Monday Football Practice Notebook

Mike Henig got a lot of messages over the week, both texts and posts on his MySpace page. But one caught his eye immediately. "Archie Manning sent me a text message," the Bulldog quarterback said. "He told me he had six interceptions, in 1968 I think he said. He said from me, Peyton, and Eli, keep your head up."

Rest easy, Bulldog fans. Mississippi State's starting quarterback is just getting counsel from a peer in the profession, to so speak. "I worked his camp a lot," Henig said. "I've got his number stored in my phone. When I saw that yeah, it was pretty surprising." But, encouraging after Henig began his junior season completing just 11-of-28 passes and throwing six picks himself. "When somebody like that can tell you to keep your head up, that he's done it, you've got something to look forward too."

Henig was looking forward to Monday's session, and not just because it was a short work-day. "After something like Thursday it's always good to get on the field," he said. He and Coach Woody McCorvey had gone over the game tape Friday for a half-hour before Henig took the weekend off to, as he said, just watch other teams play ball on TV. Besides, he added, "If you dwell on the past you'll never live for the future. I'm over the purple-and-gold, now on to the Green Wave."

Not all messages and calls Henig received were so up-beat. One in particular stood out for the worst reasons. "I got one from a guy I don't even know, it was all curse words and stuff. And on his (MySpace) profile, he's a new father. I told him sir, I hope God blesses your son that if he's ever in this situation I hope people don't say that to him. It's a lot of pressure. Believe me, I didn't want to throw those interceptions! I didn't want to lose the game, I promise you."

"He wrote me back today and said "I'm completely sorry for what I did, I never should have said that, it was just one of those games." Not that Henig ever wants to have such a game again. "I won't look at that film any more, one time was enough."

*Now Henig and backup Josh Riddell are preparing for Tulane, which isn't easy. "Really we don't have anything on their defense. We've been watching where their coaches were, this is their first game and we don't know what they're going to do."

For his part Riddell, who missed the first game under suspension, is back to #2. The junior did not enjoy having to observe the first game of his first college season in street clothes and away from the sideline. ""I didn't have too much fun watching, at least being on the sideline I could have helped the team. It hurt." Now he has served the penalty and is back in business; in fact Monday morning Coach Sylvester Croom left the door very much open for Riddell to play at Tulane.

"I'm just trying to prepare myself in case I do get a chance to get in, I'm going to know every play and be comfortable and know the system," Riddell said. "I believe if he gives me a play I'm comfortable running it."

*The opener produced no injuries, though freshman S Zach Smith had to be checked after the game in case of concussion (there was none) following that wicked second-quarter, blind-side shot on the Bulldog sideline. S Derek Pegues shows no after-effects from his body cramps in the third quarter, and LB Gabe O'Neal is uninjured after being helped off the field in the second half.

*The only varsity Dog limited today was TE Dezmond Sherrod, who reported in yellow just for protection of a foot problem. It didn't and won't keep the senior from playing. S Demario Bobo, who did not dress for the first game after missing most of camp with mononucleosis, was practicing in full-gear.

*With the first game done, Mississippi State transitions to the in-season practice schedule. That means starters, alternates, and top backups practice in shorts and headgear; while some backups, reserves, and those freshmen likely to redshirt report in pads so they can scrimmage at the end of the session. For this first in-season Monday, all the starting offense and most of those who participated in the LSU game were in shorts. One exception was halfback Christian Ducre, currently third on that depth chart behind starter Anthony Dixon and Arnil Stallworth, both in shorts today. Freshman Robert Elliot, who did not play in game-one, was in pads.

Only two quarterbacks were in shorts: Henig and Riddell. Ffreshman Wes Carroll, who did do mop-up duty against LSU, was in pads Monday.

*On defense it was a smaller group earning the short-day privilege, essentially only the starters and a very few top backups such as DT Kyle Love, CB Tay Bowser, LB Anthony Littlejohn. But some who did play and are second-team, like LB Jamon Hughes and CBs Keon Humphries and Chris Nance, were in pads.

*So was P Blake McAdams. PK Adam Carlson, who only got to kick off in game-one, and SN Aaron Feld were in shorts.

*Game-one has not resulted in any changes to the starting lineups on either the offensive or defensive lines.

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