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Football Goes Through 'Energized' First Practice

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QB Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs returned to the practice field Thursday.
Photo Courtesy of hailstate.com

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Unusually cool weather greeted the Mississippi State football team on Thursday afternoon as the 105-man Bulldogs went through their first practice of preseason camp in just over two hours at the Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex.

MSU worked on all three phases, going through drills and installation in helmets and shorts. Friday’s schedule calls for split-squad workouts with one group participating in the morning and one in the afternoon. Saturday and Sunday workouts will feature the Bulldogs in shoulder pads and helmets before going through the first full pads practice on Monday.

Sixth-year head coach Dan Mullen liked the energy he saw from a veteran team that spent much of the summer conducting its own individual workouts without staff.

“It tells you that you've got a lot of leadership amongst the team,” said Mullen. “You have guys that are setting the standard within their position group, within the offensive and defensive units and overall on the whole team. A lot of the young guys are going to follow the lead. 

“I thought the guys came out today with great energy, great excitement and ready to go play. We put stuff in, threw stuff at people and we have such a wide mix on the team - from old to young guys.”

Mullen said senior Ferlando Bohanna, who missed a portion of last season to a head injury, will serve as a student coach for the squad this fall.

“It was something we went back and forth with, the decision to medical redshirt him or not or try to come back,” said Mullen. “I think he could've been cleared to play but with where concussions are with young people right now, it was a great discussion we had sitting down. He is much more comfortable medically redshirting and playing out his last year as a coach and helping other guys out just in his long-term future.”

Mullen also discussed freshman Rashun Dixon joining the team after playing six years of professional baseball in the Oakland Athletics organization. Dixon, the brother of former MSU running back Anthony Dixon, originally committed to the Bulldogs in 2008.

MSU will conduct its annual media day at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and it will be streamed live for free. Fans can access a link that will be posted online and via social media on Friday and Saturday. Mullen begins the media day followed by coordinators John Hevesy, Billy Gonzales and Geoff Collins.

Follow continuous live updates from MSU’s preseason camp via TwitterInstagram and Facebook (click the links).

Coach Dan Mullen Quotes
July 31, 2014


On the first day of practice …
“They are juiced to be out there, having fun playing. This is why we work, to go play. Our coaches, everybody, the trainers and everybody is excited to be out there on the field, getting back to some football action. I thought the guys came out today with great energy, great excitement and ready to go play. I am pleased and obviously, they don't let us put pads on so you have be careful and try to keep everybody safe and limit what you do these first couple of days for safety concerns. But we put stuff in, threw stuff at people and we have such a wide mix on the team - from old to young guys. Training camp is going to be a lot of different things to a lot of different people this fall. But overall, I am just thrilled to be out there, juiced and ready to keep going.”

On players holding their own workouts during the summer …  
“One, it tells you that you've got a lot of leadership amongst the team. You have guys that are setting the standard within their position group, within the offensive and defensive units and overall on the whole team. A lot of the young guys are going to follow the lead. But when you have guys that have played a lot of football that are setting the standard very high in what they are doing, how hard they are working and how much they are putting in, it is easier to follow that than trying to get it done any other way.”

On if he has ever had a team with this kind of leadership …  
“No. I think 2010 we had a good group of really older players but I think they were still getting used to what the program was and how to be a great team. I think by the end of the year that group figured it out. But this group, you look at the experience the guys have and the competition that's out there. On the defensive side of the ball, when you have a lot of guys with playing experience coming back, the competition is huge to get your reps. So everybody knows it. You are looking at somebody else doing something, you say 'well, I better do more than him if I want to go and play'. Then you have that at the key positions on the offensive side, as well.”

On Ferlando Bohanna participating as a student coach …
 “He is working as a student assistant coach right now. It was something we went back and forth with, the decision to medical redshirt him or not or try to come back. I think he could've been cleared to play but with where concussions are with young people right now, it was a great discussion we had sitting down. He is much more comfortable medically redshirting and playing out his last year as a coach and helping other guys out just in his long-term future.”

On Rashun Dixon
“With guys like that and my experience with guys like that, he just seems to have that demeanor as a little older guy, more mature and he's been through a lot more. He's not coming off the high school fields out here to practice. He's coming off the professional fields out here to practice. He has a better grasp of what it is to be a pro and how to handle your business than some of the younger high school guys. I think the adjustment will be easier for him.” 


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