Tuesday Practice Notebook

*Only hours after being named ‘our running back' for the Auburn game, Anthony Dixon was being scheduled for Wednesday morning surgery. The freshman halfback broke the first bone (closest to the hand) on the little finger of his left hand in a practice accident Tuesday afternoon.

Dixon will have an operation tomorrow to repair the damaged digit, but it is very unlikely he could be able to play this Saturday. In last Thursday's season-opener with South Carolina, Dixon was the backup to Brandon Thortnton and ended up playing as much as the starter. The rookie was so impressive Coach Sylvester Croom planned to open the Auburn game with Dixon in the backfield.

Now Thornton will retain the starting job. At Tuesday's practice, only he, Dixon, and freshman Arnil Stallworth were in first-team maroon. Stallworth did not play in the opener but will likely see action now. At the same time, State still has halfbacks Justin Williams, Derek Ambrose, and Christian Ducre available.

*Ducre, who received word Monday his appeal for an eligibility waiver to play immediately this transfer season, was practicing in backup-green Tuesday. The freshman had run as high as #3 in some August drills before falling back in the depth chart while his appeal process dragged into the start of the season.

Ducre stayed after the end of full-team practice to work in kickoff return. This is where Croom expects to make use of the transfer first, though Dixon's injury could impact these plans as well.

*Three Bulldogs reported for practice in red-cross jerseys. Linebacker Jamon Hughes (hamstring), safety/corner Demario Bobo (hamstring), and quarterback Mike Henig (collarbone) were on the no-practice list. Henig is out for up to six weeks after breaking the left collarbone in the first half against South Carolina. Croom said Henig could actually begin to practice again in as little as two weeks, but because playing would be several more weeks away the third-year soph won't be rushed.

Bobo has not practiced full-speed since the first week of camp, while Hughes pulled the hamstring in the first August scrimmage.

Wide receiver Ryan Mason was back at practice last week after a thigh pull midway of camp cost him over two weeks of work. Mason is still working into the wideout rotation.

*After not playing in the opener, senior Will Prosser is ticketed to see action this week in a situational rotation. With Omarr Conner practicing today at quarterback, the maroon receivers were Prosser, Tony Burks, Lance Long, Keon Humphries, Joey Sanders, and Jamayel Smith.

*At the afternoon press conference Croom repeated his Monday statements that Conner, who started the opener at ‘X' receiver, will not start this game there but will play in situations that suit his talents. At the moment Conner is also likely to give up his punt-return job because Croom does not want to risk injury to the #2 quarterback.

*Long and Derek Pegues were fielding punts in those drills today. Pegues is also the kickoff return man.

*Tuesday was the first practice day since Thursday's game, as Croom gave the team three days off and only had them in meetings, team and group, Monday. As he had said Monday, the #1 offensive line indeed saw changes. Brian Anderson moved from left tackle, his 2005 job, to right guard where he practiced all spring and most of August before moving around. J.D. Hamilton moved in at left tackle, after playing backup right tackle in the opener. And Michael Gates moved down to second right guard.

Craig Jenkins remains at right tackle, Royce Blackledge at center, and Anthony Strauder at left guard. This is actually the first line that was used when camp started August 2, only to change three times during the month.

*Tray Rutland's share of snaps in passing drills was roughly two-to-one compared to Conner, while redshirt frosh Ty Evans was the third quarterback.

*Having not worked out Monday, all Bulldogs reported today in full gear but there was limited contact and no scrimmaging by the reserves.


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