Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Full Contact Begins Tuesday; 11-on-11 High- and Low-Lights; Flashy Belk Bowl Footwear

Mississippi State had the fourth day of Belk Bowl camp on Monday, with the Bulldogs in full gear but with contact still limited. Tuesday, the contact will be upgraded with full hitting according to the schedule.

*There were no new residents of the rehab pit. First-team OG Devon Desper (left knee in a brace) and first-team DT Nick James (pectoral muscle) have spent the first part of every bowl practice in rehab work; then the rest of it with their units watching work. CB Maurice Stamps does not rehab but is sidelined in a red jersey, the only Dog wearing one this camp so far. It fits too as the young defensive back is a, yes, redshirt freshman.

There was one health scare during drills Monday. In a one-on-one work, WR Malik Dear took a false step in his route and went down. He walked off limping and later returned to watch team work with a wrap and icepack on his upper right leg. That wrap was removed towards the end for some stretching and Dear seemed to move around fine from there. His status will be checked Tuesday.


*Dear has only worked at slot receiver on offense so far, meaning no move into a running back role has been made if even considered. Mississippi State already has more than enough full-time backs to split snaps this camp anyway.

The drill-order hasn’t changed since last week. It remains Brandon Holloway, Ashton Shumpert, Aeris Williams or Dontavian Lee for the varsity four going ahead of redshirts Nick Gibson and Alex Murphy. For what it’s worth, in 11-on-11 periods Monday only the four freshmen took turns, and Williams just a couple of snaps at that. Lee got more work and needs it, especially as he tries to develop better ball security. He had a glaring drop of a perfect option pitch in Saturday’s full-team period, for example. Monday saw no fumbles fortunately.


*Much like Sunday, today had two long periods of full-team competition with each snap starting from the same point. So there were no drives, just scripted plays to evaluate. The very first play was a called quarterback keeper, and even allowing that he could not get hit the secondary would have had trouble keeping QB Nick Fitzgerald from going 80 yards for a touchdown.

That was one of the few real offensive highlights though. All the other runs, by whatever –backs, were generally stopped cold or after short gains. For that matter there was almost no real ‘vertical’ passing play, with most throws working underneath or side-to-side.

One of those plays resulted in a whistle-sack as DE Jonathan Calvin came round the right tackle undeterred to get a hand on Fitzgerald and stop the play. This, one snap after Calvin had been chewed-out by his coach for blowing an assignment.


*If there were not a lot of big offensive plays, neither did the defense have many huge plays themselves. But there were a few forced turnovers.

With the #3 teams going against each other, walk-on QB Nathan Gieb tried to hit WR Javous Nicks on a short pattern. LB Kelan Chairs got to the ball first for a clean interception. On the very next snap it was rookie QB Nick Tiano suffering a pick, though against a mostly-#1 defense. His pass was off the hands of TE Justin Johnson, and CB Cedric Jiles was there to catch the carom.

Williams also got caught behind the #2 offensive line as it was caved-in and DE Anfernee Mullins caught the quarterback before he could unload.


*Tuesday practice opened with a long period of punting coverage and return drills. Though, the ball was not punted more than a few times. Mostly, when P Logan Cooke received the snap, QB Dak Prescott would throw it high and long in a reasonable facsimile of a punt. This way the ball could be sent to a specific spot for both the coverage to attack and a number of blockers to, well, block. That was a familiar sight in spring camp when QB Elijah Staley, unable to run around with an injury, hurled punts farther than even the punters could kick it.

Three Dogs took turns fielding Prescott’s shots; WR Fred Ross who handled the job most of this past season, WR Gabe Myles, and WR Malik Dear.


*The Belk Bowl is still weeks away, but much of the first team were already sporting bowl gear. As in, the flashy new shoes adidas has provided for the event. Describing them is difficult but the photo should serve to show just how ‘Fabulous’ the footwear is.

Among those choosing to practice in their fine new cleats were QB Dak Prescott, CB Taveze Calhoun, WR De’Runnya Wilson, WR Fred Ross, etc.

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