"That's what we are trying to do, get a rugged look about us," said Ray Dominguez, senior offensive tackle. "We call it 'no shave November' and we are all trying to grow a little something on our face, a beard or what have you."
Dominguez said after practice Tuesday he's always had a closely shaved look, but the beard came after offensive guard Wade Grayson insipired the rest of the forward wall with his reddish beard.
"Grayson did that, so I let the beard come out and then the mustache," Dominguez said. "But we aren't nasty looking yet. We have to work on that."
"Ever since I got here, they've been physical," he said. "They will be that way again. One thing I see, they bring more blitzes. They are bringing different guys. They always have had the reputation as being a tough team, but this is more blitzes than I remember."
It's a slightly different scheme than the Hogs normally see, according to offensive coordinator Garrick McGee. The Bulldogs put their cornerbacks about "two yards" inside the wideouts, play their safeties over the top to protect against the fade and turn their linebackers loose.
"They aren't like anyone else we play," McGee said. "They'll get in a three-man line, a four-man line, but still play three-man schemes. They'll blitz out of a lot of different looks. And they play those corners inside and against the run, the can cut loose and make tackles close to the line of scrimmage."
That might make the Bulldogs vulnerable to the fade, but not with the safeties helping.
"That's what they do, help over the top with the safeties in a cover two look," McGee said. "They play their scheme very good and they have linebackers who can really run."
That wouldn't be such a problem except for the mental toughness in the players.
"We have seen some physical teams this year," Dominguez said. "We were able to push the team we played last week around, but it won't be so easy this week. This team is 10 times more physical than what we saw last week."
Going on the road in the SEC is tough, but McGee said the Hogs have figured out the recipe. It doesn't include any chest beating or finger pointing.
"I think what this team does is stay calm and poised," he said. "I don't like all the yelling and pointing and pounding of the chests when you come out on the field. I want to look in their eyes and see calmness. I think we have that. I believe that comes from being confident and believing in what we do. I think we have that now."
Dominguez said it's a belief in the coaching staff.
"Mississippi State has some outstanding ends and linebackers, but we believe our coach is a genius," Dominguez said. "I think Coach (Bobby) Petrino is going to have something to slow those guys down."