Mississippi State will open its doors for summer football practices this week with a little under a month until the season opener.
MSU will hold split-squad practices today and Friday with a full team workout on Wednesday, but full-contact work will not begin until Sunday when the practices are closed.
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen enters his second season at the helm of the Bulldogs program but discussed two weeks ago at the Southeastern Conference Media Days in Hoover, Ala., that more importantly it’ll be year two in his development of returning quarterbacks junior Chris Relf and red-shirt freshman Tyler Russell.
“You're dealing with a completely different player (in Relf),” Mullen said. “They know the commitment it's going to take for them to be great and to play at the level they need to play at for us to be on a championship level, That is the critical thing. They have a much better understanding of that this season than they had last season.”
Despite showcasing Relf at SEC Media Days, Mullen said the starting quarterback position is still wide open and these summer workouts will go far to seeing if Mullen will continue his trend of using two quarterbacks throughout a game.
“With the job being wide open, there's so many practices,” Mullen said. “They're two young guys that are still developing. There's a lot of developmental time between now and when we play our first game.
During that time, we need to see if somebody separates themselves."
All MSU players not already in the second semester summer session of classes were required to report to campus by 5 p.m., including the entire freshman class of recruits that Mullen’s staff signed last February. The NCAA has cleared every member of the 2010 recruiting
class except West Point’s Michael Carr as the Clearinghouse is still reviewing his qualifying paperwork that was re-submitted this summer.
Carr will be in action today as he’s allowed to practice this week with the team while the NCAA reviews the required documents.
With the heat index expected to climb over 100 degrees each day this week, the concern for college football coaches is to avoid a serious medical problem with a player in dealing with the heat. The NCAA has attacked this issue by having members of each program’s coaching staff and every strength coach attend seminars in the offseason to reinforce the proper techniques of dealing with heat illness.
The Mississippi State schedule noticeably has staggered their split-squad schedules closer to the morning or evening so the players are not out during the middle of the day for long stretches of time.
“High intensity workouts and summer heat are conducive to sudden collapse,” said David Klossner, NCAA director of health and safety. “Coaches should conduct appropriate sport-specific conditioning and be ready to intervene when student-athletes show signs of distress.”
MSU will practice its first group today starting at 9 a.m., with the second workout for the rest of the team scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.