August 5, 2012

Bulldogs get physical

Mississippi State returned to the practice fields for the third time this fall on Sunday afternoon. But this time the Bulldogs session felt a little more real.

The team donned shoulder pads for the first time turning their already physical practices up another notch.

"You can actually do a little bit more," said MSU head coach Dan Mullen. "We do a lot without shoulder pads but it's a little bit more realistic looking when you have shoulder pads on. We are trying to teach things and you can teach at a little more normal pace."

Mullen has 19 true freshmen on scholarship who are experiencing an SEC caliber practice for the first time and that is a tough task to undertake.

"The culture shock for freshmen is huge," Mullen said. "You're talking about guys who were the best week in and week out during their high school careers. Throw on top of that the absolute media hype that has become recruiting where kids have press conferences and all this stuff. Then they show up here and they are 18-year old kids going against 22-year old men that have been training and lifting for four years that understand the game and are bigger, faster and stronger. That's a major culture shock for these kids. They go from being a superstar to not being the biggest or the fastest. The mentality of that is sometimes tough."

While there is still plenty of youth on both sides of the ball, Mullen believes the overall athleticism of his team might be the best he has had since he arrived in Starkville four years ago.

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