Early Tuesday Practice Report

The fifth day of preseason camp at Mississippi State saw a new face finally on the practice field. Wide receiver Corey Gardhigh had his freshman eligibility certified at last by the NCAA's clearinghouse, allowing the Cedartown, Ga., product to get to work.

Gardhigh had spent the first four days of drills watching from the sidelines in street garb. Tuesday morning he jogged onto the field in a green backup's #85 jersey, carrying his helmet. This was different from his teammates, as all healthy Bulldogs and even some physically-limited players got to wear full pads for the first time this month. Gardhigh will have to go through the same five-day acclimation process that the rest of the team is wrapping up Tuesday. That is, the frosh won't get to put on full gear until Saturday.

His arrival is still welcome on a wideout group that, overall, has not pleased the head coach, and Gardhigh was instantly put into drills with the other receivers.

The first-team offense remains the same as Monday, with a line (right to left) of Avery House, Anthony Strauder, Chris McNeil, Johnny Wadley, and Brian Anderson. Freshman OT Calvin Wilson, who alternated a good bit Monday with House at right tackle, had the yellow jersey back on Tuesday as his repaired knee and hamstring were hurting.

Other Maroon shirts were running back Jerious Norwood, fullback Bryson Davis, tight end Jason Husband, and split end Tee Milons. With Will Prosser still sidelined by his stress-fractured foot, no flanker has yet been given a Maroon shirt; and quarterback Omarr Conner always wears don't-touch-red.

Joey Sanders and Lance Long are backing up Milons, while yellow-shirted Keon Humphries leads Adron Chambers and Tyler Threadgill at flanker. Wideout Tay Bowser is still slowed by a weekend hamstring pull.

Besides Prosser, the offense is again without OL Anthony Dunning (shoulder) and H-back Dezmond Sherrod (groin pull).

The #2 offensive front was, left to right, freshman Michael Gates, Dio Herrera, Royce Blackledge, freshman Johnny Carpenter, and freshman Wilson; the third line is Roland Terry, freshman Chris Spencer, soph juco walk-on Daniel Kennedy, freshman Craig Jenkins, and James Redmond.

The defensive coaches are a bit more liberal with starter-color shirts. Besides the actual first-team, primary backups such as DE Titus Brown, MLB Brad Horton, OLB Anthony Littlejohn, DT Antonio Johnson, S Marcus Evans. There were no starter changes on defense either, with a front of Willie Evans, Andrew Powell, Deljuan Robinson, and Michael Heard; Quinton Culberson at MLB with Clarence McDougal and Littlejohn flanking him (OLB Gabe O'Neal is still restricted in a yellow shirt); Jeramie Johnson and Mario Bobo at safeties; and corners Kevin Dockery and David Heard. However, for the first time the defense showed the ‘nickel' look used last season on passing downs. As expected Dockery moved in as the extra safety. But instead of Jamaal Johnson moving into the open corner, freshman Derek Pegues was taking the snaps with the #1 team. Also, DT Robinson steps out so a smaller, faster lineman can be used on the front.

The second D-line remains Brown, Johnson, Quinton Wesley, and Jeremy Jack. When freshman Wesley was off working on special teams, in punt-protect, Marckell McKinley took his #2 place at tackle. Working on the third group were Anwar Phillips, Solomon Ona, Avery Hannibal, and Corey Clark.

In an early period Brown had to go to the sideline to have an icepack put on his right shoulder.

The first-team specialists are as expected this early in camp: PK Keith Andrews, SN Russell Cook, and P Brooks Crabtree.

Practice was to wrap up around 10:15, with a full report to follow.


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