Mississippi State’s Rick Ray spent a few moments on the SEC coaches’ teleconference Monday morning answering questions from reporters around the league.
Ray spoke about last week’s losses to Texas A&M and Kentucky and previewed the Bulldogs upcoming game against Georgia. He also talked about how players should interact with opposing fans on the road.
Here is a transcript of the call…
Ray: “I was really disappointed with our performance at Texas A&M. I thought that was the first time we didn’t play with a competitive spirit. I was pleased we brought that competitive spirit against Kentucky. I don’t know if it was the opponent or the fact that it was at home. But in order for us to be competitive against any team we just need to make sure we’re playing hard, playing tough and being competitive.
“Now we’ve got to get ready here for Georgia. They’re a big, strong and physical team. They do a great job defensively. It’ll be at the Hump so hopefully our guys will be ready for the game.”
How is I.J. Ready doing?
Ray: “We haven’t seen him yet today. He’s coming in when he gets done with classes to meet with our medical staff and Dr. (Mike) Mabry. Once they meet with him and get his temperature and get all that gauged. I know he’s had some tests. They went out and came back as being negative for having the flu. That’s positive news but we still have to see where he is with his temperature.”
What are your thoughts on the Marcus Smart incident? What advice do you give your guys with player-fan interaction?
Ray: “It’s really going to be a great teaching point. It’s unfortunate something like that has to happen to use it as a teaching point. I’m probably not the best person after my incident to give advice on this. But we’ve talked to our guys extensively about that and what to do on the road and how to conduct yourself by really taking the fans out of it and focusing on what’s going on, on the court only.
“Just having an experience like that happen now is going to be a teaching point for our guys and something we’ll definitely use in the next couple of days talking to our guys about decorum with fans.”
After your incident as an adult, it seems your emotions got the better of you for a moment. Does that give you a new appreciation of how we are all human and things can flare up?
Ray: “We’ve all made mistakes. I think my incident now with the day and age of technology, you’re not going to get away with anything nor was I trying to get away with anything. I think I handled it correctly by talking with coach (Andy) Kennedy directly after the game before we even had knowledge of it that it was out to the public.
“It’s good for our guys because they got to see me make a mistake. Now there’s something that’s personal to them so you don’t have to use an outside venue or incident to show how you should not act and something you should not do. I was a teaching and learning point at that point in time for our guys.”