Sophomore Receiver Confident Enough to Help Coach Younger Dogs

Nope. He's still not doing a lot at running back or split end or other jobs. Or, "Not exactly," Malik Dear will say. Maybe those tasks will be added to his practice regimen here as Mississippi State begins a final week of preseason installations and evaluations.

What this sophomore slot receiver can say exactly is that despite his still-young status as a true second-fall Dog, he's taken on another role. He's helping instruct and train even-younger Mississippi State receivers. Why not, as these pups are in the same situation Dear was in fall 2015?

And if new kids like Osirus Mitchell, Reggie Todd, and Jamal Couch can have the sorts of rookie campaigns as Dear did? That would mean much, so much for the future of the Bulldog receiving corps. For now, here's a Q&A with the 'veteran' of that quartet.

How much more comfortable are you than a year ago? “Way better. Last year around this time I was still in the learning process, learning to play, getting familiar with the offensive things. Now I teach it a little bit. So it’s a lot better for me.”

 

Is it tough to hone-in on one particular thing? “I mean it’s all a process. It’s supposed to be hard during camp around this time. So it can be easier for me in the season. So I’m taking it all in and learning all I can right now.”

 

What kind of progression have you made in year-two? “In my progression I think I have a better concept of the offense. I’m kind of teaching it a little bit, like I said, teaching it to the younger guys. That just makes my role a little better here on the team and it helps us out a lot.”

 

You’re a true sophomore and just called some teammates ‘younger guys’? “I mean, that do sound kind of different from me because I’m just a sophomore! But we’ve got freshmen coming in that are in the same position I was in last year. So I know exactly how they feel. And I if can help out I’m going to do the best they can.”

 

Jamal Couch, Osirus Mitchell, Reggie Todd, what do they have to do to get playing time? “Coach always talks about strain in our offense. So these guys, it’s tough coming from high school to college and learning how to do that extra strain. So those guys have got to learn how to strain and give it all they’ve got every play and everything that they do.”

 

How did you go about getting to play as a freshman? “I was just getting better each and every day, reaching my potential each and every day like coach asks of us. And that’s all it takes, you just have to come out and give effort each and every day.”

 

What’s your favorite thing to do on the field? “I just like playing on offense, period. It doesn’t matter what position it is. It’s offense, period.”

 

In the games you had success last year what was the difference from other games? “I had a lot of MAs (missed assignments) last year. Not just grasping it all, the whole offense. Now I think I’ll be much better than I was in certain games because of the MAs. And I have to eliminate those errors.”

 

What were some of those errors? “It was different things from here and there. I’ve just got to get it all together?”

 

Did you ever have to block before college? “I had to block, but just not as much. My coach, we take great pride at receivers to blocking. Coach just gets so fired-up to blocking, it gets me fired-up now to just block rather than even catching a ball! I’d rather block now!”

 

Last year did you just play slot or wide receiver or do it all? “I was just locked in the slot position, to the running back sometimes.”

 

Is it expanded this year? “Still kind of the same.”

 

Have they given you any snaps in the backfield so far? “Nah, not exactly!”

 

How much have you used Fred Ross to lean on? “I look up to Fred so much. I mean he did some great things here, he’s my role model here. I’m trying to identify my game with his. And I’m just working to be as good as he is.”

 

With the pads on now, does it feel like real football again? “Oh yes, sir. The pads get real physical out there, you never know. Like I said, the blocking is way better with the pads, without the pads. The catches with the contact. So it makes you better all around.”


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