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?
MSU's 2010-2011 Football season came to an exciting end, with a dominant 52-14 showing against Michigan this past Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs rode the arm and decision making of Bulldog QB Chris Relf, as a solid performance by the Dawg D. Relf, who has shown significant improvement in the last 3 games, found holes in the UM secondary and showed the best touch of his career. The Junior, connected on 18 of his 23 passes for 281 yds and 3 TDs. The MSU Defense showed out as well. After allowing 2 Michigan scores in the 1st Qtr, State's D became quite a dominant force. Michigan came into the game ranked among the nation's top 10 in Total Offense, averaging some 500 ypg and 32 ppg. On Saturday, the Bulldogs held UM to just 324 total yds and 14 points. Michigan's Denard Robinson, who is 2nd nationally in Total Offense (by individual player), was held to 254 yds passing and just 59 on the ground. Though those numbers might hint at a solid day, they did not produce the type of performance that Michigan fans have been used to this season. Robinson and Co. seemed to be well on their way to another strong performance, after taking a 14-10 lead at the end of the 1st Qtr. But, it was from that moment forward that State dominated, finishing the game with a 42-0 run. State's D played their best 3 Qtrs of the season after that point, ball-hawking and holding the Wolverines to 0 points in 3 red zone trips. By midway through the 3rd Qtr, the "SEC" chants had started, Michigan fans began to leave, and the long drive was well worth it for every MSU fan in attendance. While many might question the quality of 'Michigan' team that MSU faced, one cannot deny that State topped College Football's winning-est program and one of the nation's best Offenses. But, all that matters is that 20-30 years from now, there will still be a Gator Bowl trophy in the case, and the plaque will read MSU-52 Michigan-14.
Inside the Numbers
-State's 31 points in the 1st Half, set a Gator Bowl record.
-The 38 point loss and the 52 points that Michigan allowed, marked their worse loss and most points they've ever given up in a Bowl Game.
-2 MSU Bulldogs scored the first TDs of their careers, WRs Michael Carr and Ricco Sanders.
-State scored on all 5 possessions in the 1st Half.
-This game marked the 4th time this season, that State scored 45+ points
-State was 9-17 on 3rd Downs, and 5 of 5 on 4th Down tries, 6 of 6 in the Red Zone
-MSU is 4-0 in their last 4 Bowl Games
Chris Relf's Improvement and Production
Over the last 3 games, Relf has made tremendous strides. Just how good has he been?
- Passing: 51-73, 793 yds, 69%, 6 TDs, 2 INTs
-Rushing: 200 yds, 2 TDs
-Total Output: 993 yds, 8 TDs
I have to say, if Nick Bell could have watched that game, he'd have been very proud of how Relf represented his #36.
Vick Ballard Gets 19th TD
Ballard's 3TDs on Saturday, gave him 19 for the season, which is a new single season- rushing TD record at MSU.
Young WRs Finding Groove (Last 3 Games)
Chris Smith- 13 catches for 165 yds, 1 TD
Michael Carr-4 catches for 74 yds, 1 TD
Arceto Clark- 7 catches for 96 yds, 1 TD
RB LaDarius Perkins Becoming a Weapon in Passing Game
Last 3 games: 5 catches for 225 yds, 2 TDs
Thanks to Our Seniors
I can't say enough about our Senior Class of 2010, you will greatly be missed. Langston, Smith, McPhee, White, Wright, Sherrod, Brignone, Hutchins, DePasquale, a tip of the hat to you guys.
Your thoughts on the Gator Bowl?
What's this win mean going forward for MSU?
I really feel that we lose the most on Defense to graduation, but what do you like the most: The youth at DL, LB, or the youth at DB? We saw some of each on Saturday.
More impressed with the Offense or Defense?
Also, what are your feelings on Sidney fulfilling his suspension and Bailey leaving?
*My apologies on not getting a post up earlier guys, driving 13 hours and some problems with the site have delayed me posting.
Football tonight! Arkansas gets to whip up on Ohio State, and did yall see Harbough run scared the entire night, dodging questions about Michigan? In many cases he ran from the microphone and cut interviews short. I think he's on a plane right now to Ann Arbor.
We've waited just over a month to see our #21 MSU Bulldogs face off against the Michigan Wolverines, and the wait is finally over. Kickoff is set for 1:30 ET, 12:30 CT, on ESPN2. MSU is a 5 point favorite for this 66th Gator Bowl. Yall have read what I have had to say all week, as I've broke down the stats, examined the abilities of Michigan QB Denard Robinson, and even considered multiple ways to attack Michigan's pourous Defense. So, I'm going to give you my My Thoughts, Game Prediction, followed by my Personal Performance Predictions, then I want you to share your own.
