for the Bulldogs.”
Welcome aboard Barron!
Yesterday, Mullen welcomed yet another top-notch young coach to his staff, in Geoff Collins. When you compare Mullen and Collins, one thing seems apparent. Immediate results. There's no doubt that Mullen has turned some heads in his first 2 seasons at MSU, and has won the praise of those in the camps of Miami, UF, and even Michigan. As for Collins, he·has shown the ability to step in and have that same type of immediate impact, wherever he has served as a coach. As you might know by now, Collins took Florida International's Defense which finished 100th in Total Defense in 2009, and transformed them into the 61st best Defense in the country. According to the Clarion Ledger's write up on Collins, his "defense led the Sun Belt in total defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense and turnover margin this season...The Panthers’ sack totals nearly doubled, and the pass defense improved from 108th nationally to 32nd in 2010." Results like that, caught the attention of Mullen, who said this about State's new Co-Def. Coordinator: "Geoff has shown the type of immediate impact he can bring to a defense by what he did at Florida International last season. He’s a smart young coach that has great experience, and he’ll bring the same kind of aggressive attitude and philosophy that we expect from our defense at Mississippi State.” Keep in mind that FIU went from a 3 win team in 2009, to a 7 win team in 2010. Collins had this to say about joining Mullen's staff: "I’m happy to be a part of the Mississippi State family and excited to work with coach Mullen and coach Wilson and the entire staff. It’s great to be joining a program that is growing and building and headed the right way like this one is, and I’m ready to hit the ground running.”
One thing that cannot go overlooked, is Collins' ability to recruit. Before coaching at FIU, he was on George O'Leary's staff at UCF, where he served as LBs coach and as the recruiting coordinator. The Knights are without a doubt seeing·and tasting the success of the recruiting classes he help build while Collins was there. The Knights won C-USA and topped off their 2010 season, with a win over UGA in the Liberty Bowl. And on a sidenote, Collins served at Alabama before all of this, as the Director of Player Personnel. Quite a strong resume' for a young coach. It appears as of now, that Mullen has found·the next·best kept secret in the Sun Belt. "The recommendations I've gotten on him, I know we're getting ourselves a quality coach, and we're not going to miss a beat. I expect us to be a better defense next year than we were this year."- Mullen
Here's a link to Collins' success at West Carolina. Link
Bulldogs vs Rebels Tonight
As we touched on yesterday, State takes (8-7) on Ole Miss (12-4) in Oxford tonight. HUGE game for the Dawgs morale-if you ask me. Dee Bost was chosen as a Team Captain by the team, and looks to bounce back from his spotty 14 point performance vs Bama. Not just Bost, but the entire team looks to get back to basics after a weak 8-7 start. Everyone is still boasting Rick Stansbury's 18-6 record vs TSUN and his ability to take his team on the road and win the SEC. We'll see. This could be yet another great match up between the 2 schools, or over at the half. I will say this, don't get down on the Bulldogs early, we have a tendency to fall behind early in Oxford, before taking control of the game. Either way, Go Dawgs! It'd be great to get back on track with a win over TSUN.
All Things Maroon App
We are big time here on the blog now! Look on the right side of the page, with the Droid logo, and download the our Blog's App for your android phone. Hopefully it will be available on Iphone soon. Pretty neat, I have to say. It appears that some of you guys already have, so thanks!
Les Miles just got an extension through 2017, and will rake in around $3.75 Million a year. Not bad.
Former MUS QB Barry Brunetti chooses Ole Miss. Does he fit the system?
Here's a look at the SEC's Recruiting breakdown, just 3 wks away from signing day. Once again, HOW is TSUN doing this? Link
MSU had quite the story of their own in 2010, going 9-4 (4-4 SEC), along with ending the season by dominating Michigan 52-14 in the Gator Bowl. Yesterday, the final AP and USA Today polls were released. MSU finished 15th in the AP and 17th in the USA. The rankings marked the first time since 2000 that State finished ranked and the first time since 1999that a Bulldog team finished in the Top 25. Chris Low has State finishing 5th in his final SEC Power Rankings, behind Arkansas and in front of South Carolina. I also saw where Mark Schlabach has State ranked 24th in his much too premature 2011 Preseason Rankings.
