Tagged: Dan Mullen

SEC football coaching circus is more fun and crazier than Mississippi politics

Matt Luke is a very good choice to lead Ole Miss football program; Ross Bjork should have been fired

For many years NASCAR has had what it called its “silly season” (driver changes, team changes, crew changes). Politics can certainly have its silly season at any time. SEC football is not immune from having its own silly season of coaching changes. Former interim Ole Miss coach Matt Luke is the new head of the Rebel football program. That is a good thing and he deserves a shot. Luke played at Ole Miss as did his father and brother. He is a Rebel through and through and deserves the job. There is one report that if Luke got the job, it depended on the Rebels beating rival Mississippi State. If true, it is sad because Luke deserved the job and just one game, even against the Bulldogs, should not have been the determining factor. When Ole Miss AD Russ Bjork announced Luke was his pick, he said he had made a wide search and determined his best choice as a new head football coach was already in Oxford. Who is Bjork kidding? With all its problems with the NCAA Committee on Infractions, Ole Miss was not exactly the sexiest and most attractive football coaching job in the nation. A big problem in Oxford is too many Ole Miss fans are outraged with the NCAA penalties.  They are unrepentant and think the Rebels are victims. I don’t see how Bjork should survive as AD. The NCAA mess at Ole Miss took place on his watch. Add in the existing Rebel players that are considering transferring to other schools. The parents of one player told a national reporter that when their son was being recruited, they ask disgraced and former Coach Hugh Freeze how the NCAA investigation could impact the Rebel football program, and thus, their son’s future. They were not told the truth, but even more, the parents also asked Bjork the same question. They got the same bogus answer from Bjork they got from Freeze. Ole Miss is appealing the 2018 bowl ban, but if

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2017 Egg Bowl: Either Rebels or Bulldogs will win, but both seasons are letdowns

The annual battle for the Golden Egg between the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University is set for Saturday afternoon. The fans of one school will rejoice at the end of the day, but the 2017 season for both schools did not meet expectations.

Rebels expected much better season

Ole Miss opened the season with much higher expectations than MSU. Most of the Rebel faithful expected a top 10 national ranking, a legitimate shot at the SEC West title, and a chance to play in Atlanta for the SEC championship. If you’re the SEC champ the next obvious hope is to be one of the four teams selected for the playoffs for the national championship. Instead, after last week’s stunning and decisive loss to Vanderbilt, the Rebels will limp into the final game with their rival at 5-6, 2-5 SEC and must win to finish 6-6 and qualify for a bowl game. As I have said before, I don’t think any team with a 6-6 record should be playing in a bowl game. In a season when Ole Miss expectations were not met, don’t forget the Rebels at some point will likely be hit with severe penalties by the NCAA and wind up in the NCAA jailhouse. Even with a win, State won’t be bowl eligible with a 5-7 record. State’s streak of six consecutive bowls games is already over. Two of the six-year streak was when State went bowling twice and had 6-6 records that I have already mentioned should not qualify for a bowl. A big loss was when the Rebels’ outstanding quarterback Chad Kelly was injured and his senior season was over. In stepped true freshman Shea Patterson, rated last year as one of the very best high school quarterbacks in the nation. Patterson played sensational in the Rebels’ fourth quarter comeback against Texas A&M. He came back to earth last week in the loss to the lowly Commodores. However, I expect Patterson to bounce back this week against the Bulldogs’ terrible pass defense. State’s pass defense is so bad if Patterson passed for over 500 yards it would not be a shock to me. In fact, State’s entire defense is terrible. But did I fail to mention that the Ole Miss defense is also pretty bad?

Should Dan Mullen be fired?

I thought it was a big deal when State upset Texas A&M. It became less of a big deal after a mediocre Ole Miss team also beat A&M. Next up was Alabama which pounded State 51-3.

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Clarion-Ledger versus Mississippi State officials (plus burning football questions for the Dawgs and Rebels)

No, State did not name a new AD on Oct. 18

Mike Bonner is the Jackson Clarion-Ledger’s beat reporter for Mississippi State athletics.  I think Bonner does a darn good job. Of course, partisans of MSU, Ole Miss or any other school never think beat reporters are as positive as they should be towards their team. On Wednesday, Oct. 12, Bonner, citing unnamed sources, reported Bulldog head baseball coach John Cohen would be named athletic director the next week, on Oct. 18, to replace Scott Stricklin who has moved on to be AD for the Florida Gators. MSU officials were very upset with the report and the Clarion-Ledger. President Mark Keenum issued a very strong statement criticizing Bonner and the newspaper. MSU spokesman Sid Salter, a former Clarion-Ledger staff member himself and political columnist, quickly went on the state’s leading sports talk radio show to deny Bonner’s report that a decision had been made. Rick Cleveland is also a former Clarion-Ledger sports editor and columnist. Cleveland, who I think is one of the best, if not the best ever Mississippi sports columnist, promptly wrote about Bonner’s controversial report in his syndicated column. He also wrote that Hugh Kellenberger, the newspaper’s sports editor, backed Bonner.

