There's not much margin for error within the MSU receiving corps, a group that's thin on experience and depth. The receivers became even thinner after O'Neal Wilder decided a couple of months ago to hang up his football cleats in favor of his track cleats.
As I write in today's Daily Journal, Wilder determined all the pain wasn't worth it. He was a good football player, but that pursuit hurt his performance on the track, where he runs sprints for State.
"I guess track, that's his first love, and that's what he's good at. Football was too physical for him, I guess," senior WR Leon Berry said. That sums it up in full right there.
It was a smart decision on Wilder's part. Being a two-sport athlete in the SEC isn't impossible – although "impossible" was the word Wilder used when asked how he dealt with spring football and the beginning of track season – but if you're world class in one sport and just pretty good in the other, the risk of being hurt in one's lesser endeavor does not seem worth any possible reward.
Wilder had to deal with a knee injury suffered playing football. Prior to last season, he had a bunch of fluid drained off the right knee.
"Ever since I've been out here I've had no trouble with my knee," he said. "It's feeling great right now. I don't regret my decision at all."
• ROUTT THROWING: I spoke with baseball coach John Cohen yesterday evening, and he said sophomore LHP Nick Routt did some light throwing Tuesday for the first time since injuring his arm in MSU's opening SEC series at Florida. Routt told Cohen he experienced no pain.
Cohen said the proverbial ball is now in Routt's court. Neither he nor the doctors can tell Routt when he's ready to pitch again.
"It's really going to be up to him, his progress," Cohen said. "He's the only one who's really going to know."
MSU (16-16), which has an RPI of 34, plays host to South Alabama (24-13) at 6:30 p.m. today.
• CHANEY'S VISITS: If you've been following Jamar Chaney's tweets, you know that the ex-Bulldog middle linebacker has been visiting with teams the past few days. He's talked with folks in New England and Philadelphia, and today he's in Atlanta. Apparently his offseason workouts have so impressed some teams that he's moved from a fourth- or fifth-round pick to as high as a second-round choice on their draft boards.