STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen is playing some details close to the vest. Following Friday's closed scrimmage at Davis Wade Stadium, Mullen was vague in his assessment of individual performances, scores and participation. So were the Mississippi State players. When asked Saturday about scoring plays or stats from the scrimmage, neither Tyler Russell nor Chris Relf could remember much other than "it went well."
STARKVILLE -- On the eve of Mississippi State's first fall scrimmage, head coach Dan Mullen spent Thursday putting the team through controlled situations in the Palmeiro Center. Mullen and his staff wanted to get a solid day of teaching in the books before scrimmaging tonight in a closed practice at Davis Wade Stadium. Mullen hopes to see his inexperienced players execute and perform with different casts around them.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State fans now know what the consequences will be if they don't "Ring Responsibly" this football season. On Wednesday in Orlando, Fla., Southeastern Conference athletic directors put the finishing touches on the fine structure for artificial noisemakers, which was the final element of the June cowbell compromise between MSU and the other league members.
OXFORD -- Matthew Mott always knew he wanted to be a head coach, especially a head coach in the Southeastern Conference. After seven years of working as an assistant women's soccer coach at Auburn University, Mott took a "risky" move, by his admission, to become an assistant coach at the University of Texas.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It's all about an attitude this season for the University of Alabama women's soccer team. After seasons of nine and six wins in his first two years at the school, coach Todd Bramble hopes an infusion of 11 newcomers and the maturation of his underclasswomen helps his program make strides in the Southeastern Conference.
STARKVILLE -- How does a defense maintain its big-play ability while limiting big plays? Mississippi State football coaches are banking on experience and constant attention to creating turnovers to help even out a unit that had its high and low moments a season ago. Bright spots last season included five scores from interceptions and freshmen Johnthan Banks and Corey Broomfield combining for 10 picks and four scores.
STARKVILLE -- With two-a-days in the books, the Mississippi State football team will continue to prepare for the start of classes and its season opener. And much like the rest of MSU's training camp, coach Dan Mullen was positive Monday in his assessment of the team's morning practice.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football fans will never know how good of a running back Montrell Conner could have been. At least in maroon and white. The redshirt freshman's sudden departure and transfer to Copiah-Lincoln Community College leaves a small, but fillable void in the backfield just three weeks from the Bulldogs' season opener. Citing having a two-year-old son in his hometown of Monroe, La., and feeling unhappy at MSU, Conner leaves Robert Elliott, Vick Ballard, LaDarius Perkins, Nick Griffin and Adrian Marcus to split reps.
FULTON -- Jon Williams willingness to fire himself shows he has bought into a fresh start at Itawamba Community College. Williams' decision to relieve himself of his duties as offensive line coach was difficult, but the new ICC football coach realized when he replaced Jeff Terrill things needed to change. So the 15-year veteran coach gave up his love and has taken on the responsibilities as the team's new coach of the running backs.
STARKVILLE -- Montrell Conner, despite an Internet rumor Thursday, is still a member of the Mississippi State football team, coach Dan Mullen confirmed Thursday.
STARKVILLE -- Possibly the most tightly-contested position on Mississippi State's football team this preseason is at kicker, where two seniors with a lot in common are trying to gain an edge for the No. 1 job. Derek DePasquale and Sean Brauchle are junior college transfers who each started six games last season and experienced success. Their similarities don't stop there. Both were perfect on extra points and were close in accuracy as DePasquale missed two field goals to Brauchle's three. Neither recorded a touchback, and their respective season-long field goals are separated by just a yard.
STARKVILLE -- The only changes made to Mississippi State's coaching staff after Dan Mullen's first year at the helm came on the defensive side of the ball and it's had an effect on all three levels. Manny Diaz left Middle Tennessee State and Chris Wilson left the University of Oklahoma and joined MSU to help retool a young defense that flashed just as much big-play potential as big plays given up. Diaz and Wilson have a spring practice under their belts as they co-coordinate the defense. In addition, Diaz coaches the linebackers and Wilson tutors the defensive line in a system run by some NFL teams.
STARKVILLE -- Dan Mullen isn't budging on who he expects to be Mississippi State's starting quarterback. The race between Tyler Russell and Chris Relf, only a week into fall practice, hasn't produced a front-runner and there doesn't appear to be light at the end of the tunnel, Dan Mullen hinted during Saturday's team media day.
STARKVILLE -- Receiving depth is a concern for the Mississippi State football team, but if Thursday's practice was any indication of what to expect, all the Bulldogs need is a bit of patience. Such was the case last year when MSU relied on Chad Bumphis and Leon Berry to assimilate themselves into a new offense at a new level. In just a year, Bumphis and Berry have become the elder statesmen of what passing game coordinator Mark Hudspeth calls "the youngest receiving corps in the country."
STARKVILLE -- Expect more from Mississippi State's volleyball team. MSU coach Jenny Hazelwood believes she has seen enough from the progress the team made last year and the success it had in the spring season to warn of a breakout year for one of the Southeastern Conference's lower-ranked programs. "We've carried over a lot of momentum and will be a better team," Hazelwood said.
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