"Going into the season we would like to have six guys ready to play."
As of today, who would those six guys be?
"Tony Burks, Lance Long, Jamayel Smith; those three guys are probably your top three guys at this particular time. Then you have Brandon McRae who is probably a top three or top four guy after watching him today. From that point on, we are really looking for some guys to really step up. Aubrey Bell played better today, so he has a chance to be the five guy. And Co-Eric Riley could be the sixth guy. If we had to play tomorrow, those six guys would probably be the ones we would play."
What are some things you like from the new guys, guys like Co-Eric and Brandon?
"Co-Eric is a tough kid and a strong kid, but he's learning the system right now, which takes time. He's got really solid hands and is a really good competitor. Guys like that will find a way onto the field.
"Brandon can do everything we want him to do. I think he's fast enough to get on top of people. I think he has the body size to run the intermediate routes. He can do a lot of things for us.
"Those two guys are going to be big assets to our program."
How has redshirt freshman Alex Carpenter done during fall camp?
"He has gotten better everyday. Everything we do is totally different for him. But I think he is slowly getting it."
Who are some other guys who are in the mix?
"The last couple of weeks Ryan Mason, a guy who has been injured most of his career here at Mississippi State, has really come on. He has put himself in the hat and will have an opportunity to crack that top six. And Carpenter has showed flashes that he can do it also. That's about where we are right now."
What are some things that Ryan has done that has impressed you?
"He is a big, physical kid. When people play bump on him he has the knack of getting on top of the defender. He's not the fastest kid, but he has a good knack for it due to his strength and decent quickness and pretty good instincts. When I watch our one on ones he gets on top of DBs more than anybody. Plus, he's been adjusting to the ball a lot better this fall than he did during the spring."
Are those six guys in the rotation going to get about the same amount of snaps in a game?
"Right now, going into it, you think that way. You think you have six guys who can play, no matter who is in the game. And I think for Mike, our quarterback, it doesn't matter who is in the game. But next week he may come up with some favorites, some guys he feels most comfortable with. I know Burks is a guy he feels comfortable with. I think Jamayel is a guy he feels comfortable with. Lance Long is another one he feels comfortable with. The other guys will have to step up and get into that comfort zone with Mike."
Of all of your players, who has been the biggest surprise?
"The biggest surprise is Ryan Mason because he didn't do much at all during the spring. After the first two days, he had a hamstring injury and he was off for about four or five days. Then, when he came back he came back playing a whole lot better than I thought he would. So, this fall he has been the biggest surprise so far."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.