BRAD LOCKE: Hello, I must be going

11842155-smallTUPELO – When I began covering Mississippi State for the Daily Journal five years ago, my predecessor, Gregg Ellis, gave me a piece of advice that’s stuck with me to this day.

“Don’t let this job run your life.”

Easier said than done. I quickly found out just how demanding it is to cover a college beat full time, and while it dictated my life to a great extent, I tried my best to heed Gregg’s advice.

I tried to enjoy the job, and for the most part, I have. As you might have heard, my time covering the Bulldogs is nearing an end, because I’ve accepted a position as the online content coordinator for the Journal.

So while that will mean almost no travel and more time with my family, and while I expect I’ll greatly enjoy my new job, there is plenty I’ll miss about covering MSU. Two things in particular I’ll miss about it: Game days, and the camaraderie.

I’ll miss rolling into Starkville on a cool morning, driving past the tailgaters and then walking into a near-empty press box overlooking a pristine Scott Field.

I’ll miss wandering through the Junction and visiting friends and fans, bumming barbecue and maybe the occasional beer.

I’ll miss walking down on the field for the final five minutes of a game, stepping inside that giant fish bowl for a few moments.

I’ll miss road trips to towns like Athens, Baton Rouge and Knoxville. And I hate that I won’t get to make it to College Station and Columbia, S.C., this fall – I’ve never been to either place.

But what I’ll miss more than anything is the camaraderie with my fellow writers. Although many of us are competitors in a lot of ways, we’re all friends. I’ve probably spent more time with them the past five years than I have my family.
I developed what I hope are lifelong friendships with guys like Kyle Veazey, Brandon Marcello, Matt Stevens, Bob Carskadon, Ben Wait and David Murray. “Uncle Dave,” as Ben calls him, was so helpful with his encyclopedic knowledge of MSU sports.

It’s a fun group of guys. We traveled together, ate and drank together, bemoaned the general state of the newspaper industry together. I rang in New Year’s with them in Jacksonville twice.

It’s a funny group, too. David Brandt, who writes for the Associated Press, does a killer Tyrone Biggums impression.

All in all, I expect this will be a good move for me and my family. And I’ll leave you in good hands with Logan Lowery, who covered MSU for five years for Rivals.com.

I’m covering one more game, the opener against Oklahoma State on Saturday. Then I’ll change desks, making sure I still keep Gregg’s advice in mind.

brad.locke@journalinc.com