Mississippi State football being left behind by other SEC football programs."> Mississippi State football being left behind by other SEC football programs.">

A Belated Monday Morning Coffee Break

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01columnists/gswindoll.jpg" align="left" width="120" height="161"> Mississippi State football being left behind by other SEC football programs.

The other schools in the SEC are starting to leave MSU football behind when it comes to Strength and Conditioning (S&C) personnel and facilities in the SEC. In fact, they are leaving MSU behind in a lot of areas.

As an example, according to new assistant strength coach Shannon Patterson - who has worked in Kentucky's, Clemson's and Butler's S&C programs - Kentucky, at the time he worked for them, had 3 weightrooms (1 for football, alone) and 12 employees (3 full-time and 2 or 3 GA's for football, alone) in their weight program. Clemson, who he worked for the past two years, has 9 employees (5 full-time) and 2 weightrooms. MSU has 6 total S&C employees (1 full-time and 2 GA's for football) and 1 weightroom that has to be used for all sports. And that weightroom, according to Patterson, is comparable to Butler, a Horizon League school no less.

And don't forget that MSU football is no longer recruiting physically developed juco players, as they did when they were winning back in 1997-2000, but high school players who have to be developed before they are ready for SEC competition. Because of that, the strength and conditioning program is much, much more important than in the past.

And, to bring this closer to home, according to the official Ole Miss website, they have 5 full-time employees and 3 GA's in their S&C program. While some of the employees also work with sports other than football, they all work with the football program. In fact, they have a employee for each position on the football team. Their S&C program also has a support group called The Thunder & Lightning Club that provides them with money to supplement their regular budget.

And as for MSU alumni simply donating when asked, as someone suggested they would, we have all known that MSU has needed a new in-door football facility for several years. While it appears the MSU administration is getting closer to finding a donor or donors, so far, all we have heard is there will be a facility soon.

Now, what I'm about to write will not be something MSU fans will want to read but they are facts.

As a comparison in giving, Ole Miss, the program MSU competes with for athletes in the state of Mississippi and a program that MSU fans like to compare themselves to, just built a new 5+ million dollar track facility. They are also in the process of building a new 15 to 19 million dollar in-door facility, which will be used primarily by football. They even have a 6-year old, 54,142 square building called the Gillom Sports Center, which is used exclusively for women's athletics. The building houses offices and locker rooms for the rifle, soccer, softball and volleyball programs, and contains three indoor tennis courts, a championship volleyball court and another court which can be used for both volleyball and basketball practices. It also contains equipment and team meeting rooms for soccer, softball and volleyball, a training room, a laundry room, two visitors locker rooms.

In the meantime, MSU continues to struggle to find one or more people to finance an in-door football facility that will be in the 3 million dollar range.

While I admit the above could be viewed as an excuse and easily dismissed by some who read it, I believe we all agree that MSU is in the toughest conference in the nation where they are competing against teams with budgets that are, with the exception of Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, in the 40's and 50's millions of dollars.

We, as fans of MSU, absolutely have to do more than the fans of other schools if we want to see our football coaches and players succeed in this conference. I refer to football because it is the bellcow of any sports program in the SEC. How it goes is normally how your sports program goes. Because of that, MSU fans can no longer sit back and just expect their coaches and players will succeed through their hard work alone. We, as fans of an SEC school, have to provide more resources so that they will have everything neccessary to succeed.

Lack of effort is a two-way street. Lack of effort on the part of fans is just as bad as lack of effort on the field of play.

Have a great Bulldog week!

Gene Swindoll

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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