Wednesday Practice Report

Mississippi State ran through a standard Wednesday game-week practice, spending a couple of hours in drills as the Bulldogs prepare for Saturday's afternoon contest with LSU at Scott Field. Coach Sylvester Croom had his team on the fields Wednesday in shells, that is, helmets and shoulder pads. Or he did at first.

Because after just five periods the coach called everyone over to a sideline and let them take off the shoulder armor for the rest of the session. This was after a fairly vigorous five-minute segment of ones-vs.-ones where despite lack of full padding there was some good contact made short of outright tackling. In that period the first teams on each side of the line went at each other; the respective lines and running backs in ground-game drills, with scout teammer Tray Rutland running the offense; and the starting quarterbacks and receivers going against the starting secondary in passing work with a few reserve linebackers to flesh out the field.

And the coach even whistled an early end to the day after barely two hours. With the Bulldogs in the midst of a three-week stretch of games against teams all ranked in the current top-ten, Croom is indeed easing up on the working schedule to keep State as fresh as practical and still get enough preparation in.

As usual for the third working day of the week, an early segment was invested in kickoff preparation. That included distinct drills for the return team first, then the coverage team since those units share some personnel.

Both starting squads were missing members Wednesday. On offense, starting RG Johnny Wadley was again excused for the day to attend to family matters. In his place with the first team was true freshman Anthony Dunning, who has earned significant playing time rotating with the senior starter. Thus the #1 line this day was, right-to-left, tackle Avery House, Dunning, center Chris McNeil, guard Anthony Strauder, and tackle Brian Anderson.

The #2 front for now has Calvin Wilson at right tackle, Dio Herrera at right guard, center Royce Blackledge, either Herrera or Johnny Carpenter at left guard, and Michael Gates at left tackle. Herrera even took a few snaps at right guard with the #1 team. Wadley is supposed to be back at work Thursday so he can start as usual Saturday.

Tackle James Redmond is still not practicing, but remaining in the training room to rehab the knee strained September 10 at Auburn. Redmond is expected to resume practicing next week at the earliest.

Some offensive players who took Monday or Tuesday, or both, off to rest were back in full action, such as flanker Will Prosser. Judging by specific passing drills there have been no changes in the standard seven wideouts who will presumably dress out for this home game.

The defensive team had to do without safety Demario Bobo for a third day, though he did visit the practice field in a red-cross shirt for the last hour to watch. Bobo strained a knee ligament in the third quarter of the Georgia game, though at the time he didn't realize he had been hurt. He hopes to be able to play this week but that is uncertain as of today. Bobo's place with the first team was taken by De'Mon Glanton, who could get the starting nod Saturday if Bobo can't play. State could also use Kevin Dockery there, as the starting cornerback is used to rotating over to safety in the standard nickel-package.

For his part Dockery wore purple Wednesday with a sore throat. Also in purple was defensive tackle Corey Clark who hurt his shoulder in the Georgia game. Clark still took part in some limited work, as did Dockery, and both will play. So should linebacker Clarence McDougal who wore purple with a sore knee.

The defense might have a new member, as wide receiver Adron Chambers practiced some at safety. It could be seen as a swap, since just before the season safety Aubrey Bell joined the wideout corps. Chambers has not played so far this freshman year. Nor does it appear so far in practices that any other true freshman who has yet to get in a 2005 game will be activated this week. Croom said Tuesday that while not all such doors have been closed yet, it is now to the point where taking any more redshirts off rookies is unlikely.

The Bulldogs will be back on the practice fields in helmet and shorts Thursday.

Gene's Page Top Stories