Y’all came through for me on short notice this week, and for that I’m grateful. Lots of good, tough questions, and hopefully you find my answers satisfactory. It seems y’all are wanting to analyze the football regular season that just ended, and most of you don’t sound too happy.
Q: Do you still think defensive coordinator Chris Wilson will become a head coach?
A: I think he could be someday, sure. This past season certainly didn’t help that cause, though.
Q: Are there any chances of some coaching staff changes on the State football staff this year?
A: That’s always a possibility. In fact, in most programs it’s the norm to have some amount of turnover. MSU didn’t have any changes after last season until Angelo Mirando abruptly resigned in August because of the NCAA investigation. I haven’t heard anything substantial about the current staff.
Q: What happened to receiver Joe Morrow this year? He finished the year with a measly five receptions, and one or two mind-numbing drops that I can recall.
A: We were told prior to the season by receivers coach Tim Brewster that Morrow was battling a bruised knee, and then later in the season we were told that he was still dealing with injury. So that might’ve had something to do with it. Then there’s the fact he’s a freshman, and those guys develop at different paces. He’s got to step into a bigger role next year, though.
Q: Will we run a screen pass next year?
A: There did seem to be a paucity of screen passes this season, especially in the Ole Miss loss. I’m no student of the game, but screen passes seem like a good way for the quarterback to neutralize the pass rush, and Tyler Russell was getting harassed all night in Oxford.
Q: What’s the status of Tobias Smith‘s request for another year of eligibility?
A: The senior offensive guard won’t be able to apply for a sixth year until the season is over. He’s a pretty good candidate considering how much time he’s missed with all the injuries. Smith has played in 27 games in his career with 12 starts.
Q: How is cornerback John Banks‘ knee?
A: I didn’t know there was anything wrong with either of his knees. Perhaps Dan Mullen will talk about it before bowl practices begin, or shortly thereafter.
Q: How have the defensive linemen from our most recent recruiting class progressed throughout the season?
A: I assume you mean the 2012 signees. Seems to me that Quay Evans came along nicely. He’s played in nine games, recording six tackles, a QB hurry, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. Another big tackle, Nick James, saw some key minutes this year, mainly in short-yardage situations. He has six tackles in eight games.
The most notable player of this D-line class, for now, is junior college transfer Denico Autry. I saw clear progress from him as the season went on. He’s adjusted to the speed and power of the SEC game and should be in position for a nice senior year. He’s made 37 tackles, 9.5 tackles-for-loss, 4.0 sacks and six QB hurries this season. Aury has also forced two fumbles and has a pass break-up.
Q: LaDarius Perkins has shown his inability to run between the tackles against our better opponents. Why won’t Dan give Nick Griffin more touches between the tackles?
A: Excellent question. I was expecting to see more of Griffin this year, especially in the Egg Bowl. He finished the season with 223 yards on 32 carries, an average of 7.0 yards per carry. He toted it three times for 10 net yards against Ole Miss, with a long run of 16. Coaches had talked about his increased confidence in recent weeks, so I don’t know why Griffin didn’t get more touches. Very curious.
Q: What has Mullen said or has he said anything to explain the fact that he can’t win against winning teams, ranked teams, or his lack of success in big games?
A: He’s not been asked that specific question lately that I can recall, but it’s a good question. Mullen is 2-16 versus ranked opponents and has lost his last 10 games against those teams. State was 2-3 this year versus teams that had winning records entering the game.
Q: What’s the deal with so many basketball turnovers this year? I think Alcorn had less than MSU did. Had the same problem at Maui.
A: Yeah, MSU had 21, Alcorn had 16. Youth, man. Turnovers are going to happen when you’ve got so many young, new guys playing together. MSU is averaging 19 turnovers per game, and freshman Craig Sword has been the biggest offender with an average of 4.3. Having a positive assist-to-turnover ratio is something coach Rick Ray has been harping on.