[Premium Article] It may not be a very nice homecoming with Hurricane Isidore targeting much of the state of Louisiana over the weekend, but for Mississippi State sophomore defensive lineman Ronald Fields of Bogalusa, La., that can be easily overlooked with an SEC win over the homestanding LSU Tigers."> [Premium Article] It may not be a very nice homecoming with Hurricane Isidore targeting much of the state of Louisiana over the weekend, but for Mississippi State sophomore defensive lineman Ronald Fields of Bogalusa, La., that can be easily overlooked with an SEC win over the homestanding LSU Tigers.">

MSU's Ronald Fields banking on 'field day' at LSU

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01players/football/2003/fieldsr.jpg" align="left" width="120" height="160"> [Premium Article] It may not be a very nice homecoming with Hurricane Isidore targeting much of the state of Louisiana over the weekend, but for Mississippi State sophomore defensive lineman Ronald Fields of Bogalusa, La., that can be easily overlooked with an SEC win over the homestanding LSU Tigers.

Despite the threatening storm-like conditions expected to greet both teams Saturday in "Death Valley," Fields and his MSU teammates are anxious to take on the No. 22-ranked Bengals at Baton Rouge.

Mississippi State needs a win against the defending Southeastern Conference champions to even its SEC record at 1-1. LSU will be making its 2002 league debut at Tiger Stadium.

"This is a big game for us," said Fields, who was recruited strongly by the Bengals. Instead, the 6-2, 294-pounder chose to "stick with the Bulldogs."

Fields has played two positions on the defensive side of the ball for Jackie Sherrill's Dogs - nose guard and defensive tackle. He prefers "DT" but will play anywhere he's needed.

"I've always wanted to play at Mississippi State," said Fields, rated as one of the top players in the state of Louisiana as a prep star. He attended Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy prep school in the Fall of 2000 following his senior year in high school under Calvin Hymel, former MSU standout linebacker.

"I always wanted to play for MSU defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn. I like his style," said Fields, tabbed last year an All-SEC Freshman.

Mississippi State veteran defensive line coach John Hendrick, who has played and coached under Sherrill, and whose defensive line was ranked No. 1 in the nation against the run in both 1999 and 2000, said Fields is "coming along fine" and is improving with each game.

Taking on the Tigers in their own backyard will mark Field's first trip to Baton Rouge since becoming a Bulldog.

"It's going to feel real good to go back home and play at home," said Fields. "I'll be ready to play. It's a big stadium and I know it'll be real loud but I'll be ready."

Having a "Field Day" at LSU is foremost on the mind of the Louisiana product whose mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Weary, plan to attend the game.

"My parents and several of my kin folks will be at the game," said Fields, whose cousin defensive lineman Kenderick Allen (6-6, 318, Sr.) plays at LSU.

"We'll probably visit some before the game and if not we'll talk after the game," said Fields. "I'll get to see some of my cousins and some of my family members at the game."

Fields said he felt Mississippi State was improving with each game. "I believe the whole defensive front is improving. I thought we played well for about three quarters against Auburn," he said. "We kind of let things get away from us in the fourth quarter when they got most of their yardage.

"That's pretty much what coach Dunn told us. He said we played pretty good for three quarters but we didn't get the job done in the fourth quarter."

Mississippi State (1-2, 0-1 SEC) did play well on both sides of the ball before self-destructing with six turnovers, allowing the Plainsmen to "run away" with the decision in the Dogs' league debut, 42-14.

"In some ways Auburn and LSU are very similar," noted Fields. "They both have good running backs," he said in reference to Auburn's "Cadillac" Williams, who was held in check by the Bulldogs until the latter stages of the game, and LSU's explosive duo - Domanick Davis and LaBrandon Toefield.

"LSU's running game is not much different from Auburn's," said Fields with a positive look.

Fields played against Toefield in high school. "Their team won, but hopefully, we can change things this time.

"We held Auburn to several three-and-outs and we need more of that. We have to concentrate on stopping the run against LSU."

On the defensive side of the ball, it'll be homecoming of sorts for Fields and junior linebacker T.J. Mawhinney of Covington, La., who has taken some major strides this fall. MSU freshman redshirt placekicker Keith Andrews is from Bastrop, La.

"We've improved as a whole on defense," said Mawhinney. "I think we're playing better in the front. I think Ronald (Fields) is one of our best, if not the best, defensive linemen. He's strong off the point of attack and he's quick. Ronald's a great player and I know he's as excited about this game (LSU) as I am."

Fields said there's still a lot of challenges ahead for the Dogs and time to get back on track.

"We need to pull together because we have a lot of talent on both offense and defense and we can get it going. Pulling together we can get everything right and be a really good team," said Fields, who has hopes of one day playing at the next level.

Meanwhile, the Dogs will keep tract on the Tigers and Hurricane Isidore.


Don Foster, a veteran newspaper writer, is the Sports Editor for the Starkville Daily News. He will be writing regular feature articles for Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi High School sports on the internet.

Gene's Page Top Stories