Inside Mississippi State Sports

Inside Mississippi State Sports by bradlocke
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Juco QB Wallace Close to Big Decision
by bradlocke

Mississippi State is courting junior college quarterback Bo Wallace today. It's part of a very busy week for the East Mississippi CC product, who's also got offers from Baylor, Indiana and Texas.

He's already and Indiana, is in Starkville today, will be at Baylor later today, and then will be in Austin on Saturday, according to EMCC coach Buddy Stephens. I caught up with Stephens this morning, and he's already spoken with Wallace about the MSU option.

"I told him if he liked Mississippi State, don't leave," Stephens said. "If he likes Mississippi State and he thinks it's the place for him to be, don't leave, don't go to Texas, don't go anywhere else. But he wants to go and see and make sure and see what those people have to say."

Wallace will reportedly make his decision known Wednesday.

"I think he's got an idea. I just think he wants to take his visits and make sure," Stephens said.

MSU is in dire need of a third quarterback after Dylan Favre transferred to Pearl River CC last month. Rising junior Tyler Russell is the presumptive starter for 2012, but Wallace could push him for that role.

Stephens said having the opportunity to start is a key factor in Wallace's decision. The QB arrived in Starkville on Thursday for his visit and was scheduled to meet with head coach Dan Mullen today before heading to Baylor, according to Stephens.

"Bo's a very competitive football player, and if they're not bringing him in to compete, they need to tell him," the coach said. "What is Mississippi State going to tell him? Is Mississippi State bringing him in to compete for a starting job? If they're not, they need to tell him that.

"If they're bringing him in to be a backup, don't bring him in, please. Because he'll have a chance to start somewhere. You're not doing the kid right if you're not bringing him in to compete for a starting job."

Wallace will be a sophomore, because he's already graduated from EMCC. He would be a January enrollee wherever he goes, and so he'd be able to go through spring practices. That should give him a good shot at becoming a starter.

All the schools considering Wallace have QB issues. Indiana lost out on big-time prospect Gunner Kiel, who had committed to the Hoosiers; Baylor is reportedly losing Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III to the NFL; and Texas' QB situation has been a hot mess all season.

And, again, MSU could really use a third scholarship QB. Mullen offered Wallace a scholarship on Tuesday.

"It's like the other thing I said, some of these (teams) have just got finished playing. They've got to go thru and evaluate their football team," Stephens said. "Maybe some of these guys have gone through and evaluated their teams, and they've decided maybe they need a change at quarterback."

Wallace was named the NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year after leading EMCC to the juco national title. He passed for 4,606 yards and 53 touchdowns, both NJCAA single-season records. He was 31 of 44 for 486 yards and seven TDs in the national championship game against Arizona Western College.

He began his career at Arkansas State but transferred after one season, in which he didn't play. So Wallace will be a redshirt sophomore this coming fall.

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January 06, 2012
Dude, haven't you heard? This is our STATE. We don't need no stinkin' badges.

A cow pasture? cow pasture? You want to talk about a cow pasture? cow pasture? cow pasture?

Oxfart is just a grease stain on the road.

On the Links: Bost Finds His Shot
by bradlocke

SEC play is upon us, and Dee Bost is seeking a return to form. That's the lead to my MSU notebook in today's Journal.

The numbers are in the story, but here they are anyway: Over his last four games, Bost is shooting 23.1 percent (12 of 52) from the floor and averaging 8.8 points. He assured reporters yesterday, however, that all is well now.

"I've been trying to force shots. I've been in the gym this whole week, this last week and trying to find my shot, and I found it," Bost said.

We shall see on Saturday night, when No. 15 MSU (13-2) visits Buld Walton Arena to take on Arkansas (11-3) in both teams' SEC opener. Look for a game advance in Saturday's Journal.

• Good news and bad news for the folks in Oxford. First, the good: The Rebels picked up a verbal commitment last night from four-star defensive end Channing Ward, who had been considering MSU as well.

The bad: The basketball team's leading scorer, Dundrecous Nelson, has been dismissed from the team after his arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia.

