Thursday Bulldog Football Practice Report

Coach Sylvester Croom had a surprise present in mind for the Bulldogs. With spring semester break starting Friday evening, as well as a cold weather wave coming through tonight, he was actually considering turning the players loose a day early. Upon further review…"That ain't happening," said Croom after Thursday's drills. "We're going to practice tomorrow rain, sleet, or snow."

And, practice until the head coach is satisfied. Which Croom was definitely not at the end of Mississippi State's eighth workout of 2008 spring camp. The Bulldogs spent—or to the coach's mind, wasted—a lovely weather Thursday with a lackluster afternoon session. The result is that not only has early-departure been cancelled, but Croom has radically changed the Friday schedule. The planned scrimmage game at Scott Field is off, too.

"We're going inside Palmeiro and we're going to repeat today's practice and add some more to it and see if we can get better," Croom said. "We're not going to have practices like we did today on either side of the ball and excuse it. If we don't want to do it right the first time we'll repeat it, but we're going to get it right."

The object of the coach's ire was mostly on a single side of the line. "I don't think our offense competed at all today," Croom said. Which was as surprising as disappointing based on previous camp days where the offensive team appeared to be both competing and producing. Not this time, and certainly not when the #1 teams squared off.

"I thought our first defensive unit practiced well," said Crom. "Well enough to send them off the field so we could get some plays off offensively. I didn't think our offense responded." So even as first-team defenders were leaving the locker room their offensive counterparts—and the second units were still working.

"I'm really disappointed with how the offense practiced today," Croom said.

The coach's emotions were already running high due to a practice scare when fullback Devon Edwards went down during a lead-block play and stayed down. "His whole body pretty much went numb," Croom reported. Walk-on Edwards, moved this spring from backup linebacker, had to be taken off the field in an ambulance.

"The latest news is positive, he does have feeling in all extremities. We hope everything is OK with him, we'll be checking through the evening." Making things worse at the fullback spot was an ankle injury today to veteran Brandon Hart. The other 2007 starter, Eric Hoskins, is unable to do serious contact drills with a lingering nerve problem.

"That position, particularly with the injury to Devon, is my biggest concern. Everybody is beat-up, but it's a tough position to play in our offense."

For Thursday, FS Derek Pegues returned to work after being held out Tuesday while his weekend driving-related arrest was studied. No disciplinary action has been ruled against the All-SEC senior, nor does the incident appear to be serious in MSU minds.

Two of the players injured in last Saturday's practicing also returned to work. DE Jimmie Holmes (deltoid strain) back after missing two days. He was still in limited-yellow, as is DE Charles Burns who is still catching-up from his August shoulder surgery. Also returning was WR Brandon McRae after two down-days with a turf toe.

Still sidelined were DT LaMarcus Williams (leg muscle) and DT Quinton Wesley (lower back disc). Wesley's is the more serious situation and surgery is a spring option. C Johnny Carpenter has already had surgery, for his injured shoulder. DE Brandon Cooper has not been able to practice this semester with a back condition.

Two more Bulldogs were held out Thursday: S Zach Smith with a hamstring, and LB Karlin Brown with a knee. Also, first OC J. C. Brignone has been excused since Saturday after the sudden death of his father.

The only changes to the depth chart were for injuries and absences. Such as at linebacker, where Mike Hunt moved up to second weak-side behind Dominic Douglas. Jamar Chaney and Jamie Jones are 1-2 in the middle; while on strong-side it is K.J. Wright, Terrell Johnson, and Jarvis Kyles. But on the defensive line those missing bodies have limited chances to rotate people as often in drills as desired, with some of the regulars getting more snaps than normal. Once past the starting tackles Jessie Bowman and Kyle Love, things get thin fast and this might have a bearing on how Friday's scrimmaging is scripted.

Two more players received their jersey numbers Thursday, both on the offensive line as first RT Derek Sherrod and second RG Craig Jenkins were promoted for practice performance. They joined HB Robert Elliot, HB Wade Bonner, OG Anthony Strauder, WR Co-Eric Riley, WR Jamayel Smith, and DE Tim Bailey, S Derek Pegues, CB Marcus Washington, HB Anthony Dixon, OT Mike Brown, OG Mike Gates, and DT Kyle Love, S Keith Fitzhugh, S De'Mon Glanton, LB Dominic Douglas, LB Jamar Chaney, CB Jasper O'Quinn, QB Wesley Carroll, HB Christian Ducre, FB Brandon Hart, and FB Eric Hoskins.

What made Thursday's results really frustrating was it came in a practice that was part of State's annual spring clinic, with high school and junior college coaches on campus all day and most of them staying around for afternoon practice and an evening dinner. That part of the day, Croom thought went very well.

"We had a good group and we're very pleased with it. Danny Ford did an outstanding job speaking this morning, I think they enjoyed him being here."

However Friday's practice runs, the Bulldogs will be let-go for the semester break. Upon returning there will be six practice days left in camp, three each week.

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