Stricklin Understands Smart Expansion



It’s been a while since MSU announced expansion and renovations for Davis Wade Stadium and construction is well underway. While the SEC is in an all-out arms race, MSU decided to only add 6,255 seats upping the total to 61,337. The main goal is adding premium seating opportunities, elevators, restrooms, and concessions as well as creating a new west-side concourse. Many of the improvements of the existing structure were a wise way of using the $75 million as opposed to just chasing a seating number and building as big as you can.


I really like the vision of the current athletic administration. Scott Stricklin just gets it. One of the most important parts in business, which also relates to college athletics,  is knowing your lane, not reaching at too much too fast, and executing your plan to the fullest. I’m sure MSU could have gone with an expansion only mindset and built a 70k+ seat stadium but that would have been shooting for the wrong goal.


When you look at the big boys in the SEC (Bama, LSU, UGA, and Florida), they all have the huge stadiums and even our most ambitious expansion plan would not been able to match their size.  I think to fully understand what we need, you have to put yourself in the shoes of an opposing fan. If a Bama fan travels to Starkville, they aren’t going to be blown away by the size of the stadium. Why not wow them with the aesthetics and grounds? Stricklin understands that while we may not need a huge stadium right now, there is no reason we cannot have the best 61k seat stadium in America.


We constantly see how our athletic department is doing everything they can do differentiate themselves from the pack and the stadium is no different. I absolutely love the plans and the direction we are headed. The attention to detail such as the bricks, the premium bunker section, and the premium loge seating in the north end zone are clears signs of embracing what we are and differentiating. The stadium we are building is truly a thing of beauty and MSU fans should be as pumped as I am about its completion. Going bigger in the future is the easy part. Demand will drive that.


I’ll leave you with an analogy that simulates my theory that we need to approach this as if we are an opposing fan.  If you go to a trip to a different city you have a couple nights where you want to go out to eat. You can always go somewhere generic like Applebees and order a big 14oz steak. Its big enough, it resembles the steaks at the high end places, but it just doesn’t have the taste and you leave that restaurant semi-satisfied at best. Contrast that with going to a quaint little Italian place you were told about. You go in and immediately fall in the love with the atmosphere. You receive great, friendly service and you eat the best authentic chicken scarpariello and baked manicotti you’ve ever had. While it may not be the biggest or most high end place you’ve been, you leave wowed and never forget your experience there. There is no reason Davis Wade Stadium can’t achieve that same effect on everyone that visits.




MSU and Ole Miss Open 2013 with Monster Games


While much of the country gets to settle in to their 2013 season with a cupcake game, MSU and Ole Miss both open with monsters. Both games have the ability to either catapult them into a great year or deflate and have them starting behind the eight ball. Mississippi State opens in a national kickoff game against early Big 12 favorite Oklahoma State at Reliant Field in Houston. Ole Miss gets Vandy in Nashville for a Thursday night prime time matchup on ESPN. Both games have huge implications for slightly different reason.

First thing that pops into mind for the MSU game is how risky it was to schedule this game. MSU has away trips to Auburn, South Carolina, and Texas A&M making our away slate brutal this year. MSU is trying to make its 4th bowl appearance in a row and a loss in the opener makes the road much more difficult. Pair that with home games against LSU and Alabama and the schedule looks daunting. One thing no one can deny about this game is the national exposure MSU will get from this game. It’s not like MSU doesn’t have a chance. MSU very well could pull off the victory over a highly ranked national opponent on national television. That is the flip side of this and one that would make the risk by Scott Stricklin look like a genius move if it were to materialize. Also, MSU gets a huge payout for this game so it certainly makes fiscal sense.

The Rebel’s opener is a bit different. They play their permanent eastern division opponent so it wasn’t a game that could be avoided on the schedule. Vandy is coming off of a 9 win season and the home crowd will be electric in Nashville. Ole Miss faces a daunting task as well. From an outsider viewpoint, it seems Ole Miss has some sort of mental issue in beating Vandy that would be huge to overcome in week 1 of the season. The Rebels have had teams that are plenty good enough to beat Vandy but misfortune has cost them some games in this series. A win in this one not only starts the Rebel’s with a conference win but also defeating a previous mental challenge that could lead them primed for another bowl season.

A loss for either team would sting but would by no means be damning to the season. I can look at both of the schedules and see 6 wins at a minimum with the opportunity for 7 and maybe 8 with an upset. On the other hand a win would leave you set for an 8 win type season and a better bowl. I like to look at it through the lens of the openers setting the stage for the Egg Bowl either way. If both teams win, we are looking at a possible prime time matchup to end the season with a really good bowl on the line. If both teams were to lose, we could be looking at a battle for bowl eligibility. Either way it will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

The last thing I look at is which game is bigger? I could see MSU fans arguing that their game is bigger due to the schedule. MSU’s schedule is brutal this year and an out of conference loss certainly does you no favors to continue the bowl streak. In my eyes the Ole Miss game is the bigger game because more is on the line. First and foremost the Rebels are playing a conference game. Second, they get a cupcake in week 2 but that is followed by at Texas, at Alabama, and at Auburn. I know if I was a Rebel fan, a loss in the opener and I’d have some anxiety looking at that stretch. At the end of the day, both games are big to each school. Both games could be classified as “program defining moments”. Fans of both schools want to see wins and moving up to the next level and both of these games afford that. The 1 thing I feel certain about is both schools should have no problem staying focused on training with openers like that.

