Mississippi State gives Mullen monster extension

Mississippi State deserves a round of applause: They showed loyalty to a man who has shown absolutely no loyalty to them over the last few years….their head coach, Dan Mullen.

In the new deal, Mullen will receive $4.5 million per season for the next four years, starting this season.

Listen, we GET there are good things about Mullen. He started in 2009 and hasn’t left. During his tenure, his record has been nothing short of phenomenal – especially for a poor team, where he’s been bowl eligible for the last seven straight years and gone 5-2 in bowls. He has a 5-3 record in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss, and took the Cowbellers to phenomenal heights in the 2014 season.

He’s proved to be a bit of a ‘quarterback whisperer’ at the highest level, with Dak Prescott and now Nick Fitzgerald doing great things. Prescott himself has gone on to drop jaws at NFL level, which can’t have done Mullen’s credibility any damage. And his response to press questions about Fitzgerald in the aftermath of the last Ole Miss win was hilarious.

But I’ve got a problem. Where there seems to be a big job on the loose,  Dan Mullen seems to have no loyalty to the Land of Cowbell in the least. He’s been continually rumored for other jobs since taking over in Starkville, and he actually interviewed for the Miami (FL) job in 2015 before it was given to Mark Richt. Florida (2013) and Oregon (2017) were also thoughts. And although Mullen’s said that he’s happy where he is, the hiring of Jimmy Sexton – who is also the agent of a certain Nick Saban, who hasn’t shown any loyalty of his own in the least to programs – in October – doesn’t seem to indicate that.

I just can’t help thinking that the cowbell will toll for Mississippi State in this relationship. Then again, I might be wrong.

Why did Mississippi State enroll a woman abuser?

I’m sorry if you don’t like harsh headlines, but this is a fact: Mississippi State today enrolled a person who abused a woman on its team.

Today, the school allowed defensive end Jeffrey Simmons onto campus despite Simmons’ arrest in March for striking a woman while she was on the ground during a fight.

Simmons made no effort to break up the woman-on-woman fight, but instead launched himself into it with both fists flying. He was arrested and booked for simple assault. Apparently in the land of Mississippi, that’s OK, because it was only a misdemeanour – despite Simmons’ obvious size advantage AND the woman was lying on the ground. He then ran away, which is neither here nor there. The damage was done. After he had finished, the woman was lying there, wondering what in the hell happened to her, and no-one was helping her up. Yes, we know that the woman was in a brawl with another woman, but Simmons could have split up the fight – easily. Instead, he took sides and went UFC on her.

WHY DID MULLEN ALLOWS SIMMONS TO COME TO CAMPUS?

The reason why Dan Mullen let Jeffrey Simmons come to Starkville was simple: Simmons is a five-star defensive end – the top player in the state – and Mississippi State wasn’t certain that other SEC schools (and he’d been recruited hard by Ole Miss and Alabama, and offered by Tennessee, Auburn, LSU and Vanderbilt) wouldn’t have snapped him up in a heartbeat. That’s because SEC head coaches – and it’s shown to be them particularly – really believe in second chances, especially for those guys who might really, really, help their program.

There’s a ‘serious misconduct’ rule that stops one player within the SEC transferring to another, but when the kid hasn’t stepped foot on campus, that rule becomes open to interpretation. And you KNOW SEC schools – and a bunch of other schools away the conference – would have found a way to try and get round it (although we can safely say not Miami, Penn State or Baylor).

The amusing thing was Mullen telling Simmons that he would be suspended for Mississippi State’s MASSIVE SET YOUR ESPN NOW BECAUSE THIS ONE’S BIGGER THAN ANY GAME YOU’LL SEE ON TV THAT WEEKEND game against mighty, mighty FCS South Alabama, who finished 5-7 last year. What then amused us was the school admitting Simmons “under conditions”, which include counselling, anger management classes, and a “No second chances” rule. With the final one, we expect that’ll happen unless he turns out to be really, really good.

