Mississippi State’s athletic department announced sophomore defensive back Nick Bell was scheduled to be released from a Nashville hospital Wednesday.
In his weekly online newsletter to fans, MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin’s updated Bell’s health status after suffering what he called “a serious medical issue.”
“Nick is a current student-athlete and remains under our care, per NCAA policy,” Stricklin wrote. “We will obviously monitor his health and determine what assistance we may provide, given his status. And there are still many questions the family must answer to determine the next steps.”
Bell underwent last week what Mississippi State officials said was a surgical procedure on his head. Bell began to feel headaches and an MRI scan of his head found a mass near the brain. The mass was removed by a surgeon Friday and the sophomore was still in recovery at a hospital in Nashville the day of the Alcorn State game.
When asked after Tuesday’s practice about Bell’s current condition, Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen could only say he’s spoken to his player earlier this week and expects to soon hear about the results of the tests being run on the mass.
It is still unknown what the biopsy tests on the mass revealed and also is not known how long Bell will be out of action or if he’ll return to the team this season at all. The sophomore had seven tackles and two of which for losses in the first four games of the 2010 season. Bell had started both the Auburn and Georgia home games this season.
Junior Sean Ferguson got his first-ever career start in Bell’s place for the 49-16 win over Alcorn State and registered two tackles. Mississippi State also gave junior-college transfer James Carmon his first-ever start at defensive tackle.
“We kind of put him on our shoulders and played for him today,” MSU senior wide receiver Leon Berry said. “We were kind of pumped that he sent us a text message and we better not let them score.”
At the end of the game in the locker room, Mullen presented the game ball to Dr. Allen Sills, the surgeon who performed the operation on Bell, with order to give the ball to Bell Saturday night.
Voting for new Ole Miss mascot starts today
The weeklong student voting process to pick the new Ole Miss mascot began Wednesday with three choices still remaining.
The three finalists include a Land Shark, a Black Bear and a Hotty Toddy character. The school released released renderings of the mascots done by Rickabaugh Graphics of Gahanna, Ohio.
The Colonel Reb character was banned from the sidelines by the school administration in 2003 for not representing the proper image of the university.
“It's definitely going to be something that's going to feel weird at first," sophomore Margaret Ann Morgan of McComb, who co-chairs the mascot search committee, told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. "After time, it'll be normal. It'll grow on people."
The Land Shark character is an idea started by former Ole Miss defensive player Tony Fein as players would put their "fins up" before and after big defensive plays. The idea caught on with fans and became the nickname for the Rebel defense.
Rebel the black bear character is a play off black bears being a native animal to Mississippi.
The Hotty Toddy idea was modified after the mascot selection committee came up with the name representing a Rebels fan.
The poll will stay open until Tuesday Oct. 12. Once the poll closes, the mascot committee will evaluate the results and announce a mascot.
LSU will play both QB’s this week
LSU head coach Les Miles announced Wednesday that both Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee will play this Saturday when the 10th-ranked Tigers travel to Florida.
During last week’s 16-14 home victory against Tennessee, Lee, who had not seen any action in the 2010 season, came in relief to throw for 185 yards after Jefferson struggled in the first half.
“We need the both. We're going to play both quarterbacks," Miles said during the Southeastern Conference media teleconference.
Since both Lee and Jefferson rely on their dual-threat capabilities, Miles said the offensive system won’t change depending on who’s taking the snaps from center.
"Both quarterbacks will thrown and run," Miles said. "Both quarterbacks will have a pretty balanced menu, and both quarterbacks will run the football differently and throw in a like fashion. They're going to have to defend the run and the pass no matter what quarterback is in."
Miles also discussed the chaotic finish of last week’s win over Tennessee as both coaches showed panic in the final moments leading to one of the most bizarre finishes to a college football game this season.
"I don't know if we could have planned it any poorer," Miles said of the play calling and clock management in the final seconds of the game that featured Crowton sending out four substitutes as the final seconds ticked away.
Fearing the clock would run out before the Tigers could get a play off, center T-Bob Hebert hurried his snap with four seconds to go without knowing what the play was. Not expecting the snap, quarterback Jordan Jefferson did not catch the ball and the game apparently ended with Tennessee a 14-10 winner.
However, as LSU's mass substitution caused mass confusion from Tennessee. The Volunteers had 13 players on the field, which drew an illegal substitution penalty flag. LSU got another play from the 1-yard line with :00 remaining, and tailback Stevan Ridley scored from a yard out for the victory.
"The series of plays at the back end of that game was embarrassing to me," said Miles. "We should have called two plays with our goal-line personnel so we would have gotten two plays. That's what should have been called, but that's not what happened.”