Are you more comfortable with the new offense after teaching it throughout the spring?
"There is no doubt about that. The biggest thing is just getting used to the play-calling and getting it to the quarterbacks. And making sure they have a good understanding of it. A lot of that will come with the off-the-field work and having meetings with them. It's like sitting in English class. When you know they have problems with something, you work with them in class until they understand it. Once he can tell it back to you verbatim, then you know he understands it."
How much of the total offense do you feel you have installed?
"We installed most of the things that Coach Croom said he wanted to install at the start of spring. We didn't back off of that because he felt like he needed to give all that to them, so that, we as coaches, could see what they could and couldn't do. Now, we have a good idea of what the line can handle, what the backs, receivers and quarterbacks can handle. Now, we have to sit down this summer and do a gameplan for Tulane based on what they are doing defensively."
What do you think is the strength of your offense?
"We have two good SEC tailbacks based on what I have seen this spring. Jerious Norwood can be a good runner. There are some things that we are going to ask Fred Reid to do that will make him an excellent runner. I was pleased with the progress that our quarterbacks made. We didn't go backwards. Each week we got better. I was really pleased with the offensive line, because, when we started out this spring, it was tough."
What specifically do you mean when you say it was tough?
"From a conditioning standpoint, they weren't in very good shape. You were out there at practice. You saw a lot of times the defense taking it to us. We didn't respond to the challenge. As the spring went along, particularly the last two weeks, I was really pleased with their progress. I think (offensive line) Coach Grimes did an excellent job. He was tough, hardnosed and demanding of them. We got a lot of things accomplished. Knowing that those guys have improved allows us to come out of the spring with smiles on our faces."
What are some weaknesses on the offense that you would like to see improved?
"We have to develop some consistency. When we have the ball backed up, we have to make at least two first downs so that when we punt it, they will have to go at least 80 yards to score. We also can't afford to have the pre-snap penalties. Even though it improved, we can't afford to have the bad quarterback-center exchanges."
With quarterbacks Omarr Conner and Aries Nelson able to move so well, will that be a weapon that you will use in the offense?
"In this offense, you have to be a mobile quarterback. You see that by going back to the days of Steve Young, the McNabbs, the players who have been really good in this offense. They have all had a lot of mobility. That is something that we have to have when things break down. You want a guy who can move around but still look up the field and see his reads and progressions."
I noticed redshirt freshman tight end Dezmond Sherrod started the first series of the scrimmage as the first-team tight end. What were your impressions of him this spring?
"He did a good job in the run game. I was really pleased with all of those guys because we throw a lot of passes to the tight end. They did a good job of catching the football and hanging onto it most of the spring. As for Dezmond, he has really good quickness and comes off the ball good. He explodes into the blocker and that is what our tight ends have to be able to do."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher/owner of Gene's Page, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.