Hey, y’all, got all your Blog Bag answers for you on time this week. Good questions, and hopefully the answers are satisfactory. Lots of football and baseball talk.
Q: Just heard that quarterback Gunner Kiel is transferring from Notre Dame. MSU is on his long list. Any chance we land him?
A: Got no idea, and he’ll have plenty of suitors. It seems Kiel is wanting to find a place where he’ll face a minimal amount of competition, and if he were to transfer to MSU, Dak Prescott would be a junior – and likely the presumptive starter – when Kiel became eligible. And State signed two QBs in this class, although Cord Sandberg could wind up playing pro baseball.
For what it’s worth, this story says Cincinnati is a possible landing spot.
Q: How is Jeremey Chappelle looking in spring drills? What about guys like Quadry Antoine and Kivon Coman at safety, will they see some playing time this year?
A: Chappelle said he’s learning the plays and making good progress, and coach Dan Mullen likes what he’s seen out of the junior college transfer receiver.
“He’s figuring it out. He’s got a good attitude, good work ethic, catches the ball really well. And he’s tough. He’s got the intangibles you need, now he’s just got to figure out what’s going on on the field and learn how to be an SEC player.”
As for Antoine and Coman, both freshmen, they’ll have a shot to get in the safety rotation, but it’s a pretty deep group there, so snaps will be hard to come by. Antoine has had a year in the system as a redshirt, while Coman spent last season at Hargrave (Va.) Military Institute. Safeties coach Tony Hughes said he likes what he’s seen from the whole group.
Q: What are your thoughts on the delayed decision by the NCAA on our investigation? Screwed up because of the situation at Miami?
A: It’s been more than seven months since assistant coach Angelo Mirando resigned amid the investigation into a “potential recruiting irregularity.” At the time, MSU said in a release, “We are nearing the end of this examination, and it is our intent to provide additional details when it is complete.” Of course, the NCAA’s clock is far slower than everyone else’s, and it’s no secret the Miami investigation, which the NCAA royally screwed up, has taken up a lot of the organization’s time and resources.
And of course there are other cases out there. So we have to just keep waiting.
Q: What’s the latest news on Mitch Slauter? What happened? When will be be back?
A: The senior catcher had an abscess on his throat and had to have it removed last week, causing him to miss the last five games. Coach John Cohen is hopeful he’ll be able to play this weekend against Florida.
“I’m very confident that we’re going to have him back for the weekend, we just don’t know how much yet,” Cohen said.
Q: Trey Porter hasn’t played as much this season. Who overtook his spot?
A: Porter has played in 23 games, with 15 starts as the designated hitter. His decreased playing time – Porter played in 60 games last year – is a result of Cohen having more options with his lineup. Six other players have started in the DH spot this season: Alex Detz (five times), Slauter (five), Tyler Fullerton (four), Derrick Armstrong (one), Hunter Renfroe (one) and Wes Rea (one).
Cohen was asked about keeping his hitting matchups the same as far as left-handed batters versus right-handed pitchers.
“Again, I was talking about roles, some of the players fit that role, and Trey is an example,” Cohen said. “He fits a very specific niche for our lineup, but it’s got to match up with who we’re facing.”
Q: We don’t play Missouri, Tennessee or Georgia this season in baseball. What are your thoughts on that in regards to our postseason prospects, and how that may later figure into the NCAA selection committee’s work?
A: Those are the bottom three teams in the SEC Eastern Division, and while that means MSU has possibly the toughest schedule in the league, it also means there is ample opportunity to achieve and maintain a high RPI rating, which could help MSU secure an NCAA regional hosting berth – if they can win some more of these games.
According to BoydsWorld.com, MSU (24-8, 3-6 SEC) has an RPI ranking of 11th in the country. The current average RPI rank of the SEC foes State has played or will play this season is 27.7, with six ranked in the top 25. The RPI ranks of the three teams MSU doesn’t play: Georgia 91, Tennessee 94, Missouri 181 – the three lowest in the SEC.
Q: Also, should we expect that to be the case in next season’s SEC schedule as well? Any thoughts from Cohen on that?
A: I’m not sure yet who MSU will play next season, but there should be a rotation of some sort with who it faces from the East. Cohen, for one, likes the opportunities presented by a tough schedule.
“If we play well down this second half, I think we have a chance to have an incredible RPI,” Cohen said. “With wins down the stretch, that can only get better if we play well. So that part’s exciting. Playing the schedule that we’re playing is exciting.”