Man, this might be the longest summertime Blog Bag entry ever, thanks in large part to a certain reader who shall remain nameless *coughdawgfan2o69cough*. Anyway, let’s get to it.
Q: How close are we to having improvements on Polk-Dement Stadium?
A: They put in new seats prior to the season. Beyond that, athletics director Scott Stricklin said, “We don’t really know. We’ll keep making incremental changes. I’d love to find a way to put ribbon boards up and just continue to enhance fan areas. The next serious step there is to undertake a long-range study similar to what we did at Davis Wade (Stadium). I’m hoping by the end of the calendar year we’re able to start looking at the long-tern future of what we want to do there at Dudy Noble.”
He added, “We’ll look at, where do we think our growth opportunities and needs are, and is there a way to improve the fan experience. Do we want to adjust the aesthetics, and that kind of thing.”
Q: With John Cohen seemingly on the right track, do you think Ron Polk may finally give him an approval and get back involved a little with the team? I’m sure he has a lot of recruiting abilities.
A: Polk never disapproved of Cohen, he just took issue with former athletics director Greg Byrne not hiring longtime assistant Tommy Raffo.
“Everybody construed that I didn’t want John Cohen to be the coach. I never said that,” Polk told me last spring.
Polk is still an assistant coach at UAB, but he does drive to Starkville once a week to check his mail, and he’ll often stop by Cohen’s office for a chat. But Polk back at MSU in an official capacity? I highly doubt it.
Q: Who will get the first shot at catcher next year for MSU?
A: While he likes Hunter Renfroe as a pitcher, too, Cohen really likes him at catcher. As a freshman this year, Renfroe played in 14 games with five starts – four as DH, one in left field. But he did play some catcher, and Cohen saw a lot of improvement from him there.
Renfroe batted .154 (4 of 26) but can wield the lumber. Cohen said he has “as much power as anybody in the Southeastern Conference.”
Q: What kind of of money can a fifth-round draft pick in baseball expect? The Wheeler signee (Brandon Woodruff) said he may go depending if the money was right, so I was curious what can he expect.
A: Good question. I know Devin Jones, a ninth-round pick, got a $97,500 bonus. I don’t know exactly how much Woodruff is looking for, but he and the Texas Rangers have until Aug. 15 to figure it out.
Q: Still wondering which SEC school president voted to keep the cowbells initially. Any ideas?
A: There was only one vote by the presidents, and they voted 11-0-1 in favor, with Dan Jones of Ole Miss abstaining. The athletics directors initially voted 10-2 against, and we know Ole Miss AD Pete Boone was one of the nays. Once the coaches approved it, though, the ADs reversed their decision.
Here is the story we had on it.
Q: Has MSU thought about charging $1 to bring a cowbell which would offset most of the cost, or do you think that’s just a problem in giving people an, “I can ring whenever I want” attitude, which gets them completely taken away.
A: Stricklin: “No. We want to eliminate the need to get fined.”
Q: Can you update us on football signees Justin Cox, Josh Robinson and Darius Slay? I haven’t heard or seen anything on them enrolling yet.
A: Robinson and Slay will arrive in August, but Cox’s status remains unclear. That’s according to my man Paul Jones.
Q:</strong> Do you think Brett Favre may come to talk to MSU’s quarterbacks and give them pointers? Maybe do a little work with the this summer or fall?
Q: Have any of the basketball signees enrolled early?
A: Four of the five are already enrolled: D.J. Gardner, Rodney Hood, Roquez Johnson and Shawn Long. Deville Smith couldn’t get enrolled in June because his school year ended too late for all the paperwork to get done. He should be on campus in July.
Q: What are your thoughts on (Big Ten Commissioner) Jim Delany wanting a separate playoff for schools in the north, including the Big Ten?
A: I think Delany usually doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Q: Can you give us a update on how the search is going for a head softball coach?
A: Why yes, yes I can.