Mississippi State goes through final scrimmage

STARKVILLE, Miss. ­- Mississippi State head football coach Jackie Sherrill saw significant progress on both sides of the ball, and almost as importantly, saw a relatively healthy Bulldog football team exit off-season drills following its final spring scrimmage.

The Bulldogs worked in scrimmage-like conditions for roughly 90 minutes Saturday as part of Super Bulldog Weekend, closing the team's spring practice session. Approximately 7,500 fans were treated to exciting moments on both sides of the football and perfect weather conditions.

"I thought there were an awful lot of positives today," Sherrill said, "the biggest of which is we finished spring with very few injuries. If we were playing a regular game today, we would have had several other players out there.

"I thought the offensive line has made progress throughout the spring," Sherrill said. "We found some guys who can help us there.

"Kevin (Fant) showed that he is capable of making some awfully good throws," the head coach said. "We threw and caught the ball really well. Ray Ray (Bivines) really stood out."

After an opening-series interception, Fant rebounded to complete 18 of his next 21 passes for four touchdowns. Bivines caught two TD passes among his six receptions, while Griffith rushed for 46 yards and a score, and also caught a pair of passes.

"Defensively, I thought our linebackers and secondary have played well during the spring," he said. "There has been some real competition there, as has there been in the kicking game."

Linebacker T.J. Mawhinney led all tacklers with 10 stops Saturday, while defensive backs Gabe Wallace and Michael Gholar had pass interceptions.

Grindle 40 pass from Fant (pass failed)
Bivines 42 pass from York (Shapley kick)
Bivines 9 pass from Fant (rush failed)
Lumpkin 7 pass from Fant (rush failed)
West 24 FG
J.Griffith 29 run (Marlin kick)
Lee 23 pass from Fant (Judge rush)
Smith 47 FG
Smith 52 FG
Smith 57 FG
Judge 10 run (no PAT attempt)
Mills 1 run (no PAT attempt)

RUSHING-Reid 10-52, J.Griffith 6-46 TD, Wonsley 10-44, Mills 5-33 TD, Billings 3-16, Judge 1-10 TD, Fant 2-5, D.Jones 2-4, Lee 1-7, York 1-3, Sabbatini 1-1, Cook 1-(-18).
PASSING-Fant 18-22-1-201 4TD, York 7-17-1-107 TD, Brown 0-5-0-0, Bivines 0-1-0-0, Judge 0-1-0-0, Reid 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING-Bivines 6-82 2TD, Lee 5-50 TD, Grindle 2-50 TD, Hargro 2-31, Lumpkin 2-10 TD, J.Griffith 2-9, Prosser 1-29, Scott 1-24, Tubbs 1-14, Jack 1-8, Stewart 1-3, Reid 1-(-2).
PUNTING-Wallis 2-50.0, Cook 1-32.0.
PUNT RETURNS-Bivines 2-21.
TACKLES-Mawhinney 10, Baker 6, Clark 6, G.Thompson 6, Brown 5, Downing 5, Gholar 5, Fields 4, K.Jackson 4, Long 4, Oyefesobi 4, Banks 3, Crockett 3, S.Griffith 3, Randle 3, Bell 2, Bennett 2, Carter 2, Childress 2,Day 2, Hunter 2, Kelly 2, T.Morgan 2, Nash 2, Shumaker 2, Wallace 2, Ball 1, Belk 1, Haggan 1, Harris 1, Jackson 1, Sterling 1, K.Walker 1.
INTERCEPTIONS-Wallace 1-46, Gholar 1-28.
PASS BREAKUPS-Ball 2, Clark 1, S.Griffith 1.


"We were fortunate to go through today's scrimmage without getting anybody hurt. We had a couple of bumps and bruises but they weren't anything that would keep them from playing. If we were playing a regular game today, we would have had several other players out there.

"We went through the spring without losing any players to injuries.

"We made a lot of progress, especially with our offensive line. We found some guys who can help us out. I think you saw Kevin Fant make some throws only real quarterbacks can make. He threw the ball really well and hasn't gotten his strength back in his arm.

"I thought our receivers, especially Ray Ray Bivines, made some good plays. Antonio Hargro made a couple of catches.

"It was good to see Justin Griffith out here.

"Donald Lee has had a very good spring.

"Defensively, I thought our linebackers and secondary have played well during the spring. There has been some real competition there, as has there been in the kicking game. We are way behind with our defensive line. We have got to somehow improve the play of our defensive line.

"I wasn't very happy with our two punters.

"I thought there has been a very good competition between our two field goal kickers John Michael Marlin and Brent Smith. Brent has really made both of them better."

Is there a leading field goal kicker candidate going into the fall?
"No, we have a freshman coming in who is pretty good. We will find out during two-a-days who is going to be our kicker. We know we have one in Brent who has really helped us."

Did he show right away that he would be a factor?
"Yes, when you look at a kicker the first thing you look at is his leg strength. There are minor things that you correct and teach."

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 swindoll@genespage.com.

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