Thursday Spring Football Practice Report

Mississippi State has wrapped up the serious portion of spring training. Now the Bulldogs can get ready for the non-serious activities as part of Super Bulldog Weekend 2013.

Coach Dan Mullen made what will be the last genuine practice of this spring season a good one though. He sent Mississippi State through a two-hour-plus Thursday session, with almost half of it invested in scrimmaging. Full-field scrimmaging at that, and not just the specific down-and-distance the staff usually scripts. This way the Bulldogs got some game-like honing done in advance of splitting the roster for Saturday's game.

Or at least the healthy ones did. The injury list had no additions from Tuesday, just the opposite in fact as RB LaDarius Perkins was in full-gear for the first time since a bell-ringing hit to his head in the March scrimmage. Perkins participated in unit drills only and is questionable for his senior spring game. RB Josh Robinson is on track to play fortunately. He took part in all drills and scrimmaging Thursday without showing any rust from his mid-spring layoff.

Still out were OLBs Deontae Skinner, who hasn't had any practice since the first scrimmage, and Zach Jackson.

Skinner's spot on the first defense was taken by redshirt OLB Beniquez Brown, with Matthew Wells the other outside ‘backer around MLB Benardrick McKinney. At tackle Kaleb Eulls was working full-time but fellow #1 P.J. Jones was given much of the afternoon off so Jordan Washington could get a lot of first-team snaps. DE Denico Autry spent more time watching than working too so Preston Smith and Ryan Brown could be #1 ends for a day. Quay Evans and either Nick James or Curtis Virges were the second tackles, with A.J. Jefferson and Torrey Dale the ends.

The offensive tackle rotation begun last week continued, with RT Charles Siddoway and LT Blaine Clausell taking the initial first-team snaps; then Damien Robinson moving in at left tackle with the number-ones.

The 11-on-11 scrimmaging began well for the offense as WR Robert Johnson lost CB Will Redmond and was gone for a big gainer down the left sideline after his catch. The drive didn't get completed though because CB Jamerson Love made sure third- and fourth-down throws in the red zone weren't either.

The first offense's second drive did go the distance. Robinson converted one third down, before breaking off a 20-yard gain on the next snap. And on first down Russell threw a perfect corner-fade that WR Joe Morrow just plain dropped. Unflustered, Russell came back to hit WR Jameon Lewis for touchdown. Lewis had a big day scrimmaging too, as on a goal-line battle he just out-fought S Kendrick Market to land with the ball and touchdown. WR-turned-RB Brandon Holloway spun out of traffic and got to the right pylon against the two-defense.

Not all the action was in full-team settings. WR Jameon Lewis made too good of a catch in one-on-one drills, against S Deonte Evans. Because a fingertip grab as he drug a toe in-bounds sent him rolling right into a lightpole, fortunately padded. In 7-on-7 competition WR Michael Carr got ahead of S Dee Arrington for a down-the-middle home run catch. The next play produced similar results as Morrow outran S Quadry Antoine on the same sort of post pattern.

On the other hand Russell's short shot over the middle went off his target's hands to be intercepted by OLB Richie Brown. But the redshirt linebacker had a scary moment as well. He and S Nickoe Whitley collided going after a throw, and it was Brown who had to be helped up after a short stay on the turf. He was able to continue. QB Sam Cowart should have been picked too but Redmond dropped the easy interception.

Friday's helmets-and-shorts session starts around 3:00 and won't last long before the squad splits off to practice their plays and sets for the spring game. That is 1:00 Saturday at Scott Field.

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