Late Thursday Football Updates

Following Thursday's practice, the first held outdoors since Monday morning, Coach Sylvester Croom updated the status of some players and positions going into this weekend's home opener with Southeastern Louisiana. Most notably, offensive tackle Derek Sherrod who returned to almost-normal practicing for the first time since August 22.

A foot infection has kept Sherrod, booked in spring to start at left offensive tackle, out of almost any action for this stretch. Yesterday the sophomore did begin doing some sideline running, a sign the incision to drain the infection had healed sufficiently at last to allow pressure again. Today Sherrod was working as the third left tackle in both unit drills and team-on-team work.

Croom anticipates using Sherrod for the first time this season. "He's not going to start. Now how much he'll play I don't know yet. I'm just glad to see him back out there. We'll see how he feels and go from there, if he feels good he'll play as a backup." Mark Melichar, the starter in game-one at Louisiana Tech, will open at left tackle and Chris Spencer will be the first substitution choice. Maybe.

"We'll alternate Chris and Derek, that's what we've discussed up to this point," Croom said. "A lot depends on tomorrow." But the coach makes it clear a lot depends on getting State's most talented tackle game-dirty and soon with SEC season only a week away.

"I'd definitely like to get him some game time, but it's a concern because he hasn't practiced full-speed in two weeks. It's the little things, the little adjustments he wouldn't totally know, that's the reason we're not going to start him."

*The loss of starting MLB Jamar Chaney has thrust redshirt freshman Jamie Jones into the top-job. His backup was expected to be true freshman Bo Walters, but now Karlin Brown will be the second man in the middle. "He's behind Jamie right now," Croom said. "Because he was ineligible the first game he didn't get as many reps in camp, and that first week of preparation, as Jamie did. Over time Karlin has had more reps but this fall Jamie has had more. We'll start with Jamie but they're both going to play."

*But there is at least one decision that really will go right up to Saturday afternoon before settling. Who will kick off State's first home game, senior Adam Carlson or redshirt Eric Richards? "We don't know yet," Croom said. "We'll decide before the game."

Richards was unable to kick off, or sub-in to punt, in the opening game when his sore hip showed back up; though Richards waited until before the game to tell the training staff the old condition was bothering him again. So Croom is justifiably reserved about how the specialist duties could be parceled out this week, until he knows if Richards reports at full-strength.

"You're guess is as good as mine. He kicked today, and we'll see."

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