That's all I've got for you this morning. Back to the grind.

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Stansbury Speaks: On Hogs, Bost, Sidney & More
by bradlocke

We (finally) caught up with Rick Stansbury today to talk about his 15th-ranked MSU men and the upcoming game at Arkansas on Saturday (8 p.m., CSS). The Bulldogs (13-2) will be facing the kind of schemes once employed by Nolan Richardson, only now it's Mike Anderson calling the shots.

That'll be the topic (most likely) of my game advance for Saturday's Journal. But here's a quick thought from Stansbury on facing that style of play.

"They want to press you like they've always done, they want to get after you in the halfcourt. I don't know if it's like it used to be totally yet. I'm not sure they can do some things they've done consistently over the years, but that's what they're trying to do."

We're gonna have players in here in a few minutes, so I'm gonna just drop as series of quotes on you here.

• On point guard Dee Bost, who's a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award: "I'd have to look and see who those other guys are. I don't know if any of them does as much for his team as Dee Bost does. He leads you, second-leading scorer and leading assist guy, and he does a lot of things."

• On Renardo Sidney's play of late: "It's not as much about the minutes, it's about being productive in those minutes you play. If he can get more minutes and be more productive, then it's very obvious it helps your basketball team."

• On the final possession of the Baylor loss: "They were in a zone. They play zone the whole game. It just so happened - Dee was open in the corner on that first pass, we just didn't get it to him. Give Baylor credit - they stuck us out there."

• On missing some parts from time to time this season: "I think what is good about it is that we’ve got a bunch of guys that can do it, we haven’t had to depend on one guy. You know in the past if you had to suspend a guy or somebody was sick it may really change some things if you didn’t have enough weapons to continue to step up and score."

• On how Arnett Moultrie matches up with Arkansas, which is without forward Marshawn Powell: "I think we match up OK. Missing Powell is bad and good for them. You take away a guy that can score and is powerful around that paint. At the same time when you take him out they play with another skill guy a lot more."

• On the play of freshman Rodney Hood: "I had high expectations for him as you all know. I think he’s probably exceeded those."

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On the Links: Opinion Offering; Notebook; Ward's Decision
by bradlocke

Hey, it's Thursday, which means I have an opinion offering for you this morning. It's about the basketball team and the grand possibilities that lie before it - and the worrisome distractions that don't exist at the moment.

This team has all the right pieces to make a strong run in the SEC and the postseason. Only injuries or a self-implosion could hold this team back, and of course we've seen a good bit of the latter the last couple of seasons. There seems to be a healthier dynamic among this group that in the recent past, although as I wrote about Renardo Sidney, "He's the stick of dynamite that could blow up the whole thing."

I guess he's also the guy who could help the Bulldogs take this to the next level. If he can stop yapping at referees and keep playing the way he has the last few games, MSU's frontcourt will be a handful for any team.

• Also in today's Journal is an MSU notebook, in which I cover MSU's online changes, Vick Ballard's Senior Bowl selection, Dee Bost being named a Bob Cousy Award finalist, and the death of former Bulldog linebacker Ray Costict.

• I swear that today is the day we meet with head basketball coach Rick Stansbury and players. This gathering has been postponed twice - and for very good reasons - but I'll be in Starkville later this morning, so follow along on Twitter for updates.

• Big decision time: Aberdeen defensive end Channing Ward will announce his college choice tonight during the Under Armour All-Star Game (6:30 p.m., ESPN). He told yesterday that he's narrowed his list to three schools: Alabama, Ole Miss and MSU.

Rumors are strong that Ward, a four-star prospect, will choose Ole Miss. But this is recruiting we're talking about, so I won't believe anything until he puts a hat on. And maybe not even then.

My boy Brandon Speck had a column about Ward that ran Wednesday. Good stuff.

• The Lady Bulldogs open SEC play tonight at 7 versus LSU. Both teams are 10-3, with LSU already having an SEC game under its belt - an 83-44 win over Ole Miss on Sunday.

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January 05, 2012
Channing should call CJ and ask him how it's worked out for him...

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