[Premium article] Perhaps the biggest thing the Mississippi State football team needs right now is a leader. One player who is trying to fill that role is sophomore reserve quarterback Kevin Fant. Fant wants to help the team in any way that he can when he gets on the field.

"Being in the backup role you just do your job and wait for your chance to play," Fant said. "When I go out there I do what's needed. If I feel like the team needs an energy boost I go out there and try to be high energy. If we're being inconsistent then I try to be consistent."

Fant knows his job on the team is important, whether he is in the game or not. He said, "I just try to play a role on the team. Playing time is not that key, it's just what to do and when."

Fant is willing to play whatever role is needed to help the team win. Getting the win for the team is more important than boosting his stats. He said, "If we're running the ball good, I have no problem handing the ball off every down. Whatever is going to help us win then that's what we have to do."

Kevin came to MSU from high school looking to be a leader and help the team win. "In high school I had a lot of talent around me and the main thing I had to do was be more of a leader," Fant said. "That is what I wanted to do when I came here. I've gotten a whole lot better at throwing the ball since I've gotten here, and I've gotten a lot better physically as well. When I get in the game I just want to be a leader because that is the quarterback's job."

Fant is serious about improving physically. He is a member of the Iron Dogs squad this year, and takes pride in being well-conditioned. He feels it helps him in his leadership role. Fant said, "It all goes back to being a leader. There are a lot of little things that people don't realize like who is here everyday and who is running in the front. I've missed a couple days of workout; I'm not perfect by any means. I just try to work hard and lead by example."

His hard work is paying off. Two weeks ago against LSU Kevin set career bests in passing yards, passing attempts, completions, and total yards. Even though he continues to see increased playing time, Fant says he would much rather be winning.

"Wayne is our starting quarterback right now. I've always wanted to be a winner and be part of a winning team," Fant said. "If you get playing time or not doesn't matter if you lose. The rest of the weekend you have a bad feeling in your gut."

A lot of people may notice or even be a part of the cheers for Fant when he comes into the game. He seems to spark the crowd and the team when he steps onto the field. Fant, however, said that while it is nice to have the crowd behind you, it might not always be like that.

"There are things you have to realize about that," Fant said. "Being quarterback you have to know that there are times when the second string quarterback is going to be the man on campus, because things might not be going well. Come next year it might be the same situation, it might be Kyle York and people are cheering for him. It's fun to get people cheering behind me, but you just have to tune everything out."

For the rest of the season Fant will continue to contribute in whatever way the team needs him. "I just want to support Wayne and stay behind him and support the team. If I do get my chance to play, it depends on what I'm needed for. If we are down a lot I want to be aggressive. If we are up I want to just try to keep the ball and make completions. I don't really care about stats, I just want to help the team," said Fant.

Kevin Fant's attitude is one that should be adopted by the whole team -- work hard and help the team in any way you can. He prides himself on being in the position to lead the team. A leader is someone who can help a team succeed, and Kevin Fant is working hard to become that person. Whether he is on the field or on the sideline, look for number 16 to be doing his part to help turn the season around for the Bulldogs.

Hank Allen is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. Hank is a student at Mississippi State University. He is also a reporter for the student newspaper, The Reflector. You can contact him by email at

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