WHAT WE THINK HAPPENED?

What we think happened is that there was some serious lobbying from Simmons’ family, church and high school all saying the same thing: “That was sooooo out of character. I can’t believe he did that.” We know nothing about Simmons, or his past history, so we’re inclined to believe that unless facts come out about his high school days that are different. Mississippi State then realized that Simmons really was a special kid and offered him the chance to play for the team.

WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED?

Apart from Mississippi Police charging him with serious assault and slinging him in jail (which really should have happened), Mullen should have taken the higher ground and decided not to take Simmons. And then the SEC should have stepped in and stopped Simmons coming to any other SEC school’s campus. And maybe he would have had to play in a community college for a year or two, or maybe he would have had to play for a much-lower rung team, but at least he would have learned that beating the crap out of women IS NOT THE WAY TO GO.

Because as it stands now, Mississippi State’s just sending the message: “We don’t give two craps whether you beat the crap out of  a woman. If you’re a five-star recruit, we got a cowbell waitin’ for ya!”

 

 

Mississippi State 2015 Preview: Dak Attack!

Last season was a stunning one for Mississippi State. They went to No.1 in the polls. They beat LSU on the road for the first time in their history. They had their second 10-win season in their history. Their QB, Dak Prescott, was a Heisman contender. OK, so underestimating the Bulldogs was our mistake, Starkville.

OFF-SEASON

Dak Prescott had an awful Spring Break when he was blindsided by some douchebag in Panama Beach. He didn’t press assault charges, which is a shame. He should have done.

Coaching-wise, Dan Mullen lost defensive co-ordinator Geoff Collins to Florida, and replied by bringing in Manny Diaz as his DC, who did a terrible job at Texas where he was DC there. Seriously, the Texas players were awful tacklers under his regime.

IN DAK WE TRUST

Dak Prescott was exceptional for the Bulldogs in 2014, throwing for 3,449 yards and 27 TDs and only 11 INTs. He also ran the ball for a career-high 986 yards and 14 TDs….and even caught two receptions (one of them for a TD!). He’s going to provide the nucleus for this offense this year, which should hardly be surprising for anybody.

More pressure is going to be piled upon him because of the departure of RB Josh Robinson, especially with the under-experienced Ashton Shumpert. Aeris Williams and Dontavius Lee will provide the back-ups.

Prescott’s biggest target will be De’Runnya Wilson, who – despite his awesome name – is actually a WR. The 6-5, 215lb player caught for 680 yards and 9 TDs in 2015. He’ll be a difficult match-up for most secondaries….if he stays clean. He was arrested on drug charges in March, which wasn’t his brightest move. Fred Brown and Fred Ross will provide depth.

OFFENSIVE LINE? GULP

It has been noted that MSU has to replace  THREE offensive linesman from the successful corps that shone out last year. ESPN put it simply: “The heart of that line — Ben Beckwith, Blaine Clausell and Dillon Day — is gone.” A lot will be expected of Justin Senior and Justin Malone, as well as three other replacements.

With this, I’m not sure that Prescott’s going to repeat his banner year of 2015. Sorry.

DEFENSE!

In their SEC season preview, SaturdayEdge notes that MSU “had the worst pass defense in the SEC a year ago, and three starters are gone from the defensive backfield”. Kivon Coman and Deontay Evans at safety and Taveze Calhoun will come back to play, but I’m not thrilled about them.

Also, it’s sad to say goodbye to Bernardrick McKinney and Preston Smith, who did an excellent job for the Bulldogs. They’ll need to replace them. A lot will be required of Beniquez Brown, Chris Jones, A.J. Jefferson and Nelson Adams.

Otherwise, the addition of Diaz as defensive co-ordinator – who we didn’t like during his time at Texas and we don’t now – hardly spells out exciting times in Starkville.

