SEC Media Days: MSU’s Nick Fitzgerald enters 2017 as “the guy”
It’s a little weird to say the biggest storyline for a team at SEC Media Days focuses on a guy that wasn’t even there today. That’s the case with Mississippi State and Nick Fitzgerald, but if you talk to his teammates and his coach they can give you an idea of what it’s like to go from being the guy in a four way battle for the quarterback position to being the guy at the quarterback position.
While Fitzgerald avoided the flashing lights his coach faced in Hoover today, he still faces the constant spotlight that comes with being the number one guy. Head Coach Dan Mullen said, “His intensity in leading the team every single day, not just I’m competing to win a job now, everyone’s staring at me and where my performance level is going to be.”
Wide receiver Donald Gray said, “For anybody in this situation, it’s kind of a mind-boggling thing for them to kind of deal with going into the season. This off-season, he kind of proved himself as kind of comfortable for him. It’s easy for him to kind of speak more.”
On the field in 2016, the then sophomore stood out quickly, leading the SEC in total yardage. Now an upperclassman, he’ll have strides to make as a passer, but Gray says his signal caller’s ball is already pretty dangerous. “If you take your eye off one inch, it’s going to snap your hands right back and you’re going to drop the ball and look kind of crazy.”
Dan Mullen’s track record includes successful quarterbacks like Dak Prescott, Tim Tebow, and Alex Smith. He says it’s up to Fitzgerald to buy in like they all did. “What it takes to become a great quarterback. So Nick, here’s the things, here’s what we got to compare. You got to be like Dak in these ways, that’s the easiest one because he sat in the room with him.”
Mullen doesn’t really like to compare Fitzgerald and Prescott, but he does believe the former has a better arm and is actually the better athlete while the Dallas Cowboys star is a little more accurate.