On the practice field, State finished its NCAA-mandated three days in shorts and headgear only Saturday, eyeing Monday's first practice in full pads.<P> The Bulldogs again worked for more than two hours in its early morning session, trading in the cloudy skies and intermittent rain for steamy summer conditions. It was a situation that pleased the head coach.

"We had a good morning practice," Sherrill said. "It was our third straight two-a-day and I am still impressed with the team's conditioning. The heat changed the mental approach of the players, and I think that's good. We're pushing them hard, so tomorrow's break comes at a good time for the players."

State's players also received an unexpected break during Saturday's afternoon workout. The planned two-hour drill was halted after just three kicking periods due to lightning in the Starkville area. The offensive and defensive units concluded the afternoon session in the film room. The team will take part in a worship service Sunday at the Shira Athletic Complex led by team chaplain Ken Smith.

Sherrill singled out State's corps of junior college defensive backs and the progress of the team's young receivers following the morning practice, calling the work of cornerback Korey Banks (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and wide receivers Antonio Hargro, Ray Ray Bivines (both Gautier, Miss.), Justin Jenkins (Jackson, Miss.) and Terrell Grindle (Hattiesburg, Miss.) particularly impressive.

The Bulldogs worked without the services of sophomore offensive guard Donald Tucker (cramps; Tupelo, Miss.), and senior defensive ends Conner Stephens (hamstring; Ackerman, Miss.) and Dwayne Robertson (personal business; Athens, Ga.). Back to the fold was senior wide receiver Clarence Parker (Natchez, Miss.), who showed no ill effects from a slight groin pull, sustained Thursday.

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