Three years ago, breaking news rattled through the university.
John Cohen was no longer the baseball coach. One of the most successful coaches in our athletic department’s history, was now leading it.
He came into the greatest time period in the departments history. Unprecedented success had been achieved in almost every sport on campus. And it could be argued... he has not been able to capitalize on that success.
Andy Cannizaro was one of the first hires, as Cohen looked to replace himself with a new head coach. Then he hired Tom Anagnost. Then he hired Julie Darty, Then he hired Joe Moorhead.
Cannizaro resigned after an extramarital affair, Anagnost darted for Illinois-Chicago, Darty is 5-26 as a head coach, 1-17 in the SEC, and Joe Moorhead continues to show inability to develop and lead this team.
Here comes the argument of Chris Lemonis. Yes, the hire of Chris Lemonis looks promising. But he had an incredible amount of talent on that team, and even if he does pan out, does one hire negate all the bad ones? That one hire is all we have. Do not get me wrong, I love John Cohen. I wanted him to be wonderful as the AD here. But so far, the results are not so promising.
Can he redeem himself? I think it starts with holding Joe Moorhead accountable for his two lackluster seasons in Starkville.
Do we sit at 3-3? Yes.
Is he 11-8? Yes.
I have defended him. I have sung his praises. But enough is truly enough. There is no improvements in this team. He has had two offseasons to do it. What do we say now? Wait until next year? Sure, we have Shrader, but we lose so much talent yet again. Kylin Hill, Eroll, Leo Lewis, Cam Dantzler, Maurice Smitherman, and a lot of that offensive line is gone.
The man can recruit the hell out of players. His offense has proven to be decent (only in brief spurts). But even with recruiting and an okay offense... that is what an offensive coordinator does. Not a head coach. Some guys make incredible coordinators, and never work out as head coaches. Cam Cameron, Matt Canada, Norv Turner, and so many others are incredible offensive minds, but just were not cut out to be a head ball coach.
It is not just about the offense or the defense, it is about the culture. Many times there has been players going back and forth with each other, frustration, senseless penalties, and literal quit on the field. How many late hits have we seen from this team this year? How many missed tackles, even dating back to the stellar defense last season, have we seen? The team doesn’t dress up for home games, they hang their heads, they walk off the field at halftime... that is not a disciplined football team. They like tweets at halftime and like tweets of former players bashing the team. That is a team that has issues, top to bottom. Not just Joe Moorhead, but with everyone involved. Look at the biggest example of them all with #TutorGate. How do ten players cheat their way through school and none of the coaches know about it? What kind of program is being run?
It is his emotion, or lack thereof. It is his reading and responding to tweets. It is his Road Dawgs Tour preaching about how he is right for this job. It is his emotion after the Kentucky game all but screaming “this win saved my job.” I think he is a brilliant football mind. I think he is a great guy. He just is not what Mississippi State needs in a football coach. This is not about Dan Mullen, Joe Moorhead, or anything other than the future. That is the truth. I just do not know how many more times he can show that this team just is not prepared for what they are about to face, whether it was Southern Miss or Auburn. He is another bad loss from just making some real toxic fans happen... which we will get to more in a minute.
And yes, I already know what is coming. At this point in the article, people are furious. They either know what is being written is true, or they completely disagree. But this is not just a knee jerk reaction to a bad season or bad game. It is not about losing a game, it is about how you lose. This game was horrible, and it only got worse as the game went on. And all Joe Moorhead had to say was that it was his fault:
Moorhead speaking with the media now.— Ben Portnoy (@bportnoy15) September 29, 2019
“First and biggest thumb goes back to me.”
And he is right.
But to make everything worse, the culture issue doesn’t stop with the football team. The issues carry over from the field to the stands. The fan base has stopped coming to games. This has been true for basketball for years, but even now the football games. Against a Big 12, quality opponent, the stadium was maybe 65 percent full max. And that was before we started losing. The fans wanted good teams to come play us, we got that, and then we did not come. Win or lose, no excuse.
The message boards and social media continue to spew hatred for the program, which might be what you think this is now. But it is far from it.
This is the truth. This is written from someone who was at every home game so far, and who will continue to be. This is from someone who gives money to the university, from someone who watches every minute or every game, and from someone who will continue to support this team no matter what.
But I will stay true to my belief that this team is in State of Emergency. It took a decade to build this program up, but it only takes a bad season or two to tear it down. Last season had one of the most talented teams in program history, this season returns some great quality as well. This team does not lack talent nor does it lack ability. It lacks guidance and discipline, and that is arguably much more devastating that lacking talent. So please fix this before it is too late.
So yes, I do understand Joe is one man. And yes Joe is not the only person to blame. But when you become the head coach of a football team, you become the sole person to blame... that responsibility just kind of comes with the 9 million dollar contract.