But Croom wasn't ready to say his defense is perfect.
"The only thing disappointing about the defense to me was that at critical times we weren't able to stop the run in the redzone and on short yardage," he said. "We can't take that for granted. Even though we are running to the ball and doing all these other things well, we have to always stop the run and make a team one-dimensional as far as throwing the ball. If we can do that, (then) we will be very good defensively."
While the defense drew praise, his comments about the offense was a mix bag. And one position, a position that was a strength last year due to the presence of veteran Jerious Norwood, is very much a concern.
"We are really, really going to miss Jerious Norwood. I knew that, but it was very obvious today," said Croom. "It was simple things like our steps, our landmarks, the reads from the running back position; we were very, very poor today at that position. Other than Brandon Hart, who does a good job in short yardage, Brandon Thornton, who is out right now (due to shoulder surgery), is the only running back we have that even has a chance of playing and giving us a chance. I'm probably being a little hard on Derek Ambrose because he's not well (due to rehabbing an ACL surgery)."
But he sees hope for the future at that position.
"Those three freshmen better be ready to play," said Croom of his three freshmen signees, Alex Carpenter, Courtney Jones and Anthony Dixon. "They better be in great shape and ready when they get here because we are going to work them to death. Definitely, one of them will probably be number 2 (on the depth chart) and could be the starter by the time that first game comes around."
He did have some good things to say about quarterback, wide receiver and the offensive line.
"(Starting quarterback) Mike Hening is throwing the ball well, so we are solid at quarterback," Croom noted. "He continues to improve. The way he is right now, I feel very good about him at quarterback.
"(Backup quarterback) Tray Rutland throws the ball pretty well, but he has a lot to learn. Things like where to go with the football and just being a quarterback. Physically, he has all the tools, but he has to learn to be a quarterback.
"(Wide receiver) Keon Humphries made some plays for the first time at wide receiver. Tony Burks didn't practice again today (due to a slight hamstring pull), but Keon, Omarr (Conner), Lance Long (did well). (Tyler) Threadgill had been having a good (spring), but I think he had a couple of drops today. We are going to be better at wide receiver, so that's encouraging.
"I thought the offensive line blocked better in the running game, but we missed a lot of opportunities to run the football (due to the running back situation)."
What has to happen for the offense to be where he wants it to be by the time spring practice ends?
"Our offensive line has to continue to mesh and we have to find a running back," said the third-year coach. "We have got to find a running back. That is the most urgent thing right now. If we can solve that running back thing, then we have a chance to be pretty good."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.