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MONDAY MORNING COFFEE BREAK

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Once again the MSU football looked like they had a chance to win a game but lost it, this time in the closing minutes of the game.

After doing next to nothing most of the game, the MSU offense showed sparks of life late in the game against Arkansas. On two of their last three possessions of the game, MSU scored a touchdown. You may not realize this but that was the first time MSU has scored touchdowns on back to back possession since they scored four straight touchdowns in the second half against Memphis in the first game of the season.

I wasn't really sure of the reason for this so I asked MSU tight end Donald if there was any particular reason he could think of. He immediately talked about MSU quarterback Kevin Fant getting temporarily knocked out of the game on what the MSU team felt was a late hit by one of the Arkansas players. He said that inspired the offense because they respect Kevin so much. In fact, from that time on, it seemed like the MSU offense had a new fire in its belly. They completed a 72-yard drive once Kevin came back in and then scored on the next possession on a 46-yard drive. They even got a first down and 28 yards on the next drive, but with the Arkansas defense knowing that MSU had to throw to score, Kevin threw an interception to end MSU's chances of mounting a comeback. Here's to hoping this offensive revival carries over to the Ole Miss game.

By the way, did you know that Arkansas was allowing just 12 points per game against SEC competition when the games were played in Arkansas? Arkansas allowed Tennessee 13 points, South Carolina 7 points and Auburn 17. Who knows, maybe MSU's offense, which scored 14 of the 21 points scored by MSU, is about to find the answers to its offensive woes.

P.S. Did you know the touchdown scored by MSU's Josh Morgan was the first touchdown scored by the MSU defense this year? Let's hope it isn't the last.

Here comes the Judge

Kudos go out to scout team quarterback Joey Judge for getting to play in his first game as a Bulldog. When Kevin Fant had to go out after getting hit, Joey came in to replace him. He got behind center, then went in motion. The ball was snapped to Ray Ray Bivines who ran for 14 yards. Hats off to Joey, one of the toughest and hardest working players on the team. It is scout team players like Joey who help make a team the best it can be. The only thing that bothered me was the fact that no one on the MSU broadcast knew his first name when he came in. Joey deserved to have his name called out on the broadcast due to the respect he has earned during practices. Oh well, just one man's opinion.

Football practicing on Sunday

Normally Sunday is a day for meetings and resting. Because the Ole Miss game is to be played on Thursday, the team went through a very quiet nine-period practice Sunday. In fact, that was the quietest practice that I have attended this year and had me a little concerned. When I mentioned that fact to one of our coaches, he told me you don't want to take the team through a regular practice due to it being the day immediately after a game. They have bruises and assorted aches and pains from the Arkansas game that they are still recovering from. On well, leave it to a fan to almost make something out of nothing because he is on the outside looking in.

Basketball teams looking good

The men's basketball team, while not shooting the threes as well as they have during the scrimmages and exhibitions, is showing promise. Youngsters Mario Austin (sophomore), Winsome Frazier (freshman) and Marcus Campbell (freshman) all had good games against Nicholls State. The 7-foot-1 Campbell is going to be a special player during his career at State. I don't believe MSU has ever had a seven-footer that has as much pure offensive ability as he does. As Coach Stansbury mentioned in his press conference, he has truly soft hands. You could tell from the tone of his voice when he said that, that he truly feels that Campbell has a chance to be a big-time scorer. Too bad there were only a little over 2,400 fans at the game. Folks are really missing out on a team that is going to be fun to watch this year.

Injury update: Sophomore two-guard Timmy Bowers twisted his knee during the game. At that time, it looked bad but I saw Timmy at the women's basketball game Sunday. He appeared to be ok. I was told that his situation is day to day. That is good news because he will be one of the main three-point shooters on the team.

FYI category: Kudos to basketball players Mario Austin and Derrick Zimmerman on their interview skills. While many athletes aren't the best folks to interview, both of these youngsters are very professional when being interviewed. They are both articulate and well-spoken. In fact, while I was interviewing Mario I thought to myself how well he is going to be able to handle the media when he gets to the NBA. He has really improved from last year when he was a bit on the quiet side when being interviewed. Now, I wonder what they think about the questions we so-called sports reporters ask them. Maybe, it's best we don't know the answer to that question. (:

The women's basketball team really looked good yesterday. Remember this name: Tan White. The 5-foot-7 freshman two guard from Tupelo High School is absolutely fearless on the offensive side of the court. There were several times during the game late in the second half where she just drove by the Tennessee Tech defense to score several crucial layups. Add her to LaToya Thomas and Jennifer Fambrough and you are talking about a very, very tough combination to defend against. I've told people that she is the LaToya Thomas of guards. She didn't disprove that yesterday. With only 842 folks in attendance, there are many of you who have yet to be treated to the joyful experience of seeing this freshman play.

On the recruiting front

To those of you who have emailed me with your concerns about when the four men's basketball commitments are going to be signees. Although he has not been officially mentioned by the MSU media relations department, Stephen Cowherd has signed according to his coach. I also look for the final three MSU men's basketball commitments, 6-foot-9 Kei Madison and 6-foot-8 Brandon Vincent of Okaloosa-Walton CC, and 6-foot-4 wing guard Sam Richardson from Hinds (MS) AHS, to sign this week. I'm not sure when MSU will announce the signees.

Of MSU's baseball signees, three have been announced, OF Joseph Hunter, INF Casey Hamilton and LHP Brooks Dunn. Look for MSU to sign six more. According to what I have heard, MSU is going heavy on top quality hitting and power this recruiting season. I will have interviews with all nine of the signees over the next couple of weeks.

Look for MSU football to bring in three official recruits for the MSU-Ole Miss football game. One will be Pasadena City College quarterback Nathan Chandler. I have heard rumors that the other two will be an offensive lineman from a California junior college and another player whose position and location I'm not sure of.

Technical help

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Well, that wraps up this week's edition of the Monday Morning Bulldog Coffee Break.

Have a great Bulldog week.

Gene Swindoll


Archived Monday Morning Coffee Break Articles:
Nov. 12, 2001
Nov. 7, 2001


Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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