Fitzhugh Adds Talent and Levity

Because college football is such a serious business, it's always good to have guys that bring some humor to the practice field to help break the tension that can sometimes develop. Safety Keith Fitzhugh and wide receiver Omarr Conner are those type guys.

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"Omarr's jokester's name is career-crook. It's that name because he thinks he can do any DB that's in front of him," said Keith. "He said, 'my name is career-crook, come on and get your career took.' What he is saying is, basically, you can't cover him so he's going to make you look bad and take your career from you."

And Keith's the kind of guy who can give it right back.

"I, basically, come back with my own thing. I'm quiet in public, but I'm a talker on the field," he said. "I mess with Omarr all the time (in practice). Whenever I have the chance to cover him I just try to get in his way and mess with him and not let him get past me."

It goes beyond being humorous, though. Part of it is a mental game.

"The whole secondary talks. You have to talk to keep (the receivers) from getting into your head with their talking," said Keith.

But this Mississippi State secondary is much more than talk. There is talent and experience throughout.

"It is a really good combination," said Keith of his starting teammates. "(Senior safety) Jeramie Johnson is one of the best that I have ever been around. He is great back there. (Sophomore cornerback Derek) Pegues plays like he's an All-American back there. (Senior cornerback) David Heard is more quiet, but when he gets going, he gets going. He holds it down in the secondary."

According to MSU head football coach Sylvester Croom, Keith's not too bad himself.

"He's a very solid player for us. He's very smart, a very intense player and is probably our best tackler," said Croom. "Since he's been here, he has never acted like a freshman. He and Jeramie Johnson give us two solid safeties. Those guys are going to make tackles and not make mistakes."

And due to the importance of their first game, Coach Croom will need both playing at their best this Thursday night against South Carolina in front of a nationally televised audience.

"It is the biggest game since I've been here," said Keith. "We really need this win. We want to go out and show the world that we are back to the Mississippi State of old and are about to turn this thing around."

And what happens if Mississippi State loses?

"Losing is not in our vocabulary," said the youngster, already sounding like the Bulldogs of old.

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

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