Last season’s 24-22 victory for Mississippi State over rival Ole Miss marked the eighth win of the season for the Bulldogs. It would also be the last win for head coach Mike Leach at Mississippi State. Leach died on December 12th at the age of 61 after being hospitalized with a heart condition. The Bulldogs honored Leach three weeks later with a win over Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl. Zach Arnett was named the head coach following Leach’s death. He now enters his first season as a head coach at the college level.
Arnett had spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Bulldogs. He says Leach left a significant impression on the rest of the staff.
The death of Leach brings some uncertainty to the Mississippi State program heading into 2023. Arnett says having senior quarterback Will Rogers on the roster helps ease that uncertainty.
Rogers has thrown for 70 touchdowns over the past two seasons while leading the Bulldogs’ air raid offense. He says Leach meant a lot to him during his tenure at Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs have a new offensive coordinator in Kevin Barbay. Rogers anticipates the offense will have a different identity this year.
Matt Brock takes over the defensive coordinator position with Arnett becoming head coach. Senior defensive tackle Jaden Crumedy says he’s excited to see his former defensive coordinator take over as head coach.
The Bulldogs open the season at home against Southeastern Louisiana on September 2nd. They open SEC play two weeks later against LSU. The season finale will be on Thanksgiving against Ole Miss in the annual Egg Bowl.