STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's second day in NCAA-mandated shorts and head gear, conducted on the practice fields behind the Shira Athletic Complex Thursday, looked a lot like the Bulldogs' first workout one day prior but with two notable exceptions. Searing summer heat and oppressive humidity returned Thursday after Wednesday's overcast skies, and MSU head coach Sylvester Croom saw even more with which to be pleased from his troops.
"We had better work today," Croom said. "The guys were tired and sore, but there was more intensity and competition.
"But let me tell you, it's not fun for them," Croom said. "They're not going to enjoy going out there everyday in this heat, but it separates the players on the team. Fatigue will separate the real players from the others."
As expected, the initial workout Wednesday produced the re-aggravation of some off-season muscle pulls, none of which were believed to be serious. Junior college transfers Chris Nance (Tuscumbia, Ala.) and Jimmie Holmes (Aiken, S.C.) wore red-cross jerseys Thursday after tweaking already-tender hamstrings. Senior offensive tackle J.D. Hamilton (Natchez, Miss.) and junior fullback Jeremy Jones (Harvey, La.) donned yellow tops, indicating limited work. Hamilton had a sore ankle, one which had undergone off-season surgery, while Jones had an abdominal muscle pull.
One area that Croom singled out for their play two days deep into pre-season camp was the wide receiver position.
"This time last year, wide receiver was a weakness for us," Croom said. "Right now, it's a definite strength."
Specifically, Croom lauded the play of senior wide receiver Tony Burks (Gulfport, Miss.), who Croom said is playing the best since he's been on campus, and sophomore transfer Brandon McRae (Chester, Va.).