"He is doing very well," said Polk, who coached MSU for 22 seasons before taking over the Georgia program for two years and then returning to MSU. "His numbers are very good offensively and he's been very effective on the mound.
"That's probably why Mississippi State recruited him in the first place."
Goodson, a sophomore who had minimal playing time at the beginning of the season, has shown flashes of his all-star days at Vicksburg High. In a little over six weeks, he's boosted his batting average to a team-best .375, and has also hit seven doubles and two home runs while driving in 30 runs this season.
"I'm getting to play more now, that's what it boils down to," said Goodson who has a 10-game hitting streak going into the SEC Tournament game against Florida.
Polk said the reason why Goodson didn't play as much earlier in the year is because he couldn't play defense with his size. The bulky 6-foot-2, 239-pounder makes him a prototypical power hitter, but limits his flexibility in the field. Polk found a role for him as a designated hitter, and the sophomore has thrived. Goodson's roll began against Mississippi Valley State. In that game, he drove in a career-high six runs to lead the Bulldogs to a 18-5 win.
A week later against Alabama-Birmingham, he went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in a 6-1 win.
Following that, he went 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs in a 13-7 win over Samford. During the three-game Ole Miss series sweep that landed the Bulldogs a spot in the SEC Tournament as the 7th seed, Robby went 5-for-11 with 6 RBIs.
And he's carried it over into the tournament by knocking in 4 RBI's while going 3-for-8.
"I've finally got my timing down," he said. "Plus, I'm getting to swing the bat more."
He's also gotten a chance to prevent opposing teams from swinging theirs.
When Goodson entered the college ranks, he was unsure whether he would get the chance to pitch. This year, Polk and his staff gave Goodson, whose fastball was clocked consistently at 92 miles per hour during fall practices, an opportunity to take the mound and he shined.
In 12 innings of relief, he has 14 strikeouts and has allowed only five hits. His ERA of 2.13 is second-best on the team.
In his first appearance, against Arkansas on April 14, the hard-throwing right-hander struck out two of the seven batters he faced, walked one and didn't allow a hit.
He finished the game and got the save in the first SEC action of his career, and earned himself more time on the mound in the future.
"Next year, he will be a factor on the mound, plus he is a big hitter," Polk said.
Goodson would like to pitch more in whatever's left of this season, but was holding Polk to his word.
"I was hoping to pitch more this year," Goodson said. "But I can wait till next year."
As a freshman, Goodson saw action in 25 games, starting four games as the designated hitter. He started in MSU's 1-0 SEC Tournament win over South Carolina.
Goodson knew coming into the season that he would have to prove himself worthy to a new staff of coaches this fall.
"I started everything all over again," he said. "I had to impress these guys to get some playing time."
It took him a little while, but his mission is now accomplished.
This article appeared in The Vicksburg Post's May 18th edition. It is reprinted with the permission of The Vicksburg Post. I have included updated material since it was published.-Gene Swindoll (Gene's Page)