It is no secret when you say SEC Football one of the last teams that come to mind are the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Over their history – more times than not they just have not mattered.
Since day one of his arrival in Starkville head coach Dan Mullen has been trying to change the attitude and perception of the SEC Western Division Bulldogs. In just three short years he has taken this team from also-ran to a mid tear SEC program. Mullen has won two consecutive bowl games and dominated his instate rival Ole Miss. However, the mark on Mullen is that’s about all he has done – which is he has only beaten one SEC Western Division opponent during his time in Starkville.
Many will tell you it is a success that is skewed by easy out of conference wins and beating up on inferior SEC Eastern Divisional opponents. For all Mullen has done for Starkville, others want to see more. This season – a season that sets up perfectly schedule wise for the Bulldogs, Mississippi State must have five players that are considered average players, step up and be big time players.
Today we look at diamond two – senior wide receiver Chad Bumphis.
When head coach Dan Mullen arrived in Starkville in the winter of 2008 his first order of business was to recruit some wide receivers as there was only four scholarship pass catchers on campus.
In walks highly touted freshman Chad Bumphis and others. Bumphis – a Mississippi native from Tupelo did not disappoint his first year as the then true freshman hauled in 25 receptions for 339 yards and three touchdowns.
Bumphis built on his first year in Starkville by delivering 634 yards through the air along with 131 on the ground and a total of 5 touchdowns. Be it taking a hand off around the end or catching a pass down the field, the super sophomore was doing it all for the Bulldogs.
Then he took a step back last year in his junior year. Bumphis hauled in a modest 375 yards through the air and 5 touchdowns during the Bulldogs Music City Bowl season. Many critics calling Bumphis over rated and not living up to his billing are now anxious to see if the senior can go out on top and live up to the hype he brought to Starkville four years ago.
Before we look forward though lets look at last year and see why Bumphis may have fallen backwards in the statistics category. Until last year there was no other threats at wide receiver for the Bulldogs. Through recruiting and coaching the Bulldogs have built a nice stable of wide outs in Arceto Clark, Chris Smith, Brandon Heavens, Rico Sanders, Jameon Lewis and Joe Morrow.
Most teams could double Bumphis or put a spy on (number 1) and the passing game last year just was not a threat at Mississippi State. Also – lets remember that Chris Relf was the feature quarterback and his strengths were in the running game, not the passing game.
With a stronger cast around Bumphis at the receiver position and now a true passing quarterback in Tyler Russell and the fact that State will throw the ball more this year – look for Bumphis to again be a head line in your papers this fall.
Said Mullen, “Chad understands this is it for him and you can see a sense of urgency in his play and preparation. We expect big things from him this year.” Be it in the kicking game, through the air or on the ground the Bulldogs have to take advantage of this seniors talents in 2012.
About the Author
Written by Jake Wimberly
Mississippi State alum, co-founder of makeitrainsports, co-host to makeitrainsports radio on Rebel sports radio and Bulldog sports radio all on the Vsporto Network. Lover of SEC Sports, fitness and married to my best friend. Enjoy ketchup in large amounts and in search for a flying unicorn.