By Matthew Stevens, [email protected]
August 18, 2011 11:00:00 AM
STARKVILLE - In the wake of college football scandals at Ohio State, the University of North Carolina, Oregon and now at Miami, Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen has a simple philosophy.
"(You) can''t worry about it," MSU''s third-year head coach said. "I live my life like I''m being videotaped."
It''s the message he preaches to the 105 players on MSU''s roster, too.
"I tell our guys if you don''t want to have (what you''re doing) videotaped and (sent to) your grandmother to watch and if she disapproves of what''s happening on it then you probably shouldn''t be doing it," Mullen said. "There''s a chance she might see that video of whatever it is you''re doing."
An 11-month Yahoo! Sports investigation ended this week with the release of a descriptive report detailing booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro admitting to violations involving at least 72 former and current Miami players. Mullen called it "scary" to remember who he might have met or might have been photographed with.
"You don''t know what context the picture is taken in," Mullen said. "I could be walking out of the stadium and spend a minute with my family and somebody comes running up, ''Hey coach, can you take a picture?" ... and all of a sudden that''s me at a night club with him."
Earlier this year, Mullen attempted to repeat a message many college coaches have expressed in that the media is overlooking the "great things in college football."
"I''m going to bet for every scandal you find there are a hundred great college football stories out there of success," Mullen said. "Unfortunately, though, people succeeding in this world isn''t the success we''re looking for to sell. What sells is what scandal we can find next."
Memphis gets key offensive player back
The University of Memphis running game, which accounted for 2.9 yards per carry last season, may get a boost with the return of Billy Foster.
Foster, a versatile player who started at wide receiver in 2010 and who likely will be used in the special teams return game, received extensive work in the running game in the spring. He joined Jerrell Rhodes in the mix for the starting tailback position.
Foster had nine carries for 41 yards and 14 catches for 175 yards last season after he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in a preseason scrimmage before the 2009 campaign.
"Billy was back there at running back today and he did some good things," Memphis coach Larry Porter said. "He is going to be a spark. He continues to show us we will be able to use him in a number of ways."
Foster spent much of last season as a kickoff-return specialist, averaging 19 yards on 17 returns.
"To the average person (the Tigers'' offensive system) would be complicated or frustrating, but it''s not really that way," Foster said. "I love my new role because from game to game you''ll never know where I''m lining up from one play to the next."
MSU will play its season opener 7 p.m. Sept. 1 at Memphis (Fox Sports Net).
Mullen pleased with practice on first class day at MSU
Mullen said Wednesday was surprisingly happy with the results from his team''s first workout on a day classes began on campus.
After completing preseason workouts earlier this week and returning to the normal in-season routine of one four-hour practice late in the afternoon, Mullen sounded happy with the focus of his squad.
"With some of the distractions of having to go to class, we decided to try it," Mullen said. "Once we hit the field, I was pretty pleased.
"Our time has been really scrunched down and you really have to be focused and we had that today. I don''t remember what I did (as a graduate assistant) at Notre Dame in 1999 and 2000, but since then we''ve always had the first day of school off."
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