Croom lays down the law at MSU

By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
July 2, 2004
Mississippi State's new head football coach Sylvester Croom is having no problem showing his team who's running the show.
Senior wide receiver Antonio Hargro is the latest Bulldog to be punished, as he has been temporarily suspended for violation of team rules.
Two others are off the squad for apparently lacking the capacity or desire to pass their classes. Another felt Croom's wrath for failure to drive a vehicle in a sensible manner.
Nick Turner, probably the best player on the 2003 team, was the first to receive his walking papers under Croom, hopefully taking all his counterfeit cash with him.
Word has it there might not be a fan day at MSU this fall because Croom thinks they need the day for practice. Obviously, he's taken time to watch some of last year's films. However, he might need one of those 24 hours of daylight in Alaska to do a whole lot of good.
If nothing else, it seems Croom is going to make his players earn any privileges they get under him. It's becoming obvious things will be done his way and those who can't comprehend that won't be around for long. Let's see how badly these guys really want to win.
Croom won't make everybody happy. Why should he? They don't pay him extra for that anyway, just for winning and doing that with Division II linemen and marginal Division I skill players won't be easy.
Some people actually liked the Dog Pound Rock. Others thought it was a major embarrassment … even when the team was winning.
Think for a minute. What would you rather have, a team loaded with talent and no discipline whatsoever or a team with limited skills that defines the word discipline?
Well, most would rather have the first choice as long as I win…take the University of Miami. We all know the Hurricanes have had their share of thugs over the years, but they've won a lot of games and national championships.
At the other end, look at Army or, even closer to home, Vanderbilt. You rarely hear of any problems with the players at those schools. You don't hear of any bowl talk or championships either.
If you're very, very lucky, you'll have a team with talent and discipline.
If Croom can convince his players that actions have consequences, he will be worth his pay for the time being.
Who was he recruiting for?
Mississippi State pitching coach Daren Schoenrock took in the State Games baseball tournament on Thursday and Saturday. On Friday, the only day in which games were actually played, he was interviewing in Memphis for the University of Memphis head coach job which he eventually got.
Word has it former Meridian Community College head coach Russ McNickle could have Schoenrock's former job at MSU.
Poor sports or too proud?
Many were upset that the University of Texas didn't return to the field at Rosenblatt Stadium to get the second-place trophy after being swept by Cal State Fullerton in the College World Series championship.
Poor sportsmanship, they cried.
NCAA officials made two requests for the Longhorns to return to the field, but they remained in the locker room while coach Augie Garrido talked to them.
However, this was the first time in Poppe's 17 CWS years that the runner-up didn't come back out. NCAA rules do require teams to open their locker rooms for media interviews. Texas failed to abide by that rule as well.
Garrido reportedly told his team that they "don't have to have a trophy to know we're champions. We are. We don't have to win the game to be winners. If you let symbols and trophies and rings define your character, I think you're making a big mistake."
Memo to Garrido: Now don't compound the mess by ever displaying the runner-up trophy at the Austin campus.
Memo to the Horns: Championships are won on the field. If not, why bother to play the games? k

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