By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – It has become a training camp tradition at Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs trade in the comforting confines of their traditional practice fields for the solitude, smells and sweltering heat of a place simply known to the players and coaches alike as “the farm.”
MSU has worked the past two days at the site located on the south side of campus near the veterinary hospital and intramural fields.
“It’s hot, it stinks and it smells like cows – it’s a farm,” said quarterback Dak Prescott. “When it rains the mud comes and when it gets muddy it’s even worse. It’s an experience and is part of camp. You just have to keep going.”
Dan Mullen has brought the team to the farm each of his six seasons as head coach in order to signify the start of practice before the fall semester begins.
“It’s great to be back out there,” Mullen said. “For our guys, it’s a different mindset when you get out there. This is our team to come together as a team and for guys to develop and focus on what training camp is about. It’s such a different setting out there and much different than any game week or anything else. I think it’s easier to focus that way.”
The Bulldogs held two-a-day practices at the farm on Tuesday and will continue to work there the rest of the week. State will hold one practice daily from Wednesday through Friday before doubling up again on Saturday.
“There’s no trees and nothing but Mississippi heat and humidity,” said defensive end Preston Smith. “It’s nothing but heat, shoulder pads and a bunch of running around. It’s tough but it’s nothing we haven’t been through before.”
The setting on the farm is exactly the way that Mullen wants it.
“You won’t find shade on that field at any point during the day,” Mullen said. “There’s not one angle where the sun is going to provide any shade out there. The mental toughness that they learn out there, they know they have to fight through it and it will make us stronger.”
Four QBs in camp
Mississippi State has four scholarship quarterbacks in camp for the first time in Mullen’s tenure.
Prescott enters his junior season as the starter while sophomore Damien Williams serves as his back-up. True freshmen Nick Fitzgerald and Elijah Staley were signed earlier this year giving the Bulldogs the most scholarship signal callers on campus since 2008.
“It gives them a little more rest and they don’t get as worn down at practice,” Mullen said. “I’ve had (four quarterbacks) before in my career. We’ll talk in meetings beforehand about who gets what reps. I don’t mind moving the quarterbacks around to put them in those situations and see how their leadership is. It’ s a good way to test them.”