THE SCHEDULE

Sep. 5 – at Southern Miss
Sep. 12 – Louisiana State
Sep. 19 – Northwestern State
Sep. 26 – at Auburn
Oct. 3 – at Texas A&M
Oct. 10 – Troy
Oct. 17 – Louisiana Tech
Oct. 24 – Kentucky
Nov. 5 – at Missouri
Nov. 14 – Alabama
Nov. 21 – at Arkansas
Nov. 28 – Ole Miss

It’s going to be an ugly season in Starkville. They’ll go 4-0 in their non-conference games against nobody, but against SEC opponents, we can see them win one game – at home to Kentucky – and losing the rest. Here’s why: Dak Prescott cannot do everything alone. His offensive line has been shredded, his running backs are experienced, and on the other side of the ball, his defense loses a huge amount of talent. This will be a rebuilding year.

OUR PREDICTION: 5-7. 

 

2014 SEC Preview: Is now the time to take Mississippi State seriously?

Everyone seems to be pretty confident in Starkville right now. It must happen when your team expands its stadium, wins their bowl game by 37 (losing me money in the process) and beats Ole Miss in The Egg Bowl. Anyway, Dan Mullen’s chest was very puffed when he walked into SEC Media Days. We’re glad he didn’t come in wearing a visor. Only Steve Spurrier looks cool in one of those.

LAST SEASON

Is the fact that people are referring to Mississippi State as some sort of SEC dark horse because the Bulldogs beat their biggest rival? Or because they finish the season on a three-game winning streak? Or only lost to Alabama by 13, and Auburn by 4? Or because their QB, Dak Prescott, has been touted as ‘dark horse’ Heisman Trophy by media critics?

OFF-SEASON

After defensive lineman Jordan Washington was booked for suspected residential burglary, things looked pretty quiet…right until the home of current CBs coach Deshea Townsend in Pittsburgh was busted into and cops found 1,500 bricks of heroin. Townsend was IN NO WAY involved, but it’s still a great story and we can only pray that an inventive student section (we’re looking at you, LSU!) makes up something funny when the match-up happens. It’s fair to say Townsend must be pretty pissed right now.

RECRUITING

Although the Bulldogs ranked 12th in the SEC in 2014 in recruiting, they still managed some strong in-state recruiting. ATHs Jamoral Graham and Gerri Green, RB Aeris Williams, WR Jesse Jackson and DE Will Coleman are all in the Top-10 in their position in their respective states (all but Coleman are from MS (He’s from TX).

LOOKING AT THE 2014 MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS

QB: WILL DAK PRESCOTT LIVE UP TO THE HYPE?

After a season where he finished with 1,940 yards, 10 TDs and 7 INTs (passing) and 829 yds and 13 TDs (rushing), Prescott got himself on the Davey O’Brien watch-list. He led MSU to an Egg Bowl win after coming on in the 4th quarter and -despite injury- beat the hated Rebels almost single-handedly. People love him as a leader. Some people will talk about him as a potential future Tim Tebow. Us? We just hope he gets his passing in order. Otherwise, he’ll just be the QB of another medicore team. Brian Johnson’s been hired as the new QBs coach. We’ll see how good he is with Dak. Whatever happens, Dak’s gonna give the offense some cowbell.

APART FROM PRESCOTT, WHAT ABOUT MSU’S RUSHERS?

Prescott is going to frighten defenses with his legs. We know that. We think he’ll do the same thing in 2013 as he did in 2014, even with Dan Mullen taking over the new offensive co-ordinator’s role as his own with old OC Les Koenning going south to Texas. A lot may be on Josh Robinson‘s shoulders to provide running support, because RB LaDarius Perkins has graduated. Ashton Shumpert and Nick Griffin will provide solid back-ups, but some experts believe that by season’s-end, Shumpert could well be the starter.

AND AT WIDE RECEIVER,  THE DAWGS ARE DEEP

Actually, they are. Jameon Lewis, Robert Johnson and De’Runnya Wilson all come back, and freshman Jesse Jackson could be the team’s fourth WR. It’s not exactly spectacular – they ranked 54th/ 8th (SEC) last year – but it’s OK. We’ll expect a lot from Lewis who was 6th in the SEC in yards per game (923 ypg, avg. 71). A lot of people like Fred Ross, too…and some say he could fill Chad Bumphis’ shoes.

