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MSU's Bumphis excited about return game


By Matthew Stevens, [email protected]



STARKVILLE -- Chad Bumphis can''t wait to be back in the spotlight. 


Once the Mississippi State defense forces a punt, Bumphis likely will trot on to the field to wait for what might be his first touch. 


"I like it. Any way I can get the ball in my hands, I love it," Bumphis said. 


Bumphis, who has admitted to signing with MSU nearly three years ago because the school hired Dan Mullen, hasn''t received any pushback from Mullen about playing special teams. In fact, the opposite has happened. 


"Coach Mullen coaches the special teams and it''s something where he''s going to put his best players on special teams," said Bumphis, a junior from Tupelo. "It''s a challenge to try and get on special teams more than trying to avoid it." 


Bumphis has 182 yards on 21 punt returns in two seasons at MSU. Mullen said Wednesday that taking Bumphis off special teams due to prevent an injury would be a less than productive substitution. 


"Chad knows that if he''s taken off special teams that''s five less touches he gets in a game. That''s huge," Mullen said. "If (Bumphis) isn''t the best guy with the ball in his hands, I''m going to put the best guy back there to do it. We''re on the attack mode with special teams." 


When Mullen arrived on campus and was left with a roster without explosive playmakers, it was a necessity to have an athlete like Bumphis in the return game. Entering this season, the competition in the return game has been one of the team''s most dynamic battles. 


Sophomore wide receiver Michael Carr, sophomore running back LaDarius Perkins and a host of others are in the running for kick return duties for MSU''s season opener Sept. 1 at the University of Memphis. 


"It''s huge now especially for freshmen because that''s the best way they can get on the field," Bumphis said. "We got experience everywhere else, and you don''t have to learn the offense or defense to make that (special teams) unit." 




Calhoun injured for season 


Mullen confirmed Thursday evening that Taveze Calhoun, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound freshman defensive back from Morton High, likely will miss the 2011 regular season after he had surgery on his right shoulder. 


Calhoun, a consensus Class 3A All-State selection by the coaches and the media, was seen Aug. 8 leaving practice at The South Farm with his right arm in a sling. Mullen said the only action he could possibly see would be in a bowl game after the injury is rehabilitated. 


Calhoun, a two-star prospect, had 90 tackles and six interceptions as a senior at Morton. 


The injury Mullen was less than eager to discuss involved wide receiver Ricco Sanders'' right knee. The sophomore used his Twitter page to announce an injury to his right leg. Mullen said Sanders "will be fine" and "will play this season." 


Sanders played all 13 games last season, but he didn''t get his first reception or touchdown until the 2011 Gator Bowl victory against the University of Michigan on New Year''s Day. 


Mullen said his open policy on Twitter to his players will remain the same. 




College board approves design on new MSU football facility 


The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning on Wednesday approved MSU''s agenda item for approval of the exterior design of the new football practice facility. 


According to the agenda, construction on the $25 million on-campus football complex is set to completed by December 2012. The target start date is next month. 


"I have a lot of thoughts on that (and) can''t wait to get it going," Mullen said. "We''ve had a lot of meetings on everything, not just the exterior design. Myself and (assistant director of football operations) Jon Clark are very involved in (it)." 


The 80,000-square foot facility, which is being funded by the Bulldog Club booster program, will house new locker rooms, offices, and meeting rooms.



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