Coach Croom was disappointed in the play of the offense. Were you also disappointed?
"There is no doubt about it. We had shown a lot of progress. (Saturday) was the first day in the stadium and we expected a lot more. Coach (Croom) had a meeting (Saturday) morning and he told them that there were certain guys that he was looking at to see if they would step up. Then, there were other guys that he had questions about and wanted to see if they could step up and be able to take a position or be an adequate backup. They didn't do that. They didn't play well and when things started going bad, they got worse. They never could make a play."
Were you pleased with anyone on offense?
"Not with anyone in the first group. We know Omarr (Conner) is going to be a consistent player, but he didn't get a whole lot of snaps because Coach didn't want him in there. We have guys like him and (fullback) Bryson Davis. We know what they can do. The thing I was disappointed in is we have to get more out of (junior TE) Eric Butler. Eric has to be a good player for us. He's proven that he can be a good player, but we have to get more production out of him.
"The second group came out and did a good job of running the football. I felt like the offensive line in the second unit played well. That's why we had some production. We had some deep passes down the field and they did a good job of protecting on those. In the running game, (Christian) Ducre had some good runs. I was very pleased with (freshman running back) Arnil Stallworth. He really ran hard and played hard."
Backup quarterback Tray Rutland did some good things during the scrimmage.
"Tray did a lot better today managing our offense than he has shown in practice. He had some good throws. But the thing I was disappointed in was a lot of times we had an open receiver and he overthrew the guy or threw the ball short."
Wide receiver Lance Long appears to be a solid receiver for you. What is your impression of him as well as a few of your other receivers?
"Lance has been consistent. Right now, the two best receivers that we have are he and Omarr. And Will Prosser has been doing good. Keon Humphries has to come along and give us some plays. Tony Burks has to come around. (Saturday), he showed a lot of fatigue. He has to push through those type things because we expect him to be a good player. The thing about Tony is he is still finding his way. But the good thing about him is he has been on the practice field. As long as you are out there and you are getting your reps in, you are getting better. But he has to be able to push through when the fatigue sets in."
You mentioned earlier that several players were held out on offense. What was the reason for that?
"Royce Blackledge has been doing a good job. He wanted to see what Johnny Carpenter could do. He knew what Omarr and Lance Long can do, so he wanted to see what Tony Burks and Keith Mills could do. He didn't want Brandon Thornton in there because he wanted to find out what (Christian) Ducre and Arnil Stallworth would do. He didn't want Bryson Davis in there because he wanted to find out what Brandon Hart could do. Those guys have to step up."
You've had a lot of your offensive linemen in red-cross jerseys the past week. Doesn't having those guys out hurt the offense somewhat?
"If you are going to be a good player and have some kind of consistency on offense, you have to be on the field. We've had guys who have been in and out, but that's no excuse. (Saturday), (Coach Croom) told them what he was expecting and we didn't do it."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.