1. It seems like year-in, year-out, good season or bad, Mississippi State enjoys the services of the same tough-running, contact-loving deceptively fast running back that never, ever runs out of eligibility. How is the year going for JerDontae Dixard, anyhow? I mean LaDarius Perkins.
Perkins is playing very well this year. He is third in the SEC in rushing right now. He has 4.3 speed and looks like a scat-back, but he is really stout, so I'd say he's short rather than little. I'm not sure if he's at the level of Ballard, Dixon or Norwood yet, but I think he's one of the most explosive out of all of those tailbacks. But I would say he is more of a JerDicenzo Turnard.
2. Safe to say that Tyler Russell came to Starkville as one of the most anticipated recruits in the history of Mississippi State football. How has he lived up to the expectations of the fan base thus far in his career?
Before the year I think you could say there were some questions about his ability to stay healthy and if he really could make the passing game a threat because we just haven't ever seen that, plain and simple. At the same time, most State fans expected him to break all of MSU's records, and he is doing just that - he should hold every single significant single-season passing record in MSU history after this year.
3. Dan Mullen has really changed the culture of the Bulldogs program in his time at State, and for my money was a major reason behind the success Urban Meyer has enjoyed as a head coach. He's a great coach. But he's kind of creepy. Ya'll see that, right? The creepiness? It's not just the entire rest of the Southeastern Conference?
I don't see it. He is kind of hunched over, I don't know if I'd like to be friends with him, but I don't see the creepiness. I've never heard anyone say that either.
4. What is the MSU administration's fascination with hashtags? I will admit to thinking the #hailstate endzone was clever, but #snowbowl12 was pretty contrived. Any suggestions for a #hashtag to use for my tweets during this week's game?
I don't really care for the hashtags. The administration definitely tries to think outside the box, and I'll hand it to them, they've done a great job marketing Mississippi State. Dan Mullen came in along with Greg Byrne (now at Arizona) and they have really changed the atmosphere and culture for MSU fans. I like the boldness, but after the Egg Bowl last year, I could do without the hashtag endzone, but maybe I'm a traditionalist.
5. How is the Bulldogs defense performing this season? What playmakers should Razorbacks fans be on the lookout for? What hard hitters should Tyler Wilson be on the lookout for?
The defense has not lived up to expectations. The loss of Fletcher Cox has proved to be a much bigger blow than we thought it would...the D-line, which we thought would be a strength, has been a weakness. I'd say free safety Nickoe Whitley is the hard-hitter but he's been absent this year of any real big hits (he's coming off a torn Achilles so that may have something to do with it). There are some good players on the defense, but no one has really laid the wood too often.
6. Chad Bumphis goes for how many receptions and yards on Saturday against Arkansas' broke-ass secondary? Aside from #1, what other targets does Tyler Russell prefer?
I'd say Bump gets 5 catches for 70 yards. He seems to either have a nothing game with 10 yards or he goes over 100...so I'm calling for a game where he goes somewhere in between. Chris Smith is a very underrated receiver. He has the most height at 6'-2", and he's been playing very well lately. We were expecting some big contributions from younger players this year, but it's pretty much just been the seniors producing.
7. With four SEC head coaching positions likely available in the very near future, is there any concern around Starkville that Dan Mullen may jump ship as a direct or secondary result of these openings? If the unthinkable did happen, who might the Bulldogs target in their subsequent search?
I really don't see Mullen jumping ship and here's why I say that: Miami (FL) went after him, offered him twice and he turned them down, Florida was also open and they chose Muschamp who had never been a head coach before. Were they interested in Mullen, I don't know. Penn State was open last year, and I think that would have been the biggest hook for him since his father went there and I believe he grew up a Penn State fan, but the way that went down probably made the decision for him - if they were interested. He's getting paid $2.5 mil and MSU has the ability to raise it, he's getting the best recruits in Mississippi, I'm not sure why he'd feel like he needs to go. But you never know I guess, my #1 candidate for a replacement would be Louisiana-Lafayette's Mark Hudspeth. He graduated from Mississippi State and was our WRs coach before he took that job at ULALA.
8. For Arkansas fans traveling to the game, what are some must-see places around campus? Any watering holes of note to hit up? Finally, tell us about The Little Dooey. Does it live up to its reputation?
One of our writers, TBradenBishop, does an article each week for opposing fans who are visiting Starkville. His blog profile can be found here. If any of y'all are headed to the game this weekend, I'd suggest checking out his 'Gameday Domination' articles which tell you all you need to know. As far as The Little Dooey, I do enjoy it but I think it may be a little overrated. Some in Starkville prefer Petty's BBQ. Really, my favorite part of TLD is dipping their waffle fries in their homemade honey mustard, but the BBQ is really good too.
9. How do you see the contest between Mississippi State and Arkansas playing out on Saturday morning? Key players and a score prediction if you don't mind.
Of course, I will enjoy seeing Johnthan Banks vs. Cobi Hamilton. It should be a fairly high-scoring game and I think State will win. While MSU is horrible against Arkansas, they do play much better in Starkville and this should be a year where State can grab a W. I still think y'all have a bunch of talent so it's always scary, and with State losing 3 in a row in no way do I think this is a sure thing. But I'll say MSU 34, ARK 24.