STARKVILLE – With his long blonde hair and tattoos running down both arms, Dillon Day projects a particular image. How closely does the image reflect reality?
Well, teammate Justin Malone described Day this way: “He’s one weird guy.”
Day smiles and shrugs at that description. The Mississippi State center doesn’t worry too much about the image he projects.
“I’m myself, so what you see is what you get,” he said. “I don’t put on fronts for anyone.”
Day quickly dispelled any false impressions Malone had of him when the latter was a freshman at MSU.
“I would’ve pegged him my first year here as either liking rock or a country boy,” Malone said. “But he listens to the same music the rest of the team listens to. He likes rap, and he’s always in there dancing with Gabe (Jackson), just keeping everything loose and lively in the meeting room.”
Off the field, Day likes to make teammates laugh. On the field, the personality changes.
“On the football field, it’s kind of like a job, and I take it very seriously,” he said. “I want to punish people. It’s just different.
“When I’m around my friends, I want them to enjoy me, and then when I’m on the football field I want my enemy not to.”
Day, a junior from West Monroe, La., is entering his third year as the starting center. He started nine games as a freshman and has firmly held the job ever since.
He’s the linchpin of an offensive line that boasts a wealth of experience, and just as important, it’s a group that’s grown increasingly tight-knit.
Colorful as Day is – quite literally; witness his arm and back tats – he’s just one of several differing personalities that have meshed to create that intangible commodity known as chemistry.
As an example, offensive line coach John Hevesy pointed to the contrast between Day and Jackson, the All-SEC senior left guard.
“From where you look at Dillon and Gabe, where Gabe’s from (Liberty) and where Dillon’s from, two different sets of the world,” Hevesy said. “They’re probably less than 100 miles away, but two different sets.
“To me they ultimately have a common goal, and all my guys have a common goal, the whole team. They have a common goal to be personally successful and as a unit be successful.
“Once we see that and the camaraderie and everything we do to be successful as a group and as individuals, it’s all you’ve got to work for.”
The goal of MSU’s offensive line this season is to take the offense to even higher levels. Hevesy and the players believe the bond between the players makes that possible.
They spend time together off the field going to dinner, watching movies and, over the summer, playing golf.
“When you’ve got the chemistry, you can trust the guy next to you, and you can trust everyone on the line,” Day said. “You’re not worried about anyone else, you’re just worried about yourself.”