The bottom line:

Should Bonner have contacted Dr. Keenum for a comment before his news article stating baseball coach John Cohen would be named athletic director on Tuesday, Oct. 18? Absolutely. There is a difference between a request for comment in

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Well Dan, if your team is “young”, whose fault is that?

Prior to the start of the 2016 football season, MSU coach Dan Mullen frequently talked about his young team. After last Saturday’s embarrassing loss to South Alabama, a 28-point underdog, Mullen’s postgame press conference was almost a joke. It seemed like 8-10 times Mullen referred to his “young” players or “young team.” This is Mullen’s eighth season as head coach of the Bulldogs. After leading the Bulldogs for eight years, if his team is young and inexperienced, whose fault is that (note: recruiting)? This week a prominent sports show host said State has ConferenceUSA quarterbacks, a C-USA offensive line, a C-USA running back and C-USA cornerbacks. Bo Bounds was right on target. Of course, the problem is State plays in the SEC not C-USA. Even worse, South Alabama is a member of the Sun Belt Conference.

The real reason for Ole Miss’ collapse against Florida State

After leading Florida State 28-6, the Ole Miss Rebels collapsed in the third quarter against the Seminoles. Following the game, the lead sports columnist for the Jackson Clarion.Ledger listed a number of concerns for Ole Miss in the wake of the defeat. Hugh Kellenberger ignored an additional concern that was promptly called to my attention. The major reason for the loss to FSU is that the Ole Miss band is now prohibited from playing

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SEC Media Days – Bonner Asks Mullen About State Flag

Surprise! Surprise! MSU beat writer questions Mullen about state flag; newspaper’s flag obsession continues in Birmingham

Tuesday afternoon, it was MSU head coach Dan Mullen’s turn before the hundreds of media, from all over the South and nation, gathered in Birmingham for the annual SEC Media Days. After being asked more than a dozen questions about the Bulldog football program and upcoming season, the next-to-last question was asked by Michael Bonner, The Clarion-Ledger’s beat writer for MSU. None of the other reporters asked Mullen about the state flag, but to nobody’s surprise, Bonner asked Mullen about it. The newspaper has already reported the position of Mullen, head basketball coach Ben Howland and the university on their view that the state flag should be changed. If you think that Bonner was not told by his editors to ask the question, please contact me about the island I have for sale in the Gulf of Mexico.

The next morning, Wednesday, Bonner’s story about Mullen and the flag appeared at the top of the front page, the news front page, not the sports section. In the first paragraph of his Wednesday article, Bonner wrote the flag debate “reached SEC Media Days Tuesday.” It reached the event because Bonner asked the flag question. For some strange reason, the other reporters only asked Mullen about the Bulldog football program and the SEC – the purpose of SEC Media Days. The story also noted in Mississippi State’s official response on the flag a week earlier, MSU president Mark Keenum noted in 2001, when the statewide referendum on the flag was held, the MSU Faculty Senate voted overwhelming to change the flag. Let’s face it. The faculty senate at MSU or almost any other university would vote for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders for president.

After Bonner’s front page story, on the sports front page, CL columnist Hugh Kellenberger, previously a beat writer at Ole Miss, took his shot at Mullen on the state flag question. The headline to his column said “Mullen not leading on flag issue.” Mullen is paid a lot of money to win football games at Mississippi State, not to endorse The Clarion-Ledger’s constant drum beating to change the flag. When Mullen was asked about the state flag, by a Clarion-Ledger reporter, Kellenberger wrote in his column that Mullen “totally fell apart.” I watched Mullen’s entire comments at SEC Media Days. In his response to Bonner’s question about the state flag, in no way did Mullen “totally fell apart.” The Clarion-Ledger and others often repeat that the NCAA will not allow postseason events to be played in the state because of the flag.

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Delbert Hoseman is Mississippi’s Chuck Schumer

When current U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York was a member of the House of Representatives for 18 years it was well known that you were at risk if you ever got between Schumer and a television camera. Even his Democratic colleagues from New York joked that nobody could outdo Schumer in getting in front of a camera. In Mississippi the winner of the Chuck Schumer Award for photo-ops is easily Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Before Mississippi State’s recent win over the Auburn Tigers, Hosemann, decked out in maroon, was on the field during MSU’s pre-game warm-ups. His Twitter account (@DelbertHoseman) showed Hosemann shaking hands with Bulldog head coach Dan Mullen and said, “Last minute words of encouragement before State beats Auburn.”

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Bowling With .500 Record Nothing to Brag About

During SEC media days and on many, many other occasions, Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen and MSU’s PR department have repeatedly noted that during Mullen’s tenure the Bulldogs have been to four straight bowl games for the first time in school history. Going to a bowl game with a 6-6 record, which Mullen has done for two of those four seasons, is not really something to brag about. In my opinion a .500 record should not make a team bowl eligible.

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