Football Notes: Mississippi State

The Southeastern Conference compiled notes on each of the league's 12 football teams following spring practice. These notebooks are presented a team at a time in reverse alphabetical order. Here is the report from Mississippi State:



Alabama will play Mississippi State on November 14 in Starkville.

Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen put his team through 15 workouts over four weeks in his first spring in Starkville.

In three spring scrimmages, senior tailback Anthony Dixon rushed 35 times for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Dixon is the school's all-time career leader in rushing attempts (645) and rushing touchdowns (30) and is 627 yards away from passing Jerious Norwood's 3,212 for the school record in rushing yards.

Wide receivers Leon Berry, O'Neal Wilder, Terrance Davis and Delmon Robinson each had productive spring practices in the new Bulldog spread offense. The four receivers combined for 12 receptions all season (all by Robinson) for the Bulldogs in 2008, but hauled in 22 passes for 379 yards in the Maroon-White Game alone.

Wilder - an outstanding 400-meter track athlete - caught four passes for 122 yards in the Spring Game and finished the spring scrimmages with nine catches for 168 yards.

Berry also had an outstanding spring. The junior college transfer caught 14 passes for 200 yards in the three full-speed workouts.

Five junior college players that enrolled in January look to have a major impact on the 2009 Bulldog lineup. Along with Berry, kicker Sean Brauchle, punter Heath Hutchins, defensive lineman Pernell McPhee and Chris White all earned starting roles in their first spring drills.

Brauchle and Hutchins each solidified their starting spots during the spring, with Brauchle booting a 57 yard field goal in each of the last two scrimmages.

McPhee was unblockable at times, wreaking havoc in the offensive backfield. White posted eight tackles in the Maroon-White Game and emerged as the starting weakside linebacker for the Bulldog defense.

Senior quarterback Tyson Lee completed 19-of-33 passes for 251 yards and a score in the Maroon team's victory in the Spring Game. Lee improved in each scrimmage, throwing for 91 yards in the first full-team practice, 113 in the second and 251 in the Maroon-White Game.

Sophomore quarterback Chris Relf also progressed throughout the spring practice period. Relf completed 13-of-26 passes for 195 yards in the Maroon-White Game, improving mightily each scrimmage. The Montgomery native finished with 351 yards passing in the three scrimmages.

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