Ole Miss Hires David Lee
Just in case yall missed it on Monday, TSUN hired their next coach who will help Nutt destroy the careers of their QBs. David Lee, was brought in by Nutt from the Miami Dolphins in order to take over the Off. Coordiantor position. Lee has been juggling the likes of Chad Henne and Chad Pennington over the past few seasons, never really finding any consistency in either this past season. This will be Lee's 3rd time to coach with Nutt. He served as Nutt's OC at Arkansas (2007), then followed Nutt to Ole Miss after Houston was ran out of Fayetteville (end of 2007), but Lee took the job in Miami before ever coaching at TSUN. I just know that if I was coaching College Football, I wouldn't want to hire someone who looks like a Grandpaw. GIve me a young and energetic coach, full of passion and fire. Not Lee, in other words. Anyway, Nutt says 'CHANGE' is coming to the Rebel offense. We'll see...sorry to be critical, this guy is just OLD, probably out of touch with young players, and led UTEP to an 11-41 mark as a head coach at one time.
Dawgs Prepare for Rebels
State and TSUN, both lost their SEC openers on this past Saturday. State fell to Bama 75-57, in the Dawgs' worst SEC home loss since 1996. The Rebs fell at UF, 77-71. The 2 rivals have defintely exchanged roles this season, as Ole Miss is clearly the better team, boasting a 12-4 record. State on the other hand, has limped to an 8-7 record and do not appear to be on their way to a once predicted SEC West crown. I was going to drive down to Oxford for the game, but after what State showed me on Saturday, I don't think it will be worth the gas money. Stansbury's team will come in riding a 3 game losing streak, but has owned the series vs the Rebs for many years. Andy Kennedy and the Rebels, are quite aware that Stans is bringing quite a vulnerable team into the Sad Pad tomorrow night. If State plays poorly, AK might put a little icing on the cake. This one could get ugly, and that's one phrase I never thought I'd utter about an MSU and TSUN basketball game. Anyway, Garry Parrish from CBS was interviewd by the CL's Brandon Marcello, and here's what he had to say about this season thus far:
Let’s be honest, if you just lose basketball games in Starkville, Miss., the nation really doesn’t care and really doesn’t notice. (Stansbury) may be taking heat in the state but it wouldn’t be anywhere outside the state. Yet, all of what he’s dealing with right now is a direct result of rolling the dice and doing something a lot of people chose not to do, and that’s enroll Renardo Sidney and invite the circus that comes along with that into town. I understand, at least on some level, why he would do it. Renardo is, even though he hasn’t shown it on the collegiate level, a super talented kid.
But, I said this a few weeks ago and it probably holds true: When your whole season is based upon relying on someone who has been unreliable, I think you sort of set yourself up for something like this to happen.
Can't say I disagree with him. Stansbury, said that Dee Bost and Sidney just need to get back in game shape, and that playing together more will make the Dawgs better. I sure hope so. This season feels like it's over, but just actually started. I know a lot of West and East teams that are licking their chops when they see our name on the schedule. Can this team rebound and make a run?
-Besides that guys, there's not much to report. Mullen was in Dallas yesterday, trying to find a replacement for Manny Diaz. Buzzard mentioned Shane Beamer last night as a possible replacement for Diaz. I worked with the same Bulldog Defense as Shane, and I can tell you he is a class act. A great guy, a passionate coach, and the players love him. Lildawg who post on here at times worked with him. Shane is a student of the game, and would bring eveyrthing Mullen and the fanbase would want him to bring to the table.
-Tobias Singleton has decided to not make his visit to State, due to the reaction of Bulldog fans to his de-commitment. Hello, what did you expect?
-Les Miles is staying at LSU, despite the offer from Michigan. Some are saying that UM can now change their name to Missedagain.
So, what was the biggest story of the College Football season to you (besides MSU) ?
Will Nutt hiring Lee be just what the Rebs need, or is it a bad hire?
Can the Bulldogs rebound and finish the season strong. starting with Ole Miss?
Tuesday's talking points:
(1)Les Miles was expected to meet with Michigan on today according to ESPN's Joe Shadd, but turns out that he met with them yesterday. Many are saying that Miles will take the job at his alma mater if offered.
