Tuesday Spring Football Practice Report

Mississippi State opened the final week of spring football camp with a vigorous session lasting 15 minutes longer than the usual two-and-a-half hours. And when Coach Sylvester Croom finally waved them off the practice fields, all participating Bulldogs knew they had been in a real workout.

The 13th practice day of spring not only ran longer, but had more full-speed hitting than typical. And the contact was dominated by straightforward ones-vs.-ones segments as Croom had the varsity offense and defense hitting each other. This was particularly true in the final half-hour which featured extensive, even exclusive, focus on red-zone and goal-line drills. At times the practicing bore more semblance to scrimmaging, which the Dogs did the last time they assembled.

A handful of Bulldogs showed the signs of promotions after that scrimmage. On defense, safety De'Mon Glanton, cornerback Leron Yarbrough, and defensive lineman Avery Hannibal came to practice not only wearing first-team white jersies but with uniform numbers. Walk-on linebacker Carvel Jones was in first-team white also. And on offense halfback Derek Ambrose was wearing his number for the first time, while backup Justin Williams was in first-team maroon.

At the same time a couple of players who had been on the first unit last week have been demoted. Wideout Tyler Threadgill is now wearing second-team green, and defensive end Titus Brown is in second-squad blue.

The more obvious area of interest Tuesday was how the suspension of six players after their weekend arrests would impact the depth chart this week. And there were a number of adjustments made, particularly on defense and most specifically in the secondary. With Derek Pegues out, Anthony Johnson moved up to first team at left cornerback. Safety Keith Fitzhugh's place on the first unit was taken by Glanton.

The other four suspensions shuffled second-team jobs. Offensive tackle Michael Gates had been in a tight battle the last week anyway, and with him out now Roland Terry got all the snaps at backup right tackle. #2 quarterback Tray Rutland's snaps went to fellow redshirt Ty Evans, while defensive end Quinton Wesley's place was filled by various walk-ons. Depth is thinner than ever here as defensive end Charles Burns had already been limited while rehabilitating from winter shoulder surgery.

There was a new member in the secondary Tuesday as redshirt freshman wideout Tay Bowser for the first time was taking snaps as a cornerback, usually on the left corner and on the second team. Bowser has struggled to get into the rotation at receiver this camp, and he played in the secondary as a high school star.

Glanton and Jeramie Johnson are now the first safeties, with Anthony Johnson and Adron Chambers on the corners. Chambers is on the first unit as veteran starter David Heard is rehabilitating. Safety was already short a body with Demario Bobo also sidelined. Jarvis Kyles moved up to #2 safety alongside Marcus Hunter.

There were no moves at linebacker, which still misses MLBs Quinton Culberson and Jimmy Miller. Brad Horton was the #1 middle man ahead of Jones. And on the line nose tackle Andrew Powell was excused for a class, so Solomon Ona got in a lot of snaps with both the first and second teams. He and Hannibal were part of the goal-line defense with an extra lineman inserted. Otherwise Hannibal often ran with the first group at end in place of Brown, who limped noticeably Tuesday.

The first offensive line remains unchanged from last week with Calvin Wilson and Craig Jenkins at tackles, Anthony Strauder and Brian Anderson at guards, and Royce Blacklege at center. The backup line, left to right, was Chris Spencer, Dio Herrera, Johnny Carpenter, Anthony Dunning, and Terry.

The Bulldogs will have one more standard practice on Thursday afternoon, then wrap up spring camp with Saturday's Maroon-White scrimmage at Scott Field.

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