Shane Beamer Talks About His Two Freshmen

When Mississippi State signed two of the top high school cornerbacks in the nation last year -Derek Pegues and Keith Fitzhugh - State fans who follow recruiting couldn't hold back their excitement. Shane Beamer, the Mississippi State cornerback coach, saw first-hand during yesterday's practice the talent level of both players. What did he think after watching them?

"They are two very talented guys," said Beamer. "The thing I like about them is they are mature and have the right mindset for what it takes. They have some toughness about them and are physical."

However, before everybody starts expecting immediate All-SEC status from both players, keep in mind what Beamer said next. "They are still freshmen. Keith was here in the spring and has a better idea of what it takes, but they both still have to learn the speed of the game. I don't care how talented you are in high school, when you get in the SEC it's a different level. Everybody is faster."

And he saw that very thing from them during yesterday's practice.

"They have to get used to what we expect on defense, which is running to the football," said Beamer. "A lot of times today the ball was thrown and we were standing there watching it. We have to get them geared up to the speed that we expect from them when a ball is thrown."

Despite that, he's still very excited about their exceptional talent level.

"They are made of the right ingredients and they are going to be great players for us in time," said Beamer, who is in his second year at MSU. "We just have to bring them along and knock some of that freshman out of them."

Not only do they need to adjust to the speed of the SEC, but they also are still adjusting to the conditioning level it takes to play in the SEC. While they did ok during the summer workouts, they will have to get even better the next couple of weeks to be in game shape.

"When you are working out in the summer, you can do all the half-gassers and all the running, but no matter what you do in the summer, it's different once you get on the field and are doing football plays," said Beamer. "And we are out there two and a half hours running non-stop."

But Beamer is trying to do his part to get them in better condition by providing them more reps. In the case of the freshmen, that means reps on the second team.

"They are working with the second group so that we can get them some reps," said Beamer. "Derek Pegues has not been here, so in fairness to him we are going to give him some reps on the second group to see what he can do. We are doing the same thing with Keith Fitzhugh."

However, I wouldn't pencil them into the second spots just yet.

"Like I told everybody this morning, it doesn't matter what the depth chart is now," Beamer said. "What it says against Murray State is what matters. David Heard and (Kevin) Dockery are our two starters. And everybody else is, basically, behind those guys getting reps."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by email at

Gene's Page Top Stories