On every corner the growth, pride and passion of Mississippi State is clearly evident. I have said before that we are in a new age of Mississippi State sports and that is even more strongly enforced as this year now draws to a close with the final stop being another trip to Omaha.
I haven’t written in a while for a combination of reasons. You see the spring semester is an extremely busy time for me. I teach 8th grade physical science in the public schools system in Alabama. I also coach softball at my school (4A) and we completed the best season in our school’s history ( 34 - 15 ) in May. As soon as school was out ( we report back in 8 WEEKS now....geez) I had to get away for a few days to just find my karma again :) Now I’m back and getting primed for another year of school (3 left) and researching for my SEC East and West football predictions to submit for release the first week of August. I plan to also do T-DAWG’s Winners again this year. I enjoy that since I try to pattern it after the infamous “Leonard’s Losers” of years past. Sadly Leonard Postero (a Georgia graduate) passed in July of 2001. If you have never hear his Saturday morning radio predictions you can find an example of his incredible prognostications here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orNSnTzRBW0
I did take a weekend off to attend Super Bulldog Weekend back in April. I had intended to get a story done the next week but couldn’t find the time to hardly touch my pillow as I rolled through the bed each night. My apologies to a couple of people for not being anywhere near “on time” with this.
I got to watch the Friday baseball game with Arkansas (6 - 5 win) then saw cut-ins of the Saturday game (5 - 3 win) while I attended the Spring game with the other MSU faithful. You could feel the excitement and passion waiting to explode as Coach Moorhead’s program begins. I must say as many do that Moorhead is so much of an upgrade from that other fellow who use to be here.....can’t even remember his name now but I know he’s going to get a butt whipping Sept. 29th when he brings his geckos to town.
I did see our prized freshman WR ( Devontae Jason) make special plays as did other TEs down the field and across the middle. Keytaon Thompson was definitely making progress in reads and throws. Kylin Hill was really good at hitting holes then quick cuts and bursts of speed. The defense was good also as a lot of depth players got strong looks for film study by coaches. They were good at all levels but I love the sophomore from Florence, AL at linebacker, Erroll Thompson. I really believe this young man (an agriculture management major) will be one of the best to come through in a long time at that position.
While I joined in with the cheering and other CLANGA at the spring game I got a chance to talk with some of the people around me. I spent several minutes chatting with the parents of one of our cheerleaders, Alana Branch. Her parents are both alumni of Tennessee where they met. They told me they live in Memphis but come down to every game of any sport they can. They have grown to love the Dawgs as much as their daughter does. I look forward to seeing Alana and the all the others as they lead us in cheers this year and the opportunities that their new cheer program coach brings with him. Guys PLEASE, support them in spirit and monetarily. They deserve our support.
The Famous Maroon Band was right, yes right beside me and they are an awesome bunch full of youth, pride, enthusiasm and craziness. The sections I saw each had their own little “things” to pep it up a couple of notches. One member in particular, Tristan Ponder, a senior to-be from Hartselle, Alabama was rocking it! Tristan is not a small man by any measure but makes his clarinet “dance” while keeping his section pumped! He told me he had one more year to rock, roll and party before he leaves MSU. Tristan reminds me of myself and several friends back during my time (‘78 - ‘81). Man the times we had at the crossroads and Len Lew’s which we watched as it burned many years ago although we did try to put it out our own special way during a night of pool and brew.
This year we have seen a new growth in football as we struggled early then got stronger as the season went along which is what your suppose to do. Injuries cost us late in the season but the team we return.....oh yeah....expectations are high.
Men’s basketball seemed to turn the corner but have to become more consistent. Experience should help with that one. Women’s basketball? Well what can you say? That group of seniors gave us so much joy and pride as they grew and dominated. At the same time they were always mixing with their fans to show heir appreciation. Yes we going to miss the seniors but I don’t see a rebuild process but rather more like a reload and refocus year. There is still a ton of talent on the ladies squad.
Softball is consistent and winning but we do need to take another step moving from making the SEC tournament and making the NCAA tournament to winning the SEC and getting to a WCWS. Both men’s and women’s tennis has shown some of the best play in the country. Men’s and Women’s track have also proven they are among the best in the SEC and in the NCAA. Then both golf programs have been excelling as well. We did get a National Championship in Men’s Disc Golf. There were several other SEC teams in the fight as well but our team dominated! https://www.msstate.edu/newsroom/article/2018/04/msu-men-s-disc-golf-team-brings-home-second-national-championship/
To top it all off we have the 2018 edition of MSU baseball. They have faced many adversities but have continued to work and play with a ton of heart. WOW what a come from behind season. Whoever the coach for next year ends up being ( I think Henderson, Gautreau and associates deserve consideration) they will have talent coming in and a strong squad coming back.
I am proud to boast of being an alumnus of Miss. State as are thousands around the world. We’re stronger than we ever have been across the board in sports but also academically. I am proud of the graduation rate of all sports as we continuously excel in the classroom. Many programs “use” kids for their abilities but could care less what happens to them in life. Thank you to all of our coaches for what you do for our athletes.
Well it is time to pack our bags and move on to Omaha. As great as this year has been across the board, next year looks even brighter in 2019.