STARKVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex is generating plenty of excitement as the players kickoff practice at 4:45 Thursday.
It will be the first of 29 practice sessions permitted under NCAA rules before Mississippi State battles Southern Miss in the season opener on August 30 in Starkville.
Head coach Dan Mullen has closed all practices and scrimmages to the public.
On Wednesday the players went through academic and compliance orientation.
Defensively, the Bulldogs return nine starters and fifteen Bulldogs started at least one game on defense under defensive coordinator Geoff Collins.
High expectations surround Mississippi State thanks to the return of starting quarterback Dak Prescott, the junior from Haughton, Louisiana.
Prescott said,"Team practices this summer helped a lot. It has been tremendous just to see all the guys come out and have the great attitude. They've had to get better on their own individually and then go into group sessions and team sessions."
Offensively lineman Ben Beckwith said,"We have a really good group. We're kind of an underrated group. We have a lot of seniors, every position is a battle. You want competition. It breeds excellence. We look really good."
Sophomore defensive lineman Chris Jones is expected to make a major impact in 2014.
He said,"I feel like I'm on a more serious note now. Last year was a learning year for me. My expectations are so much higher than last year because last year I didn't really expect to play as much as I did. This year my expectations are so high. I have to be serious about everything. I can't just have fun and play. I have to be serious and critical of my mistakes."