Wednesday Football Practice Report

Mississippi State worked two hours in partial gear (shorts and shells) Wednesday afternoon in game preparations for this weekend's road trip to Alabama-Birmingham. Kickoff is at 6:00 with State visiting Legion Field for the first time since 1989.

*The offensive line depth chart changed Wednesday, as backup OT Calvin Wilson is no longer on the team. Coach Sylvester Croom confirmed that Wilson, a true sophomore, had withdrawn from school earlier in the day. Wilson had played in the first two games this season as a substitute, and he was the first backup at both left and right tackles.

Wilson played in eight games and started once at right tackle as a true freshman in 2005, though he was admittedly forced into early action despite late-summer knee problems. Lack of depth at tackle last year meant rushing the true freshman on the field. Wilson did participate in spring work and reported this fall at 346 pounds, still too heavy but in improved condition.

Wilson did not play in the Tulane game; nor did any other backup lineman as the starting five took care of all 67 official offensive snaps.

Wednesday's re-vamped second line had redshirt freshman Chris Spencer working at both right and left tackle. He was also promoted to varsity-maroon status. Spencer has practiced at guard and center as well but has yet to see the field. The tackle depth chart is thin because transfer Mike Brown has still not been granted a waiver to play this fall after leaving Florida during the summer. Brown has practiced as the #2 left tackle.

*Starting OG Anthony Strauder missed Wednesday work as usual because of his class schedule. Backup RG Michael Gates took his place on the first team. He and #2 center Johnny Carpenter are all dressing out for games.

*Even without full pads on, there was still a fair amount of contact made in both 7-on-7 and 9-on-7 work at the line of scrimmage and bodies were hitting the ground as well. Some of these periods pitted the ones-vs.-ones, particularly in ground game practices.

Based on the day's order of snaps taken, freshmen halfbacks Anthony Dixon and Arnil Stallworth remain essentially co-#1s at this point. Transfer freshman Christian Ducre is third in the order but very much in the rotation. The only veteran halfback, Brandon Thornton, is out again this weekend and senior Derek Ambrose has been slowed for two weeks with an injury.

*Also in the offensive backfield, fullback Bryson Davis showed no ill-effects Wednesday after missing Monday work and some of Tuesday's snaps with an inflamed nerve on the top of his foot.

*Tight end Eric Butler has been upgraded to yellow-jersey status. He did not play against Tulane with a toe injury and on Tuesday was still in a red cross. Butler was working in both passing and running drills today and is now expected to play at UAB.

*DT Deljuan Robinson appears full-speed again after a minor leg injury Saturday that limited him the first two work-days this week. He was again lined up with the first team alongside Andrew Powell.

*Besides Thornton, QB Mike Henig (broken collarbone) and DT Quinton Wesley (sprained ankle) are out this week. Henig does continue to participate in all passing drills with starter Omarr Conner and backup Tray Rutland, but the sophomore is out for at least three more games before the broken bone can fully knit and be cleared for contact regardless of padding.

*With Conner back throwing passes, the rotation of Bulldogs supposed to catch them is now seven. Or that is now many practiced today in varsity-maroon shirts, specifically: Tony Burks, Keon Humphries, Will Prosser, Lance Long, Jamayel Smith, Joey Sanders, and Tyler Threadgill. Threadgill has been promoted this week to first-team status. He saw his first action of the season Saturday night on State's on-sides kickoff.

Junior transfer Ryan Mason continues to take more snaps this week on both special teams and at receiver, but he has not been activated yet.

*There were no Wednesday promotions or demotions observed on the defense, either first or second units. But it appears Demario Bobo will finally see action this season as either the backup strong safety or in a nickel set. Leg pulls have kept Bobo sidelined almost since camp began; he dressed for game-three but did not play.

*Through three games, five true 2006 freshmen have gotten on the field: HB Anthony Dixon, CB Anthony Johnson, HB Arnil Stallworth, S Anthony Summers, and CB Marcus Washington. The latter two have played only on special teams so far but are both in the two-deep.

True freshmen who have not played to-date are: OL J. C. Brignone, WR Alex Carpenter, DE Brandon Cooper, DS/LB Aaron Feld, TE Chris Herrera, LB Jamon Hughes, TE Brandon Henderson, DT Kyle Love, OL Mark Melichar, WR Keith Mills, DL Reggie Odom, and DE Rodney Prince. Of these, Hughes seems most likely to play next after suffering a mid-August hamstring pull. Herrera, Love, and Mills also have dressed out for games.

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