SCOOBA - After leading East Mississippi Community College to its first National Junior College Athletic Association football national championship in 2011, coach Buddy Stephens called himself a "junior college lifer."
Danny Crawford was familiar with Noxubee County High School's athletic success from his time working in Oktibbeha and Lowndes counties.
Jason Trufant is going to have to talk to someone in information technology at Mississippi University for Women very soon.
STARKVILLE -- Lashard Durr will do anything to prove he is worthy of being a starter.
STARKVILLE -- Early in training camp, Dan Mullen doesn't want his players to get comfortable with the routine.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Alabama football team opened preseason camp in the wake of several summer arrests and departures and with a quarterback competition still going strong. Despite all that, the challenges remain pretty typical for the reigning national champions and have little or nothing to do with talent. There was no shortage of that when the Crimson Tide opened camp Thursday in the stifling heat of Alabama summers -- and Alabama's falls.
STARKVILLE -- Sweat rolled off Billy Gonzales' face Tuesday as he watched his young players in his position group. The Mississippi State wide receiver coach stood on the Jugs machine and barked out instructions as the Bulldogs ran through a drill involving two dummies acting as defenders and a cone that signaled where they were supposed to break down and turn back to him.
STARKVILLE -- Martinas Rankin stepped on the Mississippi State campus in the spring of 2015 with a chance to win a starting spot. Coming out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston, Rankin was the top-ranked junior college offensive lineman in the Class of 2015. When MSU signed him, making an immediate impact seemed inevitable.
STARKVILLE -- Carly Mauldin tried to prepare herself. There are plenty of pitfalls to encounter when you're jumping from high school to Division I, so Mauldin wanted to be ready in case she didn't see a lot of playing time. Coming from West Jones High in Laurel, Mauldin hoped to get a jump-start on her career at Mississippi State by enrolling in school in January 2016. The move enabled her to get an early start on her studies and gave her the opportunity to work out with the women's soccer team in the spring.
STARKVILLE -- Numbers don't mean a lot to Payton Harris. After all, it's not like she has time to stand straight up and keep tabs on her defensive success. If Harris did, she likely would get caught out of position, or, more embarrassingly, get six-packed, a volleyball term that refers to someone getting plunked in the head with a kill.
STARKVILLE -- Peter Sirmon wasn't shy about what new philosophies he wants to bring to the Mississippi State football defense.
STARKVILLE -- After February's signing period and the loss of three wide receivers, Mississippi State's Billy Gonzales feared a lack of depth.
STARKVILLE -- Mallory Eubanks is ready to shine. Following an offseason in which she immersed herself in soccer and was called up to be a member of the United States' Under-19 Women's National Team, Eubanks wants to give back some of what she learned to her Mississippi State women's soccer teammates to help the Bulldogs kick the season off in style.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen wouldn't be surprised if a quarterback transfers because he has seen it before. Mullen was involved in a quarterback controversy while he was the quarterbacks coach at Utah in 2003. Starter Brett Elliott broke his wrist in the second game and backup Alex Smith took over. When Elliott returned four weeks later, Smith had won the job. Before the next season, Mullen sat down with Elliott.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen wants to ease Fred Ross back into football shape. A groin sidelined the senior wide receiver for all of the team's 15 spring practices. Last month, though, Ross said at Southeastern Conference Media Days in Hoover, Alabama, that he was close to being ready. On Monday, speaking at MSU's media day, Mullen said Ross isn't back to 100 percent.
STARKVILLE -- "Tournament." The word occupies Jazmyne Johnson's thoughts every day. That shouldn't be surprising to anyone who knows the history of the Mississippi State volleyball. Started in 1975, the program recorded only eight winning seasons up until the 2015 season, when new head coach David McFatrich came over from Central Arkansas with the goal to reverse the Bulldogs' fortunes.
STARKVILLE -- Like many coaches, Dan Mullen was excited to talk to the media at Southeastern Conference Media Days earlier this month. Staring at more than 100 media members, the Mississippi State football coach ended his opening statement by saying, "Some of the best times of the year is Saturdays down south in the fall. There's nothing like it."
STARKVILLE -- The options on both ends of the court make Vic Schaefer smile. A year ago, Schaefer had plenty of reasons to smiles as the Mississippi State women's basketball team won a program-record 28 games and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament for the second time. The Bulldogs reached those marks with a point guard -- Morgan William -- who often was at less than 100 percent due to a leg injury -- and a freshman -- Jazzmun Holmes -- as the backup point guard.
OXFORD -- Matt Insell can't believe the transformation Shandricka Sessom has made. In just two years, Sessom has gone from a player who was reluctant to take her shot and to assert her will on games to being one of the go-to players on the Ole Miss women's basketball team. Now, Sessom is ready to add a running mate who can match her shot for shot.
STARKVILLE -- After winning the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship, Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen received an extension. MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin announced Friday that Cohen signed a four-year contract extension through 2020. Also, Cohen has added the title of associate athletic director.
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