SEC MEDIA DAYS: Hard-working Mitchell may be working too hard

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

HOOVER, Ala. – Maybe there is such a thing as working too hard.
During SEC Media Days on Wednesday, Mississippi State strong safety Charles Mitchell said he’s been dealing with a couple of minor injuries this summer: A mystery back problem and a strained hamstring.
According to Mitchell, he was told by ever-demanding strength and conditioning coach Matt Balis that those injuries resulted from over-exertion.
“He blamed me, said I was going too hard,” Mitchell said.
Not something you’d expect to hear from Balis, but it speaks to the work ethic of Mitchell, a junior from Clarksdale. He played significant minutes as a freshman and started last year, making 64 tackles and four interceptions.
“He probably could start on offense for us if we wanted to put him at offense,” coach Dan Mullen said. “He could start on every special team, on defense. And on top of that, a great student, great person.
“Give me a whole lot of Charles Mitchells, we’ll have a championship team.”
Mitchell, who said he’s feeling “pretty healthy” these days, has gladly taken up the role of leader for a deep secondary that has a mix of experience and youth.
“Me and Corey (Broomfield) and Maurice (Langston), we got together and said we’re going to have to step up and be more vocal and really take these guys and show them the way.”

Early kickoffs set
– Game times for MSU’s first three contests are now set.
The league announced Wednesday that the season opener versus Memphis at Davis Wade Stadium will start at 6 p.m. and be broadcast on ESPNU. Two weeks later, State visits LSU for another 6 p.m. start, also on ESPNU.
MSU’s Week 2 game against Auburn, a Thursday contest in Starkville, was already scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start on ESPN.

No agent troubles
– There was much talk Wednesday of rogue agents contacting SEC athletes, as Alabama and Florida are both dealing with that issue.
As for Mullen, he said that’s not been a problem for MSU thus far.
“We try to educate them, and we deal with it, and there’s agents trying to contact our players,” he said. “Until the people that are committing the crimes, until these agents that are causing the problem, until they have to face a consequence, it’s going to be pretty hard.”
Mullen said he has specifically asked his players about being contacted by the NCAA regarding agents, and none of them have been. He said MSU has a program that it’s “fine-tuning” to help players understand how to correctly deal with agents.
“If people are going to cheat to get you to do something for them, chances are they’re going to cheat you once they get you,” Mullen said. “We tell that to our players.”

Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or brad.locke@djournal.com.