By now I’m sure you have seen on multiple sites the rumors that Dak Prescott either had or will have surgery and miss spring ball. It is being said that he has struggled with turf toe for some time and has to have the ligament attached to his big toe repaired. I don’t think anyone from MSU has officially confirmed this and I’m certainly not doing that. I’m going to operate under the assumption that it is true (I do believe it to be true). The first thought that enters many MSU fans minds including myself was “Oh goodness, only 1 QB in the spring is not good.” While it is not an ideal situation, I gave it some thought and it really isn’t as bad as it sounds. When you look at all the reasoning I’m about to point out, I hope that you can relax a bit and not jump to the classic MSU fan “the sky is falling” attitude.
-After watching Tyler Russell for a while now it appears to me that when his confidence is up, he is very effective. If Dak misses the spring he won’t have to look over his shoulder. He can just focus on being the guy and getting better.
-Many forget Dak graduated high school early and has already gone through 2 springs. Again, it’s not ideal but missing his 3rd spring isn’t as bad as it sounds.
-Most of the receivers fighting for 1rst team reps this spring are: Robert Johnson, Joe Morrow, Jameon Lewis, Malcolm Johnson, Rico Sanders, and Fred Brown. Most of these guys have been on the 2nd team the last 2 years and have caught a lot of balls from Dak. They already have a good feel for one another and their tendencies.
-Most of the new receivers that will be fighting to crack the rotation excluding Jeremy Chapelle (early enrollee) are Fred Ross, Shelby Christy, BJ Hammond, and De’Runnya Wilson. They will not be here until fall camp. Dak will be 100% by then and able to form chemistry with these new guys.
-This is a toe injury and not something horrible like a throwing shoulder. I would guess that during his rehab he will be in a boot and still be able to throw. If that’s the case it’s not like he will enter the fall camp rusty from lack of throwing.
-This is the smart move by Dak and MSU. I think we can all agree he will have an expanded role in the 2013 season. It’s very wise to get this cleaned up now and miss the spring so we can have our guy Dak 100% for the fall when it really matters.
The hatred and jealousy of the national media regarding SEC dominance reaches new heights daily. Seven straight national titles will do that. This dominance has caused a national backlash where other programs and players are over-hyped to counter the SEC as being the big story every year. We have come to expect that USC will be deemed the team every preseason who can knock off the SEC but this year’s fraudulent campaign to promote Manti Teo is a travesty that should embarrass so-called national sports writers.
We will start off with his on the field performance. Teo was 46th in the country in tackles per game. Four SEC linebackers ranked ahead of him and not one of those guys played for Alabama or Florida and I would take any of their 3 over him. I know what you’re thinking. He may not have had the sheer number of tackles but surely he had a ton of tackles for loss because he was such a smart player. He had a measly 5.5. I have no idea where that ranks nationally because the top 100 stops at 11.5, over double what Teo had. For reference, Kevin Minter of LSU had 15 and Ole Miss freshman Denzel Nkemdiche had 13.
Now lets look at his catfishing scandal. Never has there been a campaign to support a young man as the one waged by the national media for Manti. Even cynical reporters such as Skip Bayless ran to his defense. Guess what America? He lied. He lied repeatedly. Looking back I think he and Notre Dame succumbed to Noble Cause Corruption, which I wrote about recently. He then admitted to Katy Couric that he was informed on December 6th that it was a hoax. He again mentioned his dead girlfriend on December 8that a Heisman finalist function. That is absolutely disgusting that he would still claim the lie but the national media supported that as well.
A few days ago, all of the eyes of the NFL world wanted to see how Manti performed on the field. The only things that mattered at the combine were his measurables. Another epic fail by the anti-SEC hype machine. Of 26 linebackers that ran the 40, Manti’s time of 4.82 was 20th. From the AP:
“Teo participated in five of the seven drills, opting out of the bench press and 60-yard shuttle, and did not finish ranked among the top five at his position in any of them.
His vertical jump was 33 inches, far below Southern Mississippi’s Jamie Collins’ positional best of 41½. Teo jumped 113 inches in the broad jump. He finished the three-cone drill in 7.13 seconds, well off the pace set by Gooden (6.71). Teo completed the 20-yard shuttle in 4.27 seconds, again behind Gooden’s 4.18.”
