A Q&A with MSU head coach John Cohen

Mississippi State head baseball coach John Cohen talks about the middle infielders and third basemen. This is the fifth of a five-part series of interviews with the MSU baseball coaches.

What are your thoughts about middle infielder Justin Bussey?
"Justin Bussey has explosive speed. He can really go. He has been a shortstop his entire life, so we are trying to convert him into more of a second baseman type guy. It's been a little bit of a struggle for him to get adjusted to the right side of the infield. A lot of guys see the game differently from one side of the field to the other. While he plays shortstop better than he does second base, we feel like him playing second base is a better fit for our club.

"Offensively, he is a much better player than I anticipated. Just hearing scouting reports and listening to what people said about him, it was more of a defensive oriented/pitcher type guy. But he is a much better offensive player than I anticipated for him."

Third baseman/shortstop Russ Sneed.
"We didn't get to see much of Russ Sneed. But he worked really hard on his rehab. Russ is one of those guy who was a team guy all fall. It would have been so easy for him to hide in the corner and say 'I'm injured, I'm not able to compete a whole lot.' But he was phenomenal. He fed machines, encouraged guys, keep the charts. He was wonderful, and I can see where he is going to be a great leader for us."

Middle infielder Ryan Powers.
"I really thought it was going to be an uphill battle for him offensively. But he really made improvements over the course of the fall. I thought he looked like a better offensive player at the end of the fall than he was at the beginning. He has great communication skills. He does a really nice job of understanding situational baseball. He really competes hard."

Middle infielder Jet Butler.
"Jet dramatically improved defensively. I really think he wants to be our shortstop at Mississippi State. And he's going to get some opportunities to do that. The reason why he is also going to play some at second base is because he converts the double play better than anybody we have at second base.

"Offensively, he has come a long way. I think he has a confidence and swagger about him that is different than maybe we have seen in the past. And I really think he is going to really contribute to our club offensively.

"His maturity is something that I really respect. I think he came back this summer with a different idea what he wanted to accomplish."

Middle infielder Frankie Rawdow.
"Frankie Rawdow is a kid who will play as a freshman. He really understands how to use his speed. He is a guy who I believe will steal bases. He is a guy who I think can be aggressive. He is one of those guys who I think has a chance to score from first base.

"Defensively, he could see some time at second. And I think he is going to play some shortstop for us, too. I wouldn't be surprised if Ryan, Jet and Frankie all have a chance to play second base also."

Did Frankie surprised you with how good of a fall that he had?
"Yeah, he was a little bit of a surprise. He is definitely a makeup guy. Some of his skill level might not be overpowering, but his desire and makeup really make him into a different style player. He's a very aggressive kid by nature and that's what we are all about. He's going to be a good play. But we all know it takes freshmen to figure out our league. And guys get tired and hit a wall. That's why conditioning for our whole club and especially for our young players like Frankie Rawdow is so important."

Third basemen Connor Powers and Jarrod Parks, both of whom also played first base during the fall, were previously talked about in another interview by assistant coach Nick Mingione.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

Gene's Page Top Stories