Bulldogs Resume Preseason With Tuesday Drills

Perhaps it wasn't the same all-out scrimmage as put in last Friday evening. But that herd of zebras leaving the practice field with the Bulldogs was all the evidence required to know: Mississippi State put in a pretty physical Tuesday session to open this fourth week of preseason.

"It was good," Coach Dan Mullen said. "We worked on a lot. We're getting closer to a game, so it was a lot of game situations."

Situations that naturally were related to items Mississippi State ran through in their Scott Field scrimmage of the past week. Mullen would likely have had real officials observing parts of this August week's work anyway, since that too is part of real game preparation. But this particular day the refs were also called on to blow those whistles as part of the full-pads and full-contact drills. Of course Mullen had the luxury of putting his team into such hitting settings because the Bulldogs had a light Saturday session and no practices at all Sunday or Monday.

Mullen had more in mind for Tuesday than just the regular practicing, too. When the Bulldogs came off the fields it was at a jog as everyone was due, pronto, for squad and unit meetings to go over the day's efforts and get more into the competition mindset. Speaking of competition, Mullen isn't tipping his gameplan-hand on quite a few position contests. Not yet.

"Oh yeah, I have a pretty good idea," the head coach said of his lineup. But ‘idea' is not the same as calling everything established. Even in places Mullen could already fill out, in ink, his starters and alternates…he doesn't want to just now. Opportunity and uncertainty both add incentive to these preseason battles.

"They're getting there," he said of the depth chart duels in general. He knows, and nobody else does. "I mean, you're always going to get two-deep reps," Mullen said. "And then we rotate guys in within the two-deep. So a lot of guys are still getting reps in practice."

Some of those reps are by guys making bids at either a new or an added role. Mullen confirmed that sophomore defensive end Shane McCardell is indeed working as a receiver. And, that placekicker Sean Brauchle is trying his foot at punting as well as kicking.

It was a shorter post-practice conversation with the coach than usual. Mullen mind was obviously occupied, thinking of the meetings ahead. These were to end around 6:30. For that matter the whole coaching staff is showing the sort of intensity that can only mean the season is right around the proverbial corner. The Bulldogs have regular afternoon practices Wednesday and Thursday, then will work under the Friday night lights again. That is in keeping with how State opens the schedule with three-straight evening games.

"(The rest of the week will be) same as today," Mullen said of practice plans. "Just keep kind of grinding-out and getting ready. And clean it all up next week for the game." At the same time the coaching crew's attention is necessarily divided these days, too. By the weekend scouting reports and plans for the Memphis Tigers should also be in place. Then again, Mullen says…

"I guess we've been preparing for Memphis since day-one. They are a new staff so you don't have film on them from last year of what they did. So you really have just got to be good at what you do."

Also, Mississippi State reported that all 11,000 reserved season tickets for student use had been accounted after just two days on-sale. "I'm happy about the student season tickets," Mullen said. "I'm pleased with the effort our students gave and the excitement they're showing."

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