Ques­tions about an­kle sure to greet Bull­dog Fitzger­ald

Starkville Daily News - - SPORTS -

Hello Nick, how your an­kle? My guess is that Mis­sis­sippi State quar­ter­back Nick Fitzger­ald will get that ques­tion quite a bit to­day at South­east­ern Con­fer­ence Me­dia Days.

It was about eight months ago that Fitzger­ald suf­fered a tough an­kle in­jury dur­ing the Bat­tle of the Golden Egg be­tween the Bull­dogs and the Ole Miss Rebels.

Since that time, the MSU sig­nal caller has had surgery, gone through a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process and has been lim­ited in off­sea­son work­outs.

All in­di­ca­tions are Fitzger­ald will be is that ready to go this fall when the Bull­dogs open the sea­son against Stephen F. Austin on Septem­ber 1.

The na­ture of the me­dia will be to get as much in­for­ma­tion out of Fitzger­ald as pos­si­ble to­day on his health and the sta­bil­ity of his an­kle go­ing into fall camp. The an­swers Fitzger­ald gives will be an in­di­ca­tion on whether he be­gins his se­nior sea­son on solid foot­ing or not.

There are many who be­lieve that Fitzger­ald will be back as strong and as pro­duc­tive as ever.

Ear­lier this week, Fitzger­ald made two of the most pres­ti­gious col­lege foot­ball awards watch lists with the Maxwell Award and the Davey O'Brien Award. The Maxwell Award is given an­nu­ally to the over­all player of the year, while the Davey O'Brien Award is pre­sented to the na­tion's best col­lege quar­ter­back.

Fitzger­ald has de­vel­oped into one of the best du­althreat quar­ter­backs in the SEC over the past two sea­sons. He stands as one of only four SEC sig­nal call­ers to throw for 4,400 yards and rush for over 2,400 yards in a ca­reer.

In the of­fense of new MSU head coach Joe Moor­head, Fitzger­ald may be asked to pass more.

The Bull­dogs are go­ing to be dif­fer­ent of­fen­sively under Moor­head, but it re­mains to be seen just how dras­tic the change will be. Re­gard­less if MSU throws more than it has in the past, Fitzger­ald is go­ing to be a valu­able piece to the plan.

Fitzger­ald knows how to find the end zone no mat­ter if he's throw­ing or run­ning. He ranks sec­ond in school his­tory and 21st in the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence with 72 ca­reer touch­downs with a bal­ance of 39 pass­ing and 33 rush­ing.

Even if the Bull­dogs do throw more in 2018, Fitzger­ald's mo­bil­ity should help him get out of trou­ble. The SEC still re­mains a very tough league with very un­for­giv­ing de­fenses.

Again, the sta­bil­ity of Fitzger­ald's an­kle will be tested ev­ery time he scram­bles out of the pocket or de­cides to take off for one of his fa­mous break­away runs down the field.

Fitzger­ald seems to be a Bull­dog in ev­ery sense of the word and will be out to prove any doubters wrong in the coming sea­son.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to­day to see how Fitzger­ald an­swers all of the ques­tions that will be thrown at him. That will be the first step in let­ting us know how he feels about the 2018 MSU sea­son.

Danny P. Smith is sports edi­tor and colum­nist for the Starkville Daily News. The opin­ions in this col­umn are his and do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

(Photo by Danny P. Smith, SDN)

Mis­sis­sippi State head foot­ball coach Joe Moor­head will meet the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence me­dia to­day in At­lanta.

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