(2) Even though Auburn's AD Jay Jacobs made yet another political move- in making Cecil Newton stay at home for yet another big game in his son's life (other was SEC Championship game), Cecil was still in attendance. There are pictures to prove it.
(3) After Dan Mullen·and MSU's 9-4 2010-2011 season, the Bulldogs finished 17th in the coaches poll and 15th in the AP poll. So why are kids by-passing State again?
-WIll Miles Stay or GO?
-Is Jacobs and Auburn trying to hide something? Are they aware that something is on the horizon and are they trying to minimize the damage?
-How about them Dawgs! no comments
The date was October 13, 2001...ring a bell? To spare you the research, it was a day when a MSU team took the field against an inferior team, suffered a terrible loss, but most importantly that very game signaled the beginning of the end. State had fell to Troy State on Homecoming, 21-9, and Jackie Sherril could only watch the madness unfold, while realizing he could do nothing and that he had lost control of what he once built. I fear that the same has happened to Rick Stansbury and the MSU Basketball team. The Tide handed MSU their worst SEC home loss since 1996. If losses to Florida Atlantic, East TN State, and Hawaii were not enough, losing by 20 or more to the 4th quality opponent they've faced says it all. Don't get me wrong, I'm well aware that Alabama usually has a competitve team and that our annual match ups on the hard wood are always ugly, physical, hard-fought affairs, but you cannot tell me that they have more talent on their team than MSU does. And, that brings me to my next point, which is that Bama has a solid head coach and the Bulldogs do not. Whether it's coming out of a time out and setting up a play, overall game planning, or developing talent, Rick Stansbury just doesn't have it. If there was a time that he did have those tools, he has since lost them.
Anyway, here's the part where I act as if I know everything about sports and you get to agree with me or disagree with me. Here's how we lost to Bama on Saturday afternoon:
BTW, it's teams that do the small things that win. Taking smart shots, scrapping for loose balls, boxing out for rebounds, contesting shots, helping on the back side, and taking away the passing and driving lanes. I didn't see any of this from the Dawgs, but saw it the entire game from the Tide. I'm not going to touch on all of these, but just a few that were sorely lacking in our team's effort vs Bama.
(1) Taking Bad Shots: I can't tell you how many times I saw us throw up a 3-point shot without any help under the basket to rebound. I'd have to say that Ravern, Dee, Kodi, and Jalen did this on 10 of the 24 attempts from behind the arc on Saturday. If you are shooting that many shots without a rebounder present, then that right there has to make it evident that you are rushing a shot. The last 3 seasons, Stansbury has implemented the Live by the 3/ Die by the 3 mentality, but it will never work until our guys learn to find the open shooter, put aside their selfishness, and stop trying to be the hero. We will not start winning, until our guys find it in themselves to work the perimeter and make that extra pass. I also saw Renardo Sidney trying to answer JaMychal Green a few times as well, after he got schooled on the other half of the court. He was unsuccessful in doing so, and his tit-for-tat style ego cost us at least 3 possessions. Unselfish play goes a long way in basketball...just ask a team like St. Mary's.
(2) Poor Defense, No Help on the Back Side, & Not Taking Away the Lanes: As I've always said, if you allow someone to shoot anywhere close to 50%, you are either playing a team on fire or you are not playing D and contesting shots. Thanks to some lazy D by State, Bama shot 49.2% from the field on the night. Just in case you haven't checked the stats, Bama had 15 lay ups. It did not take long for the Tide and Coach Grant to realize that State was not going to fight there way around ball screens to find their man, and that left open cuts to the basket all day. Not only that, but it seemed that no one was willing to help out on D when a Crimson jersey made their way into the paint. It's sickening to watch the opposing team take easy shots in the paint, in our house. Hats off to Dee Bost, who was the only person to physically challenge a lay up or dunk. He pretty much flagrantly fouled Green (twice his size) on his dunk attempt.