Let me go ahead and get this out of the way, Wolverine QB Denard Robinson is a playmaker. He's the kind of player, much like a Cam Newton, who is going to make plays, and hurt you at times, no matter how well you contain him. State must do 3 things in order to stop Robinson from having the kind of successful day that he has been accustomed to. (1) Dawg D-Line Must Get Penetration- The front 7's success vs Michigan, starts with the battle in the trenches. The D-Line must get solid, physical jumps off the snap, and find their way into the Offensive backfield. This will disrupt the timing in the passing game, as well as the reads in the option game. Robinson will make mistakes if consistently pressured, be it fumbles or interceptions. We need Boyd and Cox to clog the middle, and McPhee and Ferg to hold down the edges. (2) Don't Allow Robinson to Escape- If MSU has the chance to hit Robinson, they need to make it count, and get him on the ground. Don't allow him to escape through arm tackles, and most importantly don't allow second opportunites that allow him to improvise. Robinson could have success extending plays against our zone D, so when the Dawgs have the chance, take him down. With all that said, keep in mind that Robinson is very injury prone, and that his back up QB Tate Forcier, is ineligible for the Bowl Game. (3) Strong, Smart Play from White & Wright- Their ability to ball-hawk, and change the direction of a play has been essential to State's success all year. With Robinson drawing so much attention to himself, KJ and Chris must know when to attack behind the line of scrimmage, and when to help out in the middle. Both have the speed to cover ground and bust open a negative play for opposing offenses, but playing SMART within Diaz's Defense will be key. I wouldn't be surprised at all, if Diaz and Wilson run a 2 spy set to contain Robinson, but then again, they always say that their Defense works, if everyone does their job.
Game Prediction: MSU 35 Michigan 20
MSU will be the team that has the most trouble getting back used to the speed of the game, and facing Denard Robinson won't help. State will give up an early TD, in which they will allow Michigan to convert 1st Downs on plays they shouldn't. I look for the Bulldogs to come out somewhat 'herky-jerky' as Mullen likes to say, but eventually find their rhythm on Offense. Michigan might taste success at first in stopping MSU's spread option attack, but eventually the physicality of the SEC will rear its' head, and dominate Michigan in the trenches. The Wolverines will run out of adrenaline, and become undisciplined in their assignments. Controlling the time of possession and the occasional alternations of possessions by MSU QBs Chris Relf and Tyler Russell, will keep Michigan off-balanced, and show why they are the 107th ranked D in the nation. I expect Robinson to finish with 80yds rushing and around 180 passing, but it won't be enough for Michigan. State's front 7 on D, will continually take Robinson out of his element. There's no doubt that Michigan has speed and skill players, and we will see that on Saturday, but you have to have the ball in order to get the ball in their hands. I look for State to play keep away, even on possessions when MSU comes away without any points. The cowbells and crowd noise should play a role, and hopefully the TV audience will be able to hear the "SEC!" chants.
Personal Performance Predictions
Chris Relf- 105 yds rushing, 120 yds passing
Tyler Russell- 70 yds passing
Vick Ballard- 115 yds rushing
LaDarius Perkins- 75 yds rushing, 40 receiving
Micheal Carr- 25 rushing, 30 receiving
Chris Smith- 30 yds receiving
Brandon Heavens- 70 yds receiving
Johnthan Banks- INT
Nickoe Whitely- INT, 8 Tkls
Chris White- 12 Tkls
Pernell McPhee- 2 Sacks
Josh Boyd and Fletcher Cox- 2 Tkls for Loss
LaDarius Perkins- KR for TD (?)
If you guys missed the Stat Match Up on yesteday, here's the Link
Anyway guys, I'm headed to Jacksonville. See you guys next year.
Well guys, it's been just over a month since MSU capped off the 2010 regular season, with a 31-23 win over arch rival Ole Miss. Now, we find ourselves just 2 days removed from more Bulldog Football. So, as we continue to focus on the Gator Bowl match up with Michigan, I figured we'd treat today just like we do every Thursday during the football season, with a look at what the stats say. Here's our Stat Match Up Analysis:
|Total Off.||394 ypg (47th)||500 ypg (5th)|
|Rush Off.||215 ypg (16th)||251 ypg (11th)|
|Pass Off.||178 ypg (91st)||249 ypg (36th)|
|Scoring Off.||27 ppg (58th)||34 ypg (21st)|
|Time of Poss.||27:22||31:39|
|Total Def.||358 ypg (53rd)||447 ypg (107th)|
|Rush Def.||121 ypg (19th)||187 ypg (94th)|
|Pass Def.||236 ypg (90th)||260 ypg (111th)|
|Scoring Def.||20 ppg (27th)||33 ppg (102nd)|
One thing that immediately sticks out, is the fact that Michigan is ranked 94thor worse in all of the major Defensive categories. The Wolverines' poor rush Defense (187 ypg), has to play into MSU's favor, who averages 215 ypg on the ground. Not only do the struggles in stopping the ground game serve as a bad omen for UM, but their poor pass D has to give QB Chris Relf some confidence. Relf, whose strength clearly lies in running the football and the short passing game, will be facing the weakest (statistics-wise) Defense he has faced all year. The Junior QB, threw for 224 yds vs Arkansas, and 288 vs Ole Miss to finish the season. Not bad, especially for a run-first QB, in a run-first Offense. And, that could mean that MSU fans might see some packages and possessions set aside for Freshmen QB Tyler Russell. MSU rushed for 200+ yds on 6 occasions in 2010, and fell just yds short 2 other times. State also posted a 400 yd rushing game vs Houston.
