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The Missouri State football players were sick of all the dang meetings.

For months, since the COVID-19 pandemic sent them home for the spring and most of the summer, all they would do team-wise was have Zoom calls with each other and work out on their own.

But that finally changed on Saturday.

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Believe it or not, Missouri State football is just one month away from kicking off its season at the University of Oklahoma. Hopefully.

The Bears and Sooners are still scheduled to play Aug. 29 even with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The game will be played in Norman, Oklahoma, and the Bears’ athletic program will earn $600,000 if the game is played.

In addition to the pandemic, Missouri State has had plenty of change this offseason.

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Missouri State football landed a commitment from a highly touted outside linebacker a few days after practice began.

Former Nebraska outside linebacker and Under Armour High School All-American Breon Dixon tweeted Monday evening he will play his next two seasons at Missouri State.

“Blessed to be spending my next two years at The University of Missouri State,” Dixon tweeted. “More than appreciative to have this opportunity and ready to work these next two years.”

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New Missouri State head coach Bobby Petrino has had a successful career at grooming quarterbacks for the next level. At every stop during his head coaching career, he has sent at least one quarterback to the NFL.

In stops at Louisville, Arkansas, Western Kentucky and Louisville again, Petrino has coached multiple high-round draft picks, Heisman candidates and one Heisman winner over the course of his career.

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Like everyone right now, Bobby Petrino has no idea what’s going to come next as he’s been walking around with hand sanitizer in his pocket.

The new Missouri State head football coach stopped shaking hands with others and hasn’t enjoyed trips to the grocery store too much

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Bobby Petrino, named head coach at Missouri State in January 2020, is entering his 37th year in the profession, and his 16th as a head coach. Owner of a 119-56 collegiate record, his career is highlighted by a pair of stints at the University of Louisville (2003-06 and 2014-18) and another at the University of Arkansas (2008-11). Bobby Petrino’s teams have finished in the Top 25 seven times, including Top 10 showings at Louisville in 2004 and 2006 and at Arkansas in 2011. He has also led clubs to 11 bowl games, winning five. His other head-coaching stops came with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons in 2007 and at Western Kentucky in 2013.

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Bobby Petrino has during the course of his long career benefited from the guidance of some of the most respected coaches in the profession. He most notably worked under John L. Smith at Idaho, Utah State and Louisville, where he absorbed lessons about player management. Bruce Snyder taught him about the finer points of the running game while Bobby Petrino was at Arizona State, while Mike Price offered a tutorial about the passing game at Weber State. At Nevada Chris Ault underscored some points about player relations, and when Bobby Petrino served under Tom Coughlin with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, he received a crash course in overall strategy and technique.

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Bobby Petrino has always been known for his offensive acumen, and in March 2020 he co-authored a book entitled “Inside the Pocket: an In-Depth Analysis of the Xs and Os” with Joe Metzka, PhD. Bobby Petrino said that ideally he wants to feature “a high-scoring offense and a fast, aggressive defense.” Moreover, he understands that coaching involves building a brand — “You want to look good and play good,” he said — and developing players not only on the field but academically, socially and spiritually. “You bring them in, get them when they’re 18 years old, and basically raise them,” he said.

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Bobby Petrino’s love of football came from his dad, Bob Sr., who for 28 years served as head coach at Carroll College in Helena, Mont., winning 15 Pioneer League championships and reaching the NAIA playoffs nine times. The younger Petrino, the quarterback on three of those title teams, was also a two-time league MVP and two-time NAIA All-American. In addition, he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under his dad in 1983. The best lesson his dad gave him? “‘Reach for the top of the rainbow,’” Bobby Petrino said, “which I interpreted as, ‘Go for it. Don’t hold anything back.’”