AND NOW, FOR THE DEFENSE….

Mississippi State’s returning eight starters, led by LB Benardrick McKinney and 300lb D-Lineman Chris Jones and P.J. Jones. Preston Smith will return at DE, while McKinney’s experience and ability at LB lessen the pressure on Matthews Wells and Beniquez Brown to perform. Expect frosh LB Gerri Green to make waves if he impresses at Fall Camp.

We love MSU’s secondary, too. Taveze Calhoun, Will Redmond and Jamerson Love are quality CBs (they had 14 INTs in the SEC season (5th in the league (25 Nationally, ranking 35th) .  Justin Cox will revert to safety to help Kendrick Market.

The ‘D’ is also going to be helped by the fact that MSU is playing 6 home games (and a game at South Alabama), where the fanbase can ring their cowbells very, very loudly and put off opposition offenses.

SCHEDULE: EAST EASY, WEST NASTY

Aug. 30 Southern Miss
Sep. 6 UAB
Sep. 13 at South Alabama
Sep. 20 at LSU
Oct. 4 Texas A&M
Oct. 11 Auburn
Oct. 25 at Kentucky
Nov. 1 Arkansas
Nov. 8 UT-Martin
Nov. 15 at Alabama
Nov. 22 Vanderbilt
Nov. 29 at Ole Miss

OK, so Mississippi State goes 3-0 with an easy schedule early on. They then lose on the road to LSU in a war, before beating Texas A&M at home and losing to Auburn at home. They then win three more straight by winning at Kentucky and at home to Arkansas and at home to mighty UT-Martin (Gosh MSU’s non-conference schedule is disgustingly awful), before losing at Alabama, and beating Vanderbilt at home. We think they’ll lose at Ole Miss too, in a war, finishing the season a bowl-eligible and improved-from-last-year 8-4 (4-4 SEC).

 

Rammer Jammer Slammered: SEC Rankings

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, What in the **** happened, Alabama?

Tuscaloosa was full of sad faces as Texas A&M knocked off Alabama in the Game Of The Season (sorry, LSU game from last week!). But there were happy faces in Ole Miss (from Vandy fans, because their victory in Oxford ensured that they were bowl eligible for the second straight time – the first time this has happened in program history), Auburn (because Alabama lost, and from visiting Georgia fans because they won handily at Jordan-Hare), and other places in the SEC (because Alabama lost).

The only people super-furious, we should think, were Mike Slive and the SEC, because a) The SEC Championship Game is not going to be the biggest game on December 1st and b) The SEC right now isn’t going to be in the National Championship, because Oregon, Notre Dame and Kansas State are all unbeaten.

Anyway, here are our SEC Rankings after an amazing weekend of SEC Football. If you think the BCS rankings are hard to do, then try these ones….

1) Georgia – The Bulldogs are red-hot at the moment. The pollsters might look at the video and think: “Oh, they only beat Auburn 38-0”, but it could have been 60. Mark Richt called the Dawgs off very early indeed. This time will frighten Bama or LSU in the SEC title game.

2) Alabama – Yes, we realise that they lost, but if it hadn’t been for AJ McCarron’s INT in the end-zone, the Tide would have ended up winning this one…maybe.

3) LSU – While a 20-point victory doesn’t actually show how close the Mississippi State game was, LSU played well to take home victory. Their special teams could do with a bit of work, though. Oh, if only they’d beaten Saban last week, eh?

4) Florida – Victories aren’t normally horrific, but when they come against ULL in the last 5 seconds of a game – a week AFTER a 14-7 win over mighty Missouri – we know that the Gators were pretty overrated this year.

5) Texas A&M – Johnny. Football.

