MSU Media Day

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Croom confident about this year

By Myra Bean

Mississippi State University held its annual football media day last Thursday. Fourth year head coach Sylvester Croom addressed the media for 35 minutes, followed by interviews with various players.

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From Panola County, Demario Bobo and Derek Pegues were not available for the conference.

Bobo has been out with mononucleosis and tonsillitis. He has not been able to practice and Croom announced from the podium he is expected to be out three more weeks. Bobo gained back a year of eligibility after receiving a medial redshirt for 2006 while recovering from hamstring and shoulder injuries.

Pegues was at practice Friday after suffering back spasms. He intercepted a goal line pass in the scrimmage on Saturday.

That interception was one of the five turnovers the Bulldog offense committed.

At the media conference, Croom made the statement this was the first year he had confidence since he has been at Mississippi State.

“My personal plan was to grind it out for three years and get in a position to compete in the fourth,” Croom said. “I thought I knew what it was going to take when I stepped in but it is really, really tough. For two years we could not get a receiver. We couldn’t get a guy to come into this program. Even last year, we struggled early until Tony (Burks) started to make some plays. Jamayel (Smith) then started to make some plays. Right now, we have six receivers out there that can play.”

Like all teams, Mississippi State is dealing with its share of injuries and the heat.

“We have to be able to handle the heat, pain and other adversity in any condition,” he said. “It is all mental and that is what we are trying to get our players to learn. If we get that done we have a chance to be a good team.”

Croom said the Bulldogs are better team this year than last year. He praised the leadership which stems more from the junior class because there are not that many seniors on the team.

“How good, I don’t know yet,” Croom said. “But at some point during the season I think we will be a good team. The attitude is a lot better. We are closer as a team, we have better work ethic and guys are going about things the right way.

“I think they take more accountability for whatever happens to this football team more than any time we have in the past,” Croom added. “We have more experience even though we still do not have a lot of seniors.“

The three areas Croom reiterated he is concerned with are mental toughness, depth at defensive end and the kick coverage.

When asked for a possible win-loss record this season, Croom said he is only concerned about the first game against LSU on Thursday, August 30 to open the season. The game will be televised on ESPN from Starkville at 7 p.m.