Team preview: Mississippi State

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(All information as of June 20, 2007)


Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom understands all too well that progress is measured by victories and championships. He knows a 9-25 record in his three seasons in Starkville doesn't offer much tangible evidence that progress is being made. The same is true of the Bulldogs' 4-20 SEC record over that same span.

Croom also understands that progress often comes in small, steady steps -- steps that can't always be seen or measured by outsiders. As far as Croom is concerned, the signs of progress are evident throughout the program.

"There's no question we've improved in every aspect of the program," Croom said. "Our first goal was to change the way we think about ourselves and our university and about the state we represent. Our players have a lot more pride instilled in them right now, and I know that's not something that has shown up on the scoreboard. But it's become a strong intangible that's absolutely necessary to go out and compete with the other teams in our conference.

"We did some things last year as far as establishing the kind of identity of what kind of football team we wanted to be -- a disciplined football team, a team that plays physical football, a well-conditioned team that doesn't quit. I think we showed all that through the course of the season despite some closes losses."