The Baxter Price Story

Great piece on Baxter Price and his expanded role in his senior season. Guys like Price help make a program more then many realize. Another great job by Hail State Beat.


In the summer before Rick Ray’s first season, just a few months after he had been hired at Mississippi State, the new head coach of the Bulldogs went through individual workouts his the players he was just meeting and about to be depending on.

Walking across a mostly empty gym, Ray approached one of his walk-ons, Baxter Price, to give him corrections, letting him know what he did wrong and how to fix it.

The senior guard was a little confused.

“He kind of looked behind him and he was like, ‘Are you talking to me?’ That was the first time he had been coached and been in that situation,” Ray said.

A member of what was once called the Gold Team – MSU’s practice players comprised of walk-ons and the occasional ineligible player – Price was used to hanging in the shadows the last three years under former coach…

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Football Season 15 Part III


Yesterday I covered what my diet starts to look like come January. Now I will let you take a look at what my training schedule looks like to get back to “fighting weight”. There is a lot of argument about which workout you should do and which ones are the best. The main goal is to do whichever one you pick 100% and make sure that you allow your body to get adequate rest . It doesn’t matter if you do P90x, crossfit, or an old-school program like mine; the effort, consistency, and intensity are what will get you results.

“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something. You can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.” -Arnold Schwarzenegger

During the fall I follow a high intensity protocol meaning my workouts have very few working sets per muscle group but they are performed to and past failure. For example, I’ll warm up for 5 minutes on bench and pick a heavy weight and do it as many times as I can (shooting for the 8-10 range) and get a spotter to help me push 1-2 assisted reps out at the end. A lot of times I’ll immediately decrease the weight after my set to failure and do the same thing with a lighter weight. So on chest day I may only do 3 exercises with 1 working set to and past failure on each exercise. This may sound easy but trust me; it is a great physical and mental challenge.

After 6 months of doing this my body is prime for a new, drastically different workout. The immediate change of style will create muscle confusion and lead to immediate elevated anabolic responses. That basically means my muscles will grow and I could burn fat. I switch to a high volume workout. That means I may do 4 exercises for 4 sets a piece on chest day. Since I go from pushing 60-80 reps a workout to now up to 200 I have to ease into it a bit. First week I do 10 sets for 10 reps on all my days to get my body switched to a volume program. After 2 weeks add a couple sets to each workout and so on until I get to where I am now and will stay.

This workout is much more taxing on the body and requires the carbs to be consumed to be able to handle it. Instead of doing 3 days, I do 6.  Not only are my winter and spring workouts longer, they also finish every single time with 45 minutes of cardio. I usually do inclined walk, slow jogging, elliptical, or step climber. The body’s response to the change is pretty quick and you will see significant weight loss in your first 6 weeks.

I also start to supplement more. Before every workout I use a pre-workout drink to elevate energy levels and I also take a full days serving of the essential amino acids. After every workout I immediately drink a weigh protein isolate shake. I also take a men’s multivitamin daily. I drink a casein protein shake before bed every night as well. Depending on my day and if I’ve been able to consume enough protein, I may drink a 3rd whey isolate shake for the day but I try to keep that to a minimum by taking in as much whole food macronutrients as possible

Sample Week Training


Seated Dumbbell Military Press- 5 sets of 8 reps

Standing Lateral Dumbbell Raises- 5 sets of 10 reps

Upright Row- 5 sets of 10 reps

45 mins cardio


Incline Barbell Bench- 5 sets of 8 reps

Flat Dumbbell Bench- 5 sets of 10 reps

Pec Deck or Cable Fly- 5 sets of 10-12

Seated Bench Machine (Nuetral grip-palms facing, thumbs pointing up)- 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Standing Front Dumbbell Raises- 3 sets of 10

45 mins cardio


Lat Pull downs- 5 sets of 8-10

Seated Wide Grip Rows- 5 sets of 10

Single Arm Dumbbell Row- 5 sets of 10

Seated Neutral Grip Rows- 5 sets of 10

Reverse Flys- 3 sets of 10

45 mins of cardio


Dumbbell or Barbell Shrugs- 8 sets of 10

Calf Raises- 8 sets of 12

Ab Wheel- 5 sets to failure

Crunches- 5 sets to failure

Straight Leg Deadlift- 5 sets of 20

45 mins of cardio


Super set bicep and triceps

1A- Barbell Curls- 5 sets of 8

1B- Skull Crushers- 5 sets of 8-10

2A- Hammer Curls- 5 sets 10

2B- Single Arm Behind Head Tricep Extension- 5 sets of 10

3A- Seated Preacher Curls- 5 sets of 10

3B- Tricep Pushdowns- 5 sets of 10

45 mins of cardio


Leg Press- 5 sets of 10

Crunches – 5 Sets of 10

45 mins of cardio

**I go easy on my leg to maximize cardio sessions in the winter/spring. I kill them in the fall due to no cardio**



The actual workouts you do on which day is completely customizable to your preference. Some may look at my schedule and not like to do things in that order. Nothing wrong with that since everyone is different. Most people don’t train shoulders first but I do because of my body’s natural build. My frame makes it imperative that shoulders take precedence. It’s all about finding a comfort level that suits you and executing it to the best of your ability.

