Blog Bag Answers: Epic!

My, but y’all came through in a big way in this week’s Blog Bag. One might describe it as epic. Lots of questions about basketball, but there’s a good variety as well. And y’all made me do math. But I love you anyway. Even had a disc golf question.

Here we go!

Q: Can you get a list of what basketball coach Rick Ray considers violations of team policy?

A: He has a list – and the university has one, too – but it is not for public consumption. A lot of common-sense stuff is on there, as you can imagine. And as we know, Colin Borchert, Roquez Johnson and Jalen Steele have all had lapses in common sense this season.

Q: What’s the total height of our basketball team and how does this compare to other SEC programs (total height, not average)?

A: OK, math time. This is MSU’s total height, including injured/suspended players: 905 inches, or 75 feet, 5 inches. How does that compare to the rest of the league? Well, I performed the tedious math, and assuming I made no mistakes, here is how they rank. Keep in mind, not every roster has the same number of players. MSU has only 12, a low number, which is a big reason why it ranks last.

  • Arkansas, 1,216 inches (101 feet, 4 inches); Tennessee, 1,169 (97-5); Alabama, 1,165 (97-1); Florida, 1,158 (96-6); Vanderbilt, 1,154 (96-2); Auburn, 1,150 (95-10); South Carolina, 1,134 (94-6); Georgia, 1,093 (91-1); Missouri, 1,091 (90-11); Ole Miss, 1,079 (89-11); Texas A&M, 1,074 (89-6); LSU, 1,001 (83-5); Kentucky, 995 (82-11); MSU 905 (75-5).

Q: I know this year the basketball team only has two walk-ons, but what is the typical amount of walk-ons Ray will want on his team? Obviously, he wants the max of 13 scholarship players, but does he have a desired number of walk-ons or simply whatever is available and valuable?

A: Ray held walk-on tryouts prior to the season, but he found nobody worthy of a roster spot. He’d certainly like to have more, but I don’t know what an ideal number would be for him. I think you nailed it, though: Whatever is available and valuable. So I’m sure Ray is flexible on a number. I remember Rick Stansbury typically had four walk-ons, at least when I was covering him.

Q: Any word on the Wendell Lewis injury? Possible fifth year? Return for SEC tourney or no? Also, interested in any recovery update for DeAndre Applewhite and Jacoby Davis.

A: Ray said on Jan. 28 that Lewis, a senior who suffered a fractured knee in mid-December, was likely going to apply for a medical redshirt and fifth year of eligibility. Davis, who tore an ACL during the summer, is practicing on a limited basis. Applewhite, who tore an ACL and meniscus last summer, is not practicing, nor is Lewis.

Q: How many more players does coach Ray plan on signing? Is there a particular number he will be satisfied with?

A: He’s already signed three, and if all 10 current scholarship players (that includes Lewis) return next season, then there is no more room, because MSU will be at the NCAA-maximum 13 scholarships. But, offseason attrition happens, especially to this program, so we’ll see how it shakes out.

Q: How much wood can a woodchuck chuck?

A: Let’s ask Siri:











Q: There was a recent article pointing out that Tennessee Athletics was something like $200 million in debt and had less than a couple million in cash reserves. How much debt and how much in cash reserves does MSU have?

A: Gaining that information will require me filing a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act, and so it will be a few days before I can answer that question.

Q: How many off-field quality control or recruiting staff does the football team have? It seems Dan Mullen mentioned the shifting of Scott Sallach to off-field staff as an effort to catch up in this department. Also, how does MSU’s number compare with other programs like Alabama, LSU, Georgia, etc.?

A: When Billy Gonzales was hired as receivers coach a few days ago, Sallach was moved from tight ends coach to a newly created position called coordinator of scouting.

Mullen said at the time, “We go play a lot of teams, and I look over at the sidelines and they have six quality control guys on offense, six on defense. We’re I guess understaffed in the Southeastern Conference a little bit that way.”

Earlier this week, I actually started to go through each SEC football staff’s personnel to see how much off-field support each program had. I only looked at four staffs besides MSU’s before other duties demanded my attention, but not surprisingly, Alabama had the biggest support staff, with 12. Some of the people work on recruiting, some are merely office types, and with the varying titles used by each school, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly who’s “quality control” and such.

As for MSU, it currently lists eight off-field support staffers. As for those who help with recruiting, there’s Sallach, Rockey Felker (director of player personnel/high school relations), Lee Davis (football recruiting specialist) and Niel Stopczynski (assistant recruiting coordinator).

Q: Has Michael Carr officially rejoined the football team?

A: The wide receiver, who left the team during the 2011 season for personal reasons, has been working out with the Bulldogs this offseason. But nothing will be official until MSU releases its spring roster early next month. Spring practices begin March 21.

Q: Has baseball coach John Cohen said who he intends to redshirt?

A: He’s not announced that yet, and it’s too early anyway. Whether certain guys will play this year is still up in the air.

Q: Does offensive lineman Tobias Smith have a deadline on deciding to return for a sixth year?

A: He’s not mentioned a self-imposed deadline. But, the spring roster ought to tell us something.

Q: What happened with the NCAA investigation near the start of the season? Any update?

A: Nothing new. Just awaiting the molasses-fast NCAA to wrap it up.

Q: What are the odds the Frisbee golf team can bag us a national title?

A: Well, pretty good I’d say. The men’s disc golf team won a title in 2009, and the women’s team won it all in 2012. Dynasty!

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).

Posted in Football
  • StateFan

    That was Epic! Thanks for answering my questions. Even the crazy ones.

    I’m pumped about our disc golf chances and looking forward to your findings on debt, etc.

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