When the Mississippi State and University of Memphis football teams square off Saturday, they'll do so with similar situations at quarterback. Memphis will debut first-year starter and sophomore Cannon Smith, whom first-year head coach Larry Porter hopes will play well enough to help the Tigers avoid having to use a multi-quarterback carousel like they did last season. MSU has a slight advantage, as junior Chris Relf scored seven touchdowns and finished second on the team in rushing last season.
Jon Williams wants to see how much his players have invested in this season. The first-year Itawamba Community College football coach will get to see how much his players have "bought in" to his system at 7 tonight when his team plays host to Hinds C.C.
STARKVILLE -- Transitioning into game-week, Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen has decided to give his players more time to focus on Saturday's season opener against Memphis. That decision meant less time for media interviews for some, and none for the majority of the Bulldogs, who kick off the season Saturday against Memphis.
SCOOBA -- Devin Hawkins learned a lot in his first season at East Mississippi Community College. Not only did he get stronger and quicker, but he gained a new appreciation for junior college football. But all of that improvement was nearly wiped out earlier this year. In April, Hawkins thought he had a stomach virus while training in practice. Whatever the ailment, it was bad enough that it made him unable to complete his work.
Some players might take 100 percent for granted. But it's easy to believe nothing can go wrong when you never have suffered a serious injury. Jackson State players Javarius Conner and Andre' Wright plan to show people this season what they can do when they finally are fully recovered. They might not be there yet, but the former Noxubee County High School standouts intend to make a statement at some point this season.
STARKVILLE -- Shrouded in mystery Monday at Mississippi State football press conference was quarterback Chris Relf, who wasn't present but was the hot topic ahead of the team's season opener against the University of Memphis at 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU) at Davis Wade Stadium.
STARKVILLE -- For every stud freshman who takes college football by storm, there are five times as many first-year players who won't see the game field for at least a year. The process of using a "redshirt" year is common in all sports, as student-athletes are allowed five years to play four. Athletes can use a redshirt season for a variety of reasons and at any year of their eligibility, though in football it's most commonly used for an injury or in a player's first year on campus. In football, where physical development is exponentially vital because of the contact involved in the sport, a freshman has a 50 percent chance of seeing the field. Roster counts at certain positions, injuries to other players, and a player's ability to transition quickly to a deeper playbook and older athletes factor into a coach's decision to redshirt a player.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Judy Green doesn't want any pageantry. The veteran University of Alabama volleyball coach would prefer to see her players bask in the glow of their achievements in her final season at the school. To do that, the Crimson Tide will have to erase the memory of a disappointing 2009 season. If they can, the players will send Green out in style. Green will begin her 15th and final season at Alabama at 7 tonight when her team plays Iowa at the Hawkeye Challenge. She announced in January she planned to retire at the end of the season.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen isn't releasing any details about his depth chart as his team gets closer to its season opener against the University of Memphis at 6 p.m. Sept. 4 (ESPNU). But there was one post-practice nugget Wednesday that shed some light into the team's most experienced group.
STARKVILLE -- Ashley Newsome doesn't like the spotlight. The Mississippi State senior wouldn't mind if she is just another piece to the puzzle as long as her team wins.
STARKVILLE -- Danielle Kite has played just about everywhere in her Mississippi State career. As a senior, Kite will be the centerpiece in the Bulldogs' attack.
SCOOBA -- Time is ticking away for the East Mississippi Community College football team. In nine days, the No. 7 Lions will try to build off the most successful season in the school's history when they travel to Perkinston on Sept. 2 to take on No. 5 Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.
SCOOBA -- Working hard wasn't enough for Johnny Cockrell. Entering his sophomore season with the East Mississippi Community College football team, Cockrell realized he needed to do something to move up the depth chart.
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.
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