By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Last season did not go as Jameon Lewis had hoped.
After creating some buzz in preseason camp with his speed and elusiveness, the receiver was looking forward to getting on the field as a freshman for Mississippi State. Instead, he found himself spending a lot of time on the scout team.
Now, his redshirt year behind him, Lewis enters this preseason knowing he’ll have an integral role in MSU’s ever-improving offense.
“I really wanted to play, and I wasn’t used to being on the sidelines,” Lewis said Monday after the Bulldogs finished up their first team meetings of August. “It was a minor setback, so I’ve got to have a major comeback.”
For Lewis, as for many of MSU’s 18 redshirt freshmen, 2010 was a year to learn – about coach Dan Mullen’s schemes, and about themselves. It gave them a chance to grow – offensive lineman Blaine Clausell has gone from 270 pounds to 298 – and develop the kind of work ethic demanded by strength and conditioning coach Matt Balis.
After practicing behind All-American Derek Sherrod last year, Clausell is vying for the starting left tackle job with senior James Carmon. Having the chance to play gives Clausell a little extra motivation in preseason camp.
“I could be starting, or I might be one play away from getting in the game, so it definitely makes you work harder to learn technique more and to help you get stronger in the weightroom,” Clausell said. “It kind of helps push you to get better.”
All the Bulldogs are expected to officially report for preseason camp Wednesday, and practices begin Thursday. With most of the players on campus all summer, though, having an actual report day is a bit passampé, according to senior offensive lineman Addison Lawrence.
“We were laughing the other day because camp pretty much starts (on Monday),” Lawrence said. “Reporting day, there’s no such thing. It’s a year-round deal.”
But preseason camp is here, and each player has his own reason for looking forward to it. While younger guys like Lewis and Clausell are anticipating playing time, veterans like Lawrence are seeking quality time.
“It’s my senior year. I want to have a little more fun this year,” Lawrence said. “Not necessarily slack off, but enjoy the time here.”