125th YEAR | ISSUE 34 @REFLECTORONLINE f /REFLECTORONLINE
FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Harris named 2014-2015 Student Association president BY KAITLYN BYRNE Editor-in-Chief
Mississippi State University’s Student Association announced Brett Harris as its incoming 2014-2015 president Thursday evening. Harris, a junior management and marketing major, received 65.94 percent of the votes and defeated Emma Sweat, junior elementary education major. Harris has said he plans to create an online system for students to buy and sell football tickets, work with
Aramark to allow students to spend Flex dollars at sporting events and give students the opportunity to replace parking fines with MSU-designated community service. Harris said he also intends to create a food bank for students in need at the end of each semester with the remaining block meals on students’ accounts. Junior political science major Haley Grantham, who ran unopposed, will serve as vice president. Grantham’s platform included creating new routes for pedestrians and bicyclists,
allowing students to use Flex dollars at Barnes and Noble and making campus more environmentally-friendly. Lauren Sledge, sophomore elementary education major, defeated McKinley Ranager for secretary with 57.85 percent of the vote. Sledge has said she intends to improve transparency between SA and the student body by tweeting SA Senate agendas. She said she also plans to raise money for the Student Relief Fund during homecoming week. Junior management major
Chance Dye defeated Chloe Cantor for treasurer with 60.91 percent of the vote. Dye has said one of his goals for the SA is to create new campus events by providing funding to smaller SA Cabinet positions. He said he also hopes to ensure the 2 percent food-and-beverage tax is renewed next year to benefit events for students. Matt DeBerry, sophomore management and marketing major, defeated Adam Buckley for the attorney general position with 52.9 percent of the vote.
D e B e r r y ’s platform included creating reserved seating for student organizations at football games and publiciz- Harris ing SA Senate legislation to create a more informed student body. Outgoing SA President Michael Hogan said 3,852 votes were cast in the election, which is about the same number cast in last year’s election. Hogan said serving MSU as SA president was an in-
credible experience and he is confident the new executive council will work hard for the student body. “I think with any new exec, you’re going to start off with a brand new slate, and it’s a really cool opportunity to watch what these five individuals do with this slate,” he said. “I think the five of them are more than capable and more than willing to do the job they were voted to do.” The new executive council members will undergo transition until officially beginning their roles on March 18.
Innovation in teaching promises to improve education throughout state BY PRANAAV JADHAV
service at MSU and their willingness to be a part of this association.” Michael Hogan, outgoing SA president, said he recalls his journey as president as an incredible experience, something that has allowed him to have a brighter perspective on MSU.
and they are unhappy with their major of choice, they can complete their program The Center for Distance of study as planned, graduate Education at Mississippi State on time and then come to us for graduate University has school. We built a Master could have of Arts in TeachIf someone them certified ing Middle Levin as little as el Education is in their one semester,” (MATM) projunior or Cheatham gram, which is senior said. an alternate route There are fiprogram offered year of a degree nancial opporcompletely on- plan and they are tunities availline. It prepares unhappy with their able to those educators to who want to teach all subjects major of choice, become teachin grades 4-6 and they can complete ers through an at least one sub- their program of alternate route ject area in grades study as planned, program. 7-12. The federD e k o t a graduate on time ally-fundC h e a t h a m , and then come to ed scholarMATM outreach us for graduate ship known coordinator, said as TERMS the program will school.” allow people -Dekota Cheatham, (Teacher Education for Rua second shot MATM outreach ral Mississippi at becoming a coordinator Schools) gives teacher without $5,000 to requiring them those agreeing to start all over in to work in one of the 72 partthe College of Education. “If someone is in their junior ner districts for at least three or senior year of a degree plan years in grades 4-8.
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EMMA KATHERINE HUTTO | THE REFLECTOR
Student Association president-elect Brett Harris campaigned Thursday on the Drill Field to gain votes from students. Harris’s position will take effect March 18. He plans to create an online system for students to buy football tickets.
Student Association gears up for new year BY LACRETIA WIMBLEY Staff Writer
After voting polls were pushed to Thursday due to Mississippi State University’s campus closure in light of inclement weather, the Student Association executive electoral
campaign has finally come to a close. The new SA council positions will transfer into effect on March 18. Clint Pride, Student Association elections commissioner, said it is his job to ensure and protect the integrity of every
election, something he said he has done his best to do. “The candidates have done a great job campaigning, and there were not any problems with the elections,” Pride said. “We congratulate everyone who won their positions, and we really look forward to their
Darwin Week sparks controversy BY LACRETIA WIMBLEY Staff Writer
As Darwin Week draws to a close, John Baumgardner, senior research associate of Logos Research in Santa Ana, Calif., and former Los Alamos national lab scientist, spoke Thursday in McCool Hall about his scientifically-supported beliefs that counter some aspects of Darwinism and present a different view of evolution, random mutation and fossil records. The Society for the Advancement of Creation Science at Mississippi State University sponsored Baumgardner’s appearance,
whose platform is titled, tion process. It is a sentiment “Neo-Darthat has been the Darwin had basis for modern winism has been falsified science that prono inkling by modern gescientific that life was poses netics — Why data explaining so complex. biological evoluthen is it still being taught?” I suspect that if tion. Born in he had known, Baumgardner 1809, Britdiscussed his arhe wouldn’t have ish scientist guments about Charles Dar- ventured to make evolution, natuwin is the the kinds of claims ral selection and p r o c r e a t o r he made.” molecular comand originaplexity at Thurstor of the term -John Baumgardner, day’s lecture. “Darwinism,” senior research Baumgardner a term used associate at Logos said Darwinism to describe his Research is obsolete and theory of evocannot account lution and the natural selec- for the complexity seen at the
molecular level in living organisms. “Darwin had no inkling that life was so complex. I suspect that if he had known, he wouldn’t have ventured to make the kinds of claims he made,” Baumgardner said. “One thing I’ve done is tried to help everyone come up to speed and show some examples of molecular machinery that exists at the most basic levels of the cell.” Baumgardner said he counters Darwin’s theory of evolution with scientific evidence that proves at least 300 generations would be sufficient in order to fix one mutation.
BRADEN BENSON | THE REFLECTOR
A tea time round table discussion sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences was one of the events tying into Darwin Week at MSU. The topic of conversation was biodiversity and human health.
