Blog Bag Answers: Focus on New Guys

‘Tis that time again, when I answer your questions as best I can. Had only a handful this week, but a lot of the focus is on newcomers who haven’t played yet (or not much). Let’s get to it.

Q: What is the status on reinstated DB Maurice Langston?

A: According to Mississippi State’s participation chart, he got in on special teams against LSU. Not sure if it was just once. And he wore No. 19, it says. Not sure if he’ll play defense this week, but considering how little Georgia Tech throws the ball – 13.3 attempts per game – it might be a good time to work him in on obvious running downs, just so he can get a feel for things.

Q: How is freshman WR Ricco Sanders coming along?

A: Man, y’all are obsessed with these freshmen, but understandably so. Coach Dan Mullen said just a couple of weeks ago that all the unplayed freshmen are coming along pretty well, but if they haven’t played by now, I don’t expect they will. Remember, Mullen said he hoped to have a pretty solid idea of who would redshirt by the fifth or sixth game. This is Game 5.

Q: Has Mullen made the decision to redshirt QB Tyler Russell yet?

A: See above question. I have a suspicion he has decided, and that’s something I plan on asking him next week, about all the freshmen.

Q: I know it’s football season, but how about a little info from time to time on softball, volleyball, baseball, etc? Softball has best catcher is country, volleyball has a new coach, are they not interesting to others?

A: Good question. Simply put, softball and volleyball draw little interest from fans, thus little interest from us. Plus, the big three eat up so much of our time and print space. Although you’ll notice we have a brief in the paper each time softball and volleyball, et al., play. And from time to time, if there’s a good story, I’ll check in on one of the minor sports and write about them. As for baseball, fall ball is due to start Oct. 9, so I expect I’ll have something on John Cohen and his boys before too long.

Q: I’ve noticed a significant drop off in the average distance for punter Heath Hutchins in both the Vandy and LSU games. I am very happy with our special teams unit this year, compared to last year. Is there something wrong with the lower than expected average kicks/punts or has there been any talk about correcting some things?

A: Maybe wet footballs had something to do with it, but Hutchins has punted 13 times over the last two games, averaging a respectable 40.5 yards per kick. More important is his net punting. Take away that 93-yard Chad Jones return for TD last week, and opponents have only 11 return yards on 20 punts. That’s because Hutchins gets great hang time, even on a shorter kick. I think he’ll be OK.

Q: Why do we only do the Dog Pound Rock to start the game? In the ’90’s we did it after every score, and now it’s a one time per game thing.

A: Wow, the second Dog Pound Rock question in as many weeks. Please, please, please don’t take this the wrong way, but I can’t bring myself to ask that kind of question with other reporters present. Please understand. If I had to guess, it’s just a personal preference thing with these guys, or it’s on Mullen’s orders to do it only once.