Coach Croom Talks About Thursday's Practice

Coach Croom saw some good things and some things he didn't like during yesterday's practice.

What did you think about today's practice?
"It was average. There were some good spots in it. I thought that our defense played very well 9 on 7. I was glad to see (Marvin) Byrdsong step up. He made about 5 tackles in a row. But we have to figure out who the heck we had assigned blocking him, because nobody blocked him in that period. He made about every tackle. I was glad to see that on his part, but on the offense we have to get our centers and guards blocking the Mike linebacker. They didn't do that today. We made far too many mistakes when we worked on our redzone. We missed assignments on our patterns. When we did a pattern right on the offense, then the defense missed the coverage and we had a guy wide open. We can't have that on either side of the ball. We're tired, but that's no excuse because that is when games are won or lost."

The punters, Jared Cook and Brooks Crabtree, looked good punting the ball.
"They are hitting the ball well, but they haven't had any real pressure. I was pleased with how well (kicker) Keith (Andrews) hit the ball pretty well today. He's getting the ball up and his range is good. We'll get more of a full test when we see how they kick under pressure on Saturday."

There have been a lot of position changes but no one seems to be complaining about it.
"There is no question that our players want to win. I have no doubt about that. Right now, I think we have a good attitude. They have done everything that we have asked them to do. We just haven't done it very well. As far as the team attitude, I think we have made a lot of changes there. We have had several guys move to new positions. Robert Walker moved and put the team first. Devrick Hampton, Quinton Culberson and Rickey Wright have trusted us to try to get them in their best positions. I don't think there is any question that we have them in their best spots right now not only the team but for the players."

How important is your experience as a coach to the players that you moved to different positions?
"I hope they will trust that I will look out for their interests. I do have 17 years experience at (the NFL) level. I have watched a lot of players. When I saw Quinton I told him not since 1975 have I seen a 220-pound cornerback in the National Football League. And that was when I was playing. That was back when they were playing rollup coverage and a lot of them were like that. But there's not any like that up there now."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by email at

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