Monday Practice Notes

Mississippi State ran through a shorter than expected practice session Monday, spending just over an hour in actual drills and another ten minutes on conditioning runs before Coach Sylvester Croom turned the Bulldogs loose for the evening. It made for a much easier day than the players had likely anticipated, given that A) everyone was coming off a weekend open-date break, and and B) with the University on fall break today and Tuesday there is not a set limit on practice time.

Still the coach was content that the intended work got done as planned, as the Bulldogs prepare for this weekend's home game with Houston. His main concern Monday was not having Bryson Davis available. The starting fullback, who began having back spasms during last Tuesday's off-week practices, was limited to watching today's drills, and Croom expressed some concerns whether Davis will be available by Saturday now.

Croom has talked since the Florida game about making some offensive adjustments, not ruling out changes to the depth chart and presumably even positions. But Monday's short session showed no dramatic moves, just a couple of tweaks to the two-deep on the offensive line. Freshman Calvin Wilson took the first series of practice snaps at right tackle, and for the moment seems to be almost a co-#1 with senior Avery House. Which will open at the spot on Saturday won't be set until later in the week.

Meanwhile soph Royce Blackledge remains first-team at right guard, as Croom said in his morning teleconference. The news here was in the backup rotation. True freshman Anthony Dunning, coming off corrective knee surgery two weeks ago, was back at work Monday in a limited-yellow jersey but running second at right guard. Meanwhile senior Johnny Wadley, the starting RG for five games, is now working second at left guard behind Anthony Strauder.

Dunning is expected to play this weekend after missing the Florida trip. Also, tackle James Redmond was promoted from red-cross to yellow status today, and is available for the Houston game both as a backup tackle and on special teams protection. Back at the skill positions, wide receiver Will Prosser, clearly benefiting from the open date, was able for the first time in a month to spend Monday wearing first-team maroon. The entire wideout corps was healthy this day.

The only adjustment noticed on the defensive side of the ball was at end, as senior Willie Evans was demoted to second-team blue. Soph Titus Brown moved into the #1 job at that end. Croom declined to discuss the reason for Evans' change of status, though the veteran did participate in most drills.

State did some quick work on punt protections, using only starter Blake McAdams to kick the ball. Three Dogs did practice fielding these punts with halfback Jerious Norwood joining Tee Milons and Jonathan Lowe. Last week Croom said Norwood would become the starting return specialist.

The Bulldogs will be back on the practice fields at 2:45 Tuesday, then return to a more normal schedule Wednesday as school resumes.


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