Rebels seek upgrade of stadium big screen

OXFORD – Size does indeed matter, but it's quality that athletics director Pete Boone covets in his quest to replace the football video screen at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Right now, the size of the board and the view once the sun hits it have a negative impact on quality for fans in the stadium.

Arkansas has the league's largest stadium video board.

“The technology is what we're looking at, the high-def É That's what Auburn has. That's the clarity, and that's what everybody is going to,” Boone said.

The Ole Miss board, a JumboTron by Sony, is 23-feet, 10 5/8 inches wide, 17-feet, 11 inches tall.

While the upgrade is about quality, it's also born out of necessity. Sony is no longer in the stadium screen business, and technical support is limited.

Boone hopes the new board will be available for the 2008 season, but it may be 2009 before it happens.

The board isn't the only expense. With it come all sorts of new cameras and equipment to support the high-def aspect.

“So much has to be worked out with how we'll pay for it,” Boone said. “It would be nice to have in 2008, but if we can do it right in 2009, that's what we'll do.”

Basketball facility on course: About $6.5 million has been raised toward the basketball practice facility. The goal for ground-breaking is this summer with the hope that the gym would be ready for use in the fall of 2009.

Chance for a top 3 win
– After Friday's 4-3 SEC-opening win over No. 13 Tennessee, the fourth-ranked men's tennis team is 7-2 and has lost only to teams ranked in the top three at the time of competition, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 1 Virginia.

The Rebels get another crack at a top three victory today at No. 3 and defending national champ Georgia.

The Bulldogs defeated Mississippi State 6-1 Friday. They have won 38 straight home matches and 31 straight matches against SEC competition.

Georgia is 9-1, its loss a 4-1 decision against Ohio State in the national team indoor on Feb. 17. Ohio State defeated Ole Miss 4-2 in Oxford on Jan. 26.

Today's match begins at noon.

Quick return for pitcher
– Redshirt freshman Matt Smith had a surprisingly quick – and successful – comeback from a potential season-ending injury Friday night against Indiana State.

The previous Friday, Smith walked off the pitcher's mound in a great deal of pain after tearing a ligament in his elbow.

If he was a pitcher exclusively the injury would require surgery, and Smith's season would be over.

But he is primarily a first baseman that is expected to add power to the lineup. In Friday's game he was 2-for-5 with a couple of hard-hit singles and fielded his position with no obvious effects of a bad elbow.

“It was an easy decision to play him,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “From the beginning of the week he had no pain hitting or throwing. There was no reason not to play him. We were excited for him to get out there.”

Parrish Alford (parrish.alford@ covers Ole Miss for the Daily Journal.

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