Michigan's QB Denard Robinson, is just 50 yds or so, behind the nation's leading rusher, Oregon RB LaMichael James. There's no doubt that Robinson's ability to run, opens up the passing game for Rich Rodriguez. It's also that ability to run and move in the pocket, that allows Robinson to extend plays, allow for WRs to get open. Though UM only holds the ball for just 27 minutes per game, they still have the ability to move the ball for long distances. Michigan has10 TD drives this season, of 85 yds or more. Robinson ranks 9th in the country in longest plays from scrimmage. Reminder of Robinson's 2010 performances:
-2,316 yds passing; 62%, 16 TDs, 10 INTs
-1,643 yds rushing; 14 TDs, 6.7 Avg
-6 games of 200+ yds passing, 1 with 300+ yds
-Threw a TD in all but 2 games this season, 4 multiple TD Pass games
-Threw an INT in 7 games this season, 3 multiple INT games
-100+ yds rushing in 9 games this season, 2 games of 200+ yds
Your thoughts on the Stat Match Up?
All week long, I've been doing my best to dig up what Rich Rod, Dan Mullen, and other coaches have been saying about squaring off in Jacksonville, and well, the two haven't said much...until yesterday. Here's some coach speak from yesterday...
Mullen on What a Win Means vs Michigan: "It would be huge. We weren’t very good and then we became good. Our next step is to go from good to great and that’s a very difficult step. Winning a New Year’s Day Bowl game is going to start pushing you in that direction of going from good to great.”
Mullen on MSU's and UM's Spread: “They’re a high-powered, explosive, spread-the-field offense and we kind of like to grind it out up front, so maybe that’s just a sign of the times. It makes it a different matchup than what everyone is used to.”
Mullen Not Calling Michigan TSUN: "I like Michigan. They're not the school up North. I mean, they're up North, actually, like many schools are geographically up there. But we save that for one special school."- In other words he doesn't like Ole Miss. Good answer coach.
Rich Rod on His Relationship with Mullen: "When Urban Meyer first got the job at Bowling Green, his offensive staff and my guys got together and talked a lot of football. We’ve known each other for over 10 years. He’s done a terrific job there, not only with their offense, of course, but with their program and everything they’re doing at Mississippi State.” Despite Rumors of the Hot Seat: “It’s been kind of a normal work week."
Manny Diaz on Not Giving Up BIG Plays: “It’s one of the pillars of our belief on defense. We gave up big plays. If we don’t give up big plays, we’re hard to score points on. The number one challenge this game is their ability to create big plays versus our ability to prevent them.” On Robinson: "He’s more like Cobb, but even a faster Randall Cobb, which is a terrible nightmare."
MSU Co-Def. Coordinator Chris Wilson: "We've had 4 days, of 'physical' practice." What He's Learned from His Bowl Experiences as Player and Coach: "One of the best things about going to a lot of bowls, is knowing what NOT to do." On Staying Focused Between Work and Play: "The players have done an excellent job of differentiating between the two...if not, you can give them a little more of the other (laughing)."
I can tell yall, from watching all the interviews with Mullen, Wilson, Chris White and KJ Wright, everyone seems to be really up beat and enjoying themselves. Wright and White have already emphasized the importance in stopping Michigan QB Denard Robinson, and I think there is an overall mutual respect between the 2 schools. I have yet to hear any smack talk, but I'll give it a few more days. Where are Corey Broomfield and Vick Ballard when you need them, huh?
St. Mary's Tops a Tired MSU Team 92-72
Well boys, MSU's 12,000 mile DISASTER of a trip is over with. After 9 games in just 18 days, MSU finally gets to rest. State went 4-5 in that stretch, and now can enjoy some off time until Jan. 8th. Starting with a matchup with VT in the Bahamas and ending with a date with St. Mary's in Las Vegas last night, State only won 1 game on the road trip. One of the most important things besides some R&R, will be seeing how Renardo Sidney and Elgin Bailey have handled their apparent 'temporary' suspensions, after brawling in Hawaii on national TV. There's no doubt that the reason why State has played the way they have, is due to the absence of Bost, Sidney, and Bailey. Of course, all 3 have missed at a variety of times, and it's taken it's tole on State. The thing that this team misses the most is a true Point Guard. Dee Bost's presence will add 13-20 points a night, more assists, better D vs opponent's PGs, and more than anything, will set up Kodi Augustus and Ravern Johnson on the perimeter. If I'm Stans, I let Bailey and Sidney play come SEC time. They've had quite awhile to learn their lesson, and will have even more time til next week rolls around. You could tell in the body language that the Dawgs are wore flat out. Rest and getting back to the basics will help this team get back on track. SEC play starts on Jan 8th, vs Bama in Starkville.
