HB Brandon Thornton looked to be 100% after missing three games with an ankle sprain. Thornton was running full-speed in the halfback rotation, behind freshmen Arnil Stallworth and Anthony Dixon. Which of the rookies will be starting Saturday remains to-be-settled but based on the turns taken Wednesday it would seem Stallworth will get first turn.
The only red-crosses were worn today by HB Derek Ambrose and OT Roland Terry. TE Eric Butler is still in no-hit yellow but working as usual.
*Backup OC Johnny Carpenter was held out Tuesday with a knee strain, but was back in maroon Wednesday and snapping with both the first and second units. The first and second offensive lines changed frequently in drills because of the excused absence of OG Anthony Strauder with his Wednesday class conflict. So there were several combinations of blockers, shuffled almost snap-by-snap in both running and passing drills.
Such as at tackle. Redshirt Chris Spencer, who has yet to play a college snap, practiced at both the right and left ends of the line(s) in relief of either LT Craig Jenkins or TR J.D. Hamilton. Backup Mike Brown, still awaiting NCAA ruling on his waiver appeal, was on the scout offense so Spencer had to do double-duty. With Strauder excused the starting guards Brian Anderson (right) and Michael Gates (left) were spelled by the same soph, Anthony Dunning.
State went two games, Tulane and UAB, without substituting on the line. An ankle injury to Anderson meant Strauder played in relief, at both guard spots, as the lone alternate used. Anderson is back to full-speed but State doesn't appear locked into an ‘iron man' approach to line play now that there is some depth at guard.
*Coach Sylvester Croom said Wednesday morning on his SEC teleconference that quarterback Mike Henig will probably see action this week, spelling starter Omarr Conner. Henig had his left collarbone broken in the second quarter of the season. Four weeks later the clean break was healed sufficiently that Henig was cleared to resume play. He did not participate at LSU but was on the roster. Now it appears the third-year soph is booked for action.
Henig was still sharing the #2 practice snaps with redshirt frosh and two-game starter Tray Rutland. Whether Rutland will play or not this week is uncertain.
*The Bulldogs reported as usual for mid-week in ‘shells' but after nine periods and about 90 minutes even the shoulder pads were discarded. The rest of the session, which focused on full-team drills, could thus be run at practice speed with a bit less stress. With a sixth game in as many weeks coming up, and no off-week for another full month, State's staff wants to protect the varsity as much as practical.
*True freshmen who have yet to play in 2006 are: OL J. C. Brignone, WR Alex Carpenter, DL Brandon Cooper, DS Aaron Feld, TE Brandon Henderson, TE Chris Herrera, OL Mark Melichar, WR Keith Mills, DL Reggie Odom, and DL Rodney Prince.
*2005 redshirted freshmen who still have not played this year are: OL Johnny Carpenter, QB Ty Evans, and OT Chris Spencer.