COLE­MAN

Starkville Daily News - - SCORE­CARD -

a bit more, shall we say, more ba­sic than his pre­de­ces­sor's.

It was just the lat­est turn of events that em­pha­sizes the dif­fer­ence in the Mullen and Moor­head regimes at MSU.

There have been other changes too. Moor­head's coach­ing staff is re­cruit­ing at a higher level than Mullen's ever did in Starkville. The Bull­dogs' 2019 class is cur­rently ranked 12th in the coun­try by 247Sports. The new MSU staff has seemed to be an in­cred­i­bly mo­ti­vated bunch on the re­cruit­ing trail.

There's also a dif­fer­ence in how Moor­head ap­pears to be han­dling MSU's in­state ri­valry.

When posed with a ques­tion re­gard­ing the Egg Bowl on Wed­nes­day, Moor­head used the words ‘Ole Miss.' That's some­thing Mullen never did, al­ways opt­ing in­stead to call the Rebels TSUN – The School Up North.

It's not that Moor­head is dis­mis­sive of the MSU-Ole Miss bat­tle. He ad­mits he's ex­cited to be a part of it, but it does seem he's got big­ger fish to fry than just try­ing to top the Rebels.

None of this is to crit­i­cize Mullen's ten­ure at State. While I know he isn't ex­actly the most beloved fig­ure to many of you for the way he ex­ited, no one can ar­gue that he took the Bull­dogs to never-be­fore-seen heights.

How­ever maybe it was the per­fect time for a change at MSU. The Bull­dogs no longer have to deal with the yearly Mullen-to-fill-in-the­blank-univer­sity ru­mors. As stated ear­lier, Moor­head's group ap­pears to be sur­pass­ing Mullen's re­cruit­ing ef­forts. It also prob­a­bly doesn't hurt that the Egg Bowl ri­valry might get taken down a notch now that Mullen is out of the pic­ture. For my en­tire life, a Mis­sis­sippi State sea­son has been judged by whether or not the Bull­dogs beat Ole Miss. Mullen seemed to adapt that phi­los­o­phy. I don't ex­pect that to change all that much, but I get the im­pres­sion Moor­head's end-all, beall isn't hoist­ing a golden egg

in No­vem­ber. It's lift­ing a na­tional ti­tle tro­phy in Jan­uary.

I don't know if Moor­head can get there. What an in­cred­i­ble story it would be if he did. All I know is it seems like he's tak­ing steps in that di­rec­tion. They are steps that per­haps Mullen couldn't have taken him­self if he'd have stuck around. And at least some of those steps on the jour­ney will be taken in just your av­er­age, ev­ery­day pair of dress shoes.

Joel Cole­man is the Mis­sis­sippi State beat writer for The Starkville Daily News. The opin­ions in this col­umn are Cole­man's and do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the views of the SDN or its staff.

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