I. The last few weeks I've heard a lot of people making a couple of assumptions that I think are a little premature: 1. Arkansas will be just as good without Bobby Petrino, and 2. Mississippi State's offensive line will be better than last year's.
UPig has a lot of talent, but I'm just not buying they'll be just as good without Bobby Petrino. He was a great play-caller, and a great quarterback coach. I know Tyler Wilson learned under Petrino for four years but it will hurt not having him around this year. And the play calling is probably the biggest loss - Petrino made the most out of the talent he had.
The Hogs also have a new offensive and defensive coordinator. Yes, Paul Petrino has come back to Arkansas as O.C. (after two years at Illinois), but does that mean he is as good as his older brother? Last year at Illinois he had a 1st and 2nd round NFL draft choice on his offense but only averaged 11 points per game through his last 6 Big Ten games.
What's more, the Razorbacks lose a lot of talent. Three of their receivers (Childs, Wright, and Adams) were drafted in the 4th round of the NFL Draft. How well will Knile Davis do coming off his injury? On defense they lose 3 of their top 4 players in Jerry Franklin, Jerico Nelson and Jake Bequette. Arkansas does play Alabama and LSU at home this year, but will they be able to stop teams like South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Auburn on the road? I don't see another 10-2 year in Fayetteville.
I really hope State's O-line is better in 2012 than 2011. Due to injuries and lack of depth, last year's group was pretty mediocre. Off that squad, MSU loses 3 starters....all of whom are on NFL rosters right now. Saulsberry was a 4-year starter and Lawrence was a 3-year starter. I do agree that this year's corp of O-lineman does have a lot of talent....but there isn't much experience.
We know Gabe Jackson is solid at guard. At center, you've got to feel good about Dillon Day and Dylan Holley backing him up. But what else is certain? Blaine Clausell maybe. Will Tobias Smith be back from injury - will he get injured yet again? Everyone else has no experience playing in the SEC. There is a lot of talent with no experience....Siddoway, Robinson, Beckwith, Malone, Muniz and even backup center Holley.
There is a lot of potential for this group - they could be way better than last year. Mullen has set this group up to be the best O-line in the SEC next year....but I'll reserve judgement on 2012 until after the Auburn game.
II. Should Hunter Renfoe use a wood bat in 2013?
Last summer Hunter Renfroe had 8 HR, 30 RBI and hit .305 in the Cal Ripken League. For Mississippi State in 2012 he hit 4 HR, 25 RBI and .252. This summer he hit 16 HR, 52 RBI and .366 in the Cal Ripken League. He used a wooden bat in the summers. While everyone uses an aluminum bat, players do have the option of using wood. With the new bats being deadened anyway would it be better for Renfroe to use a wood bat? I don't know, something to consider.
III. Thursday's face off: beat writers vs. Dan Mullen
I understand why Brandon Marcello and Brad Locke asked Dan Mullen about Tobias Smith and Nickoe Whitley. Certainly they were justified and if you listen to the back and forth Mullen clearly over-reacted. But as I'm sure everyone picked up - it was all a show to make a point with the reporters that he will not answer any questions about injuries....so don't ask.
Still, the beat writers going on and on about Mullen almost walking out on them was pretty annoying. Matthew Stevens took up 70-80% of his article about the session to complain about Mullen. Do we want to hear that? No. I've always thought journalists report on the stupidest stuff. If you listen to the interview, the guy asking the best questions was Paul Jones. I rather have him ask all the questions instead of structured journalist asking fluff.
IV. It's alright to be a redneck.
Alan Jackson - It's Alright To Be A Redneck (via alanjacksonVEVO)