(Update: Mississippi State marketing has announced an estimated crowd of 7,500.)
Before doors opened lines didn’t just reach from Palmeiro to Polk-Dement Stadium. No, that line went on behind, up and around Humphrey Coliseum, blocking the late-arriving traffic on the east side. Fan-lines of that length and patience normally are only seen between NCAA Regional sessions.
Then we know, 2015 is nothing like a normal pre-season for Mississippi State football.
Expectations for this Bulldog team are just about as record-high as was indoor Fan Day turnout. Attendance at '14's event might have been higher but that of course coincided with re-opening of Davis Wade Stadium. The difference doesn't matter.
The center-piece of course is reigning All-SEC quarterback and all national awards candidate Dak Prescott. His arrival at Palmeiro drew about as close to royal treatment as any Dog can receive any time. The line awaiting Prescott for autographs and quick snaps was longer than that for Coach Dan Mullen, even.
In fact the crowd arrived so fast and so thick that temperatures inside Palmeiro spiked and there were a couple cases of guests getting queasy in the packed conditions. Just a reminder, maybe, that fans should spend some of their summers on pre-season conditioning as well?
For the Bulldogs themselves all was cool. One special Dog in particular, as Jak made his Fan Day debut in station as the new Bully. For a relative pup, Jak handled allllllll the young and not-so-young fans who crowded him for a photo with the poise of an old Dog.
For the Dogs who wear uniforms? Fan Day meant a few Saturday hours not on the practice field, in a meeting room, getting trainer attention, working weights, their normal August drill. Nobody was noticed arriving on crutches or looking especially gimpy, though there wasn’t a good chance for the handful of media there to see the entire team either. So any injuries arising from the past Thursday’s scrimmage remain speculative, as usual. Unless a fan happened to notice anything, that is. Wisdom would have them keep it quiet too.
Fan Day came earlier than usual for Mississippi State in 2015. The Bulldogs are now two weeks from kicking it off, on September 5 in Hattiesburg. Because the opener at Southern Mississippi is 9:00, as set by CUSA and FS1, Mullen has been practicing his team later most evenings than normal for preseason. That also suits the 8:15 kickoff for State’s SEC- and home-opener against Louisiana State the following week.
If attendance at real games follows the lead of Fan Day, records will be written in the grandstands. Just as the ’15 Bulldogs intend to do on Scott Field.