STARKVILLE — The football programs at Mississippi State and Middle Tennessee State have had their share of adversity. MSU coach Dan Mullen suspended sophomore quarterback Chris Relf for last Saturday’s game against Houston due to an unspecified violation of team policy. As of Thursday, Relf’s availability for the teams’ game at 11:30 a.m. Saturday (ESPNU) in Murfreesboro, Tenn., remained uncertain.
C.J. Foster is delivering on his promise. Months before the start of his sophomore season at Itawamba Community College, Foster said he knew it wasn’t “play time anymore,” and that he was focused on making an impact at linebacker. Foster went on to say he was going to “clock in and clock out” and go to work every day to help the Indians have a successful season. Even though ICC (2-5) has struggled to put everything together this year, Foster has been a stalwart on defense. The former West Point High School standout is fourth on the team with 39 total tackles and second on the team with six tackles for loss.
STARKVILLE — It’s time for the Mississippi State women’s basketball team to face its expectations. The anticipation for the 2009-10 season has been building at Mississippi State since March when the Lady Bulldogs ended a 23-10 season with a loss to Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The NCAA tournament appearance was the program’s first since the 2002-03 season, and its 23 victories were the third most in a season.
Alvin Ellis was accustomed to running over and past defenders in high school. While he spent some time playing free safety, Ellis spent the most of his career at Columbus High School as a running back who used his speed to give opponents fits.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury will return to his comfort zone Friday. Stansbury, who will begin his 12th season with the Bulldogs, has the most fun when the players and coaches get together for the start of practice.
Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Stockstill likes what his team has accomplished. Although Stockstill was disappointed MTSU didn’t play better in a 31-7 loss at Troy on Oct. 6, he likes to brag about the Blue Raiders’ 3-2 record.
STARKVILLE -- Jamie Jones knows how difficult a matchup sophomore tight end Marcus Green can be for opposing teams. As a sophomore linebacker at Mississippi State, it’s often Jones’ responsibility in practice to keep an eye on what Green is doing. Green’s ability to block and go out for a pass keeps Jones and the rest of the Bulldogs on their toes.
STARKVILLE -- Radka Ferancova was happy to learn that Mississippi State was bringing women’s tennis coach Daryl Greenan back to the Golden Triangle. Ferancova believes Greenan has the experience necessary to lead the Lady Bulldogs in the Southeastern Conference and looks forward to playing for him as a senior. Greenan, who got his first head coaching job at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, was an assistant at the University of Alabama for three years (2002-04).
For the past six years, the East Mississippi Community College men’s soccer program has gotten contributions from a trio of Chisolm brothers. First there was Matt from 2004-05 and he was followed by Todd from 2006-07. The latest of the Chisolms, who are from Caledonia, to contribute is Taylor, who is a freshman forward on this year’s squad.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen isn’t going to play a freshman until he’s ready. Bulldogs like safety Johnthan Banks, of East Webster High School in Maben, and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox have been good enough to play, and in Banks’ case, start this season. Quarterback Tyler Russell isn’t ready.
STARKVILLE — It appears Mississippi State Athletic Director Greg Byrne will get what he wanted this week for men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury.
STARKVILLE -- Upon further review, Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen admits he made a mistake. After looking at the film of MSU’s 31-24 loss to Houston on Saturday, Mullen wishes he would have challenged a penalty involving senior quarterback Tyson Lee of Columbus. Lee was called for an illegal forward pass after officials believed he crossed the line of scrimmage in the third quarter. The play came on fourth down at a pivotal part of the game as the Bulldogs led 17-14.
STARKVILLE — Quarterback Tyson Lee, tailback Anthony Dixon, and linebacker Jamar Chaney don’t have time for growing pains. At this point of the football season, the Mississippi State seniors don’t have a choice.
STARKVILLE — Johnthan Banks doesn’t just want to be a boy among men. The Mississippi State freshman safety from East Webster High School in Maben wants his play to continue to earn respect from his coaches and teammates.
Buddy Stephens is lucky. The East Mississippi Community College football coach has a All-America quarterback (Randall Mackey) and a running back with Division I potential (former Starkville High standout Pat Shed). But as well as those two have played this season, they are just two pieces to a puzzle that is coming together for the Lions. When Stephens factors in a talented cast of receivers, led by Bill Franks and Stephon Johnson, and an equally skilled and experienced offensive line, it’s easy to see why the Lions are 5-1 and 3-0 in the MACJC.
STURGIS — Former football standout Stan Malone remembers his two North Division title seasons at East Mississippi Junior College. But he also remembers having fun on campus. “We lived in The Alamo, a dorm that was named because it resembled the fort,” Malone said. “One night, we caught an opossum and put it in the bed with a guy. We had some good times.” But Malone better remembers the college now known as East Mississippi Community College in Scooba as the place he developed his leadership skills and played outstanding football.
SCOOBA — East Mississippi Community College will induct 10 new members into the EMCC Sports Hall of Fame tonight at a reception and banquet as part of its 2009 Homecoming weekend. This year’s inductees also will be recognized Saturday afternoon in pregame ceremonies prior to the EMCC’s homecoming football game against Northeast Community College. Included posthumously in this year’s class is former S.D. Lee High three -sport athlete Larry “Rock” Cohen.
STARKVILLE –– Brandon Cooper can’t help but think back to his high school days when he visited Mississippi State strength coach Matt Balis. While at Fort Bend Marshall High School in Missouri City, Texas, Cooper participated at the University of Houston combine and bench pressed 275 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds. Cooper, a junior defensive lineman at MSU, is anxious to show the University of Houston what it missed by not seriously recruiting him when the teams meet at 11:30 a.m. Saturday (ESPNU).
It’s not the passing attempts, pass completions, yards, or touchdowns passes that mean the most to University of Houston quarterback Case Keenum. When the game is over, the only numbers that concern Keenum are the ones on the scoreboard.
Throughout high school, Amber Owen heard she’d never play college volleyball. At 4-foot-11 1/2, Owen was relegated to playing on the junior varsity volleyball team at Caledonia High School and it looked like college volleyball wouldn’t be in her future. “It hurt a lot because I knew I had the potential and I had the ability to play and I wasn’t really given that chance,” Owen said. “I was looking for a small (college) so I could play volleyball, or at least try, because everybody told me I would never play college volleyball.”
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