In short we saw that Manti was a complete fraud. It’s amazing to me that the SEC is so hated for its success nationally that writers outside of the southeast will go to the links that they do to promote someone like this. A big part of his push was the national love affair with Notre Dame but that’s a whole different story. We saw a guy who performed in a very average manner all year long get pushed by the media into a second place Heisman finish. We saw a guy who milked a lie for everything it was worth in a pursuit for national recognition and get defended by the media, even after it all fell apart. Now we are seeing real life happen. The NFL does not care about the anti-SEC media spin and his plummeting draft stock proves it. The funny thing is that it will happen again next year. If I had to guess, I would say that Ohio State is the next chosen “SEC killer” to be promoted and who knows what mediocre player will get hyped next year. The fun part is that we will get to see the jealousy of the national media fall apart again in the 2013-2014 season as it does every single year
Why does the SEC always seem to have the best league? You hear it all the time: speed and athleticism. Resentment is growing at an all-time high nationwide and many in these regions attempt to disqualify this as a myth. As usual, the NFL Combine laser timed 40 prove that the SEC does in fact have the best speed. Above is a list of the official 40 times for the running backs and wide receivers in the combine.
Take a look at these lists and digest it. Both positions high end speed guys are dominated by SEC athletes. When you look at the 40 times of SEC guys at the end of this list, it is almost all the big guys for their positions. Cobi Hamilton at 6’3 209 and still running a laser timed 4.56 is unreal. The only name on the list that is a bit surprising is Ace Sanders at a 4.58. I think anyone who watched him play would argue that his quickness and lateral movement may be unparalleled. The fact that we even scoff at a 4.58 laser timed 40 is a sign of the times but that’s a whole new story.
These times just go to show you what you are up against in the SEC on a weekly basis. These guys are the top playmakers who are able to go the distance on any play. It just goes to show you that even when you play a “down” SEC team such as Tennessee or Arkansas last year, they were still both chock full of elite playmakers and you better bring your A game.
Ole Miss had a heartbreaking 62-63 loss at the hands of South Carolina that possibly put Ole Miss right outside of the NCAA tourney bubble. Before Kennedy even had time to answer post game media questions the message boards were already in full swing beating the “fire AK” drum. There is not a more emotional place after a loss than a team’s message boards. I get that, but this seems to be a growing sentiment among some Ole Miss fans who are ready to bail on Kennedy if the Rebels don’t make an NCAA appearance this year. Are you sure you really want that?
First thing you have to look at is Ole Miss Basketball historically. It’s been a long time since they made the NCAA tournament and if you look at it objectively, Ole Miss basketball history isn’t that great. Add in that basketball just isn’t stressed that much by fans and boosters. Also take into account how little talent is in his immediate recruiting area. Mississippi is already small but how many schools elite athletes do you think pick basketball? Taking all those factors into account, the first thing that needs to be addressed is what level of success do we realistically expect and strive for?
Next look at Kennedy and his record at Ole Miss. He is 144-84 for a .632 winning percentage. I don’t care what anyone says, that is a dang good record. The numbers don’t lie and Andy Kennedy has made Ole Miss a consistent winner. He doesn’t have the NCAA tournament banners yet but look at the odds against him: not a big basketball commitment from boosters and the worst arena in the SEC. Even with deficiencies against him he wins, period. Bjork seems to have made a bigger commitment to basketball. Imagine what Kennedy could do with better tools.
The last thing you need to think about is what it could be. If you make the move now, are you in a better position to upgrade and trend up as a program? I say no. It’s easy to take a .632 winning percentage with no NCAA’s for granted but you could end up like MSU in a year. MSU won’t sniff the NCAA for a long while. Most MSU fans would trade positions with you right now in a heartbeat. Let’s not kid ourselves either. Ole Miss can still play their way into the NCAA’s this year.
Guys, I’m telling yall, do not fire Andy Kennedy. Even if he doesn’t make the NCAA this year. Enjoy your success and embrace it. You have a reason to watch games. You have a reason to go to games. Some schools don’t and will not in the immediate future. Kennedy is a good coach who deserves to reap the benefits of an AD who wants a winning basketball program. If AK can go 144-84 with a swiss army knife, imagine what he can do with black and decker power tools.
It always fun rooting for home grown Mississippians that played at your school who are now in the NFL. Its even more fun when these guys come back around and don’t forget about the little guys. This is definitely the case with Clarksdale native and former MSU star Charles Mitchell. He is currently enjoying a little time off after his first year with the Atlanta Falcons. Even though he has moved on to the big time, Mitchell remains true maroon to the core. You can follow him on twitter @cmitch412 . I encourage fans to occasionally drop our former guys a note on twitter and let them know we are still rooting for them.
In an exclusive interview, Mitchell had this to say about 3rdAnd57.com
“Whenever I start my day I always go check what my guy BeastMan has loaded up on 3rdAnd57. I’ve done tons of interviews and there is no doubt he is the most talented up-and-coming writer around. His stories are all great reads and many other guys in our locker room read him as well. Believe it or not, Dexter McCluster is a big fan of his too. After my rookie contract expires and I sign my first big deal I’m gonna sit down with BeastMan and pour a whole bunch of money into his site so he can take over the whole internet.”
Just kidding. I made all that up. He thought it was a funny idea. In all honesty, Charles is a great dude and I wish him a long prosperous NFL career. This Dirty Bird is for you CMitch.