NCAA Bows to Sugar Bowl CEO
How about the NCAA and OSU being swayed by the Sugar Bowl CEO's ? If a CEO can help postpone suspensions, what else has the NCAA given into the rest of this season. We all know that the Big conferences and the NCAA love to profit first and penalize later. When is College Football going to be about kids who have done things the right way and followed the rules?
Bowl Mania Standings as of 12/30
(2) M. Patterson
(6) T-Civil & Dawghouserock
Anyway, your thoughts on the Stats?
Should Mullen set aside packages for Russell vs Michigan?
Any thoughts on the Basketball Team?
What about the Sugar Bowl scandal with NCAA & OSU ?
Game 1- vs UConn W 30-10
Michigan won easily, 30-10. Denard Robinson had 197 yds rushing and 186 yds passing.
Game 2- @ ND W 28-24
Michigan scored with 27 seconds left to win. Robinson finished with 244 yds passing and 258 yds rushing. Notre Dame finished with 535 total yds.
Game 3- vs UMass W 42-37
UMass made the game interesting with 2:05 left to play, but UM held on. Robinson finished with 345 total yds. UMass finished with 439 total yds, 217 rushing.
Game 4- vs Bowling Green W 65-21
Robinson was injured, but accounted for 129 yds on just 5 carries. UM posted 721 total yds, while BG finished with just 283. QB Tate Forcier finished the ball game for UM.
Game 5-@ Indiana W 42-35
Robinson finished with 277 passing yds, and another 217on the ground. Michigan racked up 574 total yds to Indiana's 568. UM scored with 17 seconds left to win the game.
Game 6- Mich State L 34-17
Robinson passed for 215 yds, but ran for just 86 yds. UM was held to just 377 total yds, as compared to Sparty's 536, with 249 of those coming on the ground.
Game 7- Iowa L 38-28
UM fought to within 7 with 7 minutes left, but Iowa added a late FG, and held off the Wolverines. Robinson had 143 yds on 31 carries, and was injured in the 3rd Qtr. Michigan posted 522 total yds and still lost.
Game 8- @ Penn State L 41-31
UM scored 2 late TDs to make this one look somewhat close. Robinson finished with 191 passing yds and 190 rushing yds.
Game 9-vs Illinois W 57-55 3 O.T.s
UM posted 676 total yds, to Illinios' 561. Robinson had 305 yds passing, with another 62 on the ground. He was also knocked out of this game, with a head injury. Most points ever given up in UM history.
Game 10-@ Purdue W 27-16
This was a 4 point game until the 2 minute mark, when UM made it an 11 point game. Robinson finished with 176 yds passing and 78 on the ground. UM posted 395 total yds, to the Boilers' 256.
Game 11- vs Wisconsin L 48-28
The Badgers pounded UM for 558 total yds, to UM's 442. Robinson threw for 239 yds and added 121 more rushing. UM was down 24-0 at the half, but as close as this one got was 31-21, before Wisconsin stepped on the gas again. Wisconsin torched UM for 357 rushing yds.
Game 12-@ Ohio State L 37-7
UM was held to just 351 total yds, with Robinson earning 87 through the air, and 105 on the ground. OSU posted 478 total yds on the day, including 258 on the ground.
Robinson- Stat Recap
-2,316 yds passing; 62%, 16 TDs, 10 INTs
-1,643 yds rushing; 14 TDs, 6.7 Avg
-6 games of 200+ yds passing, 1 with 300+ yds
-Threw a TD in all but 2 games this season, 4 multiple TD Pass games
-Threw an INT in 7 games this season, 3 multiple INT games
-100+ yds rushing in 9 games this season, 2 games of 200+ yds
Wins: UConn, Notre Dame, UMass, BGU, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue
Losses: Mich State, Iowa, PSU, Wisconsin, OSU
MSU- Quick Recap
Wins: Memphis, UF, UGA, Alcorn, Houston, UK, UAB, Ole Miss
Losses: Auburn, LSU, Bama, Arkansas
Mullen on Studying Rodriguez's WV Teams in the Past:
"I would watch every West Virginia game on tape, and I've done the same thing with Michigan. Rich does a fantastic job of getting the ball in the hands of his playmakers, which is the great thing about the spread. It allows you the flexibility to find different ways to get the ball to those playmakers in the open field." Rich Rod admitted to studying Mullen and Meyer, even as far back as their Bowling Green days. Mullen and Rodriguez have both mentioned that the size of their QB who is running the spread doesn't matter, Mullen: "I've had all different shapes and sizes. I had a bull in a china shop [in Tebow] who could run between the tackles, but I also coached dropback quarterbacks in Alex Smith [at Utah] and Chris Leak [Mullen's first year at Florida] who could roll out. Chris Relf is a bigger guy. But the one thing they had in common is that they all win. I like quarterbacks who win."- Florida Times Union
Who's more crucial to their team's success, Relf or Robinson?
