Tuesday Afternoon Practice Report

During his first Mississippi State spring tour, Dan Mullen often used the Mississippi State student weather center's 2009 national championship as an example of what the whole University can achieve, football team included. Tuesday afternoon the campus weather crew came through for Mullen as the Bulldogs raced an oncoming storm front to complete a full practice.

"We said we have this many plays left, how many minutes?" Mullen said. "They said about minutes, it will be windy but you'll get it in. And we got it in! That's why we've got a national championship weather team here!"

Since Tuesday is THE work day in a practice week for State, getting everything done was of no small importance to Mullen while he saw the storm approaching from the west. "And it came through real quick." Fortunately the script was finished and lightning still just far enough away as the Bulldogs came to the locker room.

"We were just finishing up a Tuesday practice," Mullen said. "We did a lot of first down and play-action type of stuff, run play-action."

And, defending some of the same, though in the case of prepping for Florida the Bulldogs are looking at two different quarterbacks. Passer John Brantley would be challenge enough to operate against, but hard-running Trey Burton adds that extra dimension. Much the same way State does with Chris Relf and Tyler Russell, though their skills are reversed with runner/thrower Relf and pocket passer Russell.

Since freshman Dylan Favre is occupied as the #3 quarterback and also running against a scout Gator defense, State has to have a non-quarterback mimic Burton this week. That duty has fallen to redshirting freshman receiver Jameon Lewis. "He played high school quarterback, so it's a real natural thing for him to do," Mullen said.

REVISING THE LINEUPS: Meanwhile senior center J.C. Brignone remains sidelined with a strained left knee, wrapped full-leg length today. Brignone did wear his regular practice gear but has not participated yet this week. Nor will he tomorrow, Mullen said.

"It will be Thursday at the earliest. But he's played an awful lot of football here so I've told them I want to hold him back as long as possible. He knows what he's doing." In the interim, regular starting guard Quentin Saulsberry—who replaced Brignone for the second half at Houston—is the #1 center, and freshman Sam Watts the backup. Though Mullen had one of those moments and said ‘Sam Williams' giving the brief impression of a skinny wide receiver in the center of the offensive line. "He'd be pretty small there, we'd be quick but!..."

State has lost WR Leon Berry for the rest of the schedule with a dislocated ankle. With TE Marcus Green also done for the year with a knee injury the list of pass-catchers is dramatically and dangerously shorter now. The offense can produce with starters Chad Bumphis, Brandon Heavens, and Arceto Clark. But to get a real rotation will require others such as Chris Smith, Ricco Sanders, and freshman Michael Carr into larger roles. Mullen does not seem concerned.

"We rotate a lot of them anyway, so guys have played a lot. What they're going to have to do is play a little more."

PRIME TIME: Mississippi State football will get some air time Thursday without even playing a game. ESPNU's show All Access will have a half-hour segment on the Bulldogs, which they shot last week in practice. The program is scheduled for 5:00 central.

Asked what he hopes to see in the finished product… "Umm, clean language?!" Mullen quipped. "I didn't get to see it yet." State is supposed to get an DVD delivered sometime Wednesday though there will be no chance to suggest changes…or edit the verbiage. Mullen is not all that worried of course. "Hey, you know me!" he said.

"They just wanted to see what a Wednesday routine is for us on the field and give everybody an inside look." Given that State was getting ready for a must-win at Houston, giving a TV crew all that access on an intense day could have been an interruption of that routine. It wasn't after all, and anyway Mullen says the p.r. value is worth the trouble.

"It's good for us. I think people in Mississippi and in this area have a good idea what our program is all about. But it's great for people around the country. And I know my Mom will get the opportunity to see me on TV. She loves being able to see me!"


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