Dogs hope to 'cross the line'

Mississippi State football coach Jackie Sherrill said this week that there is ''a thin line between winning and losing.''

His Bulldogs will be trying to cross that line Saturday against Tennessee. Though 3-5 overall, Mississippi State is 0-5 in SEC competition this fall. Thus, the Dogs will be looking to notch their first league victory at the expense of the Vols.

Like Tennessee, Mississippi State has struggled offensively this fall -- due in large part to a heavy reliance on inexperienced players.

''We're playing an awful lot of young people,'' Sherrill said. ''We're starting three guys in the secondary that are new, and two of them (Darren Williams, Kevin Dockery) are freshmen. And we're starting a nose tackle (Willie Evans) that is new.''

Like Tennessee, Mississippi State has seen injuries destroy any semblance of cohesion in the offensive line.

''We've gotten hurt in a place you can't get hurt,'' Sherrill said. ''Your offensive linemen ... you think you have enough depth until, all of a sudden, you lose three of them -- which we did. Now we're trying to scramble to play. We started a freshman against Alabama and he will start against Tennessee.''

That would be Johnny Wadley, a 6-foot-2, 353-pound behemoth.

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