OL Coach J.B. Grimes

Mississippi State offensive line coach J.B. Grimes talks about his two-deep depth chart.

Guard positions
"(Starters) Michael Gates and Anthony Strauder are both having good camps and are doing fine. Of course, Craig Jenkins has started 23 ballgames here. So, we know what we've got in Craig. And we've got a couple of guys who the door has opened up for because of the injury to Tobias Smith, who is potentially great. He's going to be out a while. That's opened the door for Dakota Merritt."

Right tackle
"At right tackle, Mark Melichar and Quentin Saulsberry are in a battle for the starting job. Right now, it's Melichar's to lose. And hopefully he keeps the job, but I'm not routing for any one guy. I'm going to put the best five guys out there."

"J. C. Brignone is having a very, very good camp. He's going to be fine. D.J. Looney is a guy who has to learn to do it right all the time. Whether we are in shorts, shells or gear it doesn't matter - he has to do it right all the time. And he's not doing that right now. So, we'll see how he steps up."

Left tackle
"Derek Sherrod is Derek Sherrod. The only thing he lacks is SEC starts. We just have to get him out there. Chris Spencer is having a good camp. This is his fourth year and it's time for him to step up and be accountable. And so far, he's having a really, really good camp. And I'm very proud of him."

You mentioned true freshman Tobias Smith and how he is potentially great. What makes you say that about him?
"He is just so tremendously strong because he's got a natural body strength. I call it stump-pulling strong. He's one of those kind of guys, who, if you have a stump in the yard and you need it pulled up, he'll put his arms around it and pulls it up. He's just country strong. I don't know how much he bench presses or squats. That doesn't matter because he is strong."

Are his feet quick enough right now?
"He's not as quick as he needs to be because he's probably 20 to 25 pounds overweight."

If he hadn't gotten hurt could he have played this year?
"I think so. I really think so. I really think, at the guard position, he is a lot like Derek Sherrod was a year ago at the tackle position. He's one of those kind of guys."

What are your thoughts about another freshman, Templeton Hardy?
"Templeton is going to be fine. I really like him. He probably needs to lose a little bit of weight around his middle, get stronger and learn the position. But he has good feet. He has a chance to be a good player."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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