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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The debut of “Around the Net” touches on coaching search and more

AROUND THE NET: This has been a long time coming and is probably well over due.

In an effort to better keep y’all in the know with all things related to Ole Miss, Oxford High, Lafayette High and Water Valley High athletics, I’m going to attempt to blog more regularly in the form of an “around the net” entry.

I have a random personality so this update will be more of a stream of consciousness than anything, touching on topics that relate to  L-O-U (Lafayette-Oxford-University) athletics.

Today’s entry includes the ongoing search for Ole Miss’ next head football coach, ranking former baseball Rebels, the start of Z. Mason‘s basketball career, former Rebels Mike Wallace and Kendrick Lewis facing off on Sunday night and more.

SMART DECISION: As the Clarion Ledger‘s Hugh Kellenberger wrote in a blog entry HERE, Alabama coach Nick Saban sounds confident Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will be a successful head coach.

Smart, a former grad assistant under Bobby Bowden at Florida State and defensive back at Georgia, is said to be in the mix to replace former Rebel coach Houston Nutt.

“Leadership is really an important part of being a head of anything, a business or whatever it is, and I think Kirby is a great leader,” Saban told reporters. “… You have to have leadership qualities and the ability to confront and demand people do things the right way and you have to gain their respect to do it. He’s done a fantastic job of that.”

Saban also said: “I don’t want anybody to leave but the only way people are going to be motivated to do a good job is if they have a chance to fulfill their goals and aspirations, because that’s part of their motivation to do a good job,” Saban said. “We’re going to be really supportive. (Smart’s) done a great job for us and I’m sure will continue to do a great job.”

Smart is at the end of his fourth season as Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama and is expected to make the leap to head coach sooner rather than later.

Former Saban assistants that currently hold head coaching jobs are Derek Dooley (Tennessee), Will Muschamp (Florida) and Jimbo Fisher.

NO TRUTH TO THE REPORT: Speaking of Ole Miss’ coaching search, former Rebel assistant and current Arkansas State head coach Hugh Freeze has denied on his Twitter account a report from BleacherReport.com that he was going to be named Ole Miss’ next head coach. Below is his post:

The “report,” which first surfaced during the Egg Bowl on Saturday, was soon pulled from the website.

Freeze, along with Smart, UL-L head coach Mark Hudspeth and Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora are believed to all be under consideration for the Ole Miss job.

LOUD AND CLEAR: Following his team’s dismantling of Ole Miss in the Battle for the Golden Egg on Saturday, Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen was quoted saying he hoped “all the kids in the state of Mississippi understand this is the place to come to win championships.”

USM beat writer Patrick Magee blogged earlier today that Fedora made a comment pointed at Mullen.

“We’re proud of the fact that all the great players from the state of Mississippi on this team have an opportunity to actually play for a championship,” Fedora said.

Should Fedora end up getting the Rebel gig, it seems like he’d be a willing participant in the war of words that’s largely been one sided.

MULLEN ON PENN STATE’S RADAR?: With Miami (Fla.) head coach Al Golden inking an extension with The U over the weekend, it appears Mullen could garner interest from Penn State. It’s just speculation at this point, but should Mullen leave Starkville, that’s another SEC program the Rebels will have to compete with to hire their next coach.

MASON AT CHATTANOOGA: Mason, a former Ole Miss tight end, has gotten his basketball career off to a ho-hum start at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. In six games, the 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore is averaging 2.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 10.7 minutes per contest.

CASHING IN: Not only does former Rebel ace Lance Lynn get a World Series ring, he will also receive a portion of the team’s playoff share. It was not specified if he will receive a full or partial share of the Cardinals’ $20,627,727.92.

In 11 innings during the post-season, Lynn posted was 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits and five walks. He also struck out five.

Used primarily as an arm out of the bullpen (except in two starts), Lynn was 1-1 with one save. He also struck out 40 and walked 11 in 34.2 innings.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: Always one of my favorite things to read, Baseball America has began to release its Top 10 Prospects lists.

A couple quick Ole Miss-related notes thus far:

  • Zack Cozart as listed as the Cincinnati Reds’ No. 5 prospect and is projected as the franchise’s 2015 shortstop.”If Zack Cozart is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow, he should be the Reds’ starting shortstop—though they waited three months to call him up in 2011 despite having problems at the position.”
  • Despite appearing in 18 games during the regular season, Lynn was eligible for the Cardinals’ list and was ranked No. 7.
  • Chris Coghlan, who started in center field and batted leadoff for the Florida (now Miami) Marlins on Opening Day in 2010 and 2011, is not the Fish’s projected center fielder in 2015. Considering he’s already been hampered by injuries during his young career, it makes sense that BA has No. 1 prospect Christian Yelich penciled in as Miami’s 2015 starter in center.In 284 career games, Coghlan, 26, is hitting .283/.350/.414 with 19 home runs and 97 RBIs.

FAMILIAR FOES: On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story centered around the relationship of Wallace and Lewis. Not only did the two play together at Ole Miss, they were also teammates at O. Perry Walker High in New Orleans and faced off against each other on Sunday night. (And, no, neither Rebel acknowledged Ole Miss during their introductions.)

REWARDING REBELS: Ole Miss athletes received a slew of awards today as Rebel hoops player Murphy Holloway was named the SEC’s Player of the Week. Lady Rebel volleyball players Morgan Springer and Regina Thomas were named the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Week and to the All-SEC Second Team respectively.

It’s the second consecutive season Thomas has been honored by the league. (November 28, 2011)

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