This afternoon, we’ll be visiting with Rick Ray at 2 p.m. as Mississippi State prepares for Tennessee on Wednesday, then at 3:15 we’re chatting with new quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson. I’ll have live updates and thoughts from each here. In the meantime, I caught up with Johnson Friday afternoon, the video of which I’ve embedded at the bottom.
Looks like we’re talking with senior forward Colin Borchert first.
He’s got a succinct summary of Tennessee: “They’re big and strong.”
Borchert said recently he and the coaches have worked on him taking better shots. Said he’s not taking as many now, but the ones he is taking are smart. Ray said he only took one bad shot against Arkansas, and it went in anyway.
“As long as we’re out there competing and doing what we’re supposed to do as Mississippi State Bulldogs,” Borchert said, “we’re gonna be fine. We’ll find a way to get over this hump.”
Borchert talked about identity, saying he “got back to being Colin Borchert,” saying it’s a process the whole team is working out. He sees where a couple guys will have a good game one day, then different guys the next.
“Collectively, 1-10, we need to all have good games every time out,” he said.
Rick Ray time.
He’s echoing what he said on the SEC teleconference this morning, that UT is a very physical team. Ray said one of the big things will be defending the post and keeping the ball out of the paint when the Vols are on offense.
Interesting. Ray said they do something in practice called “Bulldog Shooting” where they take 100 three-pointers, 25 each from four different spots. He said if guys aren’t making at least around 60 in that unguarded setting, they shouldn’t be shooting much in a game.
On Trivante Bloodman, who left Saturday’s game with injury, ray said the junior point guard could practice today, but they’re holding him out just to be extra safe and give him rest.
Asked about walk-on guard Tevin Moore, Ray referred to him as “the consummate teammate,” saying Moore is relentlessly positive, never gets down on himself or the team, which is a good influence to have within the team.
Ray says he thinks the new line starting lineup they used against Arkansas “really helped with ball-handling.” The five were Bloodman, Ready, Sword, Johnson and Ware.
If that lineup sticks, Ray said, will be up to how players perform going forward. He thought Roquez Johnson deserved the start based on effort and performance and he was happy with how Moore did.
The downside of the game was defense, he said.