"Everybody right now feels we have six starters," Broomfield says. "Coach put me ahead of everybody, but every time I go out there I always put myself second-string just to keep myself humble, you know what I'm saying? What happened last year doesn't mean anything."
Now Broomfield might be technically correct saying last season's results mean nothing at the moment…but don't try telling that to Bulldog fans. Not after the show he put on as a redshirt freshman. In a dozen games (three starts) Broomfield picked off six passes. That was over one-third of the whole team's total, and tied the program season record to boot.
For all those on-field feats in real games, Broomfield still considers himself in all-out competition just to stay in that six-man grouping…much less first on any position chart. "Everybody is working hard right now to be the best and start."
He isn't exaggerating about the hard work being put in this summer month. Besides four days of scheduled weightlifting, there are the morning conditioning sessions capped by periods on the practice field. And it really is practice, even with no coaches involved. "Right now we're doing specific position drills," Broomfield explains. "When we get done with our agilities, we run around cones, try to get your feet under you. It's all football-specific.
"We can do is hone our technique. You're learning, you shuffle steps, everything you do you try to be perfect. Staying low, your back-pedal, coming out of breaks; you watch film and learn the routes. Everything and anything you can do to get better."
Then again, Broomfield knows he is a much, much better Bulldog defensive back. In fact, his play today bears almost no resemblance to the raw rookie reporting to campus in 2008 out of Palm Bay, Fla. Think a six-pick college season opened some eyes here? "If I went back to high school right now I'd probably have like 29 interceptions," he says.
"The stuff I know now from Coach Smith and Coach Hughes, and Coach Cheese who left, we have some of the best DB coaches in the nation. I feel I'm learning every time I step into a meeting. And now with Coach Mullen I'm learning more and more every day. The knowledge of the game only gets greater and greater. And I know I can only learn more."
If Broomfield has blossomed in technical awareness of how the game is played, the same applies to his personal physical progress these two years at State. In fact he could be used as a prime example of what strength Coach Matt Balis' programs can achieve. Broomfield might—might—have brought 160 pounds to campus. Today? "I'm at 173," he says proudly. And without losing a tick of speed as he clocked a 4.4-forty in May. Yes, he has put in the work himself. Yet credit goes to the demanding boss and how this MSU regimen is organized.
"Because the way we lift, you have to take one day just for the upper body, one day for the lower body, in order for you to recover. It's real good. He's been doing this for a long time and he's produced champions, so everybody is on board. We all believe in what he does and we follow him. And I've got stronger, bigger, and faster, so…"
So much so that at last he actually looks the part of a football player when out-of-uniform. "Back home people say I look so much bigger on TV! So at least people (here) think I play football now." Not that Broomfield would look out-of-place were he to wear a singlet and step into starting blocks, of course. But he has no intention to test himself against the guys who sprint for their scholarships.
"Nah, they're at another level on the track, I'll leave that to them. I'm born-and-raised on the field, I can only run on grass!"
Mississippi State fans can still see Broomfield making maybe the most memorable Bulldog ‘sprint' of 2010. It was in the waning minutes of the Battle for the Golden Egg and State held a two-touchdown lead, but in the Egg Bowl nothing is sure until the final horn. Still the Dog defense could afford to let the Rebels try to come at them, contain anything, and even make an occasional gamble. Which on 1st-and-10 at the MSU 40 yard line, Broomfield did.
"I read it, it's at the end of the game, they're trying clock management and they've been throwing the out-route the whole game," he recalls. "It just so happened he threw it all the way across the field…" He being UM passer Jevan Snead, the throw being targeted at the left sideline. Except the ball never got there as Broomfield came up hard for the pickoff and kept going 64 yards for the clinching score at 5:17. In a little Bulldog bonus Broomfield easily evaded Snead's attempt at a tackle.
That one pick-six did more to make Broomfield's name known than the other five. "Oh yeah, I hear about it all the time. I went back home and that's all I heard, I didn't realize people in Florida watched the Egg Bowl! So it was real big, I appreciate the support back home and the support up here."
By the same token Broomfield is now in a position, even as a third-fall sophomore, to offer support to teammates over the course of a grueling summer. He's the veteran now, after all.
"When I go out there I'm not trying to figure out what is going on. I'm trying to help the other guys get what they need to get done, push everybody to another level. It's not just feeling, you're trying to push to be better. To be great out there." Broomfield has earned recognition for greater efforts with Champions Club status the last two sessions. Not bad for a kid some thought might be too small to survive, much less thrive on a SEC field.
"Oh, it feels real good. Not more for yourself, but for the team. You realize you're doing the right thing for the team, for the school, for the state to be better. So it's a real big accomplishment. And hopefully everything turns over into the gridiron."
The gridiron, remember. Because there might still be a few campus citizens yet to recognize that there is a ballplayer among them. Broomfield isn't offended though.
"I tell them just come out Saturday and they'll know who runs track and who plays football!"