Do you think Robinson should have had more Heisman consideration after seeing his stats?
When looking at MSU and UM's resumes, who has the edge heading into the Gator Bowl?
One school, is rich in history. It's 884 wins are the most in all of College Football. The other school is building its' tradition, and its' 489 wins are nothing to brag about. The first program is of course the University of Michigan, while the latter is Mississippi State. With all that history aside, 2010 and the past 3 seasons paint a much different picture. After a 9-4, 2007 season, Lloyd Carr was ran out of Ann Arbor, and West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez was brought in. Rodriguez, was thought to build on Michigan's talent base, and mold the school into an offensive powerhouse. Fast forward to 2010, and Rodriguez's 7 wins, marks his highest at the helm for the Wolverines. Rodriguez has faced his share of scrutiny, thanks to a 3 win 2008 season, a 5 win 2009, and his inability to beat Ohio State. Many are wondering if the New Year's Day match up with MSU, might serve as a deciding factor in whether or not Michigan holds on to the West Virginia native.
For MSU on the other hand, the Bulldog faithful have gotten everything they have wanted out of their 2nd year coach Dan Mullen. After a suffering through the Croom era (with the exception of the 2007 season), State fans were ready for something new. Mullen shined in his first season, taking the Bulldogs to within literal inches of becoming bowl eligible, and revitalized every facet of the MSU Football program. Season ticket sales and Bulldog Club memberships were higher than ever, and more importantly, Mullen fielded a competitive product every Saturday. To cap off his Freshman performance, Dan finished the season by dominating arch rival Ole Miss, 41-27. This season, Mullen has led State to an 8-4 regular season mark, with wins over UGA, UF, and Ole Miss. MSU's 4-4 mark in SEC play, could have ended up 6-2, if 2 individual plays would have went the Bulldogs' way.
The 2011 Gator Bowl, will feature a program on the rise and one of College's most historic programs. Personally, I think mindset will have everything to do with this match up. Will MSU be in awe of the fact that Michigan is on the opposite sideline, or will the Wolverines under-estimate the Bulldogs? Should be a great one.
The question is, which is hotter: Rodriguez's seat or Dan Mullen-as a commodity?
All we know as of Sunday is that all MSU Football players, coaches, and staff have reported to Jacksonville. State practiced in the ball room at their hotel, due to some players' travel bags not arriving. Later today, the Bulldogs will head to the University of North Florida, to conduct practice. State will be using the soccer fields on campus. As for what the Dawgs worked on yesterday, Mullen had this to say: "We ran through the game plan. We took the defense in and kind of refreshed their minds. We went through all the defenses, ran through the different blitzes to refresh them. The offense did the same thing in the ballroom. It's a giant room, so we just drove up and down the ballroom running plays."
One thing that you always have to worry about come bowl season is discipline, but Mullen seems to have that aspect covered. "You always have to teach them to manage things and that's the good thing about our staff, they've been to a lot of bowls. This is a big part of discipline and anticipating the problem before it happens. We know how to go about that."
*** Just wanted to let yall know that we are going to handle this as a regular game week here on the blog. Tomorrow we'll dive into some Michigan talk, take a look at what the coaches had to say after a day of practice. Wednesday we should have some talking points up. Thursday will serve as our usual Stat Match Up day. And, Friday we will post our predictions.
-This will be the first college game Denard Robinson has played in his home state (FL).
-Robinson is only QB in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,500 yards in the same season.
-MSU has not played a Big Ten team since Illinois in 1980 (State won 28-21).
-This is State's first New Year's Day bowl in 12 years.
-Michigan gave up 558 rushing yards in its' final 2 games of the season (Wisconsin & OSU). MSU ran 472 yards in its' final 2 games.
-Currently, Vegas has MSU a 5 point favorite, with an Over/Under of 60.
Here's a great article on MY BOY Marvin Bure'. Kid is a BEAST on Special Teams. If you have not watched #41 fly down the field and make plays, you need to! Link
Monday's Talking Points
-What are your thoughts on the Sidney and Bailey fight? Suspension length?
-What does this bowl Match Up with Michigan mean to you?
-What are your opinions on the Ohio State Tattoo Scandal? Agree or disagree, with players being suspended in the future, rather than for the upcoming bowl? In my opinion, it's just the Big 10 showing how SCARED they are of the SEC.
-Which is hotter: Rodriguez's seat or Dan Mullen-himself ?
I will arrive in Jacksonville on Friday night, and look forward to possibly meeting some of you guys down there. I'll try and set up a time and place to meet. I know Buzzard and Car will be there, anybody else?
