Bulldogs return to ‘The Farm’ for practice

Published 3:40 pm Thursday, August 10, 2023

By Logan Lowery
Mississippi State Athletics

STARKVILLE — Chad Bumphis was one of the first Bulldogs off the bus on Wednesday.

The former Mississippi State star wideout turned wide receivers coach was grinning from ear to ear as he sprinted through the gates at South Farm for the first time since his playing days ended.

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He, like the rest of the Bulldogs, left the comforts they’ve grown accustomed to at the Seal Football Complex and trekked across campus to a desolate stretch of land near the veterinary school and recreational fields to practice there for the first time in six years.

“This brought back a whole lot of memories and was real good for them,” Bumphis said. “This is what this program was built on; toughness, coming out here and competing and being physical. We got away from all the stuff that we’re used to and just got out and played ball. That’s what this program is all about.”

First-year head coach Zach Arnett decided to implement a pair of practices at South Farm into his preseason camp plan after talking with former players and coaches about their experiences there.

“It’s good to get away and get a change of scenery,” Arnett said. “It’s kind of nice to go where you don’t have all the luxuries and conveniences that we have in our facility here. Hopefully it takes guys back to what high school football was like for them.”

The adrenaline and intensity increase was apparent from the first drill of practice and continued until the final rep. The old-school approach to practice ended with Arnett placing a football inside the 2-yard line and declaring that it was 4th-and-goal and would be a live rep between the first-team offense and first-team defense.

“That’s how football camp is supposed to be,” Arnett said. “That’s how it’s been done here for a long time. I’m glad we got to do it.”

Working at South Farm was not the only factor in what was likely State’s most physical practice thus far. The Bulldogs donned full pads for the first time to close out six-straight practices to open preseason camp.

Mississippi State had its first off day on Thursday and will return to its regular practice fields at the Seal Complex on Friday morning.

“Putting the pads on inherently picks up the intensity,” Arnett said. “If it doesn’t, you won’t find yourself out on the practice field very much getting reps.”

2023 Mississippi State schedule
Sept. 2 — Southeastern Louisiana, 3 p.m. (SEC Network)
Sept. 9 — Arizona, 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Sept. 16 — *LSU, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Sept. 23 — *at South Carolina
Sept. 30 — *Alabama
Oct. 7 — Western Michigan
Oct. 14 — Open date
Oct. 21 — *at Arkansas
Oct. 28 — *at Auburn
Nov. 4 — *Kentucky
Nov. 11 — *at Texas A&M
Nov. 18 — Southern Miss
Nov. 23 — *Ole Miss, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
*Southeastern Conference games