Music City Bowl distraction? Joe Moorhead continues to be asked about Mississippi State's post-practice altercation
Mississippi State and Louisville are in Nashville for the Music City Bowl and so far it’s the Bulldogs that have made headlines for all the wrong reasons ahead of the matchup.
Just four days before the game kicks off, Mississippi State officially made a change at quarterback, as it was announced Penn State transfer Tommy Stevens will get the start after freshman Garrett Shrader reportedly was involved in an altercation with a teammate after practice that will rule him out for the bowl game.
Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead continued to field questions about the incident in the lead-up to the game.
“To me, it was a team issue that we handled internally,” said Moorhead. “It’s been resolved. Garrett is here on-site, he was at practice yesterday, is in good spirits. More than anything, we want our focus to be like we mentioned earlier, on these seniors, on this team, on this game.
“It’s a team matter. It was handled. Garrett is here, he’s at practice. Just saw him up in the hall eating a bag of licorice. Things are going good.”
When asked about whether or not the event would provide a distraction for the Bulldogs, Moorhead maintained that would not be the case.
“The key thing with the bowl, the teams that play well are generally able to eliminate or handle distractions and adversity. They’re able to prepare well, they’re able to play with physicality, able to execute,” said Moorhead.
“When we’ve been in the meeting rooms, on the field, it’s been 100% football. It is a reward and you want them to enjoy themselves. In terms of that and distractions, since it happened, we’ve moved on, we’ve been fine.”
Mississippi State will also be without defensive backs Cameron Dantzler and Brian Cole as they sit out ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, but will have the services of All-SEC running back Kylin Hill against the 7-5 Louisville Cardinals.
As for Tommy Stevens, the senior has thrown for 934 yards and nine touchdowns this season, splitting duties with Shrader.
This is not the issue you want to be dealing with as a head coach ahead of a bowl game, but according to Moorhead, this incident is in the rearview and his team is ready to play.