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No mohawk, blond tips for Fitzgerald at SEC Media Days


Brett Hudson



ATLANTA -- Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald made a pact with his friends on the MSU baseball team, relief pitcher Riley Self in particular.  


As members of the baseball team cut their hair into mohawks and bleached the tips blond, Fitzgerald agreed to do the same if the team made it to the College World Series. 


Not only did the baseball team reach Omaha, Nebraska, it won two games. 


Shortly thereafter, Fitzgerald announced his girlfriend would be participate in the process to his hair and that he didn't want his Southeastern Conference Media Days pictures to have the same look. 


"Those are pictures I'll have for the rest of my life. I don't want to have a blonde mohawk," Fitzgerald said. "I'll do it for camp. You have my word. I'll do it for camp." 




Moorhead updates signees 


MSU entered the week with three signees unaccounted for.  


A resolution to the situation involving running back La'Damian Webb is expected any day. 


As The Dispatch reported earlier this week, signees Johnquarise Patterson and Malik Heath, who are both wide receivers, are going to junior college. Patterson will attend Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, while Heath will go to Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson. Moorhead said he couldn't comment about Patterson or Heath as they aren't enrolled at MSU. 


As for Webb, a former standout at Beauregard (Ala.) High School, Moorhead said the school is waiting for him to clear one more hurdle. 


"We're still waiting to hear on that (hurdle)," Moorhead said about Webb's enrollment being cleared by the NCAA. He expects that to go well. 


Webb was a three-star prospect, according to most recruiting sites. He was the first junior to win Alabama's Mr. Football award after rushing for 3,242 yards and an Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) record 49 rushing touchdowns. He helped the Hornets win their first state championship in school history as a junior with Super 7 records in rushing attempts (51), rushing yards (359), and touchdowns (five) in the championship game. 


The 5-foot-8, 185-pounder rushed for 1,841 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior. 




Hancock, Saban address UCF 


With the executive director of the College Football Playoff and the coach of the reigning national champions in the same building on the same day, one topic was bound to come up: Central Florida, the team claiming the championship Bill Hancock's organization awarded to Alabama coach Nick Saban. 


"For the College Football Playoff, things are simple: Play a good schedule, win your games, and you're going to be in the hunt," Hancock said. "That holds true for UCF and Houston and Northern Illinois, as well as Alabama and Ohio State and Texas and Washington." 


Said Saban, "I'm not responsible for the system that determines who gets in the playoffs, but I think they did a good job of determining who got in the playoffs." 


In April, UCF unveiled a national championship sign and handed out national championship rings prior to the team's spring game. UCF completed a 13-0 season with a 34-27 victory against Auburn in the Peach Bowl. It contends it is the national champion based on the fact it was the only undefeated team in 2017, even though Alabama won the CFP. 




Missouri's offensive experiment 


Derek Dooley's tenure as coach at Tennessee ended after less than three seasons following a 41-18 loss at Vanderbilt. 


Dooley, who went 15-21 at Tennessee and also was head coach at Louisiana Tech, spent the last five seasons as a coach with the NFL's Dallas Cowboys. He worked as wide receivers coach this past season and then moved to Missouri in January to take over for Josh Heupel, who left to become UCF's new head coach. 


When Dooley left the NFL to become Missouri's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, questions immediately surfaced about the Tigers' offense. 


Missouri is still trying to figure out the answers. 


Quarterback Drew Lock described the first spring under Dooley as a big experiment. He said Dooley threw myriad concepts at the players to see what they executed well and what they didn't. From there, Dooley will form the playbook. 


"He's going to do that again during camp, just to put some things in we didn't run well that he really wants us to have," Lock said. "I've really enjoyed my time. I wish I could have more." 


Lock said his conversations with Dooley, the fact that Missouri returns 10 of 11 starters on offense, and the chance to get his degree contributed to his decision to bypass the NFL draft and stay at Missouri. Missouri coach Barry Odom expects that decision to be rewarded. 


"When we hired Derek, I wanted to make sure we're able to maintain some of the things we've done with success the last couple of years," Odom said, "but also as a head coach there were things I wanted to move to offensively that gave us a chance in either third downs or red zone or second and short, the different situations you get in football on some different ways to play." 


Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson



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