Blog Bag Answers: Tough Questions for the Football Team

Y’all came through for me on short notice this week, and for that I’m grateful. Lots of good, tough questions, and hopefully you find my answers satisfactory. It seems y’all are wanting to analyze the football regular season that just ended, and most of you don’t sound too happy.

Q: Do you still think defensive coordinator Chris Wilson will become a head coach?

A: I think he could be someday, sure. This past season certainly didn’t help that cause, though.

Q: Are there any chances of some coaching staff changes on the State football staff this year?

A: That’s always a possibility. In fact, in most programs it’s the norm to have some amount of turnover. MSU didn’t have any changes after last season until Angelo Mirando abruptly resigned in August because of the NCAA investigation. I haven’t heard anything substantial about the current staff.

Q: What happened to receiver Joe Morrow this year? He finished the year with a measly five receptions, and one or two mind-numbing drops that I can recall.

A: We were told prior to the season by receivers coach Tim Brewster that Morrow was battling a bruised knee, and then later in the season we were told that he was still dealing with injury. So that might’ve had something to do with it. Then there’s the fact he’s a freshman, and those guys develop at different paces. He’s got to step into a bigger role next year, though.

Q: Will we run a screen pass next year?

A: There did seem to be a paucity of screen passes this season, especially in the Ole Miss loss. I’m no student of the game, but screen passes seem like a good way for the quarterback to neutralize the pass rush, and Tyler Russell was getting harassed all night in Oxford.

Q: What’s the status of Tobias Smith‘s request for another year of eligibility?

A: The senior offensive guard won’t be able to apply for a sixth year until the season is over. He’s a pretty good candidate considering how much time he’s missed with all the injuries. Smith has played in 27 games in his career with 12 starts.

Q: How is cornerback John Banks‘ knee?

A: I didn’t know there was anything wrong with either of his knees. Perhaps¬†Dan Mullen will talk about it before bowl practices begin, or shortly thereafter.

Q: How have the defensive linemen from our most recent recruiting class progressed throughout the season?

A: I assume you mean the 2012 signees. Seems to me that Quay Evans came along nicely. He’s played in nine games, recording six tackles, a QB hurry, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. Another big tackle, Nick James, saw some key minutes this year, mainly in short-yardage situations. He has six tackles in eight games.

The most notable player of this D-line class, for now, is junior college transfer Denico Autry. I saw clear progress from him as the season went on. He’s adjusted to the speed and power of the SEC game and should be in position for a nice senior year. He’s made 37 tackles, 9.5 tackles-for-loss, 4.0 sacks and six QB hurries this season. Aury has also forced two fumbles and has a pass break-up.

Q: LaDarius Perkins has shown his inability to run between the tackles against our better opponents. Why won’t Dan give Nick Griffin more touches between the tackles?

A: Excellent question. I was expecting to see more of Griffin this year, especially in the Egg Bowl. He finished the season with 223 yards on 32 carries, an average of 7.0 yards per carry. He toted it three times for 10 net yards against Ole Miss, with a long run of 16. Coaches had talked about his increased confidence in recent weeks, so I don’t know why Griffin didn’t get more touches. Very curious.

Q: What has Mullen said or has he said anything to explain the fact that he can’t win against winning teams, ranked teams, or his lack of success in big games?

A: He’s not been asked that specific question lately that I can recall, but it’s a good question. Mullen is 2-16 versus ranked opponents and has lost his last 10 games against those teams. State was 2-3 this year versus teams that had winning records entering the game.

Q: What’s the deal with so many basketball turnovers this year? I think Alcorn had less than MSU did. Had the same problem at Maui.

A: Yeah, MSU had 21, Alcorn had 16. Youth, man. Turnovers are going to happen when you’ve got so many young, new guys playing together. MSU is averaging 19 turnovers per game, and freshman Craig Sword has been the biggest offender with an average of 4.3. Having a positive assist-to-turnover ratio is something coach¬†Rick Ray has been harping on.

I am the online content coordinator for I also co-host The Memo and Prep Rally podcasts and host the Newsbreak program. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04).

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  • just your average reader

    I guess I don’t see why we don’t make some changes here. Granted we pay a guy millions to make his own changes, but Wilson’s D has been terrible. No changes at half time, no adjustments, just more of the same.

    We have a guy like Nick G. who is slashing for yards, and looks like Chris Ivory on a tear and we keep him on the bench… Would be nice to see some changes, mixing things up a little bit.

    Equally disappointing is that we haven’t won against ranked teams. I remember 2009 and all of the heart break games, where we lost by a play, or a call… but this year it’s been pretty substantial.

  • Lumberg

    Why don’t you tell us more about the NCAA investigation you brought up in your answer about possible coaching changes?

  • Maroon88

    Ultimately it was Coach Croom’s inability to make subordinate coaching changes that was his downfall. Loyal to a fault. These are hard decisions for a HC and AD, but just as coaches are expected to put the best players on the field, AD’s and HC’s are expected to put the best coaches on the sidelines. It’s a competitive business. Recruiting good coaches is as much a part of the “business” as recruiting good players. We’re at a point in the tenure of CDM and ADSS where adjustments are either made or not, based on answering the question “Is our coaching staff the BEST that we can do?”. Everyone has their own ideas about how to answer this question. Will be interesting to watch how it plays out. We’ve been asked to raise our expectations for the program, and we have. Glad for where we are, but its still not where we want to be. Hail State!

  • Maroon88

    Look at these national rankings. Is this really the best that we can do??
    RecordRankTotal Yards389.578Passing Yards248.450Rushing Yards141.187Points Scored30.256Field Goal %60103

    RecordRankTotal Yards389.957Passing Yards223.947Rushing Yards16673Points Allowed22.429Field Goal %72.259

  • Maroon88

    Try again. These are national rankings.
    Offense: Total yds-78th, passing yds, 50th, rushing yds 87th, points scored 56th
    Defense: Total yds 57th, passing yds 47th, rushing yds 73, points allowed 29th

  • My State-My Trophy

    I honestly think Mullen lost the best part of his program when Dias left. I also think State allowed the best AD they had ever had, get away when they lost Byrne.

    • Lumberg

      cute nickname.

    • Bowleggs

      Did you notice how many points Diaz’s defense at Texas gave up this year? Their defense was horrible.

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