Bivines To Dress, Probably Play At Vanderbilt

Mississippi State expects to put a new face at wide receiver at some point this weekend. Make that, a new old face, as wide receiver Ray Ray Bivines will be on the travel roster for Saturday's contest at Vanderbilt.

"We're going to put him on the field and see what we can get," Coach Sylvester Croom said following Wednesday's practice. "But it's going to be very limited."

Bivines, the fith-year senior, has been extremely limited all fall. The hamstring injury suffered last November at Tennessee healed very slowly, with some nerve damage delaying the process. Only last week was Bivines allowed to practice with the varsity for the first time.

But after a week's work, the head coach believes Bivines can help the Bulldog offense in their matchup with Vanderbilt. Croom is careful to temper any expectations, though. "He's better. No way I'm going into a game counting on a guy who hasn't played in a whole year. If he can give us any help at all it will be in a spot situation."

Whatever this weekend's results, Bivines' return is a boost to the Bulldog receiving corps for the rest of this season. "If he were well no question he'd be our best receiver, you can see that even with the injury," Croom said.

Whoever lines up at split end and flanker this weekend will have a new starting quarterback throwing the passes, as well as a new backup. With starter Omarr Conner out for three weeks after straining a knee ligament at LSU, junior Kyle York has moved to the top of the depth chart with true freshman Michael Henig scheduled to make his collegiate debut in the fifth game of the season.

After three practice days Croom is encouraged with how veteran York--who had a pair of starts in 2002--and rookie Henig are working. "I think they're picking up on some things. Of course they're not as sharp as Omarr would have been, but I understand that because they haven't had the work he'd had.

"We've still got a couple of days, particularly tomorrow, to get some things better. We'll home in on the things that they like and we're really confident with, and those are the things that we'll go with in our gameplan."

Wide receiver McKinley Scott (hamstring) watched the Wednesday workout and is unlikely to be on the 70-man travel roster for Vanderbilt. No other regulars are expected to miss the trip.

Gametime at Dudley Field is 6:00 CT with no TV broadcast. MSU fans at home will tune in to the Mississippi State network, but Bulldogs making the trip to Nashville can also hear the 'home team' radio broadcast. Inside the stadium and within the immediate vicinity, fans can tune in to 92.5 FM and hear Jack Cristil, assisted by Jim Ellis and John Correro, report the game on a low-power signal. This will include the pre- and post-game shows.

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