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“Within the SA we’ve seen “The truly hard and most an incredible growth inter- important task is building nally,” Hogan said. “The relationships and building quality of the upon them,” organization Hogan said. It’s has grown, and “It’s importimportant we’ve tried to ant to transmake it a more these to transmit mit personable exrelationships these perience than for people relationships in the past. It’s who come been an experi- for people who after you. I ence where I feel come after you. would rather like I’ve put a I would rather be completerelatable and rely forgettable liable face to the be completely and have the forgettable and organization.” new presiHogan said have the new dent be the the perceived president be the best one. difficulties of You’ve got being the SA best one.” to pass along president in- -Michael Hogan, something clude pulling off outgoing SA that is transa great Bulldog parent and president Bash or getting perceived as students to come important to to Cowbell Yell, people.” but he said he encourages the Eddie Huddleston, outgonew SA president to remem- ing attorney general for the ber what is important for the SA, said his position entails MSU population. updating the SA constitu-
tion and enforcing the values attached to it, something proven to be essential to the guidance of the MSU student population. “It’s been a great road, and I feel I’ve accomplished this task as well as my alignment with freshman involvement and improving student retention,” he said. Huddleston said he advises the future council members to follow projects that are close to their hearts that will improve MSU and not only follow what others have done before them. “We represent every student at MSU, and we need to keep that in mind with everything that we do,” Huddleston said. “I’ve absolutely enjoyed doing this, but it does take a lot of time and energy. However, when you work for a school that has given you so much, and when you’re working to improve the lives of students, it makes it all worth it.”
EMMA KATHERINE HUTTO | THE REFLECTOR
SA presidential candidates Brett Harris and Emma Sweat wish each other good luck Thursday. SA election day was rescheduled for Thursday due to the weather closings.
MATM This aims to promote teacher retention and serves as an incentive for people to become teachers. Dana Seymour, MATM program director said MATM came into existence because the state of Mississippi has a teacher shortage, which is larger in the rural areas. “We wanted to increase the
continued from 1 number of teachers in these ers for rural areas, which was districts but we also knew approved and funded by the that it would be grant. really difficult if “A lot For mostly you lived in a reof districts ally rural area to that score economic come to State,” very poorly reasons, Seymour said, on surveys Mississippi “and so we knew are poor it had to be a dis- has scored low districts. A tance program, it relative to other lot of their had to be online states, but this teachers are so that people from Teach who live in those program can help for Americ o m m u n i t i e s education in the ca teachers could get their state in a couple of who come teaching license down for ways.” and that was the two years thinking behind -Anastasia Elder, and then putting it all to- project investigator they leave, gether.” and so when The MATM you have a officials wrote a grant to the school district that is strugUnited States Department gling and every two years of Education and requested half of their teachers leave to help MATM train teach- and they start all over, it is
difficult to keep any continuity going of student gains, so that is something for us that we decided — if we are going to put teachers in these areas, they need to be from there, they need to have roots there so that they stay,” Seymour said. Project investigator Anastasia Elder said the program offers an alternate route to teaching by providing an opportunity for a career in teaching for those students who may have majored in fields other than education. “For mostly economic reasons, Mississippi has scored low relative to other states, but this program can help education in the state in a couple of ways. One is that we are committed to educating well future teachers and to trying to place them
in districts that need them most because there are troubled districts that have problems recruiting and retaining teachers. Another way that this program will benefit education in Mississippi is that it offers free professional development to all the teachers in those troubled or failing districts. These workshops and professional development sessions are given by MSU faculty and help to increase the quality of practice for all Mississippi teachers,” Elder said. Cheatham said in addition to the scholarship, TERMS recipients will also receive $5,000 in technology to use in their classroom This helps the district because donations are made for technology to the school district once the MATM teacher is placed.
“Teacher Loan Forgiveness is a big help to many seeking alternate route programs. Depending on what you teach, you can get a certain amount of your student debt forgiven by teaching for five consecutive years,” Cheatam said. “We are in year three of a five-year budget. We’ve met our goals thus far and plan on continuing to do so. Our spring 2014 cohort consists of 31 people. Granted, not all of these people will make it to the internship phase, but we are hoping to place around 40 teachers in Mississippi schools this fall. The most successful aspect of our program is teacher quality.” For a complete listing and other information about the program, those interested can visitdistance.msstate.edu/ matm.
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“There’s absolutely no way to transform a chimpanzee or some ancestor of a chimpanzee into a human in even six million years,” Baumgardner said. “We basically need the age of the Earth to make that transformation. This has been known by the specialist population geneticists for over 60 years, and they’ve kept it a trade secret of the high cost of selection. This is a fatal problem for evolution and for Neo-Darwinists.” According to Baumgardner, molecular complexity, DNA and even language are entities that are too unique to specific individuals and too complex to have evolved. “With what we know now, there is no other rational explanation than that God near instantaneously and supernaturally created all these living beings,” Baumgardner said. “As a scientist, I defy anyone to give any other alLEON CARRUBBA | THE REFLECTOR ternative. Those systems are John Baumgardner lectures on how Darwinism is obsolete and is not supported so complex that they can’t be put together simply, so through science. He also argued against Darwin’s theory of natural selection. it’s all or nothing. They have to be essentially completely limits, and I try to teach stu- back and decide to disagree and listen to it so that I can functional or else they are dents not to start with what with something. I stand evaluate it,” Williams said. Josh Winter, professor of evolution teaches, but to with the Bible, which has not viable.” physics and astronomy, said Brian Sorgenfrei, campus start with Jesus, and figure stood for over 2,000 years.” With the contrasting he believes all scientific evminister of Reformed Uni- it out.” Sorgenfrei said views of Neo-Darwinism idence points toward evoluversity Fellowship at Some of the perceived contra- and Christian scientific-sup- tion, and evidence is the best dictions between ported views of evolution proof of truth. MSU, said greatest “I feel people who don’t science and the and science, Jon Williams, he thinks scientists Bible mean that junior computer science understand that believing in the idea someone is wrong major, said he believes Dar- evolution as a scientific idea have been that science in either his or winism seems to be the most is not the same thing as not and Chris- Christians.” believing in God,” Winter her interpretation logical theory. tianity con-Brian Sorgenfrei, “What Darwin found said. “It’s important to unof science or the flict one is the most likely to have derstand that creationism is Bible. another is RUF campus “Some of the happened,” Williams said. not a scientific idea. Science a contra- minister greatest scien- “Things just don’t appear, so starts with evidence and diction betists have been they have to had come from then goes with the idea, so cause God that would make creationChristians,” Sorgenfrei said. something.” is the author of both. Williams said he is, how- ism in the form of a science, “I don’t think Darwinism “I’m not a scientist, but I do can explain everything,” know that the claims of sci- ever, open to hearing the sci- a pseudoscience.” According to Winter, sciSorgenfrei said. “When you entists seem to change over entific beliefs and facts that ask Darwinists to explain periods of time. The uncer- support the proof of God entists have not made any why things are here, that’s tainty of it is what makes and counter the Neo-Dar- claims that Darwinism explains everything, but Darsomething I don’t think they one question. It takes a gen- winism beliefs. “I would give it a chance win’s findings are the best can answer. I think it has its eration before scientists go
Monday, Feb. 10 • 1:41 p.m. An employee reported her vehicle was damaged while parked in the Lee Hall gated lot. • 2:59 p.m. An employee reported damages to an MSU vehicle at the loading dock side of Gast Boulevard. • 5:18 p.m. A student reported her vehicle was damaged while parked at the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house parking lot. • 8:55 p.m. A student reported being verbally harassed by her ex-boyfriend.
