"We've had to move some people around. We moved some centers over to guard in case they are needed there. We've also moved some tackles to guard. We've done that in an attempt to provide some depth. You don't ever like to have to do that, but it's a part of the game. You have to roll with the punches and play with the cards that you are dealt."
You've coached at quite a few other schools. Have you noticed that offensive linemen are more prone to injuries?
"No, I haven't. It is a position where you have contact everyday, but I haven't been around places where they get hurt like this. To me, this has been an unusual circumstance. But thank goodness all of them will make it back. There is nothing career-ending or season-ending."
Do you have a projection when all of your guys will be back and ready to play?
"No, it's day to day. Hopefully, some of them will be back for the first game, but we have to prepare as if they won't."
Will Riddley be your starter?
"Riddley is a little ahead of House because he is a little stronger and thicker player. Avery has done well in a backup mode and he is coming on. Today (Friday) will be Otis' first day back at practice. If he can pick up where he left off, then he will be the starter."
How close do you think your present guards (Riddley and McNeil) will be to the guys that you would normally start?
"That's hard to say. Each player brings something different to the table. What you would like to do is whatever you give up with Johnny Wadley and Brad Weathers, maybe you gain something else with Otis and Chris. Chris is a little bit quicker and is in excellent shape. In fact, he is probably the quickest of the four guards you mentioned. Otis plays with a lot of leverage. He is not as tall and doesn't have the wingspan that some of the others have, but he has a lower center of gravity."
What happens when Wadley and Weathers come back? Will the present starters go back to their backup roles?
"It depends on what capacity they are able to come back. When they come back, we will work them back in the playing rotation depending on what shape they are in."
Freshman John Davis has gotten a lot of snaps since you have moved Chris McNeil to guard. He has been impressive at times.
"He has. He has done some good things. He is a very competitive kid. He fights hard and loves to compete. John has a good future."
Will he play this year or will he redshirt?
"There's no way to tell. We would love to redshirt all of the freshmen. In today's college football where you only have 85 scholarships, you are not always afforded that luxury."
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 email@example.com.