Tuesday Practice Notes

Mississippi State ran through a two-hour practice Tuesday, as preparations intensify for this weekend's Homecoming contest with Houston. Unlike Monday's shortened session the coaching staff held a full workout, but this time the Bulldogs were also allowed to drill in partial-pads with no contact work.

The first and second offensive lines had some minor adjustments for Tuesday. After opening Monday drills at #2 right tackle, senior Avery House was back up to #1 status starting this day with freshman Calvin Wilson second in the RT rotation. The big rookie is still struggling with overall conditioning, but is also still booked for playing time. And as Croom indicated in the Tuesday press conference, starting-status there is still up for grabs even if both right tackles are assured of game snaps.

On the second unit, right guard Anthony Dunning shed the limited-yellow jersey of Monday for varsity maroon. The true freshman had corrective work done on a knee two weeks ago and only returned to the practice field yesterday. He is expected to play this weekend. Meanwhile senior Johnny Wadley was again working at #2 left guard, though the veteran would have no problems playing his old RG position as needed.

The second line Tuesday was, right to left, Wilson, Dunning, center Dio Herrera, Wadley, and Michael Gates. The third line was, right to left, freshman Craig Jenkins, Daniel Kennedy, Johnny Carpenter at center, Chris Spencer, and Roland Terry. The only lineman not practicing was junior tackle James Redmond, wearing yellow and still re-habbing after a knee injury at Auburn. Players not able to practice full-speed by Wednesday are unlikely to dress for that week's game.

The offense as a whole was as healthy as any time since the season began, with fullback Bryson Davis and halfback Brandon Thornton back to normal work Tuesday. Davis had been limited by back strains since last week, while Thornton was slowed Monday by a hurting shoulder. Wide receiver Will Prosser was also in maroon a second day, having essentially sat out last week to protect a still-sore foot. Quarterbacks Omarr Conner and Mike Henig ran all the plays with varsity offense, and starter Conner shows no ill effects from the bruised chest suffered at Florida.

There were no changes on the defensive two-deep from Monday, when senior defensive end Willie Evans was bumped down to the second team for a minor rules offence last week. The starting D-line for the day had Michael Heard and Titus Brown at ends flanking tackles Andrew Powell and Deljuan Robinson. Evans joined end Charles Burns and tackles Antonio Johnson and Corey Clark with the second unit, though with Houston expected to throw early and often every defensive lineman will get plenty of action.

Demario Bobo, under a short suspension last week for an undisclosed rules violation, is back on the first team but also still affected by a sore left knee that needs bracing. His alternate, De'Mon Glanton, is getting about as much work with the starting group alongside Jeramie Johnson. State is also giving true frosh Keith Fitzhugh and Derek Pegues plenty of practice with the regular starting defense this week since the five-man secondary package shown all game at Florida is likely to be needed again.

As usual for the second day of game-week there was extensive punting practice, both protection and coverage. Guarding punter Blake McAdams has gotten a bit more emphasis after the freshman had a kick stuffed for a touchdown at Florida. Meanwhile Jerious Norwood and Jonathan Lowe handled almost all the punt-catching, though Pegues did take a couple of turns here. Pegues remains the primary kickoff returner.

Tuesday's drills began and ended earlier than usual as this was the last day of the fall mid-semester break. Classes at MSU resume Wednesday, and practice time returns to the more normal 4:00. The Bulldogs will be in shorts and shoulder pads tomorrow.

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