Tuesday, Feb. 11 • 9:32 a.m. A student reported her vehicle was damaged while parked in the Swamp Lot. • 5:48 p.m. A student reported his vehicle was damaged at an unknown location.
Wednesday, Feb. 12 • 12:09 a.m. A resident adviser reported the smell of marijuana in McKee Hall. • 3:42 a.m. Student referrals were issued to students for causing a disturbance after hours in Moseley Hall. • 4:30 p.m. An officer responded to Ruby Hall for a possible suicide attempt from a student. EMT and a student counselor were called. The subject refused transportation to OCH. • 11:20 p.m. Student referrals were issued to students for malicious mischief in Moseley Hall.
• 7 citations were issued for speeding. • 7 citations were issued for disregard of a traffic device. explanation for everything we physically see. “Creationism encourages people to stop looking for the answer to unknown questions,” Winter said. “It takes away the motivation for people to find out why
something is. There are things that evolution hasn’t explained and probably never will, but it is the basis for modern biology which consists of human genome projects and cancer treatment projects.”
ZACK ORSBORN | THE REFLECTOR
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DELVING A LITTLE DEEPER
What does “Hunger Games” have to do with the economy?
Preparing for the future is more than just the facts
conomists speak the BRIAN GRECO AND KIM PETTITT wrong language. We sit in economics class and hear Brian Greco and Kim Pettitt are the phrase “comparative advan- graduate students in business tage” and muster through draw- administration. They can be ing demand and supply graphs, contacted at opinion@reflector. but these concepts are mere ab- msstate.edu. stract illusions. There is no relevance. My co-author, Brian Gre- gether, their range of skills outco, and I aim to change the way weighs the skills of the career economics is spoken. Economics tributes. In other words, they are is not just the allocation of scarce better off than the career tributes resources. It is a lens through because specialization allows each which to view the world. When individual to focus on the one you put on this lens, economics skill at which he or she excels. The game itself promotes an becomes relevant. It becomes personal. It becomes something economic term known as “game theory.” Game theory is stratethat is exciting to learn. What do Katniss Everdeen and gic decision making based on hunky heartthrobs Peeta and Gale another party’s decisions. The have to do with economics? Ev- tributes self select into teams erything. In the “Hunger Games: and base their decisions off the moves of the Catching other teams. Fire,” PresThe career Katniss and ident Snow her team seek announces victors have refuge on the because it is absolute water because the Quaradvantage in the other ter Quell, a team pushed special an- strength and combat. them there. niversary of They produce these What the cathe Hunger goods or skills more reer tributes Games, tributes will be efficiently than any other fail to realize is that the reaped from tributes. The group of each districts’ outliers has comparative center of the clock is an past pool of advantage because advantageous victors. We position. have two sets they each specialize in From this poof victors. one skill. Comparative sition, Katniss First are the advantage in this sense and her team career victors, refers to the group’s are able to dewho commit duce that the their lives to ability to produce a game operates training for particular good or skill on a clock, the Hunger with a lower cost.” and the hour Games. These hand delivers tributes are a deadly atstrong, intimidating and thirst for victory. The tack to the tributes. So why was Katniss always second is a collection of outliers with eccentric skills. For exam- going to prevail? Forget the fact ple, Peeta’s skills are lifting bread that she is the heroine of the flour and painting camouflage. series. Economics can guide us Then there’s Beetee and Wiress, to the answer. Katniss, despite whose only skills are being fa- being weaker in combat skills, miliar with electrical wiring and had the advantage. The object force fields. Based on the random of the game was never to kill; skills each tribute possesses, the rather, it was to survive. Katniss odds do not look to be in favor understood this and also underfor the outliers. Despite this, stood the need to find allies who specialized in their specific skills. somehow, they prevail. Now, let’s put on our econom- Thus, she assembled a group of ic lens and see how economics tributes who specialized in skills applies. The career victors have for which they possessed comabsolute advantage in strength parative advantage. The collecand combat. They produce these tive advantage across skillsets in goods or skills more efficient- Katniss’s group outweighed the ly than any other tributes. The advantage the career tributes posgroup of outliers has comparative sessed in producing just one good advantage because they each spe- — combat. The perception when watchcialize in one skill. Comparative advantage in this sense refers to ing the film is that Katniss and the group’s ability to produce her group were at a disadvantage, a particular good or skill with a but Katniss always had the adlower cost. Each tribute in this vantage. Only through economic group specializes in a particular analysis are we able to see that the skill. When they join forces to- odds were ever in her favor.
