Wednesday Football Practice Notebook

As the Bulldogs left the Palmeiro Center following today's practice, one of their number wasn't wearing any. Numbers, that is. OT Derek Sherrod was still in a red-cross jersey as he recovers from an infected left foot. Yesterday, Coach Sylvester Croom said if Sherrod was able to practice Thursday he would start the season-opener. Now? "It's touch and go," Croom reported. "More touch than go."

Sherrod, the new first-team left tackle, was hospitalized over the weekend with this infection and not released to Monday. Unless he can go at something close to full-steam Thursday, the sophomore is likely now to miss Mississippi State's 2008 debut Saturday at Louisiana Tech.

*With Sherrod questionable, the first offensive line is LT Mark Melichar, LG Anthony Strauder, OC J. C. Brignone, RG Mike Gates, and RT Quentin Saulsberry. If this group lines up for State's opening series Saturday, it will be the first start at their respective positions for Melichar and Brignone; and the first college action period for redshirt Saulsberry, who practiced last fall at defensive tackle.

*The second offensive line for now is LT Chris Spencer, LG Dakota Merritt, OC D.J. Looney, RG Craig Jenkins, and RT Phillip Freeman. Though, Addison Lawrence has also worked as #2 at right tackle. Of these, only Jenkins has started a college game and Spencer seen any backup action.

*WR Jamayel Smith was in limited-yellow status Wednesday, but still practicing in the rotation with Aubrey Bell, Brandon McRae, and Co-Eric Riley as the top four receivers. Bell and McRae are the official starters for Saturday though that is a mere football formality; all four will get about the same total of snaps. Based on today's drills, any of three freshmen—Delmon Robinson, Arceto Clark, and Charles Bailey—would be the third twosome. All are likely to see action in the opener.

*Only two defensive players reported in limited-purple, and one, DL Charles Burns, shed that shirt after a couple of periods and was cleared to go full-speed. Burns is sharing the backup job at left tackle with Cortez McCraney, behind starter Kyle Love who has been able to work all week after a light pre-season regimen.

*The other limited defender is S Chris Nance, still with a cast on the right wrist cracked in the first scrimmage. Nance is still on the road roster and can play if needed.

* WR O'Neal Wilder with a dislocated kneecap. Sherrod might yet make the game.

*HB Wade Bonner has been upgraded to full-speed work after being hobbled last week by a hip flexor. Bonner is in reserve at halfback but a candidate for kick return duty if Smith is still not 100%.

*As of now it appears true freshman Sean Ferguson will get the first snap at left defensive end. The rookie was the first end used in line drills, though senior Jimmie Holmes was alternating with Ferguson and veteran Brandon Cooper is getting first-team snaps as well.

*A kickoff cover team has been lined up, made up mostly of defensive starters for now. On the right side it is CB Tay Bowser, CB Jasper O'Quinn, S Keith Fitzhugh, LB Terrell Johnson, and S Charles Mitchell. To the left of the ball are LB Jamie Jones, LB K.J. Wright, S Zach Smith, FB Taurus Young, and CB Marcus Washington. Eric Richards is kicking off.


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