Croom: State needs turnaround

HOOVER, AL – The first African-American head football coach in Southeastern Conference history addressed the media at the conference's annual media days.

But the discussion dealt almost exclusively with issues besides race. In fact, Croom dodged all most all of the questions regarding race. Many times he gave only one word responses to questions about it.

For example, one reporter asked if he felt any pressure being the first black head coach to speak at SEC Media Days. Croom said, "Nope."

Croom instead focused on his team and the holes that the Mississippi State program must deal with in 2004 and beyond. He said that improvements must be made immediately.

"The most important thing that we have to do this year is change our attitude," he said.

Croom's ultimate goal for the future is no different than any other SEC coach: "Maybe sometime down the road, and I know that it is going to be a while, but we are going to get to Atlanta," said optimistically.

But for the time being Croom is not overly excited about State's chances this season.

"How good are we going to be this year? I really don't know," he said. "I have had a lot of experience losing, and the things that I have learned is this: it's real simple. You look at the things that you do to win and you incorporate them into your program."

Croom cited several adjustments in actions and attitude that must be made in Starkville before the Bulldogs can get back on the right track.

"Going to class and taking responsibility for the things that you do," said Croom of the first part of the plan to turn around Mississippi State football.

Even when State gets it right off the field, Croom added that the team might not be talented enough on the field to win.

"I am looking for things that will allow me to sleep at night," Croom said, searching for positive signs for State in 2004.

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