It hardly sounds like the sort of schedule a young college man keeps, but then of course these guys are not standard students. Or even students until fall classes begin. Nope, Hill and Mississippi State teammates are all and only football these preseason days. Why, they aren't even at their school-year addresses right now.
"We moved in the hotel yesterday," Hill said. "So you understand days on the turf is over until school starts. The Farm is our home now. So you've got to get your mind ready any way possible."
Mind and body alike, re: that strict sleep schedule which is just about the only ‘down' time Bulldogs are getting. When not practicing there are meals, meetings, walk-throughs, and more meetings, as well as carefully planned weight workouts. It is as close to a full-time job as imaginable for a college kid.
Hill has been through this drill once before, so it behooves 2011 rookies to listen to his hard-won wisdom on the topic. For that matter freshmen might even pay more attention to somebody closer to their own age but not so far advanced as, say, a Charles Mitchell or Quentin Saulsberry, really older Dogs who treat camp as routine business.
So when Hill advises to turn in and turn off the lights—and TV, phone, computer, everything—early, he knows whereof he speaks. At the same time he has some unexpected encouragement regarding the apparent grind of camp.
"It seems like it never ends. But we're here to work. We went the whole off-season training and getting ready, now we're doing what we love. We get to practice and play football."
Somewhat ironically, Hill himself came to State to play wide receiver. But even early in his first camp the Columbus native was being measured at tight end, and in spring ball Hill played the eligible receiver/blocker's job exclusively. Well, too, as he has become one of the top targets in preseason passing play. He and classmate Malcolm Johnson, also a converted wideout, are definitely in the gameplans for fall.
"Well, now the mental aspect is any time they call my number I have to be ready. So we still work behind (Marcus) Green, whenever he needs us to get in and contribute we're ready. The whole tight end group."
Lack of numbers at tight end has meant a busy camp already for Hill, who has run more plays the first four days than anyone else at his position. Including Green. But the second-fall frosh hasn't missed a snap, another example of wise preparation.
"The trainers did a good job of keeping me hydrated. And they kept telling me to water up before practice. Two o'clock in Mississippi, it's going to be hot! But any climate gives you've got to be ready. You never know what a game is going to be like so you have to be ready."
The Bulldogs had an afternoon—a hot one again—practice Sunday, with Coach Dan Mullen to speak with media afterwards. They have a scheduled morning practice Monday, with two-a-days starting Tuesday. All practices are closed to the public.