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Mississippi State is the first team in SEC to kickoff fall practice

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STARKVILLE, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi State is the first team in the SEC to start fall camp.

How early? The 4th of July was 3 weeks ago.

MSU kicked off Tuesday with a 2:30pm workout in 90+ degree heat. No two-a-days at the Seal Complex or The Farm but that doesn't mean the Bulldogs are taking it easy.

Head coach Dan Mullen said the players are the reason the practice schedule is spread out. "I threw a calendar down in front of our head trainer and our head strength coach," Mullen said. "Don't worry about installation schedule, let's look on player safety, player health, player recovery, how would you spread out the practices? For example this week, we'll practice the next two days in helmets, then we'll take a day off."

A lot is expected out of Nick Fitzgerald this season. The SEC leader in total offense continues to evolve as a leader. "Some guys are really up front, really loud, halftime speech kinda guys," Fitzgerald said. "Some guys are just quiet, to themselves, lead by example. I think of myself as kinda in between. I'm not gonna give the halftime speech, but I expect people to take care of their business and they expect me to take care of mine. I think I just need to be a little more vocal with it, and a little better at patting people on the back."

Aeris Williams was nominated to the Doak Walker watch list last week. The West Point native is seeing Nick's progression. "He's going to be a great quarterback, I promise you he is. I just thank God that I'm playing beside him, we're going to have a great season. We got a lot to prove, and we're going to step up to the plate and make plays in the running back room."

New defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is one of the reasons why the defense is getting attention. The promising names on the roster are some more reasons why.

"I look at a guy like Jeffery Simmons up front, I think a guy that's made tremendous strides here and in everything that we ask him to do academically as well as athletically," said Grantham. "Gerri Green, a guy that's really moving positions for us, now more of an outside linebacker. There's a lot of guys when you go to the inside like Leo Lewis and Dezmond Harris."

Brandon alum Fletcher Adams is also looking to move up on the defensive depth chart. He wants to improve on "our pass rush. Not just me, it's just the whole group of D-linemen. We want to improve on our pass rush, stopping the run."

Jeffery Simmons earned SEC All-Freshman and All-Academic honors in 2016. The Noxubee County product wants to take the next step as a leader: "It's a challenge. But it's something that I'm ready to do. I'm eager to do, take on that challenge. Coach Mullen, Coach Baker: I can lead these guys."

The SEC announced today that 3:00pm will be the kickoff time on September 2nd when Mississippi State opens with Charleston Southern.

Copyright 2017 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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