Two-A-Days End On Afternoon Session

Mississippi State wrapped up the last of three two-a-day dates Monday with a practice lasting two hours, and held inside the Palmeiro Center. The Bulldogs worked in shorts and headgear, making it a completely non-contact day following Saturday's scrimmage game. And a productive day according to Coach Sylvester Croom.

"We had a good practice today. Our tempo was good, we're running to the ball better on both sides of the ball. We made a few more plays offensively today."

For the first time during a media observation there was a partial practice of kickoff return, without the ball actually being kicked. The drill was working on blocking upfield for the return man, who was in turn Derek Pegues, Robert Elliott, and Wade Bonner. Croom spoke Monday morning of getting to work on kickoffs and coverage so this will expand as the week continues, with freshman Eric Richards expected to win kickoff duty.

There was no punting or placekick drills this afternoon; those areas typically are worked on in the early periods and outdoors.

After the scrimmage Croom, unhappy with the execution and attention to detail from most wide receivers, revamped the rotation somewhat. All those in the top-six remain, but those able to work today were taking turns in different order. Lance Long was first in the rotation followed by Brandon McRae, Tony Burks, Ryan Mason, and Jamayel Smith. Co-Eric Riley is hampered by a groin pull suffered Friday. Alex Carpenter and Aubrey Bell are trying to get back in the mix and not fall into the reserve team.

The linebacker two-deep is becoming clearer, though Jamon Hughes is very much in the picture to start if he continues showing up so strongly. For now Hughes is still #2 middle LB, with the second outsiders Anthony Littlejohn and walk-on Devon Edwards. MLB Jamar Chaney and OLBs Dominic Douglas and Gabe O'Neal are the first unit.

The secondary is also settling into a routine with Pegues and De'Mon Glanton starters and Keith Fitzhugh the third safety. It's the second team that no one would have forecast in July, an all-new group of freshmen Bonner and Zach Smith as the regular safeties and CB Jasper O'Quinn as the extra (‘cat' in this year's terminology) safety. Still soph Anthony Summers came on last week and remains in contention for a second-unit role.

The injury list from this morning's practice report did not change.

Two-a-days done, the Bulldogs are back on the outdoor fields Tuesday morning at 7:00 when they won't have to worry about predicted afternoon temperatures of 104 in the Golden Triangle. They'll also go in the morning Wednesday, then afternoons—and likely indoors—the last two days of the week prior to this coming Saturday's scrimmage.

"Everybody is competing really well," Croom said. "We've got a lot of things to clean up but I think we're getting better every practice. If we do that, that's really all I want to see."


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