If anyone has any questions about the workout email me at

Football Season 15 Part II


We’ve already established what football season does to my midsection.  Now let’s discuss the 2-pronged attack that it takes to reverse these fat gains. It’s actually pretty simple: diet and exercise. Diet is the most important part of the 2 and professional bodybuilder Ernie Taylor said it best, “Sell yourself short on nutrition and you’re selling yourself short on maximizing your physique development.”

The biggest difference for me is that in the fall the only macronutrient I really count is protein. I’ll allow myself to eat much more fat and simple carbohydrates and not worry too drastically about it as long as I’m getting my 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight a day. In the winter and spring I pay much more mind to everything I consume. I know a lot of people like to  immediately cut carbs but when you see my workout plan tomorrow, you’ll know why that is not a  great idea for me.

In the very end I will go low carb but it’s only when I get 4-6 weeks out from when I want to look my best. If you goal is to be full go by June 1rst then do the last 4-6 weeks before that. This year my target date in June 22nd for my wedding so I will plan accordingly. The best way for me to explain is to give a few basic pointers that even average guys like myself can benefit from.


 -Eliminate unnatural sugar (high fructose corn syrup or any processed sugar)

-Try to make all carbs complex carbohydrates

-Try to eliminate “bad fats” fried foods or high fat pork or beef

-Start the day off with a balanced breakfast

-Eat as much organic or unprocessed foods as possible

-Drink lots of water; lay off soda, even diet soda

-Do not starve yourself


Sample Meals for a Day


Breakfast- 1 servings of plain oatmeal flavored with 1 tablespoon of smart balance light butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar free strawberry jam. 1 apple. Whey Isolate shake with 2 scoops of protein.

Lunch- 8oz of grilled chicken on a whole wheat tortilla with 2oz of 2% sharp cheddar, 1 tablespoon light sour cream, and 2 tablespoons of medium salsa. Side of green veggie of choice.

Dinner- 6-8oz of shrimp sautéed with onions, mushrooms, green bells, and a tomato basil marinara. Pour mixture on top of a bed of 1.5 servings of whole wheat linguine.


If anyone has any questions feel free to email me at

The Football Season 15

I know everyone is familiar with the old saying “the freshman 15” but I’m here to tell you about a new phenomenon that I encounter yearly. The extra weight I pick up every single football season and what I do to combat that in the winter and spring. Nothing better than sitting at a tailgate drinking some good ole liquid calories, having some sort of chips and dip, and grilling up some kind of fatty meat on the grill. It is glorious. I know some opt for Michelob ultra, baked lays, and grilled chicken breast with no salt or sauce but I’m not that guy.
Something about the fall and the energy that comes with it just makes me want to enjoy life. From September to January I just cannot bring myself to count calories. Not only do you have football season tailgates and homegates to attend but also Thanksgiving and Christmas. “No, I can’t do the leek casserole. It has butter and heavy cream in it” is something you will never here me say during this time.
Part of the gain is by design but not most of it. In the fall I switch my workout to only 3 days a week and virtually no cardio. I’m what you call a “hard gainer” and cannot make good muscle gains without some friendly fire. That’s really just a nice way to say extra fat. While I always plan for a few extra pounds the enjoyment of the season plays a big part. I stayed much leaner in the Croom years. Not much excitement. I didn’t know too many folks who couldn’t wait to have a cookout during that time period.
After New Year’s Eve it never fails. My pants are a bit tighter and my holiday pictures I have the classic fat face. Now it’s time to pay the piper and get rid of all of my “fall fun” and get ready for the summer. Did I mention how easy it is to go to the gym on Saturday and hit an hour of cardio when there is no football on? The same goes for Monday night football and ESPN’s Thursday night games that aren’t on. Beer consumption also takes a much needed dive in the spring. I might drink a couple Abita Restoration Pale Ales for the Saints vs Falcons on Monday night but for some reason I’m completely ok with green tea during American Idol or Walking Dead.
I’m sure there are some medical professionals who may read this and gasp at the unhealthy fluctuations my BMI takes during the year. It’s easy for me to justify it though. I could just embrace the gut and not worry about it right? I’m sure there are others out there who fight “The Battle of the Bulge” after every fall and holiday season and that is who I’m writing this for. I feel your pain and walk this struggle with you brother. Tomorrow I’ll lay out the major diet changes I makes to lean down from my football season 15.