January 31, 2012

Finally rest for the weary Bulldogs

Mississippi State is getting a much needed open date during the midweek.

The Bulldogs have been without their sixth man off the bench for the past three games and playing with a seven man rotation. The time off will allow MSU's starters to get their legs back under them for the stretch run of the SEC.

Head coach Rick Stansbury gave his squad an extra day off on Monday before easing back into their routine this afternoon.

"We've got to be smart as coaches from a standpoint of fatigue and smart about what demands we put on them right now from a mental standpoint," Stansbury said. "Right now I don't want to put much pressure on our guys mentally. Yesterday was a day off for our guys. Today we'll practice but it's not going to be one of those mental drags. I want to try to keep them fresh and keep their conditioning up. We'll do some conditioning stuff and some shooting stuff without the mental part of scouting reports."

The one player who might benefit the most from the time off is freshman wing Rodney Hood. Hood along with teammates Dee Bost and Arnett Moultrie lead the conference in minutes played.

But for Hood the 34.2 minutes he is averaging is starting to take its toll and has started to hit the proverbial freshman wall.

"This rest is coming at a good time this week for sure," Stansbury said. "I think (Hood)'s played a lot of minutes and there have been some games that I know he's gotten really fatigued. We've got to push him through that wall. We've got to get him a rest and be smart with him this week. Rodney is one of those guys you trust how he feels about his body and we've got to trust him with that."

Another player who has struggled with fatigue throughout his career has actually seen his minutes increase of late. Renardo Sidney has played in 27 or more minutes in three of his last five outings and averaged 10 points a game during those three outings.

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