6) South Carolina – The horrible loss of Marcus Lattimore has been felt throughout Columbia, but at least the win over Arkansas helped matters.

7) Mississippi State – MSU could well have brought the game at LSU close if Tyler Russell hadn’t given up a 100-yard interception TD with a minute remaining. Don’t get us wrong- the Cowbellers are still overrated, but they ain’t as terrible as some people were making out.

8) Vanderbilt – Vanderbilt is bowl-eligible for the second straight time. This has never happened before in the program’s history. Good one, James Franklin 

9) Missouri – For those of you getting excited about Johnny Manziel, we’d like to throw out the name Dorial Green-Beckham, who had a coming-out party against Tennessee. This kid – if stays out of trouble – is gonna be good.

10) Ole Miss – Another week, another heart-breaking loss for Hugh Freeze’s side. This time is young, and will get better.

11) Tennessee – 0-6 in SEC play. Derek Dooley on the way out? We’ll start bidding for match tickets at Neyland Stadium for the Vandy game at $1.

12) Arkansas – I just looked at the stats: The Razorbacks are bad on both sides of the ball.

13) Kentucky – Because they didn’t play this week.

14) Auburn – Because they lost 38-0 (and the scoreline flattered them), their fanbase left at half-time and Gene Chizik has to go. Can the SEC not have a game in Atlanta on the Friday Night before the SEC Championship Game featuring the Tigers and Kentucky so we can find out who the SEC’s worst team is this year once and for all?

MSU receivers coach resigns over NCAA investigation

Mississippi State wide receivers coach Angelo Mirando has walked out – allegedly over an ongoing NCAA investigation into recruiting violations in Starkville, a number of news sources have reported – and a former Big Ten head coach has been hired to take his place!

The wide receivers coach is being investigated into the recruitment of defensive back Will Redmond and possible other players, the report from ESPN said.

Mirando – who stressed that he was leaving due to ‘unforeseen personal issues’ said in a statement: “I have enjoyed my time at Mississippi State as a graduate assistant and as an assistant coach. I have made friends that will last a lifetime; however, due to unforeseen personal issues, I believe it is in my best interest to resign from Mississippi State. I want to stress that these issues are personal. I look forward to pursuing other opportunities in the future. Finally, I want to thank my friend and mentor Dan Mullen for giving me this chance.

Dan Mullen, the school’s head coach said: “We appreciate Angelo and the work he did, and wish him the best in wherever the future takes him,” MSU coach Dan Mullen said in a statement. “We’ll take some time to evaluate what our next steps will be with that staff position, but I’m confident in our veteran group of wide receivers and know they’ll be focused and ready to go Sept. 1.

The move to replace him was pretty quick – the school announced Thursday that it had hired former Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster as receivers coach.

Mullen said in a statement: “Tim is a veteran football coach and his football knowledge and ability to teach made him the perfect choice to join our staff at this time…He’ll hit the ground running as we get ready for Jackson State.

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State’s head coach, has said that keeping college football’s tradition is incredibly important in the face of the new play-off system coming in 2014.

He said: “The one thing I don’t want to see us lose is the tradition that is college football.  The great thing about the bowl system, we like talking different ways.  We want to talk education.  These guys are student-athletes.  This is not a professional sport.  They’re there to get an education.  But on the top end, there can only be one champion, we have to have this big extended playoff.  Where at the bowl system, we had a bunch of seniors leave winning a championship in their last football game last year.  What a great educational tool that is for them winning the Music City Bowl.  That’s their lasting memory of football.  The majority of them, that will be the last game they play.  I hope a lot of them get the opportunity to play professional football.  A lot, that will be their last opportunity.  The tradition that goes along with it, the excitement with the fan base, when you pull up to Nashville at the Music City Bowl, there’s 30,000 fans outside the stadium to meet the bus, what a neat experience that is for your players and fans. I hope we don’t lose any of the traditions and things that make college football special, you know, just because we want to form a playoff that right now there’s four teams.”

