MSU

Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead speaks during the college football Southeastern Conference Media Days Wednesday in Hoover, Alabama.

Joe Moorhead had a bit of a different approach to SEC Media Days this year.

Moorhead exuded a confident demeanor a year ago. There was talk of his quarterback making room on the shelf for a Heisman Trophy. He also asked for his players’ ring sizes.

That was just talk. On Wednesday, in Birmingham, Alabama, Moorhead even admitted he might have come into this job with too much of a “guns-blazing” attitude.

“I think what I did with that, without knowing kind of the history and the context of how difficult it is to win in this league, and specifically Mississippi State where there’s two 10-win seasons in school history and two championship appearances, one in ‘98 and one before World War II, in ‘41, and I think what I may have done is elevated the expectation level to a point where nothing that we did short of a championship was going to make people happy,” Moorhead said.

But that doesn’t mean the second-year head man doesn’t have high expectations.

“Our football goals, as always, we want to have a winning non-conference record. We want to have a winning conference record,” Moorhead said. “You do those things, and that puts you in position to be in the hunt for the SEC Championship. We want to retain the Egg Bowl. Our floor for success is bowl eligibility. Our ceiling for success is winning the SEC and compete for the national championship.”

Mississippi State is hoping a graduate transfer quarterback can give a jolt to its struggling offense. The Bulldogs added Tommy Stevens during the offseason. The 6-foot-5 senior was the backup at Penn State behind Trace McSorley before moving to Starkville.

The coach and QB are familiar with each other: Moorhead was the offensive coordinator at Penn State before taking the Mississippi State job and coached Stevens early in his career.

Moorhead said on Wednesday at SEC media days that: “Tommy is a kid with a lot of physical tools. Strong arm. He can really run. He’s accustomed to the system so he’s going to understand it for the most part coming in.”

Stevens will compete with Keytaon Thompson for the starting job. Thompson was Nick Fitzgerald’s backup last season and threw for 458 yards, six touchdowns and an interception.

Mississippi State finished with a 4-4 mark in the SEC. The Bulldogs scored just 16 total points in its four league losses.

nContact Bill Burrus at 581-7237 or bburrus@gwcommonwealth.com. Follow on Twitter at Bill_Burrus.

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