A handful of players did not participate Thursday morning for various injury reasons. Starting S Derek Pegues and rotation WR Delmon Robinson were both sidelined by shoulder problems, and first DT Jessie Bowman has been taking it easy all week as a precaution. TE Marcus Green remains in a yellow shirt, the only limited player at practice today.
So this morning the defense adjusted, with S Charles Mitchell stepping into Pegues' spot in a three-safety set along with Keith Fitzhugh and De'Mon Glanton. Up front, Cortez McRaney was on the nose with ends Charles Burns and Tim Bailey. And while Dominic Douglas is the first middle linebacker, he spent more time watching backup Bo Walters working with OLBs Karlin Brown and K.J. Wright.
On offense, Craig Jenkins remains the first right guard but former starter Mike Gates is back to full-speed and running with the second unit. The first line for now is RT Quentin Saulsberry, Jenkins, OC J. C. Brignone, LG Anthony Strauder, LT Derek Sherrod. They are backed by RT Mark Melichar, Gates, OC D.J. Looney, LG Dakota Merritt, LT Chris Spencer.
Tyson Lee was taking first turn in quarterback drills ahead of Wesley Carroll, with Chris Relf third.
Croom left practice early himself and was not available to talk to the trio of reporters who turned out for the start and finish of practices. But the head coach had said Wednesday that starting today most of the staff will be leaving campus for various recruiting trips. Seven of the ten coaching staff members can be out on the road at any one time, over this three-day span. And Coach Rockey Felker will be remaining in Starkville to coordinate the weekend's plans.
The Bulldogs will have a Friday morning conditioning session with Coach Ben Pollard, before they can begin their own weekend-off. But they will be back on campus by Sunday--unlike fellow students who have Monday and Tuesday off for fall break--to begin full game preparations for Vanderbilt (1:30, no telecast).