August 13, 2014 7:53:53 PM
For former Mississippi State University quarterback Matt Wyatt, this is his busy time of the year.
Wyatt and partner Richard Cross are now in their third football season of hosting "Head to Head," a syndicated three-hour afternoon sports talk show heard on the TeleSouth/SuperTalk stations throughout Mississippi.
Also this fall, Wyatt will be entering his fourth season as a color analyst alongside Jim Ellis on the Mississippi State football radio broadcasts each Saturday.
With football in the air, the fourth-year letter winner at MSU (1996-1999) is excited about the upcoming season.
Q: Now in its third season as "Head to Head" gone better than ever expected?
A: Yes. When we started it (in July 2011), we were building our own network of stations. About a year into it, the big company, TeleSouth/SuperTalk came along and acquired us. We certainly hoped for that but never expected that so quickly. It was a big deal to get a statewide network of big FM signals from 3 to 6 each afternoon.
The response has been good. We felt like this was something Mississippi needed. There are a lot of good shows in this state, but we were the first one to go statewide. We felt like Mississippi deserved this and wanted this. Since then, the response, the listernership, the sponsors have all grown. This just has been justification that we had a good idea to start with.
Q: Obviously any radio show reinvents itself over the years, what are some new things planned for this football season?
A: There are some new things coming. When football finally rolls around, that is the time of year where we don't have to do anything different, because people are crazy about football. In the summer, is when you really have to be creative. We will have more guests this fall and some promotions. We are continuing to get better. That is the best thing about the show is that both Richard (Cross) and I have a lot of input it. We are free to come up with ideas and implement them. I am really enjoying the concept. I am studying hard and trying to prepare every day. Each day, we look at it like we are building a house and we can build it any way we want to.
Q: Are you looking forward to your fourth season alongside Jim Ellis in the Mississippi State football radio booth?
A: This is like kid in a candy shop for me. I grew up loving football, watching (Southeastern Conferece) football. Then I played SEC football. Now, I get paid to come back to all of the games. I get free parking, a free pass to the game, a great viewpoint to the game. It is a chance to work alongside Jim Ellis. It is a chance to travel with the team. Again, this is an area where I do a lot of studying. I feel like it is my job to get better and better at finding ways to relay the game to our fans.
This is a challenge. Getting better is fun. Having room to grow in the job is fun. I feel like I have that opportunity.
Q: Having followed Mississippi State football for as long as you have, do you feel Dan Mullen has the team poised to turn the corner and join the Southeastern Conference's elite teams?
A: I think it is. They have a chance to turn that corner some this year. At the same time, you have to go out and do it. There is not a team in America that does not feel good about their chances for a great season right now. Still, the opportunity for MSU is there. I think Dan Mullen has done a great job building this program in every aspect. If you look at the facilities, the way the roster has been built - on top of the fact that he has been very consistent - he has won all the games he was supposed to win. Then, he has won a few games he may or may not win.
Now, the challenge is to get the team to be competitive on a regular basis against the upper echelon teams. However, though five seasons and going into year six, you have to say that he has done a remarkable job. Everything is in place to get there (to the next level).
Q: Speaking of progression, what have you seen from MSU quarterback Dak Prescott that impresses you most?
A: Dak has God-given ability. He has a big body, 230 or so pounds. He has good speed. He has all the physical tools. I admire his attitude. I can speak from experience. If you aren't careful, you can let things get in your head. You can listen to the outside chatter. I admire him for being focused and not being bothered by the outside.
I admire a player when they are both so mentally and physically tough that his teammates respect that. They recognize him and directly point to him as the leader. Everyone on that team knows where it starts. So what that means is that you have one of the main working pieces you have to have to have a good team.
Follow Scott Walters on Twitter @dispatchscott.
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter
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