Today we're going to start a new feature on BulldawgJunction.com, the UPS Mailbag. This will give you the opportunity to mail in your questions in regards to MSU athletics and we'll do our best to find the answers for you. From time to time we will take your questions for a MSU coach or staff member and have your questions answered by them directly. Here's our first edition…
Question #1 - Where does Mississippi State stand in regards to stadium expansion?
Answer #1 - A couple weeks ago Scott Stricklin addressed this issue during his announcement of the Seal Foundation give of $12 million. At this time they are still in the planning phase for real stadium expansion. However, I'm told phase one is already underway. The first phase involves lower cost things that don't require going through a lot of red tape to get done. Things like moving the power sources and tv crew set up. There are things that need to happen before renovation and expansion can take place and you'll see these things take shape over the summer.
Question #2 - When will the new football facility be started and when will the basketball practice facility be complete.
Answer #2 - The hoops facility will be complete really any day now. I know they are getting ready to move into the facility as we speak and expect the team to be able to put up some shots when they return for summer school.
At this time there is no hard date to start the football project. The timeline is based upon securing the funding for the project, roughly $25 million. With that being said, I get the impression they would like to get started early this summer because the project is estimated to be a 12 - 14 month undertaking and they would like to be ready for fall camp on 2012.
Question #3 - What happened to Ben Bracewell?
Answer #3 - Ben had shoulder surgery in the offseason. I'm told he is throwing rather well at this point, hitting the mid 90s. At one point there was some debate on whether to redshirt him or not due to his quick recovery. In the end they determined he wouldn't be on the 35-man roster this spring. He will continue to be a Bulldog and is expected to be a valued part of the team next season.
Question #4 - I like what I saw from Dylan Favre in the spring game, but is he ready to step in and play if we need him?
Answer #4 - To answer this question I'll use a favorite line from Les Koenning, "Dylan would lead the SEC in every offensive category, including interceptions." There is no question Favre is a talented young man. He has a lot of what you look for in a quarterback, leadership, determination, fearless, he is just short on height. If he were two inches taller we would be having a much different conversation here. As it stands right now if State had to put him in to play tomorrow I'd say buckle your seat-belt. Favre will see the field when he learns to control his emotions on the football field. He has a lot of gunslinger in him as he feels he can make any throw at any time…that's just not the case. Once he calms down and makes better decisions he will be a viable option for MSU. As long at the turnovers are a big part of his game…he will not see significant action. If you're asking me if I think he can do this… yes. Favre will improve his game and be an option for MSU but it won't be an easy road due to the development of Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott (I really like what he brings to the table).
Question #5 - I'll put this bluntly, can Coach Cohen get this turned around?
Answer #5 - I'll be just as direct… YES. In many ways he already has the team turned around and moving in the right direction. If the selections were made today for the NCAA Regionals MSU would be in the field. I know they aren't in the top eight in the SEC, but I feel strongly the league is good enough this year that as many as 10 teams from the SEC could make the tournament. State has face two top three teams in the nation and four of the five SEC teams they've faced have been ranked in the top 20. I'm not going to throw numbers at you to make a case because that's not easy to do due to the new bats and the way things have changed in college baseball. But I can say that I'm around the team enough to know the mindset this time around is completely different. From the coaches to the players everyone is committed to making this work. They aren't tight as they were last year…they are having fun.
I'm a big believer that Coach Cohen will get MSU baseball back to where it belongs. I wasn't sold last year because of how the team reacted… but he has a plan and you can now see his plan taking shape.
That's it for today's mailbag. We'll have another edition coming up this weekend so if you've got question you'd like to have answered email us at Michael@bulldawgjunction.com.
The UPS Mailbag is made possible by the UPS Store of Starkville. Stop by and see Mike and his staff on campus inside the Colvard Student Union or in town next door to Kroger. They can help you with all of your coping and shipping needs.