Bulldogs set to focus on field

By By Mark Etheridge/EMG staff writer
August 2, 2002
HOOVER, Ala. After a disappointing 2001 season and an off-season rocked by a potential NCAA investigation, the Mississippi State Bulldogs are looking forward to turning the focus to the football field. Mississippi State, 3-8 last season, has high hopes for the 2002 season despite being tabbed for last in the SEC West at Media Days this week.
The players are not concerned over the NCAA situation but rather focused on things they can control.
Sherrill is also not panicking over the NCAA visit. "I'm not going to jump off a cliff because somebody is coming in to talk to our players. I know how I've conducted myself and how I have operated. If there are any issues we will correct them, deal with them, and move on."
On the field the Bulldogs expect to be much improved. Coach Sherrill is unconcerned over the preseason prognostications.
Sherrill says he learned another lesson from last season about his team.
Sherrill is excited about the emergence of his starting quarterback, Fant. Fant, a 6-foot-2, 212-pound junior from Moss Point, started three games last season, taking over for departed starter Wayne Madkin.
The Bulldogs are excited about the extra 12th game being played this season. They open the season at Oregon, a team predicted to be about the 10 best in the country.
Fant is also excited about the extra game.
The Bulldogs are very dangerous on offense, led by senior tailback Dontae Walker. Walker has rushed for over 1,800 yards in his three prior years sharing carries with departed runner Dicenzo Miller. Walker has had a tendency to carry too much weight. Sherrill feels Walker will be in running shape by the opener.
Sherrill's defense is looking to return to the traditional salty Mississippi State stop troops.
One player feels MSU's tough 2001 could actually serve as a positive for this season.