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Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead talking championships for the Bulldogs

Mississippi state coach Joe Moorhead

New Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead is looking to bring championships to Starkville.

“When I first got off the plane, the three guys that were waiting at the airport told me to know their ring size,” Moorhead said the regionally syndicated “Chuck Oliver Show” on Tuesday. “I didn’t come here to hold serve. We came here to elevate, and part of that is bringing a championship to Starkville.”

Mississippi State’s sole SEC championship came in 1941. But Moorhead said he is not feeling the pressure of coaching in the SEC.

“I guess there’s two ways to look at pressure,” he said. “You can either feel it or you can apply it. We’re fixing to apply it down here.”

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Moorhead, 44, was offensive coordinator at Penn State the past two seasons, and two of his former players are believers.

He’s gonna bring them a championship,” former Penn State safety Marcus Allen told SECCountry.com at the Senior Bowl. “He’s very intelligent. He knows the game of football. They definitely have a great coach over there.”

Former Nittany Lions tight end Mike Gesicki told SECCountry.com that great days are ahead in Starkville.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see some championships coming to Mississippi State because that’s the type of atmosphere he creates and the type of confidence he instills in his players,” Gesicki said. “And once they believe in it, you never know what can happen.”

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Moorhead takes over a team that returns 17 starters, the most in the SEC. That incudes quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, running back Aeris Williams, defensive end Martez Sweat and defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons. All four should contend for All-SEC honors.

Moorhead and the Bulldogs open spring practice March 20. They open the season September 1 against FCS opponent Stephen F. Austin. Stephen F. Austin has finished with a losing record in five of the past six seasons, including three years in a row.

(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)

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