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aise your hand if you are currently in a class for which you don’t care. Specifically, what classes do you have to take that simply don’t seem to be necessary for your degree? I happen to be in the physics department, and as a teaching assistant, we get to overhear the mutterings of the various students as they work on their lab activities. It’s not an incessant stream of complaints, mind you, but more occasional remarks such as, “I’m never going to use this,” or, “Why do I have to learn this? I’m going to be a pharmacist.” Often times I want to interject and try to inspire the student to see how this particular experience can help. Instead, I hold my tongue and let the moment pass because I don’t have a strong answer that would successfully convince the student. So this begs the question: why do we have to take classes that seem beyond the needs of our discipline? Admittedly, unless a doctor goes into research, it is not obvious
to me they would need any mathematics or a good grasp of quantum mechanics to do their job. I took this question to Mary Reese, director of undergraduate advising in the Department of Biological Sciences. When medical schools consider applicants, their cumulative GPA is one factor taken into account. However, equally, or perhaps more important, is a calculation called the BCPM GPA, which stands for biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. It is this GPA, in addition to your MCAT or PCAT scores, that will dominate the attention of those med schools. We’ve all grumbled and bristled at requirements our degree programs place before us. As a doctoral student, I’ve had to endure four exams for which I had to study for weeks or months ahead of time in order to be prepared for any question the exam committee may put before me. Prior to the exams, I too had my fair share of moments where I
ponderedthe point of these exams. As had most of my fellow graduate students, I’d already done well in the courses, including the final exams, which were all comprehensive. These exams seemed redundant. Indeed, a running joke in these circles is that the doctoral exams are a sort of rite-of-passage, and we have to take them because the professors had to take them before. But in hindsight, I feel like I have a better, more thorough grasp of those topics thanks to my seemingly endless studying. According to Reese, professionals in the medical fields have found that students who do well in the BCPM courses tend to be better equipped to handle the med school courses. It is the intensity of learning to absorb, process, analyze and synthesize information that matters, not necessarily whether you are able to find the limit of a function or whether you really “get” rotational motion in physics. Mathematics and physics, more than most, tend to be
JAMES TRACY James Tracy is a graduate student in physics. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
more challenging because of their high reliance on logic and deduction rather than on memorization. But it is these skills specifically that will help the student become prepared for the MCAT and then medical school. And that’s exactly what we came to school for in the first place, right? To learn things we didn’t know before, to develop skills we didn’t have before and to become prepared for just about anything in our respective fields as we become highly-trained professionals?
STEP INTO MY OFFICE
Society vs. Individual: where does the blame lie?
ecently, my sociology professor discussed society’s role in people’s self-image in a lecture. She blamed society for a girl starving herself because she didn’t look like the models in magazines. Many females can resonate with this girl’s feelings, but is it really entirely someone or something else’s fault that she’s doing this to herself? I’m not condemning her or saying it’s her own fault, it’s really common, but I want to discuss the line between blaming society and taking personal responsibility. First, it’s necessary to define the word “society.” All of us have different perceptions of society. Strong conservatives may define society as those liberals who do whatever they want. Some people define it as pop culture, and some may think of it as the government. Society comes across differently to people of various socioeconomic statuses, race, ethnicity, religion and even geographic location within the country. But there are some things every definition of society has in common. There is some kind of majority or some kind of influence over us (in America, for the sake of this article) telling us what is the cultural norm and what is not, what is praiseworthy and what is not and what is superior and what is inferior. Society manifests itself in our leadership and our
pop culture. It’s what we hear day sion and poverty, there is a lot they by day. For example, society tells us have to blame society for. But we through movies, music, magazines have to take action and be responand advertisements that all that re- sible ourselves. Yes, we live in a free ally matters is doing whatever we country, but that doesn’t mean we want to be happy. The idea of the are entitled to whatever we want. American dream is a huge part of Sadly, in some cases, people can’t it. fight for rights the same way others Now, society is not some over- can. Native Americans, Hispanarching concept of “the man” or ics and African-Americans have something. It’s not some supreme historically been totally cast out idea that oppresses and controls us from society. The cycle of poverty every day. It’s in is hard to break. the subtle ways Many people Stand up we think or why with disabilities we do what we can’t stand up for for those do. Society does themselves. But who can’t not force us to where is blamstand up for ing society going do anything, it merely explains themselves.” to get any of us? why we do what Stand up for yourwe do. Society self. If society tells praises the pleasure of sex, so Miley you that because you live in a poor Cyrus put on quite a show at the neighborhood, you run a higher VMAs. Society did not “make her risk of getting involved in drugs do it,” it just told her that sex sells. and getting arrested, prove them Returning to my earlier example, wrong. If society tells you that you society praises being skinny and aren’t beautiful because you don’t fashionable, so a girl who did not look like J-Lo, prove them wrong. look like that felt inferior. Society But most importantly, stand up for can be blamed for her feeling in- those who can’t stand up for themferior. However, society can not selves. Tell your friend with a learnbe blamed for the action she took, ing disability how smart he or she i.e. starving herself. It’s sad, but it’s is. Tell your friend who hates the her personal responsibility to take way she looks how beautiful she care of herself. Blaming society for is. Middle-class people, put some every problem we have is easy to effort into not being self-absorbed do, and in the case of racial oppres- in your own, middle class world
GENY KATE GURLEY Geny Kate Gurley is a sophomore majoring in special education. She can be contacted at email@example.com. edu.
and help people on the outskirts of society. When is the last time you did something nice for a homeless person? When is the last time you went to a place like Palmer Home to play with foster kids? Overall, rather than blaming society for the actions we take, let’s negate its influence. It’s like peer pressure — all of your friends doing something wrong does not excuse you for doing it, too. Rather than blaming peer pressure, let’s get rid of its influence. Not that society is universally wrong or oppressive — after all, society gains its influence from the actions of individuals — but let’s make encouragement and unity our goal rather than wallowing and blaming “the man.”
WHO SPEAKS FOR EARTH?