What an amazing gift that gave God gave us in his only son Jesus. He that knew no sin, took every sin to the cross, and nailed it there. The Bible says that-while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. No matter who you are or what you've done, God loves you.
CHRISTmas, is all about him.
Thanks for blogging with me guys, yall are the reason why I do what I do. I'm just an average Joe, who loves MSU and SEC sports. Thanks for commenting, chatting, sharing, arguing, kindly disagreeing, and for some reason, continuing to stop by.
Go Dawgs!!! no comments
So, for today, I figured that I would share with you the perfect formula to get EMBARRASSED...Miss-i-ss-ippi-State-Style! Also known as Stansbury Ball...
(1) Don't Shutdown the Opposition's Top Player
-See Appl State, Belhaven, VT, WSU, Detroit, Troy, ETSU, and WSU. In all of these games, State allowed an opposing player to have a 20+ point performance. Stansbury is never able to crack down on our opponent's best player, especially in SEC play. It never fails, that MSU provides the platform for many career-high nights. Also, hardly ever do we see an actual adjustment to stop the player who catches fire.
(2) Don't Protect the Ball
-State committed 21 turnovers vs WSU. I counted 3 turnovers in the 2nd half, before MSU even attempted a shot. I can't call this team out on it as much as I have called Stans' teams out in the past (mainly because we haven't led in a lot of games this season), but losing a big lead due to turnovers is just a trademark of Rick's style. I would put this on the players, but since this occurs every single season, it's on the coach. I realize that State only held a 1 point lead at the half, but it's play like that-that cost you a lead and the momentum. It's play like that-that led to a 44-17 BLOW out in the 2nd half. Just do the math, awarding a team 3 extra possessions to your 0, means that the opposition has the potential to go on a 9-0 run.
(3) Don't Play D
-WSU and VT shot 50% from the field, and the 2 shot a combined 21-49 from 3 point range. I doubt that 2 teamsjust happened to get hot vs MSU, in a place where they have never played before (including a ballroom in the Bahamas). Get a hand in someone's face, contest shots, box out, get a hand in the passing lanes, and get physical. Now that Varnado is gone, everyone seems to have forgotten the basics.
All 3...Coaching related.
Stansbury Throws Ravern Johnson Under the Bus
I listened to the game on the radio yesterday, and in the closing minutes I became very interested to hear what Stansbury would say about his 2nd blow out loss in a row. What did he say? In more or less words, Ravern Johnson didn't give us the production we needed. Not that we have been CRUSHED on the boards over the past 2 weeks, not that the ball-handlers are CARELESS with our possessions, not that we are not defending POORLY, not that we cannot make FREE throws, not that we CANNOT shut down or slow down the star player on the other team, but instead he placed it all on Ravern. Way to go Rick! Throw your best player under the bus! A kid that is sick and hasn't practiced in 2 days, and you roll over on him. Classy! Ravern Johnson is the reason why we even have 7 wins this season. 22 ppg, 46% 3-point shooter, and the kid is finally playing D for the first time in his career, and he is giving you 36 minutes a game. Instead of calling out Johnson on his lack of production, maybe you should give credit to WSU for doing something you cannot do, which is focus in on stopping the other teams' lead player. Jack Christil and Jim Ellis, continually made mention of how good the Cougars contained Ravern for the entire game. Stans on the other hand, continually called out Johnson for his poor performance. A relationship that needed to be mended after a some rocky times last season, looked to be headed in the right direction this time around, but it's comments like that-that destroy a kid's confidence and trust in a coach. Not a classy move, by a guy who has been nothing but classy his entire time in Starkville. You are better than that Rick. Why would you protect a DIVA like Sidney with "No Comments", but rip your best player publicly. I'm starting to wish Stansbury would have left for Clemson. I would not miss him. Spend more time talking about what you can do as a coaching staff to improve this team. Because the items that I have listed, are issues that can be and should be addressed by coaching.
State Faces San Diego on TV Today @ 3:30 on ESPN U
Just a reminder, State has struggled with this team in the past. In 2008-2009, SD beat State 64-61 in OT, in Starkville. Last season, State responded with a 9 point win at SD, 77-68. SD is 2-9 this season, and lost yesterday to #15 Baylor 83-50. State has to have this one, before facing Saint Mary's on Dec. 29th.
Football talk coming Sunday night!
-State and LSU will do battle on ESPN's Thursday Night Football next season.
