April 10, 2009
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State football team was hard at work early Thursday, but it had nothing to do with spring football practice.
The Bulldogs helped children from the T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability in Starkville participate in an Easter Egg hunt inside the Palmeiro Center.
It was an opportunity to meet some of the children in the community and to have fun between classes.
"These little kids look up to us being from Mississippi State and on the football team," MSU place kicker Sean Brauchle said. "We just want to be out here with the kids, show them what the Easter holiday is all about, and how fun this is."
Since Dan Mullen has taken over as coach at MSU, the program has reached out to the community.
The egg hunt was just another way for the Bulldogs to connect with younger fans.
"One thing we try to do is spread love to the kids, hang out with them, talk to them, and see how they are doing," MSU linebacker K.J. Wright said.
Plastic eggs were spread over the turf and the children sprinted across the field to see who could pick up the most.
The Bulldog players turned into kids themselves for a few minutes and assisted some of the children in their search.
MSU safety and midterm signee Cameron Lawrence called it a privilege to help.
"When you are a college athlete, you are put on a pedestal," Lawrence said. "You have kids looking up to you."
Since spring drills started, Lawrence has moved from quarterback to receiver to safety. He believes he has found a home at safety.
"It seems as soon as I learn a position, I move," Lawrence said. "I''ve just got to learn this one and stick with it."
On the practice field, Mullen was encouraged by what he saw.
"That was our first good practice of the spring," Mullen said. "I think they finally figured out how to have a good practice. Everybody came out with intensity today and everybody came out and played hard."
Mullen said better execution from the offense and aggressive play by the defense was the perfect recipe for a solid practice.
Mullen realizes there have been some frustrating moments this spring, but Thursday he saw a move in the right direction.
"We took a step," Mullen said. "I feel like we had a real football practice instead of a massive teaching session."
MSU will return to the practice field at 3:30 today to prepare for its scrimmage at 10 a.m. Saturday.
n Mullen announced redshirt freshman Montario "Tojo" Patterson, from Corinth, has left program.
No reason was given for why Patterson opted for a different direction.
"He has decided to pursue opportunities away from the Mississippi State football team," Mullen said. "We wish him the best in the future, and will help him in any way we can."