Wednesday Football Practice Notebook

Media planning to attend the third and last session of Mississippi State's open week schedule will have to set their alarms. Because Coach Sylvester Croom intends to let his Bulldogs wrap things up early. "We'll practice at six in the morning and that will be it for the weekend until they get back Sunday night."

By no means is Croom punishing his players—or for that matter the press corps—by setting such an early Thursday session. And for that matter media will observe little more than warm-ups because the agenda is otherwise all full-team practices and thus closed. There are other factors at work for Mississippi State this week, Croom explained.

"A lot of coaches are going on the road tomorrow. So we'll get our work in and the coaches will be gone after that, the players will go to school and get the weightlifting in." The Bulldogs will also have a Friday morning conditioning session before they too hit the road, though for a real weekend break in their cases. Most of State's coaching staff, the NCAA-maximum of seven, will be out recruiting Thursday through Saturday.

Meanwhile the Bulldogs put in a full afternoon's work Wednesday, going well over two hours in shells. In some aspects it was a typical mid-week session with early periods invested in special teams work—in today's case, kickoffs and coverage—along with standard unit drills by the offensive and defensive lines, running back and wideouts going through their routines, and turnover situations for linebackers and defensive backs.

At the same time, with no opponent to prepare for immediately, State's staff also focused on some of the more technical individual items that have cropped up through the first five games. As Croom said Tuesday, this week was a good time to remind players and units of basic things that get lost in the game-prep shuffles. Also, a number of true and redshirt freshmen who have seen limited roles through the first month got more snaps than they would have otherwise, with the goal of greater contributions in the next two months.

One of these was on the sideline Wednesday, though, as WR Delmon Robinson hurt a shoulder in practice and had to put on a sling. He joined starting S Derek Pegues (shoulder) in that regard. TE Marcus Green remains in limited-yellow with a nagging hip problem. But OG Mike Gates (hamstring) was promoted to full-status today and was running second-team at right guard behind Craig Jenkins.

Croom had little else to say about Wednesday's results. "Another day of practice. We had good work. The attitude is good and we got better. We've still got a lot of getting-better to do but we've got opportunities to do it. And to get some of these guys back next week."

Which most are expected to do when practices resume. Drills on Monday and Tuesday have been advanced an hour because those are fall-break dates for State, meaning it will be a very empty campus over the weekend. Croom certainly doesn't plan to be in the office a lot himself, while most of his staff is out on the recruiting road. What will the boss do Saturday?

"Relax! Put it that way, I'll relax." As well as be in front of the TV later in the day. "Oh yeah, I'll watch Vanderbilt, that's a given!" Croom said, before asking "What time do they play, anyway?" Told to set his schedule for a 5:00 kickoff, "In the evening, OK, that's great, I can get some things done and watch the ball game at dinner time. It ought to be a real good game."


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