-Chris Low says Pernell McPhee needs to step for MSU vs Michigan. Link
Well, not a good weekend for MSU Basketball. State made the trip to the Bahamas to take on Virginia Tech, and left with one of MSU's worst losses in recent history. 88-57, has quite a painful ring to it, and it appears that Rick Stansbury's Dawgs are off to yet another slow start. Unless you are not aware of how Stansbury and Co. usually start off a season, it can be summed up by turning your attention to this year's 7-3 early start. It never fails that Rick will lose a handful of games that he shouldn't, and if we ever face a big name school that's the least bit competitive (before SEC play starts), you can almost always count that as a loss as well. This year is somewhat different in that State is awaiting the return of PG Dee Bost, and just recently were allowed to call on the services of the suspended Renardo Sidney. But, you don't lose to ETSU and FAU. You shouldn't lose to any team, that you have to ponder over what their school's initials stand for. You beat those teams. Not beating those teams, results in just what we saw last year, when teams such as Rider weakened our March Madness resume'. Of all of the years that Stans has done this same exact thing (under-performing early on), this year is the only one that I will cut him some slack. I don't forgive the losses to ETSU or FAU, and I wouldn't have had a problem losing to VT, if it was in a 'competitive' fashion. The truth is, VT should have been our first loss of the season, and it shouldn't have been by more than 10. We played with zero pride, heart, mental and physical toughness, and at times lacked sportsmanship as well. With that said, the Dawgs better buckle up for a 7-1 Washington Cougars team, and a 9-2 Saint Mary's squad. With that said, here's the stat story from Saturday...
Ravern Johnson:12 pts, 5 Reb, 3 Turnovers
Renardo Sidney: 12 pts, 3 Reb, 4 Turnovers
Kodi Augustus: 11 pts, 2 Reb, 4 Asst
Rile Benok: 7 pts, 3 Turnovers
* State shot 44% from the field, 31% from 3 pt land, 58% from the FT line, allowed 5 Hokie players to score 10+ points, and was out rebounded by a +15 margin.
Dawgs Prepare for Michigan
On this past Friday, Mullen made the shift from practices that showcased and explored MSU's young talent, to actual game preparation. It's common knowledge now, that Mullen wants to have most of the Michigan game plan installed by Tuesday of this week, before players enjoy their Christmas leave. Coordinators and Mullen, sat down and explained in-depth, what the Bulldogs can expect from the Wolverines. Dan also mentioned that with the Bulldogs being out of school, the staff was able to award a lot more time towards that very focus. Chris White has shared his thoughts on UM's Offense: "They pretty much do the same things that every other offense does. But they’re good at it. They run the quarterback a lot and that makes them hard to stop, it means an extra blocker for the offense. So it’s going to be tough. But we’re going to be ready. If he (Robinson) gets it up the field it’s going to be a touchdown. So we have to contain him and get people to the ball.” White and fellow LB KJ Wright, were put in charge of calling plays for their respective Defenses, in scrimmages and practices last week . MSU can rest assured for at least one more Saturday, that the Defense is in some reliable hands, when the 2 standouts QB the D for the last time.
Peacock Visits MSU
Jason Peacock is a 3 Star JUCO O-Lineman. Peacock is a strong 6-5, 305 pounder, that hails from Georgia. Peacock spent the weekend in Starkville, under the wing of OL Tobias Smith. Arizona, Arkansas, Utah State, Houston and Texas Tech have also extended offers to the stud Lineman, and MSU appears to be amongst Peacock's top choices. Peacock spent time at practice this weekend, taking notes from Derek Sherrod and OL coach John Hevesy. Peacock went on to discuss how comfortable he was during the visit, and that MSU was not pressuring him to commit like some schools were. The JUCO player knows MSU would love to add him to the roster, and Peacock admitted that State is in his top 3. He also plans to make a decision here towards the end of the calendar year.
Mullen Changing MSU's Culture
The fact is, MSU has something a lot of schools and fans want, Dan Mullen. Put him on the top of your list, call him 'arrogant' when he turns you down, whatever, but he is indeed 'wanted' around the country. Brad Locke wrote a piece on this very topic this weekend, one I actually commend him for. So, with that in mind, MSU's AD Scott Stricklin made a comment that not only sparked the article for Locke, but that has to be in the minds of most MSU fans. Stricklin's comment, directed towards changing the culture of mediocrity at State: "But you know how you fix that is winning nine, and then winning 10, and then getting to a championship, and winning a championship. That's how you fight that. It's no magic formula. But to get to that point, you've got to create a sense of inevitability, I guess, among your players and coaches and university and your fans. I think it's going to happen. I think it is inevitable." That last sentence is what I wanted to ask you guys about.
-Has Dan Mullen's performance over his first 2 seasons, transformed how you feel about MSU Football?
-Do you feel that it is 'inevitable' that he will build a tradition of winning in Starkville?
I myself, have to admit that Mullen has transformed how I view MSU's chances EVERY Saturday. Before Mullen, losing was almost expected. We struggled through games that we should have won with ease, and beating a Top 25 opponent was a thing of the past.In Mullen's first season, it was just about finding a way to be competitive, week in and week out. This season, the Dawgs are learning how to win, week in and week out. Not only has the change taken place on the surface of Scott Field, but in the seats of Davis Wade. From learning how to compete, to learning how to win, building a tradition of success with Mullen, seems 'inevitable.'
