Wednesday Practice Report

A day after a fast-moving storm front forced Mississippi State to utilize the Palmeiro Center for half of their Tuesday practice, the Bulldogs likely were wishing their coaches had opted to stay inside. A brisk breeze chilled State players all through the two-hour session Wednesday, with many—but not all—donning sweats against the more November-like conditions.

Still State was able to get the typical game-week work done outdoors as preparations continue for this Saturday's contest at Arkansas. The respective squads brushed up on offensive and defensive plans for the Razorbacks, and some kicking teams ran through specific drills as well.

Along that line, Coach Sylvester Croom confirmed that veteran placekicker Keith Andrews is out for a third game. Andrews strained a groin muscle in the Houston game and is still unable to get much done beyond a 20-yard range. With only a 70-man dressout roster for this SEC road trip, Andrews will remain on campus and continue rehabilitating. But, as of now Croom is not overly optimistic Andrews will be available for the season finale next weekend at Scott Field against Mississippi. For this week Adam Carlson will placekick and Andrew Gambrell kick off.

Another 2005 regular definitely out for this week is defensive end Michael Heard, as expected after a hairline fracture of one leg bone in the Alabama game. Heard has a chance to be ready for the Egg Bowl. And offensive guard Johnny Wadley will miss this week as old knee problems are again acting up.

A number of hurting Dogs from last week appear close to 100% again for Arkansas. After two days wearing limited-purple defensive end Titus Brown was back in first-team white Wednesday, and with Heard out Brown is listed to start now. His backup, freshman Charles Burns, was still in purple today but should be able to play. The rest of the defense is in good shape and no changes have been made in the first team other than to replace Heard. On the second unit cornerback Keith Fitzhugh continues to work more as the #2 safety behind starter Demario Bobo.

On offense, a hard hit to the helmet on Tuesday has #1 guard Anthony Strauder knocked back a bit. Strauder did take a share of snaps with the first line, but in many drills Anthony Blackledge was running first-team at left guard instead of the right spot he's started at in the last four games. Freshman Anthony Dunning moved up to #1 at right guard in Blackledge's place. With Wadley out, walk-on Daniel Kennedy took turns as #2 right guard, though redshirting freshman Johnny Carpenter has dressed out a few games this year.

Senior Avery House was running first at right tackle again Wednesday, ahead of Calvin Wilson. Starting left tackle Brian Anderson is back from his post-Alabama hamstring problems and in his usual place, with Michael Gates his backup.

A couple of wide receivers are also closer to full-strength, or as close as they are going to get at this point of the season or their careers. After a bout of hamstring trouble SE Joey Sanders was back in first-team maroon, while FL Will Prosser was wearing limited-yellow. He will play as usual Saturday though his hip and foot are both causing pain.

The Bulldogs will have a standard Thursday practice, lasting maybe 90 minutes, and the weather is supposed to be a bit warmer. The travel schedule has State leaving for Little Rock after a short Friday walk-through.


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