Bulldogs bring practice back to The Farm
It’s that time of year again for Dan Mullen’s Mississippi State Bulldogs.
The team made its triumphant return to “The Farm” Monday to begin another two-week getaway from the monotony of training camp and the comforts of campus.
The Farm is not actually a real farm, but instead just a collection of fields adjacent to MSU’s veterinary school where the Bulldogs hold 14 practices every summer. Still, the annual “business trip,” as some in the program call it, is an opportunity for Mullen and company to shed the cozy amenities found at the Bulldogs’ football facilities and instead build toughness and unity under the hot summer sun.
There are no trees for shade on the farm, just the sweltering heat synonymous with Mississippi in August. There are no air-conditioned indoor facilities either, just wide open stretches of green grass from which there is no escape.
And if it rains? The team practices in the rain on what quickly becomes a mud-soaked field.
“It’s hot. It stinks. It smells like cows. It’s a farm,” quarterback Dak Prescott told the Clarion-Ledger’s Michael Bonner. “A little rain makes it muddy. When the mud comes, it’s even worse.”
Most members of the Bulldogs’ lineup, especially those with multiple years of experience on The Farm, would agree that the trip doesn’t reach its lowest point until the start of week 2, when the team practices in pads for the first time.
That day comes Monday, and Mullen has already begun to slowly prepare his team for its arrival. After holding the team’s first two practices from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the head coach moved today’s practice to the late morning, and plans to begin practice at 12:15 p.m. each of the next two days when the Starkville heat is at its worst.
State has also begun implementing a no-huddle offense into Mullen’s system, and practicing at a faster pace adds a new variable to The Farm that players didn’t have to deal with in years past.
Ultimately Mullen’s goal each year is to have the team band together to get through the grueling two weeks, and to have his players come out of the experience with an added toughness unmatched throughout the rest of the SEC.
“You just gotta keep going,” Prescott admitted. “That’s part of it.”