Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Back from a suspension, Malik Dear is ready to leave the Dog House for Death Valley

Mississippi State sophomore standout Malik Dear missed the Bulldogs' season opener for an undisclosed violation of team rules. With the penance for his indiscretion now paid, Dear is eager to get back into the Bulldog box score as an on the field contributor.

Malik Dear saw limited action a week ago in the Bulldogs 27-14 win over South Carolina. With a road trip to LSU looming, Bulldog fans are eager to know if the State family favorite will hear his number called this weekend.

"It feels great to be back," Dear said in a one on one interview. "It sucks being out. When you're on the field with those guys and you know you have a big opponent coming up it's a just an excellent feeling."

The opponents rarely come bigger than the LSU Tigers. Some great Bulldog teams have come home from Death Valley with a loss on their season slate at the hands of the Bayou Bengals. Dear is eager to get his first touches of the 2016 season this weekend in hopes of securing a Mississippi State victory.

"I was ready to get back on the field last week," Dear said. "I am ready this week and I am ready whenever coach calls my number. I am always ready to go and execute the play. That's all I am waiting on. When that moment comes, I am going to do all I can to the best of my ability to help the team be successful."

Riding the momentum of their first SEC win of the season, the Bulldogs have been hard at work during their practice sessions to prepare for LSU and the challenges that the Tigers bring. Dear reports that the Bulldog work week has been a good one.

"It has been intense all week," Dear said. "Coach (Dan Mullen) brought it last week. We had some real intensity in practice. Some of the players are getting the intensity going day in and day out. We are going hard in practice and we all understand what is up and coming."

The fruits of the Bulldog labor were evident last weekend as Mississippi State looked to be the better team in all facets of the game in their win over South Carolina. Dear reports that Bulldog players and coaches have punched the clock again this week in hopes of keeping their momentum going in a positive direction.

"Everything that you do in practice is going to translate to the game," Dear explained. "We know that we came out last week and performed very well. Everybody knew that we had to come out in practice this week and do the same things."

The Bulldogs will look to bring their best effort of the young season as they take to the SEC road for the first time on the year. Dear reports that he has seen a lot from LSU that is impressive. 

"They have a great back end on defense," Dear shared. "They like to play man and they trust their corners a lot. They have some good D lineman and some great linebackers. You have to prepare knowing that those guys are going to come out and play very hard."

When the Bulldogs won in Death Valley two seasons ago, Dear was in the middle of his senior season of high school football. The talented wide out has heard from Bulldog veterans about the festive environment that awaits in Tiger Stadium.

"They say that it's very loud," Dear said with a smile. "We had practice on the inside today and it was so loud in there that it was hard to concentrate. I know it's going to be loud down there. We're working hard to be ready for it. I am excited about it.

"I am going to do my best to tune everything out, but I know that the place is going to be rocking. I have never been there before, so I am ready to see what it's like. You come to the SEC to play in games like this."

Kickoff is set for 6 PM. ESPN2 has the broadcast duties as the Bulldogs look for their second consecutive road win in the series against LSU. The Tigers are a two touchdown favorite in this weekend's contest.

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