Bulldogs pick up pace as practice resumes

By Paul Jones/Special to the Journal

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State returned to the practice fields Monday afternoon greeted by another hot and humid day. Head coach Dan Mullen noted it was a slow start that saw his squad pick up the pace as the day grew longer.
“They were a little sluggish to start with and I was a little disappointed in how we started,” said Mullen. “Coming with the weekend off and the big scrimmage on Friday, I guess that’s to be expected. But I expect greatness out of our guys at all times and I expect great effort. But they picked it up and we did some good things today.”
Monday also marked the unofficial end of training camp, said Mullen. With each passing day more and more attention will be focused on the Sept. 1 season opener at Memphis.
“Yeah, this is kinda that ‘training camp is over, ‘ ” said Mullen. “Now we are getting into game mode and sometimes it takes a day or two to get used to that. Really, (Monday) and Tuesday and then Wednesday is that transition and then we gameplan after that.
“It’s just that exact attention to detail that needs to go on (in practice). Instead of thinking about the whole offense and the whole defense, it’s just specific for what you’re using for each game.”
And that game planning means getting the scout teams in order, which was done for the initial time of camp on Monday.
“Just teaching the game mode and teaching when we split up with the scout teams how to get the looks we want to get,” said Mullen. “There are a lot of young guys out there doing it and a lot of guys out there doing it for the first time. Some have never done it in high school so they got to learn.”
Scout team assembles
Naturally, that meant the MSU newcomers of all sorts were introduced to their role on the scout team. Mullen said that some guys may not remain on the scout team but that all of the newcomers needed to get a taste of that aspect of practice.
“Every freshmen went to scout team today because they gotta learn how to do it,” said Mullen. “Every one of them went but that doesn’t mean they’re gonna stay there.
“Today was our first day with scout team so we sent all of our freshmen and all of our newcomers and everybody down there so they can learn what it’s like to be on a scout team. But it was only a small part of practice today.”