Myth retelling precedes book adaptation for “The Hobbit 2”
ike so often happens, when Hollywood gets its hands on a good story, it often takes liberties and makes major changes to create ridiculously profitable blockbusters. Peter Jackson did this to the second Hobbit movie, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” The movie itself had no right to exist since there is only one book, and yet Jackson decided to make the movies another trilogy, mimicking his initial success with the inherently longer and more action-packed “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Is this necessarily bad? I do not think so. Making a children’s story into an action movie trilogy can make for some bad cinematic moments, but it is not a fundamentally wrong thing to do. In fact, “The Hobbit” movies transcribed pretty well, though the story, characters and pace differ greatly from the book. One may justify differing from the source material for “The Hobbit,” not because infidelity is acceptable, but because, according to Tolkien’s own theory, “The Hobbit” is myth and myth lives, carries truth and the retelling reflects the story-teller and his audience. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and some of their friends who gathered to talk about literature and philosophy under the group name “The
Inklings” worked on the idea of myth as truth. “‘But,’ Lewis said, ‘myths are lies, even though lies breathed through silver.’ ‘No,’ said Tolkein, ‘they are not… just as speech is invention about objects and ideas, so myth is invention about truth,’” reports Humphrey Carpenter in his book “Tolkein: A Biography,” who then identifies the essence Tolkien’s theory, “In expounding this belief in the inherent truth of mythology, Tolkien had laid bare the centre of his philosophy as a writer, the creed that is at the heart of (Tolkien’s books).” Tolkien wrote on the subject of myth and its connection with truth in an essay titled “On Fairy-Stories,” where he details the requirement that a fictional or mythical universe adhere to its own set of laws, lest disbelief rear its head and shatter the truth found within due to a violation of the laws of that secondary world. “(The story teller) makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is ‘true’: it accords with the laws of that world,” Tolkien said, “You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arises, the spell is broken; the magic, or rather art, has failed.”
And so I would argue that Jackson in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” can justly modify his source material but is not justified in doing so since he cannot maintain the laws of that secondary world he tries to get the viewer to experience. Tolkien would probably not like the changes to his characters and narrative flow, but what would upset him is the death of the temporary suspension of disbelief necessary for experiencing truth in myth. Christopher Snyder, history professor at Mississippi State University, Tolkien scholar and dean of the Shackouls Honors College, explained in an email interview how Jackson’s narrative in the movies fails its secondary world. “The movies are departing more and more not just from the book, but from the storyline of the main character, Bilbo, and giving a lot of screen time to marginal or invented characters,” Snyder said, continuing to imagine how Tolkien would likely respond, “he would have lamented all of the medieval and mythic elements from his book that have been ignored in Jackson’s version of ‘The Hobbit.’” So we see that our principle concern is the deviation from the medieval environment and mythic attitude of painstaking attention
CAMERON CLARKE Cameron Clarke is a junior majoring in physics and mathematics. He can be contacted at opinion@reflector. msstate.edu.
to the internal laws found in the book. Instead, Jackson has a band of anachronistic dwarves and a too-complicated yet too-simple hobbit go off to reclaim Thorin’s source of power, constantly clashing with other political powers in seemingly arbitrary ways. Essentially, Jackson missed the point of the story as myth, ignoring many chances to connect Tolkien’s universe together according to his own rules (the dwarf-elf romance and Gandalf’s capture with no permanent defeat as memorable violations), and yanked the narrative out of the realm of fairy-story and placed it in a merely medieval-smelling, political intrigue novel.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014 | 5
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6 | FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
LIFE EDITOR: DANIEL HART | firstname.lastname@example.org
LIFE & ENTERTAINMENT
Tougher than steel: community
theater produces “Steel Magnolias” BY HALEY HARDMAN Staff Writer
The Starkville Community Theatre prepares to treat Starkvillians to multiple presentations of the classic play, “Steel Magnolias.” The play runs Feb. 13-16 and 18-22. “Steel Magnolias” portrays six women and the dramatic events of their lives. Paula Mabry, Starkville Community Theatre director, said the play is set in a Louisiana cosmetologist’s boutique, which provides the site for the women’s spirited conversations. “The audience will see a lovely beauty shop where the ladies of this little Louisiana town come to visit and have their hair ‘done,’” she said. w“The six women in the play are longtime friends who share their good times and bad with one another.” The beauty shop set works well for the play’s characters, Mabry said, as well as for the audience, as a place that provides familiarity. “We can see that the womens’ beauty shop experience is very similar to other shops in other towns and places,” she said. “That’s probably one of the many reasons this show resonates so well.” “Steel Magnolias” relays a variety of emotions to the audience, from tears of sadness to tears of laughter and joy. Callie Paxton, junior communication major and actress starring in the play, said the production mixes a wide range of feelings effectively. “The play is classic and unique because it blends tragedy and comedy,” Paxton said. The play offers different ways to connect with its characters for audience members of all ages. Johnni Sue Wijewardane, another actress starring in the play, said each attendee is sure to form a bond with an actress onstage. “Each person in the audience can connect with at least one character,” she said. Wijewardane also said the play represents all events and walks of life, from marriage to death and all the moments that lie in between. “One can find almost every emotion in this play — the joy that weddings and births bring, fear of illness, sadness and anger felt after the loss of a loved one and wit and humor,” she said. “I hope the audience will be able to feel the connection that each
character has with the oth- way that stories on film can- long history that persists toer characters as well as sense not. day, even amidst advances in the real friendships that have “Live theatre is real. It’s digital technology. been formed between the in the moment,” Mabry “Theatre has long been women who are playing the said. “Real people are play- the avenue for playwrights characters.” ing out stories in front of an to show the world what is All the work the “Steel really going on in Magnolias” cast put into the world,” she said. One can find almost performance and all the “Sometimes it is a shows the theater puts touching love story every emotion in this on stem from a deep and then again, it play — the joy that passion for the performmight be a mystery weddings and births ing arts. The Starkville or a murder. Seeing Community Theatre bring, fear of illness, sadness real people on stage members support live and anger felt after the loss of a performing makes performances, which fill loved one and wit and humor.” that story come alive a different role than that to an audience.” of movies or television. - Johnni Sue Wijewardane, Starkville CommuThe members offer live Truvy in “Steel Magnolias” nity Theatre is passhows, which contain elsionate about the live ements no other medium arts which ensures an can capture. audience. There is nothing to excellent show. “Steel MagMabry said live theatre is compare to that. There are nolias” will captivate the aunot only entertaining, but no ‘retakes,’ no touch-ups as dience with roles that are easy live productions involve au- in film.” to connect with and emotions dience members in a deep Mabry said theatre has a that vary greatly.
