STARKVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – Unlike last season, Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald comes into this season knowing he has the starting job for the Bulldogs.
At the team’s media day Tuesday, head coach Dan Mullen said he’ll be watching how Fitzgerald develops as leader throughout fall camp.
“I want to see how he takes the rein at each stage,” Mullen said. “This was his first off-season as being the starter. I think he’s improved on it but he’s also going through a learning curve of how to lead. I expect his leadership to be much better this year than it was last year and I’ve seen that from him.”
Fitzgerald says a step to improving that is knowing what kind of leader to be.
“Some guys are really up front, really loud, halftime speech kind of guys. some guys are just quiet, keep to themselves, lead by example,” Fitzgerald said. “I think of myself as kind of in between. I think I just need a little more vocal with it, a little better about patting people on the back. Kinda know when to talk, when not to talk. When to get on somebody, When not to get on somebody, really just show that I can handle leading this team and making sure I can bring everybody together and elevate everybody’s play.”
Some of his teammates say they have noticed the work Fitzgerald’s been putting in as well as some of the changes in his demeanor.
“I see more assertiveness,” said wide receiver Gabe Myles. “He’s not afraid to call anyone out, say okay let’s get to work, let’s get going.”
“This summer man, he’s been out there throwing, working on his accuracy and stuff like that,” said running back Aeris Williams. “He’s going to be a great quarterback man, I can promise you that.”
In terms of his development as a passer, Fitzgerald acknowledged he needs to be more accurate and consistent. He did lead the SEC in total yardage last season, but out of 15 qualified conference passers, he ranked next to last in completion percentage.