Mississippi Sportswatch

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Mississippi State returns one of the top quarterbacks in program history, one of the league's best running backs from a year ago, four starting offensive linemen and several key defensive players. Yet the Bulldogs enter preseason as little more than an afterthought in the loaded Southeastern Conference Western Division.

METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- A woman who could become the NFL's first female official is training at New Orleans Saints training camp this week. Sarah Thomas, who lives near Jackson, Miss., is a former college basketball player who started officiating high school games at age 23 and says she never dreamed then that she could become a candidate to officiate NFL games.

METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- The New Orleans Pelicans now have uniforms to go with a new team name, emblems and color scheme the NBA franchise released earlier this year. The club, which competed as the Hornets last season, unveiled new uniforms Thursday on new practice courts built alongside the headquarters of the NFL's Saints in suburban New Orleans.

METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- Saints defensive players praise new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan not just for his aggressive, fun-loving approach, but also for his genuine interest in players' opinions about what works best for them. Ryan says his confidence as a coach is what makes him secure enough to give players a say in the game plan.

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