A sunny spring afternoon in Starkville welcomed football coach Dan Mullen and his Mississippi State Bulldogs to the practice field on Friday for opening day of spring football.
“Felt good being back out here doing some football,” said Mullen. “Been a long time since we’ve been on the field so great feeling to get back out here.” For the 200 MSU fans on hand, they were able to watch a rather typical spring practice, one where the Bulldogs were simply getting back into the grove of being on the gridiron.
As one might expect, the energy level was high, even for their head coach who decided to participate by being a blocking dummy in running back drills.
“Yeah. It’s bad. They should be trying to make me miss,” joked Mullen, who may have been roughed up a bit during the drill. “If you get hit by an almost 40-year-old man, then that’s a bad thing. They should be making me miss.”
As for player performance, Tyler Russell looked calm and collected as you might expect a redshirt junior quarterback to be. He made the throws he needed to make and looked rather mobile. He showed no signs of his knee injury, other than the knee braces that were added to his wardrobe.
“Tyler started a couple games and will come out here with confidence,” said Mullen. “He’s been doing this awhile so he knows what he’s doing. I don’t see a guy that's going to put a lot of pressure on himself.”
Mullen continue by praising the leadership of the players who have been around the program like, Russell, Johnthan Banks, and Josh Boyd.
“With the older guys, you see a bit of maturity," Mullen said. "Their emotions are real. They’re not trying to figure it out. They know what to do and when to pick it up.
“You see that when they go from drill to drill and understand it, how to change their intensity.”
The intensity could easily be seen on the defensive as guys battled early for their role this spring.
“We have some guys that are hungry to compete," Mullen said. "That’s one of the things I look for. They might not have that experience and we’ll have to be patient with the learning curve but the effort, hunger and desire is all there for those guys.”
Mississippi State returns to the practice field at 11 a.m. today and like Friday, the public is welcome to stop by and check out the Bulldogs first hand.