Zach Smith’s Head; Sidney’s Saga; Beleaguered Bulldogs

Plenty to read about in today’s Daily Journal, and we start with football and a story about MSU senior free safety Zach Smith. He missed the final seven games of last season after suffering a concussion, but as it turns out, it was post-traumatic migraine headaches that sidelined him. Basically, every time he made a hit with his head, Smith got a massive headache.

When I spoke with Smith on Saturday, he never mentioned the migraines. We talked only about the concussions. Of course, at the time I was unaware of the headaches, so perhaps that was why. But Smith insists he’s at no greater risk of getting another concussion – or of suffering damage – than the next guy. And he said rumors floating around last fall of him hanging it up were unfounded.

“Nobody knows, unless you’ve been in that situation, how helpless you feel when you know you can’t get out there,” he said. “I’m good to go now.”

Team trainer Paul Mock said the whole area of concussions is a gray one, which means things aren’t so cut-and-dry for Smith. “It’s hard sometimes to distinguish true concussions from traumatic migraines,” Mock said.

Smith has been at practices, doing his thing, and that means delivering hard hits. Whether that becomes his ultimate undoing is anybody’s guess.

“I think he wants to play football awfully bad, and the doctors felt so far there’s no concrete evidence that says he can’t play,” said Mock. “Some of that is the patient has some responsibility there too, in the fact that no one can tell him that he isn’t at risk.”

SIDNEY CASE A WRAP: I’ll admit, I won’t miss covering the amateurism saga of MSU freshman Renardo Sidney. After 11 months, we have a final resolution, as the NCAA’s punishment of Sidney was upheld by the Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee on Tuesday. So, he’ll still miss the first nine games of next season.

His attorney, Don Jackson, remains convinced that the NCAA was determined to pin something on his client. The verdict handed down a few weeks ago was that Sidney had received improper benefits while in high school – in the form of athletic gear, and he’ll have to repay that – and that he had lied to the NCAA during the investigation.

Sidney has said he will return next year for MSU, when he will be a sophomore because of the lost year of eligibility (the NCAA won’t allow him to take a redshirt as part of the punishment). So, that’s that, we hope.

GUV’S CUP SETBACK: MSU lost to rival Ole Miss in last night’s Governor’s Cup, 5-3. After making three big comebacks in their last four games, the Bulldogs couldn’t put together a good offensive inning despite getting several runners in scoring position. The Bulldogs made four errors, most of them just silly ones. And coach John Cohen again had issues with the umpiring.

It’s understood that this team is going to struggle given its youth (especially on the mound), but that knowledge does nothing to lessen the frustration, which was evident on senior Connor Powers‘ face after the game. Powers said the plate struggles are all on the players, not the coaches.

“They’re doing a great job with us. It’s about players being accountable.”

CARMON THE BEHEMOTH: The always entertaining folks at Every Day Should Be Saturday (EDSBS) have a piece on MSU juco transfer James Carmon, the behemoth of a defensive tackle. All in good fun.