Mississippi State University football coach Dan Mullen signs a decorative bulldog for J.R. Lott. J.R. won the bulldog in a drawing Thursday morning, during the Road Dawg Tour’s stop at the Columbus Country Club. Photo by: Janet Downey/MSU Alumni Association
May 13, 2011 10:19:00 AM
The Bulldogs are headed to the top of the college football mountain. And on the heels of a season topped off by a Gator Bowl victory, they can''t afford to lose any momentum, Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen told Bulldog fans at the Columbus Country Club, Thursday morning.
"We''ve been to the peak, and we''re headed to the top of that mountain ... where we can call ourselves true champions," Mullen said, noting the team is "facing a different kind of adversity this year."
"We''re facing the adversity of success," he said.
"The issue with going to the top of the mountain is, it''s not easy, and there are no shortcuts," Mullen said.
Team members will have to work harder, and fans will have to cheer harder to build an even more "hostile environment" for visiting teams. To win more than eight games, as was won last season, it takes more effort, Mullen said.
"We''re at base camp one, and we cannot lose any momentum."
MSU Athletic Coordinator Scott Stricklin said the athletic program would continue to focus on its student athletes, on integrity and promoting the university and state.
On the fourth day of the Road Dawg Tour, Stricklin said he was most moved by all the smiling faces in a sea of maroon, relishing in being Bulldog fans.
"Each and every day, we''re working hard to create these great experiences," he said.
MSU has 350 student athletes competing in 15 different sports and displaying a higher level of intensity, toughness and discipline.
After stopping in Columbus, the Road Dawg Tour was headed to Smithville, to speak to elementary-school students. Fifteen Smithville residents lost their lives in the recent tornado outbreak.
"I think it''s really important to go out in the community and embrace those that are hurting," Stricklin said.
They already had made a stop in Vicksburg, where flooding has caused major damage.