(3) No Energy: The crowd and atmosphere sucked, but then again I'm not sure that the Dawgs gave them anything to cheer about. The fact is, Dee Bost was the only spark of energy this team has. He did try to do too much on Saturday, but what can you expect from a guy that's been pinned up for the first 14 games? Even though his 14 points were scattered, at least Dee followed his shots, played some D, and tried to get the crowd into the game. Ravern Johnson had become the team's emotional leader through Dee's suspension, but now that Bost has returned, Johnson has slipped back into his quiet role. Sidney plays for himself, Benock is not a rah-rah kind of guy, and I can only see Kodi as the other guy who tries to pick up the team's energy by his play. To me, the ONLY positive of the day was the play of Wendell Lewis. Saturday was the only time that I've seen him fight and finish around the basket, not turn the ball over, and play solid D. We might be seeing the emergence of a new addition that this team greatly needs, an inside presence. Another thing our guys can do to chip away at leads and keep themselves in games, is to simply make their FT's. 10 of 20 isn't going to cut it against anybody. Then again, poor FT shooting has always been a charateristic of Stansbury teams.
Kodi Augustus- 11 pts, 11 Rbs, 2 Asst
Dee Bost- 14 pts, 5 Asst
Ravern Johnson- 8 pts, 2 Rbs
Riley Benock- 8 pts, 5 Rbs
Wendell Lewis- 10 pts, 5 Rbs, 2 Blk
Is this the beginning of the end for Stansbury?
Tobias Singleton Commits to Ole Miss & My Opinions on the Recruits
Ok guys, here's where I'll warn yall not to make too much out of this year's recruiting class and all of the de-commits. That is, even when we have players doing just that and heading to Oxford instead of Starkville. As yall know, Tobias Singleton made his choice to go to TSUN this weekend, after leaning towards State for some time. He did make the gesture as if he was going to grab the MSU hat, but quickly reached for the OM hat and solidified his decision. Singleton is a Madison Central product, and his de-commit from MSU has resulted in his high school teammate Joe Price- deciding to re-open his recruitment on Saturday. Price is just a 2 Star RB, but losing a recruit's commitment is never something to be desired. Here's what I think about Singleton, Price, and Nick Brassell who I expect to sign with TSUN.
(1) Singleton shared that he was somewhat worried or 'scared' of State's strong roster of young WRs, and that apparently played a role in his decision to attend OM. But, former UCLA WR's coach Scott Lindsey, was recruiting Singleton out west and was just hired by TSUN. Not only that, but Lindsey was let fired by UCLA for not just under-performing, but recruiting violations as well. This smells really bad, and might just end up better for State in the long run anyway.
(2) Price needs to realize that he doesn't have the power or sway that a 4 or 5 Star player has. Second tier schools will come knock on his door, just like Memphis and Louisiana, but no major players will. If he wants an offense that will fit his strength, which is speed, he needs to come to MSU. TSUN will try and reel him in just to tick off State fans, but in all honesty they don't need him due to their solid backfield. His recruitment seems like a bigger deal than it is because of Singleton. Tobias is the bigger recruit and the fact that this had the feel of a packaged deal, appears to magnify the issue. Price will either come around and realize that he needs to take what he can get, or he'll end up at Louisiana or Nutt's "over-signed" list.
(3) Brassell will end up at TSUN. But, if he's smart, he'll stick with State. South Panola kids that attend OM and never get out of the atmopshere they grew up in-in Batesville, have a major tendency to not make the grade off the field in Oxford. Pat Patterson and Tig Barksdale are the 2 most recent examples. I'm not throwing all kids from Panola that sign with TSUN into the mix, I'm just sayin, there sure does seem to be a lot of off-field and academic issues with players from SP.
* I have a feeling that Nutt is telling these kids that State is destined to get in trouble over the Cam Newton scandal. I have no evidence to support that, but I think it's something like that. Either that or he is flat out paying these kids. Why would you choose TSUN right now over MSU?
*My last point on all this, is that as State fans, do not freak out. State has a ton of players that got redshirted this season, that will contribute next season. Not to mention the amount of Freshmen that pitched in this season and will only get better (I.E., Perkins, Whitley, Sanders, etc.)
*Let's focus on getting Johnson and Whitehead, and possibly pulling Joe Morrow back in and we'll be ok.
Anyway, your thoughts on the Basketball Team?
Your thoughts on the Recruiting Issues?
Who yall pulling for in the Nat'l Championship Game tonight? Go Ducks!!! Yall know how I feel about Auburn, and this is one case where I can't pull for the SEC. TSUN might as well be playing. I'm interested to see what uniforms Oregon will pull out tonight? I get to see my Heisman one more time in action tonight so I'm happy (LaMichael James).
