Sunday's Practice More Mental

Mississippi State's players went through one last practice prior to starting their normal gameday practices.

"We wore shorts today and it was more than anything a mental practice," said Sylvester Croom. "We were just introducing the gameplan and really trying to get our guys to understand the details on both sides of the ball.

"We coaches pretty much have the gameplan in order. Now, we will start introducing it this week. That way, if there are any bugs in it we can get those ironed out before we break for the holidays."

Monday, however, will see a more typical regular season practice.

"(Monday's practice) will be a like a normal Tuesday," said Croom. "Tuesday will be like a normal Wednesday and Wednesday like a normal Thursday. We are really going to start getting into the different UCF looks in every phase - offense, defense and kicking - this week."

But unlike other weekly practices, the MSU coaching staff will have the luxury of more than a week to look at the overall game plan and make any necessary changes.

"That gives us a chance to get all the details ironed out. Thursday the coaching staff will get the gameplan typed up and get the scripts ready. There may be some changes when we get to Memphis, but everything will be done before we leave here."

As for academics, it appears there have not been any grade casualties but one true freshman player isn't going through bowl practices just to make sure he understands the importance of grades.

"The grades are in as far as I'm concerned," said Croom. "As far as I'm aware from (MSU academic counselor) Tyler (Hill), everybody here is eligible to play in a bowl game. If they weren't good (academically) they wouldn't be out here.

"(Freshman fullback Ethan) Stockett, one of our redshirt freshmen, is not here but he wasn't going to play in the bowl anyway. But I just wanted to make sure he was aware of the seriousness of his grades not being there. He will be back here in the spring."

MSU will practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, then take off for the holidays prior to reporting back on the 23rd of December.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by email at

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