He added: “I’m sure there’s going to be discussions that whoever finished fifth is not going to be happy.”

One thing that Mullen said he worries about is the fact that student athletes are having to cope with rising academic standards, throwing out the age-old notion that players aren’t there to learn, they are there to play. Recently, NCAA team grade scores have been on the rise as the NCAA continues to threaten teams who score badly on their work that they will miss the post-season.

He said: “The biggest concern I’ve always seen in looking how it affects the big picture.  You look and say, Okay, recruiting, we have some guys that might have to academic redshirt.  That’s fine.  What it does, it takes numbers away, takes depth away. The one thing to me that’s disappointing is maybe give the guys an extra reward.  There might be a guy that is a great student, done everything the right way, that now because of depth concerns with other guys having academic redshirt, maybe you would have redshirted to give him a chance to develop and grow.  Now this young man has to go play on the field and essentially be punished for being great in school because now he only has four years with you.  He’s going to lose his opportunity to get a Masters because he had to play his first year. If you meet this standard, are above it, maybe you get five years of eligibility as a reward. You don’t have to make that tough decision if you’re going to redshirt those guys that qualified academically.  Everything was done more on a punishment basis, to punish the guys that didn’t do it, they’re going to have to academic redshirt and can’t play. I would have loved to see more of that approach taken and you reward guys for doing well instead of punishing guys that don’t do as well with their academic standards coming in from high school.”

 Quotes: RedandBlack.com

Mississippi State gets NCAA bonus

There was good news for the Mississippi State Bulldogs this week when the NCAA allowed tight end Marcus Green a sixth year of eligibility.

This mean that Green will play for the Bulldogs in 2012 – after hip and knee injuries in 2008 and 2010 respectively wrecked two of his seasons.

Marcus Green told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal:  “It’s beautiful… It’s an honor…It really shows you how it’s a privilege and an honor to be part of something special. When you get out in the real world, it ain’t nothing like it. To come back and get another shot at winning another ring, and another shot at maybe potentially heading to the next level, everything’s worked out. The main thing is just coming back and looking forward to being with the team. This team has got so much character to it, so I’m just excited to be a part of that.

In his career, Green has only had 580 yards receiving and four touchdowns – with his biggest season his one in 2009, where he had 306 yards receiving.

BOTTOM LINE: This adds depth and experience to Dan Mullen’s team – and you can expect Green to get a solid amount of starting time as Brandon Hill’s going to be the only recognised tight end Mullen has on a team that’s losing Vick Ballard, Chris Relf, and some big-time value at offensive line.

Recruiting: New WR commits to Mississippi State

Wide receiver Scott Austin has committed to Mississippi State, it has been widely reported.

The 6 ft 4, 180 lbs receiver out of Biloxi was ranked as the 14th best player in the State by Rivals.

“It came to the point where I had a lot of stress on me on where I wanted to go and who really wanted me at heart,” he told the Clarion-Ledger. “MSU has five receivers leaving and this is a good opportunity to probably start as a true freshman.”

He is the third player in the Dan Mullen’s 2013 receiving corps to be over 6 ft 3, the Clarion Ledger noted.

Southern Miss had also recruited Austin.

 

Recruiting news: Bulldogs grab monster QB commitment

The Mississippi State Bulldogs added two commitments on Monday, the Starkville Daily News has reported.

Floridian quarterback Cord Sandberg – noted by the News as being “top quarterback prospect on the MSU recruiting board” told the Daily News: “”I wanted to play football in the SEC. That was important to me. I know what Coach Mullen has done with other quarterbacks and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Sandberg was given a four-star rating by Yahoo Rivals and was listed as having offers from SEC rivals LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt as well as interest from Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

He added: “”I am coming up to visit on the 23rd and 24th of July. I am not going to visit anywhere else. I know this is where I want to be and I am done with recruiting. I am a Bulldog now.”

But Dan Mullen wasn’t finished – he also landed Chris Jones, a defensive end from Houston (Miss.), who was considered more under-the-radar.