Monday's Practice Report

Although there's still two practice days left on the schedule, Mississippi State head coach Sylvester Croom feels his team is about as ready to play as it can be.

"The hay is in the barn. It's time to go play," said Croom at the conclusion of Monday's two-hour practice. "All we do now is a little dress rehearsal, review a little red zone and some of the special situations. There's not much else to cover."

While there is little to do as far as preparing the players for the game, that doesn't mean the coaches can sit back and relax. In fact, something like sleep is not something that comes easily during the days leading up to the game.

"You don't get any sleep," said Croom. "I did sleep good last night, but I was exhausted, just mentally tired. But that's part of it. You worry about what if this happens or what if that happens. You are constantly going through anything that could come up. You are trying to, mentally, have a plan for what you are going to do. You are thinking about all those what ifs that could happen. I will be thinking about those all the way to gametime."

At least the starting lineups on the offensive and defensive sides are taken care of.

"It's set, but that's part of why I toss and turn at night," said Croom. "I'm still trying to figure out if this guy is the right guy to start and how he is going to affect the team."

As of now, the starting unit on offense consists of quarterback Mike Henig, tailback Brandon Thornton, fullback Bryson Davis, tight end Eric Butler, probable wideouts Omarr Conner and Tony Burks, left tackle Brian Anderson, left guard Anthony Strauder, center Royce Blackledge, right guard Michael Gates, right tackle Craig Jenkins.

Defensively, the ends will be Mike Heard, Titus Brown, tackles Deljuan Robinson, Andrew Powell, linebackers Anthony Littlejohn, Quinton Culberson, Jamar Chaney, safeties Jeramie Johnson and Keith Fitzhugh and cornerbacks David Heard and Derek Pegues.

He also expects a few true freshmen to play on special teams and as backups.

"I haven't counted them up, but there are several that are going to play. It's not as many as last year, thank God," said Croom. "(Running backs) Anthony Dixon and Arnil Stallworth will play. (Safety) Anthony Summers will probably play. (Cornerback) Marcus Washington will play. (Tight end) Chris Herrera will probably play in certain situations if we need him. (Defensive tackle) Kyle Love will possibly play. That's about it, really."

Whether it's freshmen or veterans, the bottom line is,"it's time to go play, now, and find out what we have got."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by email at

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