Sophomore Defensive Tackle Josh Boyd

Despite starting the first pre-season football practice at 8:45 am, the Tuesday morning heat was more than a few Mississippi State football players bargained for. While sophomore defensive tackle Josh Boyd didn't seem to have much trouble adjusting to the 90+ degree heat, a few of the newcomers did.

While Boyd was sympathetic to the young defensive linemen, such as Kaleb Eulls, Curtis Virges Corvelli Harrison-Gay and Jeff Howie, he did give them a word of advice.

"It was pretty hot but they have to learn to push themselves through it," said Boyd. "It's going to be hot, it's going to be hard. You just have to learn to work through it. I was out there hot, too, but I just had to fight through it."

Mississippi State head strength coach Matt Balis is one person Boyd gives a lot of credit to for preparing him for the summer heat in Mississippi and the work ethic it takes to prepare to play in the Southeastern Conference.

"Coach Balis works us out to be mentally and physically tough," said Boyd. "He instills in us to fight through it."

Disregarding the heat element, what Boyd has seen from the newcomers has impressed him so far.

"Really the whole freshmen defensive line has looked good," said the 6-3, 295-pounder. "They are struggling a little bit because they are not used to the system yet, but I feel like they will improve and get a whole lot better."

Boyd also expects to be better himself this coming season.

"I feel like as long as I play hard I will be ok," said Boyd, who recorded 17 tackles while playing in twelve games and starting three last season. "And I am going to go hard 100% to help my team and help this program."

He also anticipates being better due to the aggressive style of defense that new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz brings to the Mississippi State football program.

"I like it because you are getting off the ball instead of trying to read the field," said Boyd. "You just react."

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

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