| Mississippi Clarion Ledger
Mike Leach gives updates on Mississippi State before Alabama game
Mike Leach gave updates on his Mississippi State Bulldogs leading into the Alabama game.
Mike Leach said this would happen.
Minutes after Mississippi State lost 24-2 to Kentucky on Oct. 10, Leach hinted that a purge of “malcontents” could be coming. Now the Bulldogs are in the middle of it.
Last week, Garrett Shrader entered the transfer portal. Jalen Mayden, Nick Pendley and Kareem Walker followed suit Tuesday. Leach confirmed Tyrell Shavers, Tre Lawson and Jamari Stewart are on their way out during Wednesday’s SEC teleconference.
Factor in the report that senior running back Kylin HIll will not play again this season, and that makes eight players who have departed in the last week. Mississippi State fans might be surprised, but Leach isn’t.
“I would be surprised if we don’t lose more,” Leach said. “So if you’re stunned or nervous, you better brace yourself. We might lose more.”
That was only the beginning of Leach’s comments during the teleconference on players leaving his program. He told reporters that he has not even talked to Hill and that the emerging knowledge of Hill’s opt out was as much of news to him as it was to the rest of the college football landscape.
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Leach and his assistants had a vision for Hill leading the SEC in yards from scrimmage this season. Hill started strong with a 194-yard outing against LSU, but has been derailed since. Leach was pressed further why he didn’t “hit it off” with Hill, last year’s SEC leader in rushing yards, but he downplayed the notion that he ever had a falling out with Hill.
“I didn’t say that was the case, but we’re not going to worry about that because like I said we’re going to worry about the ones that we’re coaching,” Leach said. “You’re going to have to take that up with others perhaps.”
Players, especially ones as important and talented as Hill, leaving the team in the middle of the season can be a distraction. Leach admitted as much. But he also said sometimes it’s necessary.
Leach also hinted that the players who have left might not have been good fits for the culture he is trying to establish. He said that a coaching staff has to think of a team as one unified group rather than as a series of individuals
“Every time that I’ve been involved with a new program, there’s been a certain amount of turnover,” Leach said. “We need guys to buy in to what we’re doing. You need guys to buy in, and you need the guys who are going to work really hard and play really hard and do it the right way. Coming in you have certain rules and expectations that you expect to be followed. Either they abide by them or they don’t make adjustments.”
The ones who don’t make the adjustments, Leach said, get the boot or get out. That’s what’s taking place right now at Mississippi State.