In sports, there is nothing better than a fresh start, and there is nothing Rick Stansbury and his team need more. As MSU prepares to face off against Bama to open their SEC slate, they will do so knowing that they have all of their playmakers available for the first time. PG Dee Bost and PF Renardo Sidney will take the court together for the first time in competitive play. There's no doubt that Bost's presence will free up scorers such as Kodi Augustus and Ravern Johnson on the wings, who have been forced to create scoring opportunities for themselves for the entire year. Getting the ball to his play makers is not the only thing that Bost does well, the PG also has excellent touch from behind the arc and on the drive. Bost averaged 13 ppg, 4 rebs, and 5 assts last season, and this year State fans can expect more of the same. If you are a Twitter Head like I've become, you might follow Dee Bost who has consistently tweeted about nothing but working out and practicing. I firmly expect Dee to surprise us all, with a strong, back-up-to-speed performance on Saturday. Anyway, for those of you who might be somewhat out of touch with WHO State's top performers have been so far this year, here's an update with their season averages:
Ravern Johnson-20 ppg, 3 Reb, 39% from 3, 42% FG, 75% FT
Renardo Sidney- 15 ppg, 4 Reb, 56% FG, 71% FT
Kodi Augustus- 13 ppg, 8 Reb, 39% FG, 29% from 3, 82% FT
Riley Benock- 7 ppg, 4 Reb, 46% FG, 44% from 3, 75% FT
Brian Bryant-7 ppg, 4 Reb, 46% FG, 35% from 3, 71% FT
Jalen Steele- 6 ppg, 1 Reb, 31% FG, 26% from 3, 75% FT
Wendell Lewis-4 ppg, 4 Reb, 55% FG, 31% FT
Bama Scouting Report
The Crimson Tide (8-6) will roll·into Starkville with the same record as the Bulldogs, but with more prestigious losses that State. Bama has fell to Okl State, Iowa, Seton Hall, Purdue, and Providence. Bama does·not boast an explosive Offense, ranking just 217th nationally, which is good for 67.9 ppg. They are led by JaMychal Green, who averages 14 ppg and 7 Rebs. Tony Mitchell is the Tide's second best playmaker, averaging 14 ppg and 8 Rebs. Trevor Releford and Senario Hillman, both average 9 ppg and can be dangerous as well.
Congrats to Coach Wilson & Mirando
As yall know by now, Chris Wilson was promoted to the Def. Coordinator position at MSU. Diaz offically had the red carpet rolled out for him in Austin yesterday. Wilson will be entering his 2nd yr at State, after coming over from Oklahoma in 2009. Angel Mirando, was promoted from his GA position where he worked with the receivers, to the WRs' Coach. Mirando is just 25 yrs old. What an opportunity for the young man.
Mullen's First 4 from 2011 Class Enroll
Dak Prescott, Joey Trapp, John Harris, and Nick Redmond all started Spring classes this past Wednesday. Some may not see this as a big deal, but trust me, arriving in the spring gives players a huge head start as compared to players that arrive during the summer. All 4 players earned national recognition, and getting ahead physically and mentally, will only aid their development. I can't wait to see what Dak Prescott does at MSU.
That's all I got today boys!
Your thoughts on the Basketball season?
Will State win the SEC WEST? I do, but only by tie-breaker over Ole Miss.
Who ya got tonight in the Cotton Bowl? LSU or aTm? I'll be wearin' my Tigers shirt tonight.
Diaz Accepts Texas' Offer
After resting the past 2 weeks in the fact that Dan Mullen was staying in Starkville and not headed to Gainesville or Miami, worry once again knocked on the door of the Bulldog Nation. This time though, all the back and forth centered on MSU Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz and the University of Texas. As soon as the story broke on just 2 days ago about the Horns' interest in Diaz, I came to 3 immediate conclusions that many other Bulldog fans might have has had as well. (1) There is no way that MSU can pay an assistant coach what a traditional and historic power like Texas can. (2) Maybe, just maybe, Diaz will overlook all the prestige the Texas job has to offer, because of their dismal season and State's strong 9 win season. As we know by now, Diaz decided to walk through Door #1 and will be making an even bigger name for himself next season in Austin.
