Changing culture: MSU football coaches build new foundation

Mississippi State offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Luke Getsy

Staff Writer

Mississippi State football coaches are working on changing the culture every single day.

The Dan Mullen era with the Bulldogs is in the past. Joe Moorhead and his assistant coaches are locked into preparation for their first season in Starkville and are putting their stamp on the program.

There is a new belief in what can be accomplished at MSU, but offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said the focus hasn’t been on expectations.

“In the offensive room, we are focused on the fundamentals,” Getsy said at Saturday’s on-campus media day. “The very first thing in our meetings is we’ve taken a step back and made it about the fundamentals. As far as me and the other coaches, we’re standing in front of the offense and talking about the fundamentals.”

In the very first unit meeting, there wasn’t much said about a ranking or predicted finish in the Southeastern Conference. The offensive coaches explained the importance of catching the football, ball security, run blocking and pass blocking.

Getsy said it was important to established that immediately and let everything else fall into place.

“It’s a foundation we are building with these guys,” Getsy said. “Like (coach Moorhead) has said, we’re building this thing on rock and not sand."

Through seven practices, Moorhead said he has watched the Bulldogs make steady strides. They were scheduled to have their first scrimmage of the preseason on Saturday night.

Moorhead said the understanding and execution in all three phases of offense, defense and special teams has progressed nicely over the past couple of weeks.

“I’ve been very proud of our coaching staff and their ability to provide the information to our players in position meetings in a very clear and concise manner,” Moorhead said. “I’ve certainly been proud of our players to take the information and apply it on the field.”

There is plenty of talent at MSU.

Defensively, the Bulldogs are led by All-Southeastern Conference first team members Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat on the line.

Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and running back Aeris Williams are senior leaders of the offense.

“I think he is more comfortable in the lead by example phase than the vocal part,” Moorhead said about Williams, a West Point native. “That’s something we’ve talked to the team about, to the guys who are captains and guys who are leaders. You’ve got to find ways to motivate people.”

Fitzgerald isn’t motivated by what people think of the team and where it may finish at the end of the season.

In his mind, those things aren’t going to change his preparation for the season.

“We’re going to work hard no matter what and not really worried about what other people think, or their rankings in the preseason,” Fitzgerald said. “What really matters is what happens in the postseason. That’s what we’re worried about.”

The quest for success begins for MSU when it opens against Stephen F. Austin on September 1.