"The first-team left end is Sean Ferguson. He deserves it because he is playing better than most of the guys right now. Nick Bell has done a lot of good things. At the right end spot, we are trying to get Shane McCardell repped up and get him to where he knows what to do.
"We've been hurt inside because Devin Jones has hurt a hamstring and has been out for quite awhile. Joshua Jackson has started to pick up the tempo and learn what to do and play faster. His big thing is learning the tempo and how hard he has to play."
You mentioned Sean Ferguson is first-team at left end. It's very unusual for a freshman to come in and move into a starting role in preseason camp.
"Yes it is, but he deserves it. And that's the way it is right now. If something changes, we'll see. But he is a tough kid who practices hard. He has been coached up well and he's pretty good at his technique. He's learning and studying his playbook. He knows what to do and he's asking questions. And he's a little bit more mature than most freshmen. He's had a tremendous camp. He's probably been the most consistent guy at end among both the freshmen and upper classmen."
Out of the freshmen group, do you expect to play them all this year or will you redshirt a few?
"Right now the deal is to get them ready to play, but I don't know if we will play them all. But it's like Coach Croom has said, 'you don't start thinking about redshirting them until the sixth game.'
"But right now, out of the group, Sean Ferguson is definitely going to play. Out of the rest of them, it kind of depends on how they progress between now and the first two or three games of the season. It could be that they all play, but it would be hard for Devin because he has missed so much time. Because we need some help inside, Josh Jackson, if he continues to progress he could be ready to play by midseason, but I just don't know yet."
Physically, is Josh Jackson strong enough right now to play in the SEC?
"I think he could handle it physically, although he probably needs to get in a little better shape. It's just a mental thing with him. He just needs to understand the intensity level, the speed of the game and knowing what to do."
Shane McCardell has the athletic ability to play at this level doesn't he?
"Yes he does. He can run. he's a good athlete, he can bend, but he hasn't played a whole lot of football so the game is relatively new to him. But he has all the tools and he can be a real good one."
What are your thoughts about Nick Bell?
"Nick has done real well. He is about 250 pounds which is about 30 or 40 pounds more than when we signed him. He has been a pleasant surprise. The first week he didn't understand the tempo, but now he's starting to come around. I'm really pleased with him."
How much do Shane and Sean weigh?
"They are both about 220 to 225, somewhere in there."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.