Diaz has made quite the name for himself, by climbing the job ladder in a short amount of time. After stays at FSU and NC State as an assistant, Diaz was named the Def. Coordinator at MTSU. It was during the 2009 season, when Dan Mullen and Diaz became acquainted, when MSU and the Blue Raiders squared off in Murfreesboro. After the 2009 season, former MSU Def. Coordinator Carl Torbush departed for Kansas and Mullen quickly called on Manny Diaz to bring his aggressive and attacking style of Defense to Starkville. In just one season in Starkville, Diaz did exactly what he was called on to do and that was to bring MSU's reputation back for having a hard-nosed, physical Defense. Diaz led the Dawg D to the following rankings nationally: Total Defense (50th), Rushing Defense (17th), Passing Defense (90th), Red Zone Defense (13th), and Scoring Defense (22nd). Diaz's bend but don't break philosophy can result in some risk vs reward type moments during a game, but it works. Manny was brought to MSU on a $250,000 annual salary, but is rumored to bring in some $750,000 at Texas.
Your Thoughts on Diaz's Departure?
-To me it's all about the money, and more than likely an under the table agreement that he might be the new coach-in-waiting for Mack Brown. Otherwise, why else would he leave the SEC. Before all the news broke that solidified Manny's exit, I wrote Manny and asked him, "Are you TRUE Maroon?" And then I followed it up with, "Why would you want to coach against anything LESS than the BEST every Saturday?"...No response, as you can imagine. Either way, that's what he is doing. It's an easier road and I can't blame him, but he just might miss out, ya never know.
Think Positive: Dan Mullen & Chris Wilson
Why, you might ask? Look no further than Dan Mullen. Mullen has an awesome eye for talent, be it in finding a coach or a player. Take Manny Diaz for instance, who's radar was he on before Mullen came along? Nobody's. Now Diaz is headed to Texas. You can even take Bulldog QB Chris Relf for example. At the end of the Croom era, we all thought that Relf would finish his career holding a clipboard andsignaling in plays. It took Mullen to see the potential, smooth out all of the youngster's rough edges, and in his first year as a starter, Relf is name the Gator Bowl's MVP. Mullen knows what he is doing. Don't forget either, that what we saw on the field this season was not just Manny Diaz's product, it was Manny Diaz and Chris Wilson's product, and Wilson is still on staff. He HAS to be the obvious replacement nominee. The foundation has been laid, now we need to build on what the 2 started.
Is Chris Wilson your guy?
Recruits Jumping Ship?
Not only is Mullen short 2 coaches now (Husdpeth & Diaz), but 3 BIG recruits have apparently re-opened their commitment to other schools, after Diaz's exit yesterday. CJ Johnson, Nick Brassell, and Joe Morrow have all reportedly contacted Mullen and are exploring other options. I've heard about head coaches having this much influence, but a position coach?!? I'm not shocked by Brassell, mainly because he is a Panola product and they all go to TSUN usually. Not to mention, he has been hot and cold on State since the start. CJ Johnson was going on his Ole Miss visit just to recruit other players to come to State, but it seems we may not have him in our pocket for much longer. Johnson did mention though, that he would sit down with Mullen to discuss what type of Defense will be ran in Starkville next season. We are just weeks away from signing day, and there's still a lot that can change.
Shocked that Diaz and Huds had this much influence on the recruits?
Twany Beckham Leaves MSU Basketball Team
First of all, don't throw this story in with the rest of this season's doom and gloom stories. The media and TSUN fans want to blow this out of proportion to make our B-Ball program and Stansbury look even worse that it already does. The fact is, I've never once yelled for Twany Beckham to get some playing time and neither have you. Next, Brian Bryant is good and is going to be Dee Bost's sub when Bost returns on Saturday, not Twany. And finally, Jalen Steele is better than Beckham will ever be and he is just a youngster. All this means NO room and NO need for Twany. Happy Trails Twany, andState fans should not buy into the hype of this story. Not even worth the ink in a newspaper. Sorry if that's rude, just the truth. There is on the otherhand, a reason to be worried about stability and institutional control on Stansbury's end. We'll see.
Your thoughts on all this?