Q: How did y’all meet? A: We met in the first year of our MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program at Ohio State. Q: Where are you both from? A: I’m originally from Delaware; he’s from New Jersey. Q: What is your educational background? A: I earned my B.A. in English from Susquehanna University, then got my M.F.A. in
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RACHEL CANNADY | COURTESY PHOTO
Johnni Sue Wijewardane performs as Truvy in the Starkville Community Theater’s production of “Steel Magnolias.” The play follows ups and downs in the lives of six Southern women as they bring their burdens to share at a Louisiana beauty shop.
Q & A with Catherine Pierce, poet and co-director of MSU’s creative writing program with husband Michael Kardos Staff Writer
Kaitlyn Byrne, Editor-in-Chief
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BY CATIE MARIE MARTIN
What’s your all-time favorite love song?
poetry from Ohio State and my Ph.D. in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri. Mike earned his B.A. in music composition from Princeton, then his M.F.A. (in fiction) from Ohio State and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, as well. (Stars aligned and we managed to get into the same Ph.D. program after we graduated from our masters program.)
Q: How did y’all both end up at Mississippi State? What is it like to work alongside
your husband in the English department? A: We came to Mississippi State because we were lucky enough to both land jobs here. Working alongside one another is wonderful — although our professional lives are quite separate, in terms of our classes and our work. We co-direct the creative writing program together, attend meetings and events together and, as a bonus, get to see each other in the halls. When the English department was temporarily moved to Howell Hall (while Lee is being renovated), office space was limited, so faculty were asked to share an office with a colleague. It’s been very easy to share that space with Mike — we have a lot of practice sharing spaces! Q: You and your husband are both creative writers. Does this influence your work? If so, how? Do you look to one another for advice in your creative work? A: Yes, it absolutely influences our work. We are one another’s first readers and critics, and we’re often the first one the other talks to as a new idea is taking shape. Because we’re both writers, we also
understand the idiosyncrasies of one another’s writing processes. Any kind of writing is a solitary endeavor, and it’s nice to share that solitariness with each other.
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PUBLIC AFFAIRS | COURTESY PHOTO
Catherine Pierce, poet and professor, directs MSU’s creative writing program alongside her husband, Michael Kardos, fiction writer and professor. She said they act as each other’s first critics and work well sharing office space.
Daniel Hart, Life Editor “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014 | 7
Men’s basketball woes continue on court, search for answers in road tests BY QUENTIN SMITH Staff Writer
LEON CARRUBBA | THE REFLECTOR
Georgia’s Marcus Thornton (top) scores a layup over MSU’s Colin Borchert, and UGA’s Brandon Morris (bottom) attempts to block MSU’s Fred Thomas’s shot. MSU will take a six-game losing streak on the road against Auburn Saturday and LSU Wednesday.
The losses keep adding up for the Mississippi State University men’s basketball team. The Bulldogs took on the University of Georgia and suffered an ugly loss, losing by a margin of 20 points, 75-55, Wednesday night, extending its season-long losing streak to six games. The loss now puts the team at 3-8 on the year in conference play. A frustrated head coach Rick Ray said he did not see any positives to take away from the game. “It’s disappointing that we end up losing this way after playing so well at the beginning of the first half. Our guys lost their energy. There is just no way you can play the way you did in the second half after you played so well to start the game,” Ray said. MSU has no time to hang its heads as it gets ready to prepare for two tough road tests. The Bulldogs will travel to Auburn Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. tip-off. MSU defeated the Tigers earlier this season at home 82-74 and will look to duplicate that same success on the road. The team will then have to face another set of Tigers when it travels to Baton Rouge to
take on LSU on Wednesday before returning home to face Arkansas on Feb. 22. In Wednesday’s action, MSU got off to a promising start in the first half and saw its biggest lead reach as high as 14 points at the 9:54 mark. UGA would eventually climb back from that defecit as it took a one point lead into halftime, 28-27. When things started back up for the second half, everything that could possibly go wrong for MSU did. The team shot 35 percent from the field and was 0-for-13 from behind the arc. The home Bulldogs could not get any shots to fall, and the defense faced a few struggles of its own — allowing Georgia to shoot 74 percent from the field in the second half. Senior guard Tyson Cunnigham said when the team lost its energy, it was not able to pick it back up. “Once our shots weren’t falling, we lost focus on the defensive end,” Cunningham said. “We had too many defensive breakdowns. We were trying to live through our offense and three-point shots, and that wasn’t working for us.” Freshman point guard I.J. Ready re-joined the team after being out due to injuries and flu-like symptoms. Ready logged 21 minutes
with three points and a pair of rebounds in his return to the court. He said despite being on a losing streak, the team still has to find a way to fight through this adversity. “We have to stay positive and stay together, or it’s going to get worse from here,” Ready said. “Hopefully, we can get it together. In our next game, if we stay together, maybe that will give us a confidence-builder going into the rest of the season.” Losing streaks can be difficult for any team to handle, especially a young one. Continuing to stay focused and motivated will be beneficial for the Dogs as they look to snap their losing skid and turn things around. The Bulldogs have eight games remaining on their schedule and will need a strong surge over these next few games to finish with a winning record in conference play. The team’s depth is always the focus point as MSU has five fewer scholarship players than every other SEC team, but Ray said he is not using that as an excuse. He said the team has to accept who they are and start believing in themselves. “We have to make sure we stay collective as a unit and make sure everybody is on the same page,” Ray said.
