ABC Mailbag: Football stars, baseball beards, facilities and food

Each week on The B&B Show (a radio show I co-host on Bulldog Sports Radio; you can listen to today’s full show here) we have a segment we call ABC, which you’ve seen me mention if you follow on Twitter.

It stands for Ask Bob Carskadon and is, basically, a radio mailbag of some serious and many non-serious questions sometimes but not always relating to Mississippi State sports.

Every Tuesday, we ask for questions on Twitter (tweet them to @bobcarskadon) and now, every Wednesday, I’ll pick some good ones to answer here on the HailState Beat. (PSA on those tweets: if a twitter profile is locked, people who don’t follow it can’t see its tweets, even if they are mentioned in the tweet.)

Keep in mind, as always, opinions and views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of MSU, though sometimes they very well may.

To draw some semblance of a line, the topics are conveniently divided in sports and non-sports.

Sports Questions:

Cowbell Tales @CowbellTales: DNF or DWS?

BlEWStQCcAEF_mxBob: Man, you really like putting me on the spot here. Assuming I get to experience the game as a fan, not a media member, I’ve got to consider the ease, quality and uniqueness of eating food in the Left Field Lounge, where tailgating only happens before games in football.

But, 60,000 fans, two massive video boards, colossal hits and SANDSTORM blaring? Football has its good qualities, too.

I’ll say this. Season opener (with hopefully decent weather): Dudy Noble Field. End of season (Egg Bowl): Davis Wade Stadium.

John Jeffrey Nelson @Christ1st_JJN: How good can Nick Fitzgerald be?

Bob: The true freshman early-enrollee quarterback far exceeded expectations this spring. Some on the outside thought he may end up switching to tight end (he’s very big and athletic, after all), but his performance in his first practices on campus have cemented him at quarterback.

Fitzgerald certainly had moments where you could tell he was someone who should otherwise still be in high school, but he picked up on the offense quickly, displayed a strong arm and did well on the run, as expected. The starting job is obviously Dak Prescott’s for the next two years, but Fitzgerald will be in the competition to replace him in 2016.

Matt Saracen @MattSaracen: Have you seen this job on MSU’s site?  … Does it look like MSU is about to get serious about video?

Bob: Yes, I have, and yes, it does look that way. The MSU athletic department, if you don’t want to click the link, is hiring another full-time video person as part of an ongoing process to amp up the department.

You may have noticed the increase in quantity and quality of video the last 6 or so months (at least I hope you’ve noticed) and MSU recognizes the need for strong video production, both in branding and recruiting.

Dave Robertson @Dwr4MSU: Any update/timeframe on the tennis and softball complex renovations?

Bob: It’s hard to put a specific timetable on this, because that’s not the issue. At last check, MSU had at or a little over half the funding for a new softball stadium and dual softball-tennis complex, and it won’t be until most of the needed sum is raised that the project will begin.

How long will that take? Who knows. Construction could conceivably start in May if the funds are raised by then. I know all coaches involved (Vann Stuedeman, Daryl Greenan and Per Nilsson) have said how much new facilities would help in recruiting, and there would be obvious benefits in fan experience.

8148990Randy Holloway @randyholloway: What’s your favorite nickname for a MSU player, or fave nickname per major sport if you can’t pick one?

Bob: Out of current players? Turtle (Christian Holmes) gets the nod for football, while Chicken (Craig Sword) takes it for basketball. What’s strange, I realize while thinking about it, is that baseball doesn’t really have any guys with real nicknames that aren’t just derived from their real name.

James Carskadon @JamesCarskadon: Does forcing baseball players to shave their beards actually motivate them?

Bob: Sup, bro? I’d certainly think that John Cohen got their attention with the mandate to rid themselves of facial hair. You’ll recall, last year was the only one in Cohen’s tenure that he allowed the beards at all. One point to come out of this is that this is not last year’s team, the other being that they need to earn things like that.

I liked the beards, despite my lack of ability to grow one, but the coaching staff and team certainly needed something to bring about change, and facial hair is just one of several things they’ve done to that end this week. It’s just the most obvious one when we look at the players.

Luke Goff @Lukegoff5: Who’s more likely to redshirt, Fitzgerald or Elijah Staley? Fitz is more of a project it seems but he had spring practice.

