STARKVILLE — Mississippi State students were welcomed back to campus Monday afternoon with the season’s first pep rally at the drill field. A gathering of several hundred students listened to MSU President Mark Keenum, Starkville mayor Parker Wiseman, and MSU football coach Dan Mullen speak in a steady drizzle. The MSU cheerleaders and band also were present to help energize the crowd.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen has been optimistic about his chances of having first baseman Connor Powers in the middle of his lineup in 2010. On Monday, those hopes were realized as Powers announced he will return to Mississippi State for his senior season. “I’m excited about it and think it was the right decision,” Powers said. “With all factors included, I think, without a doubt, it was the right thing to do.”
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State men’s basketball signee Renardo Sidney is one step closer to being able to get on the court with the Bulldogs. The NCAA Eligibility Center on Monday cleared Sidney academically, which allowed him to enroll in fall classes. Although the issues with his status as an amateur remain unresolved, Sidney can participate in preseason individual and conditioning workouts with the team.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State senior running back Anthony Dixon pled guilty last week driving under the influence. The plea was entered by his attorney Jay Perry so Dixon could avoid Monday’s court date at Starkville Municipal Court. It remains unclear what punishment MSU coach Dan Mullen has decided to impose on Dixon, who was arrested July 18 in Starkville. Dixon, who was fined $500, was charged with driving under the influence, careless driving, and not having proof of insurance.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen knew poor field conditions were going to prevent the Bulldogs from playing games last season. The lack of adequate drainage at Dudy Noble Field after inclement weather led to the cancellation of the final game of the Nicholls State series March 1, the Mississippi Valley State game March 31, and the middle game of the Alabama series May 2. Cohen believes the renovations to the baseball field will help improve the team’s chances of playing all its home games every year.
STARKVILLE — Starkville Quarterback Club President Larry Graves is excited about the prospects for a good year. The club, which promotes Mississippi State football throughout the season, begins its 44th season of meetings Sept. 3. Meetings are held on each Thursday night during the season at the Starkville Country Club on Montgomery Street. A social hour begins at 6 p.m. The meal, announcement of door prizes, and speakers starts at 7 p.m.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen hates to see the last week of two-a-day practice sessions end. Mullen liked the home-away-from-home setting at the intramural fields across campus and wished he had more time there. “The players came out and battled,” Mullen said. “They came out with the right attitude. There were really hard practices Saturday.” With the start of classes Monday, the Bulldogs will return to the team practice fields Tuesday. The team is scheduled to hold meetings, to have brunch, to visit the team chapel, to watch film and to lift weights today.
FULTON — Evan Lackey wants to help the Itawamba Community College football team get back to the playoffs. One year after playing at ICC, Anthony Lackey, Evan’s brother, wants to help his new team at Kentucky Wesleyan reach the same goal. Evan Lackey will begin that journey at 5 p.m. today when ICC plays Copiah-Lincoln in a scrimmage at Lambert Stadium. The game action will be the first for the former Amory High School standout, who has impressed the coaches in the past few months.
STARKVILLE — Nothing Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen saw Thursday in the team’s first full scrimmage of the season gave one quarterback an edge. After observing the two-hour scrimmage, Mullen said senior Tyson Lee, of Columbus, and sophomore Chris Relf are “dead even.” Mullen went on to say it probably would be a three-man race if freshman Tyler Russell had enrolled at MSU in January and would have participated in spring practice.
STARKVILLE –– Mississippi State entered the second week of preseason football practice Monday and none of the players are confident enough to say they have earned a starting position. Senior quarterback Tyson Lee, of Columbus, said there’s competition at every position, which is just the way coach Dan Mullen wants it. “It’s wide open on offense and defense,” Lee said. “Coach continues to stress that. Whoever wants the job, that’s who he is going to give it to.”
STARKVILLE — Jenny Hazelwood’s excitement is contagious. It took only one hour in the team’s first meeting Thursday for the new Mississippi State volleyball coach to get her players fired up. That energy carried over to the court Friday when the team opened its preseason with a pair of practices. “She is 100 percent invested in our program,” senior setter Dorey Gray said Friday. “She is so good at inspiring us and knowing when to say the right things to us.”
STARKVILLE — The Humphrey Coliseum at Mississippi State is going through some changes. In the past few weeks, new lighting has been installed and upgraded in the arena and a new arrangement of banners has been put in place. Renovations to the women’s basketball locker room recently were completed, and the men’s locker room is being refurbished. The installation of a new basketball court with new MSU marks and logos is another piece of the athletic department’s $2.1 million investment to enhance all of the facilities on campus.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State opened two-a-day football practices on Saturday with a two-hour session in the morning and a shorter workout in the afternoon. The Bulldogs have changed locations from the football practice fields to the intramural field where they could be alone. Well, almost. “We’re in training camp now and it’s a work-oriented location,” Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said. “We’re away from the fans and the media. When we got out there, it was just us and the cows. The cows were up on a hill in the next field over. They were out early. We might have to get up and go earlier (today) so we can beat the cows out to work.”
STARKVILLE -- Derek Sherrod has always had a family member available to encourage him at Mississippi State. He just didn’t always realize it. One of the reasons Sherrod chose to play at Mississippi State was because his older brother, Dezmond, was already there as a tight end in Sylvester Croom’s West Coast offense. After Dezmond graduated and signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Derek missed having a family member around. That’s until Sherrod found out he had a cousin also with the Bulldogs in Tobias Smith.
STARKVILLE — The intensity seemed to rise with the temperatures Thursday morning at the Mississippi State football practice fields. The Bulldogs seemed to take things a little more seriously in their second day in pads. “They came out better than (Wednesday),” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. “They weren’t really used to being in pads, but this was what we expect our normal practices to look like.”
STARKVILLE — Jenny Hazelwood knows how to surprise people. In coaching stops at Centenary College (La.) and at Austin Peay, the former Mississippi State volleyball player has exceeded expectations and helped her programs reach new levels of success. Hazelwood believes she can follow that same formula at MSU.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen’s face lit up when he heard the news. Mississippi State announced Tuesday it has set a school record in season-ticket sales, and finished the day at 38,469. That total includes 10,000 student tickets that will go on sale when classes begin on Aug. 17. Although Mullen is pleased about the new record, he won’t be satisfied until his goal of 40,000 season tickets sold has been met. He plans to keep promoting until it happens.
STARKVILLE — It’s too early to tell about Tyler Russell. That’s the impression most people had about the Mississippi State freshman quarterback after his first practice Tuesday with the full squad. The freshmen and varsity held separate workouts to open preseason drills Monday. Russell seemed to hold his own with the other quarterbacks in the near three-hour session that lasted into the night.
STARKVILLE — It was in with the old and the new Monday at Mississippi State as the football team opened preseason practice with two sessions. The freshmen and newcomers worked out for an hour and a half in the morning, while the varsity team members spent nearly three hours in the afternoon brushing up on what they learned in the spring.
The NCAA notified Donald Jackson, the attorney for Mississippi State basketball signee Renardo Sidney, by an e-mail Monday morning that he wouldn’t be permitted to participate in interviews of third parties unless he signed a statement of confidentiality.
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