Bulldog soccer coaches share lives on, off field BY KRISTEN SPINK Managing Editor
For most couples, the first question asked at the dinner table is, “How was your day?” At the Gordon household, however, that is the last question that needs to be asked. Aaron Gordon, Mississippi State University head soccer coach, walks through his day with his assistant coach, his wife Ashley, by his side. He said the honesty created through marriage is beneficial for a successful work place since he and his wife have a true working relationship when it comes to marriage. “We have the best of both worlds, certainly, because we know what each other is doing and what the job entails because we’ve both done each other’s jobs,” he said. “We’re able to cut to the chase on a lot of things because I don’t worry about the consequences of being lied to because I feel secure of where we are as a couple, so we can get to the heat of the matter because it’s for the good of the program.” The Gordons, who both played soccer in college, met when they coached at a youth soccer camp in Dallas, Texas. Although they went to different colleges, they knew a lot
of the same people and started dating after meeting at the soccer camp. Twenty years later, the Gordons find themselves heading into their second season at MSU with two daughters, Addison (13 years old) and Avery (8 years old). Aaron Gordon said coaching together at different levels proved they could succeed at the collegiate level, and when he started running his own soccer club, they proved they were a good team on the administrative side of the business as well. “It was soccer that brought us together. We knew we wanted to coach, and as our relationship grew, so did our opportunities to coach together,” he said. “Coaching on the field is easy because we have a passion for soccer. With administration, you can get on each other’s nerves if you don’t like each other, but we seem to balance each other in our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to that part which makes us a really efficient team.” Before coming to State, the Gordons coached soccer at Texas Tech University after they spent time at the club and professional level, including a stint with Major League Soccer team FC Dallas. Coaching as a married
couple allows the Gordons to continue their work once they go home. Ashley Gordon said sometimes when they are home, both she and Aaron Gordon may be on the phone with different recruits, which allows them to continue discussing matters after they leave work. However, she said the dinner table is one place where soccer is not discussed. “When we put dinner on the table, we make sure we eat as a family, and we make a point to not talk soccer or business at the dinner table because it’s all about family and our children, having dialogue with our girls — it’s family talk,” she said. While the couple makes it a point to have “family talk” during dinner, when it comes to soccer games and practice, Ashley Gordon said they are all business. “For me, during games it’s just like it would be coaching for someone that’s not your spouse. I turn and look at Aaron, and my immediate thought is, ‘He’s the head coach and I’m going to do what he asks of me,’” she said. “We’re here to do a job, develop our players and win. I think many players will say that they would never know that we’re married when we’re
COURTESY PHOTO | ASHLEY GORDON
MSU head soccer coach Aaron Gordon and assistant coach Ashley Gordon met while coaching at a youth soccer camp. The Gordons will begin their second year at MSU this fall.
on the field — you wouldn’t know any difference.” Sophomore defender Addie Tomlin said she agrees with Ashley Gordon’s final statement and thinks the coaches work well on the field together. “They definitely treat each other as co-workers, but I feel like they compliment each other really well,” Tomlin said. “They also bring their kids around, and we all enjoy hanging out with them. It’s cool to
see Ashley Gordon’s motherly side and Aaron Gordon’s fatherly side, too.” This family atmosphere is one the Gordons seek to create on their team. In addition to their daughters loving MSU and attending all the games, Aaron Gordon said recruits recognize the family feel on the team. “When we have recruits here, the first thing they say is they get a sense that this pro-
gram is one that has a sense of family from the get-go because of our relationship as a husband-wife team. Moms and dads want to send their daughters to college wanting to know they’ll be taken care of, and our relationship shows that,” he said. “As we start to continue to recruit and develop this team, I think people will see that and players that we recruit will get that feeling even more.”
Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart sets example for athlete-fan interaction in sports
ast Saturday, the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team lost a conference matchup to Texas Tech 6561. It was the Cowboys’ fifth loss in their last six games at the time. The team had been struggling and so had their star point guard and highly-touted NBA prospect Marcus Smart. But all of that was overshadowed by one incident late in the second half of the game. OSU made national headlines when Smart shoved one of the Texas Tech fans during the game. The fan he pushed was an older white man named Jeff Orr. Smart claimed after the game that Orr verbally assaulted him with a racial slur. However, Orr said in a statement that Smart was mistaken and that he called him a “piece of crap.”
Orr insisted he never said extremely irrelevant. It simply anything racial toward Smart. does not matter what he said After Smart initially accused to Smart. He could have called Orr of using a him any of those racial slur, the three things, or Athletes majority of the even all three at must world immedithe same time, ately assumed understand and it still does Orr used the they have so much not change the N word. There fact that Smart were also ru- more to lose than was 100 percent mors via Twit- fans.” in the wrong. ter that Orr As an athlete, told Smart to you cannot go “Go back to Africa.” around putting your hands There is a video of the inci- on fans because you do not dent, and it pretty much val- like what they said. Positive idates what Orr said and not or negative, there are no rules what Smart said. From the prohibiting fans from trashaudio or from trying to read talking players. As a matter of Orr’s lips, there is no evidence fact, it is any fan’s first amendof any racial slurs being direct- ment right to do so. ed Smart’s way. First of all, athletes simply However, at the end of the have to be smarter than that. day, I believe the whole “What There are those who say, “Well, did Orr say?” conversation is what about Orr? He should be
punished.” My attitude is who cares about Orr? What Orr did goes on at just about every major basketball or football game in this country. Fans will try anything to get into the heads of an athlete. That is their goal when they say hurtful things. As an athlete, by getting mad and hitting one of them and getting yourself ejected and suspended, you just made that fan’s day. Guess what? Smart did not even hurt the man. He pushed Orr and then had to be restrained by his teammates, and the last images we saw of him were of him exiting the court furiously. Meanwhile, Orr stands up in the stands with a big grin on his face feeling mighty proud of himself. So, who do you think got the better of whom
in that incident? This is why athletes must have thick skin and simply ignore negative fans. I have seen fans here at Mississippi State University try to do what Orr did to Smart. You should hear some of the things coming from our very own student section directed at Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson. Athletes must understand they have so much more to lose than fans. At the end of the day, was Orr wrong for how he behaved? Absolutely. I do not want it to come across as if I am defending him. My point is simply it does not matter if he is wrong or not — what Smart did was worse. Smart is the one ESPN and all the other media outlets are still talking about. In June, when it is time for the
FORREST BUCK Forrest Buck is a senior majoring in communication. She can be contacted at opinion@ reflector.msstate.edu.
NBA draft, the teams thinking about picking Smart will look back on this incident and talk only about Smart. In not one of those draft room discussions will the name James Orr come up. Smart lowered himself to that fan’s level, and he is way worse off for it than the fan is.
