STARKVILLE -- There were times this summer when Erica Bougard left the Mississippi State track discouraged after a long practice. Many of the events that make up the heptathlon come easy to the Southeastern Conference champion. But there are two -- the javelin and the shot put -- that usually get the best of her. This summer, Bougard has taken steps to improve in both. It has been taxing.
STARKVILLE -- The road to Atlanta and the Southeastern Conference title game starts today for the Mississippi State football team. The Bulldogs reported Suanday night and open fall camp today. No practices will be open to the public. MSU opened the 2014 season with nine-straight victories and was ranked No. 1 for five-straight weeks. The Bulldogs lost three of their final four games, including losses to Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl and Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, to finish 10-3. MSU earned its highest finish in The Associated Press rankings (No. 11) and tied its highest finish in the USA Today Coaches poll (No. 12).
STARKVILLE -- Elena Lovato didn't realize the impact five words could make. Early one morning after reading a devotional, Lovato decided to share her positive vibes with the world, so she typed 27 characters and hit send. The Mississippi State assistant women's basketball coach didn't give her message -- "Blessed to see another day" -- a second thought. It wasn't targeted at anyone. It wasn't designed to attract a following. Lovato merely wanted to get her day off to a good start, and she believed sharing her excitement helped her have a better outlook.
STARKVILLE - Jay Logan has had two revelations about his career.
STARKVILLE - When former Mississippi State second baseman Brooke O'Hair looks at her husband Tony, she thinks of the MSU softball stadium and field.
STARKVILLE -- In the past three seasons, the Mississippi State men's basketball team found competing in the Southeastern Conference to be an uphill battle. In three seasons at MSU, former coach Rick Ray didn't post a winning record in the SEC. His highest win total (six) came last season. As a result, Ray was fired a week and a half after a season-ending loss to Auburn in the SEC tournament. He has since been hired to lead the Southeast Missouri State men's basketball program.
STARKVILLE -- Don't mess with Shelby Jordan. Despite the drops of water falling from her face, the intensity in Jordan's eyes speaks to the camera and keeps you glued to the screen for nine seconds. No, she isn't auditioning for the next big horror movie. Instead, Jordan's acting debut in the HailState Productions video is meant to convey a message that a storm -- the Mississippi State women's soccer team -- is coming in August 2015.
STARKVILLE -- David McFatrich knew what he was getting into when he became Mississippi State's new volleyball coach. McFatrich realized MSU never has qualified for the NCAA tournament and has won only 86 Southeastern Conference matches in its 40-year history.
STARKVILLE -- Scoring never has been an issue for Craig Sword. Sword has scored in double figures in each of the past three seasons to lead the Mississippi State men's basketball team. Last season, Sword was bothered by a back injury that required surgery weeks before the 2014-15 opener. After missing the first four games of the season, Sword needed additional time to find his rhythm, but the Montgomery, Alabama, native still averaged 11.3 points per game. As a sophomore and freshman he averaged 13.7 and 10.5 ppg., respectively.
STARKVILLE -- Ben Wood was in the midst of his best season at Mississippi State in 2014-15. He won two tournaments in the fall and was preparing to carry that momentum to the spring and help the Bulldogs reach the postseason. Then his mother, Robin, lost her battle to bile duct cancer, which attacks the liver, in January.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State enjoyed a record day last year when eight players committed during the annual Big Dawg Camp at Davis Wade Stadium.
STARKVILLE - Southeastern Conference Media Days officially marks the beginning of football season.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State junior I.J. Ready has grown and matured a lot in his two seasons with the Bulldogs.
HOOVER, Ala. - Dak Prescott found the predicted order of finish in the Southeastern Conference very funny.
HOOVER, Ala. - C.J. Johnson isn't lacking for confidence.
HOOVER, Ala. -- When Alabama walked out of the Georgia Dome last December, a national championship was in sight.
HOOVER, Ala. -- After losing by one point and one touchdown to Alabama and Mississippi State respectively last season, Arkansas started to gain confidence.
STARKVILLE -- Seven months ago, Teaira McCowan knew she was going to play basketball in college.
HOOVER, Ala. - Mississippi State rolled into Tuscaloosa, Alabama, last season with a 9-0 record and a No. 1 by its name.
HOOVER, Ala. - South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier loves golf.
1. Lovato helping MSU women build brand COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Tigers have plenty of mentors to help them achieve goals HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Shorter, Tigers doing it the right way HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Noxubee County has right plan in place for success on, off field HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. MSU football team opens camp today COLLEGE SPORTS