Well, here I am, late again with your Blog Bag answers. Things got sorta crazy at work and home late last week, so my apologies. But I believe the answers were worth the wait, so let’s dive into ‘em. Oh, and the Blog Bag is taking this week off, because Super Bulldog Weekend. (<===That’s Internet phrasing right there, FYI. Take note.)
Q: How good will the offensive line be since reports are they are under-performing so far in the spring?
A: Hard to say right now how good those guys will be, but with four starters back, you’d expect there to be improvement. Sure needs to be. I asked head coach Dan Mullen about what he was wanting the line to improve upon this spring.
His reply: “I think just everything. They have to be a staple of the team, with some of the experience coming back and with a little depth coming back as well. I want to see that depth. I want to feel good when the two O-line walks in the game, we still feel pretty good. Any time you get down to threes you’re going to be questionable. But even though you never usually in a game day situation get to a wholesale substitution of the O-line, I want to feel to a point where we can substitute and have 10 deep.”
Q: is the defensive line focusing on being much stronger this season? Will Nick James and Quay Evans play a significant role?
A: The defensive line looks to be deeper and better equipped to wreak some havoc in opposing backfields. James and Evans, both true sophomores, should both play notable roles this year at the defensive tackle spots. They were often in the game at the same time last season, and with their talent, it’s simply a matter of developing consistency and stamina and knowing what they’re doing. I don’t expect either of them to start, but that could obviously change come August.
Q: Was there any word on the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving for future seasons, or is it a sort of wait-and-see with how this year’s goes, ratings-wise?
A: For now, it’s just a one-year thing. MSU – and I presume Ole Miss, too – would like to see the Thanksgiving Day tradition continue beyond this year, but that call will ultimately come from ESPN and the SEC. Ratings always play a factor, but even if the ratings are good, ESPN might find what it sees as a more attractive matchup in 2014. So, who knows.
Q: Who is behind the latest recruiting messages, namely the can of swag and “you’re a baller” messages?
A: That would be defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, and Steven Godfrey of SBNation.com did a nice story on him the other day.
Q: Do coaches routinely prepare football players for draft-related exercises during their college career? I.e., did Johnthan Banks know he was not running great 40 times over the years?
A: I’m sure Banks had a good idea of how fast he could run in the 40-yard dash. But while an athlete is playing for his school, the focus is obviously on what helps him excel in the college game. Once a player enters the draft, he’ll usually come back and do workouts tailored toward what NFL people are looking for.
But it is notable that senior quarterback Tyler Russell seems to be taking more snaps under center this spring. Mullen said of that, “He’s got to work a little bit harder under center. It’s good for him and will give him comfort as he moves into the future playing as well.”
Q: How is football signee Cord Sandberg doing in baseball this spring? Any sign he isn’t wowing scouts? Also, has anyone ever played both football and baseball at MSU?
A: Baseball stats on Sandberg are impossible to find on the Internet, but Paul Jones of Bulldawgs247 told me that as of a couple of weeks ago, Sandberg was hitting .360 with one home run and several walks.
As for two-sport guys, it’s happened on occasion. There’s no formal listing of it, so I can’t tell you who all has done it. I asked baseball SID Joe Dier the last time someone pulled double duty, and best he can recall, pitcher Tommy Parks and outfielder Mike Riley did so in 1989. Neither lettered in baseball, but both Parks (1986-89) and Riley (1988-91) earned four four letters in football.
Q: What is the injury status of the basketball team members? Knees all better?
A: At last check, Jacoby Davis was going full speed. But Andre Applewhite and Wendell Lewis, who suffered their injuries a few months after Davis did, are still working their way back. Both should be good to go by the fall.