Southeastern Conference teams know depth in the backfield is crucial. Vanderbilt University is glad to have it. With senior running back Jared Hawkins still unable to do very much in practice with a foot injury, freshmen Zac Stacy and Warren Norman and junior Kennard Reeves have emerged for the Commodores.
STARKVILLE — Greg Byrne understands the importance of recruiting for his head coaches. That’s why the Mississippi State Athletic Director believes in keeping coaches’ financial contracts at four years. Byrne has recommended that the contracts of basketball coach Rick Stansbury and baseball coach John Cohen be extended through June 30, 2013. The item on the College Board of Education’s agenda this week still has Stansbury’s contract through June 30, 2012, but Byrne expects it to be extended.
University of North Texas football coach Todd Dodge doesn’t mind going after Mississippi junior college talent. Dodge intends to do plenty of more recruiting there if it means his program will get players like senior offensive guard Gabe Hollivay, who was a standout at Hamilton High School, and junior wide receiver Michael Outlaw, of Starkville. Hollivay transferred from Itawamba Community College, while Outlaw transferred from East Mississippi C.C.
While growing up in Amory, Chris Wilson was a football fan of the University of Mississippi football team. Wilson especially liked Ole Miss when Amory natives Rufus French (tight end, 1996-98) and Joe Gunn (running back, 1998-2001) starred for the Rebels. Wilson aspired to play for the Rebels and was recruited by former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron. Wilson will be on the field Saturday when the Rebels play host Southeastern Louisiana, but he won’t be in an Ole Miss uniform.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State appreciates Wade Bonner’s effort. The Bulldogs just want to make sure the sophomore doesn’t get overworked. Not only does Bonner back up Zach Smith at free safety, he also helps out on special teams. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen likes Bonner’s versatility, but doesn’t want to use him too much.
STARKVILLE — Charles Mitchell gave a statement on behalf of the Mississippi State defense Monday. Coming off a 49-24 loss to Auburn University on Saturday, Mitchell expects the Bulldogs to play better.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State basketball program has had another preseason blow due to injury at the guard position. After sophomore point guard Twany Beckham was lost for the season because of hip surgery in August, it was confirmed by MSU team spokesman Gregg Ellis last week that junior guard Riley Benock will miss up to six weeks following a procedure to repair a stress fracture in his right ankle. Benock, who averaged 2.3 points and 11.4 minutes per game last season, may be recovered enough in time to join the Bulldogs for practice by late October.
STARKVILLE –– Mississippi State receiver Leon Berry knows he and his teammates need to have short memories. With another road game coming up for Mississippi State on Saturday at Vanderbilt, Berry said the Bulldogs need to put a 49-24 loss to Auburn behind them quickly. “We have to forget about this,” Berry said. “We have to get a win (at Vanderbilt).”
AUBURN, Ala. — One loss shouldn’t keep Mississippi State from reaching its goal, according to senior running back Anthony Dixon. Dixon, who returned from a one-game suspension, to lead the Bulldogs with 92 yards on 20 carries, still has hopes for this season despite a 49-24 loss to Auburn University on Saturday night. “We are still trying to get to the Southeastern Conference championship game this year,” Dixon said. “Today didn’t change that. We are going to come up with a new plan for next week.”
AUBURN, Ala. — It didn’t matter whether it was on the ground or in the air. Mississippi State had no answer for the Auburn University offense Saturday night. After only allowing 194 yards to Jackson State in the season opener, the Bulldogs gave up 589 yards to Auburn in a 49-24 loss in front of 85,269 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. MSU coach Dan Mullen was bothered by an effort that resulted in the Tigers getting 199 yards passing and 390 rushing.
Neil Macdonald knows there aren’t any guarantees in soccer. But Macdonald has seen plenty of positives and improvement in the first two weekends of the season to believe his Mississippi State women’s soccer team can maintain its success. The Lady Bulldogs (4-0) will try to continue their winning streak at 7 tonight when they play host to Troy University in their home opener at the MSU Soccer Field MSU will close the weekend with a 1 p.m. match Sunday against East Tennessee State.
SCOOBA — Randall Mackey completed 28 of 39 passes for 385 yards and four touchdowns Thursday night to lead the No. 2 East Mississippi Community College football team to a 41-14 victory against Holmes C.C. at Sullivan-Windham Field. The win helped EMCC improve to 3-0 and helped set up a matchup against defending MACJC state champion and No. 11 nationally ranked Gulf Coast C.C. at 7 p.m. Thursday. “We played a sloppy game,” EMCC coach Buddy Stephens said. “Whether it was the weather or just our playing style, we have to work on perfecting our plays.”
Greg Knox has plenty of weapons at Mississippi State. As the running backs coach, Knox has a reason to smile with three seniors and one sophomore at his position. “We’ve got good depth at running back,” Knox said. “Our talent is good there. We try to use all of those guys because they can do different things.” Knox, who was an assistant coach at Auburn University from 1999-2008, said production from the running backs will be key Saturday when MSU takes on Auburn at 6 p.m. (FOX Sports Net South) at Auburn.
STARKVILLE — Dan Mullen finds it interesting that the spread offense has caught on across the country. The Mississippi State football coach has watched as numerous high schools, colleges, and nearly every NFL team has adopted an offense he discovered when he was a graduate assistant at Notre Dame in 1999.
Like Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, Auburn University football coach Gene Chizik sees room for improvement for his team from week one. Chizik doesn’t know if the Tigers are ready to enter a Southeastern Conference game yet, but he’s anxious to find out how they play against the Bulldogs.
Phillip Dimino and Brett Spencer are used to battling the stopwatch. While their East Mississippi Community College teammates face off against 300-pound linemen or blitzing linebackers, time is the toughest adversary for Dimino and Spencer. When you kick the football in college, one or two tenths of a second can be the difference between getting off a successful punt or converting a field goal or extra point.
Mississippi College coach Norman Joseph promises his players if they stay in the program he’ll find a place for them to play. Demarcus Brooks is a believer. Brooks, a 2004 graduate of West Lowndes High School, has found a home on the offensive line as a his senior at Mississippi College.
STARKVILLE — It doesn’t surprise Chuck Friend or Bracky Brett that Travis Macon went into coaching. While Friend and Brett were coaching at Starkville High School, they got to watch Macon mature as a football player.
The bull’s eye on the back of the East Mississippi Community College football team grew even bigger Tuesday. Coming off season-opening victories against Copiah-Lincoln and Jones County, EMCC (2-0) moved up four places to No. 2 in the latest NJCAA/JC Football.com regular-season poll. The ranking is the program’s highest in National Junior College Athletic Association football in school history. EMCC, which plays host to Holmes C.C. (0-2) at 7 Thursday night at Sullivan-Windham Field, moved up in the poll after the first four teams lost.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State’s football program can be thankful for a high school field trip. Otherwise, Mississippi State might not have been able to sign quarterback Chris Relf. Relf grew up in Montgomery, Ala., a fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide. He grew up 45 minutes away from Auburn, but the Tigers never recruited Relf.
1. New Hope takes basketball pair from Caledonia HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Columbus basketball teams sweep Kemper County HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Caledonia soccer sends three to Northwest HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. MSU, Cohen use fall to help players find identities COLLEGE SPORTS
5. McCarron in New York for first time for Heisman ceremony COLLEGE SPORTS