"With the fullbacks, we wanted to find one guy to step forward and be the starter and I think Darnell Jones pretty much established himself as the starter. We also wanted to develop depth behind him. Nick Signaigo did some good things and Bryson Davis did some good things. He can really catch the ball. I thought that Bryson Davis made the most improvment of any of the guys from the standpoint of being a true freshman. He didn't get as many snaps as I would have liked. Nick has to be more dependable as a receiver. I think Nick and Darnell can give us a bigger back that can run the ball in short yardage situations. We can also used them in the open field just to have a bigger guy out there. We didn't get to evaluate Jeff Billings because he was hurt all spring. "
You mentioned Bryson as being able to catch the ball. During one of the spring scrimmages Darnell caught three passes.
"That's one of the big things we did offensively during the spring. (Offensive coordinator) Morris (Watts) told the quarterback several times that he should have come down to the back. We've said that several times (in the past) but I've never seen it happen on the field."
You mentioned Nick Signaigo earlier. What are some things you like about him?
"His work ethic is good. He is going to give you good effort. There are always things that you have to work on but those are things you never have to question him about. He is a guy who loves to be in the weight room. He is athletic enough that he can help us in the running game, running the all and blocking. He has to get better (at blocking) but that is something that he can improve on.
"You don't have to question any of my guys about those things. I think that all three of them are going to be good enough to help us win."
Mississippi State has produced some great blocking fullbacks in the past, some of whom have made it to the NFL. Do you feel any of these guys have that kind of potential?
"I hope so. I think that all three of them can be good fullbacks for us. Each one of them has something that he can do that the others can't. We just have to untilize them so that they can help us."
You have three very, very quick tailbacks in Nick Turner, Jerious Norwood and Fred Reid.
"They are quick. They run harder than you think they do. Because of the pounding that they will take, the thing that we will have to do is roll them in so we can keep them all healthy. I told them after the second scrimmage that they have to be like a piece of steel. They have to get in the weight room and get bigger and stronger.
"Jerious missed the last scrimmage due to an ankle (injury). I was proud of Fred because he played through a shoulder (injury) and a bone spur in his big toe. Nick has arch problems."
What weight do you want them to play at?
"Jerious has a chance to be over 200 by next season and Nick and Fred can be 195 if they continue working. That's my goal for them."
What do they weight now?
"Jerious is about 193, so he's not that far. Nick has gained 7 pounds and is probably 182. Fred is probably 185. If they can gain more than that and keep their speed, that would be great.
How close are your guys to learning the new offense?
"I guess we are at about 60%. For my guys, the running game was easy to pick up. The problem is pass-protection and running routes."
One thing I noticed about your backs is they all have great hands and don't drop passes.
"I don't remember Jerious, Nick or Fred dropping a ball. That will help them because sometimes it is easier to throw the ball to them in the open field than it is to hand the ball off to them and get them to that same spot. It makes them a more complete package."
Thanks for your time, Coach Davis.
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.