First Morning Session Gets Harsh Review

There wasn't any real need to ask, because Coach Sylvester Croom's expression as he left practice—and the fact it had lasted almost 40 minutes longer than scheduled—told the story eloquently. Still the coach did offer a succinct summary of Mississippi State's first morning practice of preseason. "There was nothing good at practice today. Any questions?"

Not really after that to-the-point commentary on the first two-a-day date of camp. The Bulldogs were on the practice fields Wednesday at 7:00 a.m., and didn't leave until 9:35 after some intense post-drills running. Whether it was the early starting time or the conditions, practice produced nothing to satisfy the head coach on either side of the ball. The only questions media mustered were about injury updates.

Not practicing in the morning in red-cross shirts were: DE Titus Brown, DE Timmy Bailey, DT LaMarcus Williams, TE Jeremy Jones, OG Chris Herrera, WR Ben Shelton, and WR Ryan Mason. In limited-purple were CB Chris Nance and DE Jimmie Holmes, both able to take part in some segments.

With starter Brown sidelined—"I know he's going to play so we're keeping him out," Croom said--Charles Burns remained the starting left defensive end opposite Avery Hannibal with the first-tackles Jessie Bowman and Kyle Love. The second line showed walk-on Devone Wilson at left end and Brandon Cooper right, with the tackles Cortez McCraney and Quinton Wesley. Third tackles were Rodney Prince and Quentin Saulsberry, with Holmes taking some snaps at third right-end due to lack of depth at the moment.

On the linebacker depth chart rookies Terrrell Johnson and Karlin Brown were competing for second-team on one side behind starter Dominic Douglas, with Jamon Hughes and Anthony Littlejohn also on the second unit. Freshmen safeties Wade Bonner and Zach Smith continue to work with the #2 defense as well.

The first and second offensive lines were unchanged from Monday, after the return of starting RT J.D. Hamilton from his ankle problem. The third line, running left-to-right, was Addison Lawrence, John McMillan, Chris Spencer, Dakota Merritt, and Derek Sherrod, with D.J. Looney the fourth center.

The offense, less bothered by injuries at this point, has settled into a regular two-deep at most spots though freshman Robert Elliot keeps making a bid to crack that group at halfback behind current backups Justin Williams and Christian Ducre. The wide receiver rotation for now looks like Jamayel Smith and Brandon McRae starting with Tony Burks, Lance Long, Co-Eric Riley, and Aubrey Bell alternating.

The Bulldogs are back to practice at 3:15 today, and are scheduled to be in shorts after going full-gear in the morning. However, after the coach's harsh assessment of the early session, all bets are off for the afternoon's plans as Croom tries to make his point to the whole team. "Right now I'm more worried about the injury in their characters."

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