The annual SEC Media Days extravaganza is going on this week in Hoover, Alabama. Parrish Alford and Logan Lowery have been on scene all week, and they’ve already heard Mississippi State Dan Mullen and some of his players give their thoughts on the team and the 2017 season.
It’s been a relatively quiet offseason for the Bulldogs. Looking ahead to fall, one player to watch will be offensive lineman Martinas Rankin, a projected first-round draft pick who played left tackle last year, worked at center in the spring, and is now moving back to tackle (2:33). He’ll be helping protect quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who had a breakout season last year but needs to find more consistency as a passer (6:20).
On the other side of the ball, Todd Grantham is the new defensive coordinator and will try to have the Bulldogs in better positions to make plays than last year (8:09). And Logan believes as a whole, this MSU team be better than the 2016 edition (10:23).
The offseason has not been so quiet for Ole Miss, due to the ongoing NCAA drama. Hugh Freeze will meet the assembled media Thursday and can expect some tough questions (14:09) – not only about the investigation itself, but now about the lawsuit filed Wednesday by former coach Houston Nutt. Nutt’s suit says Ole Miss placed an inordinate amount of blame on his staff for the violations alleged by the NCAA.
As for the on-field product, young quarterback Shea Patterson will be a full-time starter for the first time and will need to keep improving chemistry with his receivers (11:17). And two big factors for success this year, says Parrish, are an ability to run the ball and making marked improvements on the defensive side (20:30). Jordan Wilkins returns to the backfield after a year off, while a promising defensive line could be a key to rectifying last year’s myriad issues.