Your thoughts on MSU Hoops, Peacock, and Mullen?
Special thanks to Frank Solich's Ohio team, for not even getting off the bus in New Orleans. He cost me 20 confidence points! Btw, Buzzard holds a +18 point advantage after the first 3 Bowl Games.
Well guys, just wanted to share my opinion on all of the upcoming Bowl Games with yall. Every year, we have some interesting and amazing match-ups, but then again, there are always a few stinkers. I myself have organized all 35 of the 2010-2011 Bowls into 5 categories: (1) Great Match-Ups, (2) Barn Burners, (3) Snoozers, and (4) Big Names...But, Who Cares? So with that said, here's how I positioned the games within those categories...
South Car vs FSU
Wisconsin vs TCU
Stanford vs VT
Ohio State vs Arkansas
LSU vs aTm
Air Force vs GT
WV vs NCS
Michigan vs MSU
Auburn vs Oregon
Navy vs San Diego St
Hawaii vs Tulsa
NIU vs Fresno State
ECU vs Maryland
Okl State vs Arizona
Illionois vs Baylor
Middle TN vs Miami (OH)
BYU vs UTEP
Ohio vs Troy
Utah vs Boise St
FIU vs Toledo
Army vs SMU
K-State vs Syracuse
Northwestern vs Tx Tech
Pitt vs UK
UConn vs Okl
Big Names...But, Who Cares?
NC vs UT
Mizz vs Iowa
Clemson vs USF
ND vs Miami
Neb vs Washington
Nevada vs BC
UGA vs UCF
Bama vs Mich St
UF vs PSU
USM vs Louisville
Your Thoughts? Am I way off on any of these? Games you are most interested in?
Don't get me wrong, if I'm in front of a TV, I'll watch any of these games, but some leave something left to be desired. There are a number of traditionally strong programs that are down this year, and would otherwise be an outstanding match-up any other year. I will say this, you have to feel bad for Okl State and Nebraska. 2 teams that are facing off against somewhat much lesser opponents, not to mention that Nebraska has already killed Washington this season. And for what it's worth, why I'm barking up this tree, I'm really happy that Huskies' QB Jake Locker is graduating. Washington is a CONTINUAL under-achieving, media darling that just STINKS. I'm tired of hearing about them and Locker. Sorry, had to get that off my chest.
Miami Trustee on Mullen's Ego
In MSU news, apparently a Miami trustee was turned off by Dan Mullen's 'ego'. Saying that "he acts like he invented the game." I couldn't disagree more. What Mullen doesn't do is back down to anyone who takes a jab at him, be it Saban or Nutt. He carries himself professionally, he doesn't under-estimate his opposition, and he doesn't throw his coaches or players under the bus. The only time that he has shown any ounce of ego, is in his confidence towards Ole Miss. And that whole situation appears completely one-sided right now, because ever since Nutt jabbed at State in late 2009, he has been dominated by Dan Mullen. Maybe the 'U' needs to realize that they "didn't invent the game", and that they are not the job they once were. Guess we'll see what Golden is made of, but MSU is clearly the better job right now, and in the near future.
Dawgs Top Belhaven in Sidney Debut
Sidney wasn't able to compete for as long as he or those in attendance had hope for, but the Jackson native played well in his first 15 minutes of the season. Sidney finished with 10 points, 6 boards, and 1 block. Dee Bost was allowed to play, due to the fact that the game was indeed an exhibition. Bost showed just how much he'd be missed until January, racking up 26 points. Ravern Johnson continued to be the hot hand for MSU, with 29 points. State won 101-76.
Keith Fitzhugh on Jay Leno
Don't know how many of yall saw it last night, but former MSU Safety Keith Fitzhugh was invited onthe Tonight Show. Keith has made the news in the past week, after he turned down a chance to be picked up by the Jets, who lost their starting Safety last week to injury. Fitzhugh has spent some time in the NFL, but it's pretty much been when teams have 'needed' him. Fitz decided not to respond to the Jets' call to duty this time, due to the stability of his job as a rail road conductor. I don't blame him. Why sign on for an NFL team that's cut you in the past, and may not make it past the first week of the playoffs. Leno showed a clip of what Rex Ryan had to say about Fitzhugh's character, and how bad he wanted 'that kid' to sign with the Jets again. Great interview, and MSU was represented well.
So, does Mullen have an ego? Thoughts on Sidney and Bost? Did you see Keith Fitzhugh?
Bowl Mania Reminder
I have created a Bowl Mania Pick 'Ems group on ESPN.com. Not only will you be picking the winner of each game, but to make the picks even tougher, you will have to assign confidence points to each pick. 35 is the highest amount of confidence points that you can apply to a game, with 1 being the fewest. Rank your games 35 all the way to 1, and we'll wait to see how things shake out. Here's all the info you'll need to join:
Group Page: (Link)
Group Name: All Things Maroon
Group Password: eggbowl3123