Rick Ray at SEC Media Day

Rick Ray

In this new mold of the SEC with a pair of new programs added to the slate, Mississippi State looks to a fresh start under new head coach Rick Ray.

The new guy on the block in Starkville has a lot to replace, not only the shoes of longtime coach Rick Stansbury but also a bevy of players, led by Arnett Moultrie, who went on to the next level.

Mississippi State coach Rick Ray spoke to that Thursday, telling reporters he's ready to roll up his sleeves and set about holding players and the team more accountable.

"I think the one thing that I want to make sure I always do is establish a culture of accountability, that's been the biggest challenge so far," Ray explained. "The guys haven't fought me on that, but sometimes want a pat on the back for doing things they're supposed to do."

Ray, who said he has not had any contact with Stansbury, is doing things his way after coming over from Clemson, where he was an assistant.

One of the players he'll rely on most is Jalen Steele. "The biggest thing is that I think Jalen is a great person as far as the way he handles his business, he has a business-like approach to the game ... It used to be that he was probably the third or fourth guy on the scouting report. Now he'll probably be the first guy on the scouting report, so he can handle those duties."

Finally, Ray pronounced Kentucky's All-Access show on ESPN a "good thing" for the entire conference. The exposure can be nothing but positive, according to Ray, who echoed a slightly different sentiment from Florida coach Billy Donovan.

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