The Notebook: 8-27

While spending much of the day working on behind-the-scenes stories, lengthier features and various videos, I often miss out on reporting some of the day-to-day happenings around Mississippi State.

As a means of fixing that problem, we’re starting a nightly feature, The Notebook, which as the name infers, is basically an emptying of my notebook at the end of every day. It typically won’t be long, just a quick catch-up of the day, including some things which may not have been written about.

So, How Was Your Day?

Now four days away from the kickoff of football season, we’re getting heavier into talk about actual Xs and Os, strategy and opponents.

Defensive coordinator Geoff Collins spoke for a bit on the task of defending Oklahoma State’s offense, one of the best in the country. Not that you’d expect a coach to trash an opponent, but he seemed sincere in his heavy praise of the Cowboy offense, everyone from quarterbacks and offensive linemen to receivers and running backs.

“The key,” Collins said, “is the pass rush. They run so much early and they wear people down. The first thing to go when you get tired is the pass rush. … We can’t let that happen, even if we do get tired.”

Heavy rotation of linemen – and the entire defense, honestly – will be one of his solutions.

On the offensive side, we talked to Tyler Russell after practice. The senior quarterback talked a bit about OSU’s defense being talented and the challenge in front of them, but the most interesting part of his chat was a bit of a flashback. MSU has, of course, moved from it’s old facility into the Seal Family Football Complex. He and fellow quarterback Dak Prescott were in the old team room for an FCA meeting earlier in the week, and they happened to see practice grades from last fall still on the wall.

“Both of our grades are so much better and improved,” he said. “It was encouraging to see.”

Another noteworthy nugget was Russell’s breakdown of his responsibilities and freedoms in play calling. A fifth-year senior, he’s been working with Dan Mullen and Les Koenning’s offense for some time. With that knowledge, they trust him now to make some of his own calls.

“They gave me two plays to choose from at one point in practice today,” Russell said. “I went to the line and I saw something, so I called a totally different play that had nothing to do with those two. And it worked. They were happy.”

One last OSU-related tidbit: I can’t speak knowledgeably about OSU’s depth chart, but it would certainly seem to be a disappointing hit to their team with news their starting left tackle is now out for the season.

Oh, and junior receiver Jameon Lewis said he had a vision of himself returning a kick for a touchdown against the Cowboys this weekend. He’s done it before.

I also got to sit in on something fun today. Bulldog Sports Properties had a viewing in Davis Wade Stadium with all of their sponsors to watch and listen to their commercials they will be playing on the video board on game days this fall. I’m working on a story on how MSU is making significant changes in that regard, but worth noting in generalities that all parties involved have re-tooled things in a very fan-friendly way.

Tomorrowland

There is no football media availability tomorrow, so we won’t hear any new thoughts from players and coaches, but stories of what they said the previous two days will begin to come out.

Later in the afternoon, I’ll have a video with the volleyball team hitting the interwebs. I got a sneak peak today, and at this point I’m totally out of shame. I hope you enjoy seeing me get embarrassed by girls.

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