Mullen Names 2010 Season Captains

Derek Sherrod

Mississippi State got to the end of the 2009 season before formally recognizing the team captains, and in year-two Dan Mullen might well have followed the same policy. But with their preseason efforts the Bulldogs have convinced their coach to change that call…and for positive reasons. "Guys have stepped-up and we've seen some leadership on this team, this year. So we named four captains."

This quartet will be all-seniors. WLB K.J. Wright, MLB Chris White, DE Pernell McPhee, and RT Derek Sherrod will begin the 2010 campaign acknowledged as captains of this Mississippi State squad. Mullen made the announcement following Tuesday's practice. And, obviously, very much earlier than in his debut season when it took practicing and playing through just about the entire calendar before such decisions could be made. State waited to the Egg Bowl to announce then-seniors RB Anthony Dixon and MLB Jamar Chaney as the 2009 captains.

"In the second year in the program it's a lot easier to name captains, because they understand what the leadership is about, what our players are expected to do, and what we're looking for in a team," Mullen said. "So we're really excited to have those guys to be captains of our football team."

Mullen said the decision was made by player voting. What might seem interesting to State fans is how the balloting gave captain status to three defensive players with Sherrod the lone offensive Dog so honored. Mullen did not make much of this tilt to the tally, though.

"Hopefully we'll be pretty good on defense!" he joked. "I just think it shows some of the leadership there. And we're still young offensive team, and trying to find some of that leadership on offense. Sometimes a lot of the younger players need to step-up into those roles and hopefully down the road they'll develop that way."

Tuesday's practice was in partial padding, and Mullen was satisfied with the effort as Mississippi State hones the gameplan implemented Monday for Memphis. "A good day today out there," he called it, adding that nothing schemed-up has required major adjustment after live testing at practices. "We set everything coming into the week of where everybody was going to be, where they are going to play, and that hasn't really changed for us."

Players were not made available for post-practice interviews, which is not the usual Tuesday schedule at State. The change in plan was related to Mullen's idea of a change of pace here in the final week of preseason.

"It's a transition for us, being the first game and getting the whole mindset different to get ready to play the first game. It's a different routine, so I figured I'll be the spokesperson for the team this week and let everybody else get ready to play football."

In another game week note, Mississippi State reports some 1,700 single-game tickets remain for Saturday's opener, out of the three thousand-plus returned by Memphis. Some 600 ducats were sold on Monday, a sizable portion of those orders coming on-line.

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