Bob: Dan Mullen has raved about incoming QB Elijah Staley (who also plans to play basketball), saying he was a five-star by their rating system. That said, I think Mullen hopes that neither of the true freshmen will play while Damian Williams and Prescott take all the snaps.

Of course, he hoped the same last year with Tyler Russell and Prescott, yet it was Williams who had to come in and win in overtime against Arkansas.

If I had to guess which is more likely to play in such a scenario, I’d say Fitzgerald this year, based on the fact he’s already had bowl practice and spring practice and will have had a full summer and fall camp by the first game.

That Guy @ThatGuy1878: Is Fred Brown this year’s Jeremy Chapelle? Huge spring, no action in the fall?

Bob: Brown really did have a big spring, including those 219 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game. Can he build on that? I’d say yes. He played some last year, but some penalties got the best of him. Now, as a third-year sophomore, he may have matured past mental mistakes like that.

The issue, however, is his place in the rotation. Jameon Lewis, Malcolm Johnson, De’Runnya Wilson, Robert Johnson, Joe Morrow and Fred Ross are all likely ahead of him on the depth chart, while running backs (especially Brandon Holloway) will account for a certain number of catches, as well.

Where does Brown fit in? It’s up to him to prove to coaches he should be in there, and this spring was a good start to that.


Non-Sports Questions:

Blake Thompson @StateDOG: What is a habit you’d like to break?

Bob: I probably should spend less time on my phone, but then how would I tweet?

Abigail Stricklin @AbigailS12: Favorite Harry Potter movie/book? And you have to pick one.

Bob: This is like picking children. I know for sure that the second book is my least favorite (in much the same way that winning one million dollars would be my least favorite way to win millions: it’s still incredible).

Book seven, The Deathly Hallows, likely takes the prize as favorite just for the full range of emotions throughout, the drama and the way it wraps everything up.

In the movies, Half-Blood Prince is easily my favorite. It was the first, and really the only, of the movies to stray from the book. Having read the books first, I felt like I was watching something entirely new the first time I saw something different.

Rob Hataway @vhdawg: What profession would you not like to do?

Bob: Anything with math or science. Architect, engineer, physicist. Couldn’t handle it.

Rob Hataway @vhdawg: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

food-networkBob: There are two things I’ve dreamed of doing: hosting a late night TV show and hosting a food show (a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives type thing, just without Guy Fieri). I also have vague interest in politics, but I spend so much time worrying about sports that I can hardly tell you what’s happening in the country, let alone the world.

Rob Hataway @vhdawg: Better Easter Treat: Cadbury’s Easter Eggs or Peeps?

Bob: For eating? Cadbury eggs, without question. For sticking toothpicks in and making them have jousting battles in the microwaves? Peeps all day.

Andy Atkinson @n8chaboy508: Now that KISS is rightfully in the Rock Hall of Fame, who becomes the “How are they not in?!” title holder?

Bob: I did a quick google search and find myself upset at the following be omitted from the hall (assuming the internet is right): Deep Purple, Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chicago, Cheap Trick, Journey, Steppenwolf and Boston, to name a few.

The biggest travesty in my musical heart comes from Steve Miller band being left out. They’re a little simple, sure, but they’re so enjoyable and have way too many chart-toppers to be left out.

COWBELL FEVER @hailstatefan1: Has anyone ever told you that you look like Fogle off Superbad.

Bob: McLovin? Yes, yes they have. More than once.

Ryan Nelson @ryannel76: What is proper etiquette for TV spoilers on Social media?

Bob: Don’t. Perfectly fine to say things like, “Wow!” “Oh my!” or “Holy cow did you see that episode of New Dramatic Show? So dramatic!” But I try to wait months or longer before saying anything about the ending of shows, books or movies.

Between Netflix and increasingly busy lives, not everyone watches when something airs or even the very next day. I try to give time, and I think it’s a nice courtesy to do so, though I know not all follow the same guidelines.

Ryan Nelson @ryannel76: What is your favorite vegetable to cook on the grill?

Bob: Do potatoes count as a vegetable? Not real clear on that, though I think they do. Omitting those starchy delicacies, I’d say asparagus and whole corn on the cob come in a close tie.

However, I do enjoy fruits over flame. Ever had grilled pineapple? Dunk the slices in brown sugar, heat up quickly and enjoy. Goes great on a burger, especially with a little teriyaki sauce.

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