The Egg Bowl Remembered with Tony Robertson

1985-1986 Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year, Tony Robertson, signed with Mississippi State out of high school. The Jackson, Mississippi native understood the importance of the in-state rivalry with Ole Miss pretty early on. Even today, Tony closely follows the Bulldog program and he took some time out to give us his perspective.

SR: Tony, what comes to mind when you think about the Egg Bowl?

TR: The first thing is intensity. It doesn't matter if you are 9-1 or 1-9. It doesn't matter if you won them all or lost them all, when it comes down to this game things are different. It's just a whole different mindset when you play the Egg Bowl.

SR: Describe if you will the game week preparations for this rivalry game. There are no classes, so it seems you could really focus more on the ball game.

TR: The practices and the preparations were about the same. The only thing that changes is when Friday rolls around you start saying to yourself it's time to strap it on and strap it on at another level. The workload is the same, but when Friday rolled around life was different.

SR: When does the reality set in for the seniors that this is the last one?

TR: I didn't get to play in my last one. I got hurt two games before in the Alabama game. I tore my knee up during that game. To be on the sidelines in that brace was tough. I was thinking then it's pretty much over now, but I enjoyed the ride.

SR: Looking back at your own career, what Egg Bowl stands out?

TR: The one that really stands out to me is the one in 1987. We won and I had just come back from an achilles injury. A lot of people never thought I was going to play again after that injury. I had made the decision in my mind that when the doctors were convinced that they were going to put it back together that I was convinced I was going to play again and not just play, but play well.

SR: Tells us something about some of those Egg Bowls that the average fan would not know.

TR: It wouldn't really be a half time talk because they are always firey. One thing is that you don't take your helmet off. There are some games that you can take your helmet off and relax on the sidelines, but the Egg Bowl is not one of them. You have to have your helmet on the whole time.

Fans really don't have any idea what goes on down in that pile. There is some talking and some swinging and things like that. I won't call it dirty play, but there are some licks that are passed that the fans and that the refs don't see. They don't see it, but that's all just part of it. You just have to deal with it. It's going to happen. I just hope this year when it happens that our players don't lose their cool and do something stupid. Things can happen in games like this and they can escalate real quick.

SR: What are your feelings about this year's Egg Bowl game?

TR: If we had a healthy quarterback, this would be a no brainer. I am not going to be stupid and pretend that with the quarterback situation we have that it's not going to be a little tighter than normal.

What it really boils down to is what Coach said. It boils down to the guys that put their hand on the ground. If they take care of business it's a done deal. If they don't take care of business, we're going to struggle.

SR: Well what does Omarr need to do to and what does the team need to do ensure that the offense is effective this weekend.

TR: They are going to have to block longer than normal if Omarr plays and I am not convinced that Omarr is going to play this weekend. Coach has been real tight lipped about who is going to be at quarterback.

If Omarr does play, the team may have to do for him what Marshall did for Leftwich when he was there. They are going to have to check on Omarr every play. If he is down they have to go get him up. He doesn't need to run, but knowing Omarr he will. He is just that type of competitor. If he can't run they just need to put him in the shotgun and let him take all the snaps from there. If they take care of him, they will take care of them.

SR: How do you see the program these days and what do you expect for the future?

TR: I expect in three or four years to be playing for a national title. I think Coach has that kind of mindset and he has that kind of (work) ethic. He also understands how to win the big one and he has changed the mindset of our team. Our team used to not believe they could win. Now when they step on the field they expect to win. That's the biggest difference. We have never really had that in Starkville. Coach Sherrill helped us get real close, but now our guys believe that when they step on the field they can win.

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