The Boys Are Back!!

The boys are back for the summer and there are only two things that need to be on their mind - football conditioning and hitting the books. There are not many distractions because there is hardly anyone on campus. So, it is just football and school, school and football. Sounds easy doesn't it.

I can say from personal experience it's not because the summer time is probably the hardest time for football. After seeing your family and friends it gets hard to come back and focus on what you have to do, but it is back to business.

We have to come back to campus a day early to get classes scheduled, buy books, and make sure we have our dorm rooms. The classes are different during the summer because the summer term is compact and the professors put a whole semester into four weeks. Classes seem to be longer because they are every day for two hours. Not to mention if you have a lab that class is usually four hours for one day out of the week.

After class comes the intense physical training. And it is HOTTTT..! But then we all know how hot it gets in Mississippi during the summer months. But the heat seems to be even hotter when you are on turf out on the practice field and running. Coach Pollard definitely does not make it easy with returning to 16 half-gassers.

However working out in the summer is the key to success for the fall. Our season really starts in the summer with lifting weights, running, agility, speed training, and more weights, just to name a few. And as a team we have to dedicate ourselves to getting better in the summer.

Weight lifting, speed, and agility training are very important in the summer because it allows you to really focus on those types of training individually. Everyone knows that the SEC is among the top conferences in the NCAA, and it is all about power and speed.

As a team, we also work out AFTER workouts on a voluntary basis. We practice our routes and catching the ball while the offensive and defensive line work on steps and the defensive players work on technique. We have to put all this training into game play activities because we need skills as well as talent to go with our strength and speed.

And during these summer workouts is the time where the true leaders show up. Leadership is necessary and anyone can step up. In order to have a great team we have to have those guys that are verbal leaders and those guys that are leaders by example. And most importantly everyone on the team has to listen and respect each other.

The coaches are not around but you still have to give it your all every session. The coaches have to be able to trust that we are going to do what is right. And whatever the coaches asks of us, we believe that it's the right thing to do and we go do it. I believe in Coach Croom, and I believe in his coaching staff, and I believe in this program.

This is also the time when we build relationships with each other. As the freshmen come in, this is their first time on college campus and away from home. It is the responsibility of everyone to welcome that new class into the program.

And sometimes there is free time during the summer and players should find ways to accommodate for that. Players should hang out with their friends, go bowling, fishing, golfing, and play video games; do whatever it is you like to do. But spend the time getting to know your teammates because these are the men that you will go into battle with every Saturday for the next 4-5 years.

Me personally, I like to invite players over to my apartment to eat and just get away from the dorm and maybe even beat up on a few of them in some video games.

During the summer you will build a bond with each other that carries over to the season. And my last season I felt like those guys were my family and it showed when we got out there on the field and gave our all for each other and Mississippi State Football. The whole season was fun because of the people that surrounded me on and off the field.

It's a lot of hard work and not everybody can do what the Bulldogs do because a player has to have the desire and devotion to go through the type of training that we do. Coach Croom teaches us and we learn. The summer is going to be rough, hot, and long for the current Bulldogs, but they all have the same goals and those are to be better, faster, stronger ... and to be a family!

Jason Husband, a former Mississippi State football player, is a Mississippi State football columnist for

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