Against Alcorn State on Saturday, sophomore cornerback Taveze Calhoun recovered a fumble for Mississippi State. Immediately after getting it, Calhoun raised the ball in the air and sprinted all the way across the field to his defensive coordinator Geoff Collins and gave him the ball before celebrating with his teammates.
“He was probably trying to get some juice points right there or something,” head coach Dan Mullen joked after the game.
“Coach Collins always says if you get a turnover, bring the ball back to him, so that’s all I was trying to do,” Calhoun later explained.
“That’s what we tell them all the time,” Collins confirmed. “If you watch Cam Lawrence last year, Jon Banks, they would do the same thing. I guess this is the first time it got caught on camera.”
“He always says, ‘When you get the ball, bring me the ball,’” Calhoun continued. “So that’s the first thing, when I picked up the fumble, I immediately thought, ‘take him the ball.’”
“I was fired up,” Collins said as a wide smile broke on his face. “I was happy. He got extra juice points right there.”
“I knew that’d make him happy,” Calhoun proudly claimed. “I just wanted to make my coach proud. He said good job and I got a bunch of juice points for bringing him the ball.”
“I really wanted to celebrate with my team,” Calhoun admitted, though he knew what was required of him. “They were happy. We all just feed off each other. When one person makes a play, we all make a play.”
“That’s what we tell them,” Collins elaborated. “When you get a turnover, bring the ball over here. We’ll hand it to their equipment manager. That’s just the base rule. If you get a turnover, you’re supposed to run and hand it to the coaches.”
“We were really disappointed last week not creating any turnovers,” Mullen opined in reference to their season opener against Oklahoma State, “and we talked about that with our defense. We have to do that. We have to get turnovers, we have to create those opportunities.”
Junior cornerback Justin Cox echoed those sentiments, saying, “Coach Collins talks about, every day, getting the ball.”
“When we win the turnover ratio,” Mullen went on, “our record is unbelievably good. When we lose it, it’s unbelievably bad.”
“We always talk about having juice, just having fun out there on the field,” Calhoun said in preface to his answer when asked where it starts. “The same thing you see in a game is the same thing you see in practice.”
“I didn’t say it, but I was thinking, ‘I got you the ball, Coach!’” Calhoun shared as he, too, slowly had a big smile grow on his face as he finished. “It’s good to get turnovers.”