8 | FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014
SPORTS EDITOR: JOHN GALATAS | email@example.com
Bulldog basketball eager to bounce back BY BLAKE MORGAN Staff Writer
After the 20-point defeat at the hands of the University of Georgia Wednesday night, the Mississippi State University men’s basketball team has lost six games in a row. Head coach Rick Ray said he was frustrated with the lack of effort in the second half against Georgia. “The effort was there at the start of the game, that’s what is so disappointing,” head coach Rick Ray said. The Bulldogs shot 33.9 percent from the field and only made three of their 25 three-point attempts. MSU assisted on only eight of their made baskets and missed nine free throws. MSU’s struggles on the road have been evident this season, but it appears its road woes are spreading on to its home floor. “Mississippi State committed a turnover on one in every four possessions against SEC opponents,” ESPN insider John Gasaway wrote about last year’s team. “That, plus a near-total lack of offensive boards meant the MSU offense was simply starved out in
terms of field goal attempts.” This season, the Bulldogs have not been any better in those aspects. According to Ray kenpom.com (the leading website in advanced basketball statistics), MSU is ranked No. 272 in turnover rate and the same rank in offensive rebounding rate. There are only 351 teams in college basketball. MSU is in the bottom four in both of these categories in the SEC. According to kenpom.com there are four major factors that contribute to success on offense: effective field goal percentage [(.5*3FGM + FGM) / FGA], free throw rate (FTA / FGA), turnover rate (TO / Possessions) and offensive rebounding rate [OR / (Offensive Rebounds + opponent’s Defensive Rebounds)]. The Bulldogs struggle heavily in two of the four factors, but how do they stack up in the other two? MSU is No. 206 in effective field goal percentage and No. 118 in free throw rate, its best category. These four factors combine together to form an adjusted offensive efficiency rating, or AdjOE. MSU has a 97.7 AdjOE of 97.7, which ranks No. 291 in the country, coming in dead last in the SEC. The Bulldogs’ 13-11 record has benefited from, statistically, the weakest non-conference schedule in all of college basketball. The schedule will continue to get tougher as the Bulldogs search for answers as they head into the final stretch of games for the season.
STAT OF THE DAY: BASEBALL HEAD COACH JOHN COHEN HOLDS A 177131 RECORD AT MSU AS HE ENTERS HIS FIFTH SEASON.
Diamond Dogs return to Dudy Noble Field for 124th season of baseball BY JOHN GALATAS Sports Editor
After completing its ninth and final intrasquad scrimmage of the spring last weekend, the Mississippi State University Diamond Dawgs are ready to return to the diamond for the 2014 campaign and repeat their appearance in the College World Series. But this time, the No. 2 preseason Bulldogs have their eyes set on bringing a national title to Starkville. MSU, who was originally set to host Hofstra in a four-game series, will welcome Western Carolina University to Dudy Noble Field Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Bulldogs host the Catamounts Saturday at 4 p.m. before closing the series Sunday at 1:30 p.m. WCU was previously scheduled to host Ohio University in a four-game series, but Catamount officials canceled the series due to weather. Junior first baseman and team captain Wes Rea said this year’s expectations remain the same as last season’s, and the appearance in the CWS in 2013 is proof fans and players are buying into what the team can do. “This year, it wasn’t a big deal to let people know our expectations. They know our expectations based on how we play and how we performed last year and what Coach (John) Cohen has going on now with this program,” Rea said. “There’s a quiet confidence that goes on in the locker room. We go about our business every day. From the outside looking in, people know
what to expect as opposed to tell- improved as a leader, as a pitcher call and as a blocker. His arm has ing people what to expect.” The Bulldogs welcome 19 come a long way. (Gavin) Collins newcomers and return 19 letter- is a freshman who continues to winners from 2013, including get better every day. Cody Walkfive position starters. Seniors er probably has the best arm in the whole group, Alex Detz, Brett and (Daniel) Pirtle and Rea Garner can really are the club’s We proved top-returning we can win hit. If you combine those four hitters and ana national guys — you have chor the infield. a first rounder,” MSU seeks to championship. We replace the pro- just have to finish it he said. “Each of them brings gram’s all-time off.” something differsingle-season hits ent, and I think leader Adam Fra- -Jonathan Holder, zier at shortstop MSU baseball closer there’s going to be a lot of opporwho was drafted tunities early for by the Pittsburgh us to find out who is going to be Pirates last June. Junior Matthew Britton is ex- that guy.” On the mound, the Bulldogs pected to solidify a starting position at shortstop, and Cohen return nine pitchers, including said the program is excited with juniors and preseason All-Amerthe progression Britton made in icans Jonathan Holder and Ross Mitchell out of the bullpen. the fall to earn a start. “I think Britton, at his best, is Mitchell owns a career 16-0 one of the best defenders in our record and posted one of the league. There has never been a best earned run averages in the question about that,” Cohen nation last season (1.53). Last said. “He has great length, but year, Holder continued to build he gets in a low-fielder position, his resume as one of the most which is critical for a shortstop. accomplished closers in NCAA He’s got great range. I’m very baseball history. Holder claimed impressed with what he has done the school’s career and single-sea— the way he’s turned the corner son saves record (30/21) and is offensively in the fall and early 13 saves shy of tying Matt Price (2009-12) for the all-time SEC part of the spring.” Behind the plate, the Bulldogs saves record. Despite the accolades, Holder with replace a pair of catchers in Nick Ammirati and Mitch Slaut- said there is still a lot to play for er. MSU has four catchers on the in 2014. “There’s just a lot of hard roster, but Cohen said there is still plenty of competition at the work. When you have a couple of good years, you just have to position for a starting role. “(Zack) Randolph has really come back in the fall and realize
it’s a new year. It’s not last year and it’s not my freshman year. You work hard, you come back and you get in the grind,” he said. “We proved we can win a national championship. We just have to finish it off.” One of the bigger questions entering the season is found in the Bulldogs’ starting rotation. Cohen said this weekend’s season-opening series will give the coaching staff a good look at multiple players in order to solidify a rotation once conference play begins. “I think we’re going to have an opportunity to play a lot of people,’’ Cohen said. “We’re really going to try and pair two starters with each ball game to help us get a little evaluation on who are going to end up being those three guys on the weekend when we start league play.” Cohen said a mix of returning starters from last season will start the first couple games, but the Dogs may look to newcomers to pitch the Sunday finale. “Brandon Woodruff is a candidate. Trevor Fitts will start one of the games for us. Ben Bracewell will start one of those games,” he said. “But, again, when you look into Sunday, you have to ask yourself, ‘Who hasn’t pitched?’ We have some young guys who are throwing the baseball well. We’ll see who we don’t use on those first two days and go into Sunday.” Cohen said freshmen Dakota Hudson and Austin Sexton displayed strong preseason starts and will be candidates to start Sunday’s game against WCU.