John Cohen Feb 8th Interview

Mississippi State head baseball coach John Cohen talk one-on-one with Gene's Page after the Sunday afternoon intrasquad game.

What are your impressions of your team after watching them play three games this weekend?
"I think, like everybody else in the country, you are getting to that point where you need to focus for long periods of time in ballgames. And I felt like we weren't as focused today after coming off Fan Day and our intrasquad and all the other stuff we had yesterday.

"But we learned a lot of things about our club today, a lot of situational things came up which helps us. I also thought we swung the bats pretty well. Our hitters are getting some mistakes to hit and they are taking advantage of them."

Redshirt freshman Brent Rooker hit the ball really well this weekend, going 6-for-9 with a home run and 4 RBI.
"He is a very athletic young man who is strong and can run. He has worked very, very hard and it is good to see him have success. He is somebody who works at it and deserves to have success."

Jacob Robson also hit the ball well this weekend, going 4-for-9 and using his speed well.
"Yeah, I think he has a chance to be a really good player for us. He is so athletic and defends it so well. And he can put pressure on you on the bases. All he has to do is avoid the swing and miss. If he puts balls in play, especially ground balls and line drives, then he is going to have a lot of success."

Are you to the point where you have an idea who will fill the starting roles on the pitching staff?
"Really, playing four games (during a weekend) forces you to use a lot of arms. We'll wait and see. We aren't sure who we will start on the weekend. Certainly Preston Brown will get a chance to start. Lucas Laster is another one. Austin Sexton and Jesse McCord will compete for one of those spots. Paxton Stover is someone who will compete for a (starting) spot. We would like to have Ross Mitchell in the bullpen but I don't know if that is a luxury that we can afford right now."

Zac Houston has looked good coming out of the bullpen during the pre-season, throwing 91-93 miles per hour Saturday and getting outs.
"Zac has come a long way with his delivery and his secondary stuff. He is very competitive and has a quick arm. We need for him to be good out of our bullpen."

What is Gavin Collins injury situation with his hamate bone?
"(Removing the hamate bone) is a very common baseball surgery. It is not a broken bone. It is on his receiving hand. It really depends on how quick we can get him back. I'm not 100% sure when we will, although we feel like we will get him back pretty quick. We really don't know if it will be 2 weeks, 3 weeks or 4 weeks. We just don't know."

You have two reliable catchers in Josh Lovelady and Cody Walker to take his place while he is out.
"Lovelady has done a great job. And Cody has done a great job, too. We just need for them to stay healthy."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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