Bulldogs open summer practice

8TB6_MSU_primary_logoBy Brad Locke
Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – The process continued Thursday, and Jamerson Love is embracing it. The key is to make sure everyone else –especially the new guys – embraces it, too.
Mississippi State opened preseason camp on sun-baked practice fields, 30 days ahead of the season opener against Oklahoma State in Houston. Fifth-year head coach Dan Mullen spoke to players at the beginning of practice about enjoying the process of becoming a great team.

Love, a junior cornerback from Aberdeen, said he enjoys it.

“Honestly, I do, but when that heat is on you, man, it gets hard,” he said. “But that’s part of camp. You’ve just got to push through it and face that adversity and get better as a team.”

Plenty of new faces hit the practice field Thursday, including local products Chris Jones (Houston), Gabe Myles (Starkville) and Ashton Shumpert (Fulton). Those players were working with third- and fourth-string units, trying to get a feel for the flow of practice and the schemes they’re learning.

“They’ve just got to get used to the system, learn the plays and learn the SEC tempo and get better every day,” Love said.

It’ll be an arduous process that for most freshmen will involve taking a redshirt. What Mullen is looking for is a sustained energy level.

“Yeah, well, we didn’t have pads on, so it was a lot of new stuff and teaching,” Mullen said. “It was just kind of like the old guys waking up and being fresh, and the young guys figuring out what to do.

“I want to see that energy and that juice. We’ve got a young team and not many seniors on the team. So I want to see guys that are excited to be out here on the field and having fun while they’re playing.”

Mullen said the young guys “are all still pretty confused” this early in camp, trying to adjust to a higher level of play and a new playbook.

Older players like senior tailback LaDarius Perkins are trying to guide the youngsters along.

“They’re still learning,” he said. “You’re going to have a few mistakes out there, but that’s what practice is for. Practice makes perfect.”

MSU will hold split-squad practices today at 7:15 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. Both sessions are open to the public.

brad.locke@journalinc.com