Used His Time As A Learning Experience

Although he knew offensive line was going to be his ultimate destination, true freshman lineman Quentin Saulsberry used his time on the defensive side of the ball this season as a valuable learning experience.

"Coming into the season, (MSU head coach Sylvester Croom) wanted me to play offense, but switching over to defense was an experience," said Quentin Saulsberry. "I had it in my mind that I was going to switch back over to offense, so learning the techniques on defense kind of gave me a good feel as to what my defender would do. It would give me the advantage of knowing all the techniques of a defensive player, so I can use that to my advantage on offense."

While Saulsberry took advantage of the temporary change, the primary motive for switching him to defense was, according to Croom, two-fold.

"We put him on defense because he wanted a chance to play defensive tackle and we also needed some bodies over there," he said. "So, we gave him that opportunity just in case he could. And he does run fast enough to play there, but he's better suited to play offensive line in the long run."

And Saulsberry knew that from the get-go.

"They told me almost at the beginning of the season," said Saulsberry. "He said it was more as a left guard, but I'm playing left tackle now."

Now, the MSU coaching staff has to figure out which position on the line best suits his abilities.

"When we signed him we did with the idea to play him at offensive line, and in my mind to play offensive guard, but now we are going to try to make a left tackle out of him," said Croom. "We want to groom a guy who can play left tackle. Right now, Mike (Brown) is the guy and (Derek) Sherrod will be the starter at right tackle if we were going into spring practice. And we know that (Mark) Melichar can play right tackle but we have to find the guy who has the physical skills to play left tackle.

"Saulsberry is a guy who has those even though he's not as tall as you would like. But he has the length in his arms that a tackle needs to have, so we are going to look at him and see."

They even had him do a few snaps at the center position at the conclusion of Sunday's practice,

"We are also going to teach him to snap because it is obvious now that we have a lot of work to do to replace Royce Blackledge," said Croom. "So, we are going to give a couple of other guys a chance to snap. I also would like to have four guys who can snap the ball and play center to give us depth at that position just in case something goes wrong."

As for which position Saulsberry's prefers, he's open to any and all possibilities.

"Right now, I don't prefer anything," said Saulsberry, who played tackle, guard and center during his high school career. "I guess you can say I'm hungry. Whatever position I'm needed, I'll be there."

But when pressed a little further, he did concede that there is one position that he wouldn't mind playing.

"I wouldn't mind playing on the same side with Derek (Sherrod)," said Saulsberry. "We went against each other in high school. Everybody talked about it being a big rivalry between Caledonia and Independence with Derek Sherrod and Quentin Saulsberry."

Who knows, maybe he'll get that chance.

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

Gene's Page Top Stories