At 4 p.m., John Cohen and Mississippi State players and assistants will hold a press conference for their preseason media day. The Bulldogs open the season on Friday, February 14th.
Updates to follow.
Cohen opens saying he’s enjoyed and appreciated the maturity and preparation of his team. School started later and season starts earlier than usual, along with weather ending some practices.
“I think we have tremendous leadership,” he said. “And I think we have some talented young guys who have really stepped up.”
interesting stuff from Cohen on playing four games this weekend. he said a lot of fans asked him about bringing back the Saturday doubleheaders and he wanted to do that for them. It also allows them to get more pitchers some action.
Cohen says they’ll pair two starting pitchers together each day this weekend so they can see more arms in action.
Cohen says Brett Pirtle is a dynamic athlete who offers a lot of flexibility as a switch-hitter. “He has the potential to be what he was last year for us and then even more.”
Cohen says he’s been pleased with the four-man competition at catcher to replace last year’s graduated seniors.
Likes Randolph’s leadership, Collins’ talent, Garner’s hitting and says Walker might have the best arm. Tough decision for Cohen to make at catcher.
Cohen says Brandon Woodruff, Trevor Fitts and Ben Bracewell are all going to start games this weekend. Sunday is up in the air.
Asked to compare Woodruff to Chris Stratton, Cohen says, “I think Brandon has the opportunity to be that guy you’re describing who makes that third year jump.” Even said Woody does some things better now than Stratton, including his fastball.
Cohen credits Woodruff’s development to his relationship and time with pitching coach Butch Thompson, saying his improvement has been incredible.
Talking now about relievers, Cohen feels very comfortable with his group. Said that with how good and how long some of those guys though it takes a lot of pressure off the starting pitchers.
Cohen on Wes Rea, “I don’t want this to sound like a cliche, but he’s like having a coach on the field. He sees the game differently than most guys his age.
On positional battles, Cohen said the early season will be when many of those get figured out. “A lot of situations in games just aren’t gonna happen in intra-squad scrimmages.”
Funny. Cohen on Jake Vickerson, younger brother of Nick Vickerson: “They’re complete opposites. I love them both to death, but they’re completely different players.” Adds that Jake is a very talented baseball player.
Cohen says they haven’t named starters at some spots yet not because they’re wavering, but because they want players to win the job.
Cohen: “I don’t know if I’ve ever coached outfielders who are as skilled as this group.” Will be hard for him to pick just three.
Senior outfielder Derrick Armstrong might be MSU’s most improved player, according to Cohen. Says his base-running and stealing has gotten even better, might be fastest guy in the SEC.
Cohen also says senior outfielder Demarcus Henderson has embraced playing right field and taking over for Hunter Renfroe, which Cohen adds is a tough spot to play at Dudy Noble Field.
On freshman Reid Humphreys, Cohen says he’s a player who deserves opportunities and has done well at third base. Has learned a lot from working there with senior Alex Detz.
On reliever Jacob Lindgren, Cohen says the switch from being a starter suits him. Said Lindgren could sometimes pace himself as a starter, is more of an attacker in relief.
On the battle at shortstop, Cohen says Matthew Britton is one of the best defenders in the league and that he’s made big strides at the plate.