Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Redshirt freshman offensive guard Michael Story is battling for a spot on the Mississippi State two deep chart.

Mississippi State redshirt freshman offensive guard Michael Story enters the 2016 season with the benefit of three semesters of college coaching to his credit. An early enrollment out of Ripley High School (MS) in 2015, Story is ready to break the college football ice and begin paving the way for Bulldog scores. With the season set to begin on Saturday, Story hopes to hear his number called.

"I feel like when I first came here, that the main thing I needed to do was pick up the offense," Michael Story said. "Now I just want to get deeper and deeper into the offense and learn about alignments and working off of movement by the defense. I want to get deeper into all of the plays and just understand everything that is going on."

During the bowl practices of December and the practice sessions of the Spring, Story could routinely be seen down the field looking to extend plays and eventually celebrate with his back after a game breaking run for a first down or score. Story reports that the sudden bursts of enthusiasm come from a sense of pride in a collective effort from the offense.

"When you score, you have to go celebrate with the guy who scored," Story explained. "When we score, I kind of feel like I scored. I am out there blocking trying to give the quarterback time to throw the ball and trying to give the running back lanes to run. If we score, then that means we all did our jobs."

One of the main selling points Mississippi State had during the recruitment of the talented Story was the chance to play for Coach John Hevesy, a coach that Story both liked and admired. Now that Hevesy is the coach rather than the recruiter, the relationship between the two continues to thrive.

"We have had a good relationship since the first day that I met him," Story said. "He is a hard working coach who is going to get the best out of you no matter what. He is going to be hard on you about getting technique down and things like that. He will stay on you about knowing your plays and things like that, but that's what he is supposed to do."

The "tough love" from the veteran position coach, appears to be paying off for Story. Entering his redshirt freshman season, Story reports that he understands what he is supposed to do and why he is supposed to do it. 

"It's a lot easier now," Story said. "When I first came up here, I just knew to come off the ball. I didn't even know if I was going in the right direction. Now, I know the positions and what we are supposed to look at during the pre-snap. I know where guys are lined up and where they're going. All of that helps me out with my steps and helps me get my job done."

The Bulldogs will take to the field this coming Saturday to lift the lid on the 2016 football campaign. With fall camp over and the season here, Story believes the offensive line is ready to make some things happen.

"As a whole, I feel like we're getting better," Story said. "We just need to keep working on our communication, that's the main thing. Everybody just needs to keep doing their job and not be satisfied with where we are."

Last season, Story spent SEC Saturdays on the sidelines waving a towel and encouraging this teammates. On Saturday, Story will enter the field in full uniform as a player available for college action for the first time. Knowing that the cowbells will ring for him is something that Story is looking forward to.

"I am ready for all of that," Story said of the Mississippi State gameday atmosphere. "I haven't played in a game since high school. I have been through practice here and all of that, but I am pumped to be in a real game. Hearing those cowbells will be music to my ears. I can't wait."

Mississippi State will host South Alabama this Saturday in the season opener for both teams. Kickoff is set for 11 A.M. Tickets remain available, but a capacity crowd is expected.

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