De’Vinner’s Allegations Could Bring Bulldogs Together

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week, you probably are aware of the firestorm surrounding the Mississippi State program, stemming from allegations made by Byron De’ Vinner – a Memphis seven-on-seven coach who coached current Bulldog cornerback Will Redmond and figured prominently in his recruitment.

To catch everyone up, De’Vinner, in an attempt to “clear his name” – or so he says – has done a series of interviews detailing the violations committed by Robert Denton Herring, who has been deemed a “rogue booster.” In an excerpt from a Yahoo Sports interview with Pat Forde, De’ Vinner described Redmond and his first meeting with Herring before an October 15, 2011 Mississippi State-South Carolina game.

“We walk out there, we get to him [Herring], they shake hands and Will introduces me to him,” De’ Vinner said. “We have something to eat at the tailgate, and he tells Will to come back to the tailgate after the game, he has some gas money for him. After the game was over, we go back out there and he gives Will the traditional handshake. Will didn’t know what the heck was going on. He tells Will, ‘Shake my hand.’ He put the money into Will’s hand. It was probably $150, $200. I’m just guessing how much it was. We get in the car and I told Will, ‘You take this [expletive] to your grave.’ The guy was introducing us to other boosters and stuff, saying they were glad to have him at Mississippi State.”

Even though De’ Vinner is trying to clear his name, his character has come into question, given the fact he is essentially throwing one of his own players under the bus. I found out, first-hand, about his possible true motives. After announcing himself on-line under the user name “UAB77”, I attempted to secure an interview from De’Vinner. He replied: “I don’t do free interviews.”

Regardless of De’ Vinner’s tainted reputation, his allegations will not help Mississippi State’s national image. The Mississippi State administration has been quite mum during this period.

When asked about the allegations made by De’ Vinner, Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen refused to comment, saying, “The NCAA is doing their work on that and we’re not commenting on any of that stuff at this time.”

Mullen may be a little more concerned about coaching actual football games, instead of things he can’t control.

I had to give a little thought, myself, to how the allegations would affect the Bulldogs on the field. There are two ways this distraction could affect the Bulldogs: either they play better or play worse.

In my opinion, I think that the Bulldogs will band together – forming an “us against the world” mindset.

I think that the players, along with the coaches, media, and fan base have realized that the 2012 season has the potential to be one of the best in Bulldog history and they won’t let anything derail it.

The last time a team had this type of cloud surrounding their program during the season was the Auburn Tigers, in 2010; they went undefeated with star player Cam Newton under investigation after his father allegedly solicited payment from – drum roll, please – the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

I have to be honest and say that this may be a little karma coming back on the Bulldogs. It doesn’t mean that De’ Vinner isn’t a weasel, trying to take down a program for the almighty dollar. But it is a little ironic that the Bulldogs turned in the Tigers for allegedly paying Newton and now they are embroiled in their own scandal. I can’t help but chuckle a little bit.

With about a month to go before their next serious challenge, the Tennessee Volunteers, “State” can deal with the media attention on their own timetable. The last thing any coach wants to do is deal with distractions before a key game. Mullen gets a reprieve from that problem for at least a few weeks.

If the Bulldogs start to struggle over the next few weeks, then I think it would fair to say the allegations had an effect on the team. But, if the Bulldogs lock in and destroy every opponent in their path, then I think these allegations brought an already strong team, closer together.

Do you think that De’ Vinner’s allegations will bring the Bulldogs together?

Jeremiah Short covers Mississippi State University football and basketball.  Follow him on Twitter, @DaRealJShort; join his Facebook blog, Real Story Sports: J.Short’s Blog, or e-mail him, JShort@realstorypublishing.com.

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