December 10, 2011 12:45:00 PM
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen has in the past used the first week of bowl game practices to tinker with the rotations and positions of certain players. The first open practice on Saturday morning was no different.
"This is an opportunity for us to get a lot of young players some reps," Mullen said Saturday morning. "We'll get a couple live practices and full practices in as we go but it's just a lot of teaching and installation."
A major focus was getting practice reps for the young tailbacks such as Nick Griffin, Derek Milton and Josh Robison in the mix for in-game snaps
"All the young running backs are players I'm looking forward to seeing what they bring to the table because they're going to be a big part of our offense next year and that starts right now," sophomore quarterback Tyler Russell said. "They have to grow up quick."
Like last year, Mullen using these bowl practices as a science experiment testing out new positions and rotations for younger players.
The most noticeable in bowl preparation for the 2011 Gator Bowl was the moving of defensive tackle James Carmon to offense at left tackle as the 345-pound transfer from Gulf Coast Community College worked with the first-team offense in the hope of finding a replacement for All-SEC first team selection Derek Sherrod.
This season veteran players like senior offensive lineman Quentin Saulsberry and even Russell, a sophomore quarterback are part of the teaching process in this first week of bowl preparation.
"It's weird now but fun at the same time because you're encouraging guys that are going to be here next year," Saulsberry said. "They have to build the foundation of what's to come in the next few years. That's exciting to see."
The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog also learned Saturday that redshirt freshman quarterback Dylan Favre has left the program and will be released by MSU in order for the 5-foot-10 signal caller to transfer and likely get more immediate playing time at another school.
"Dylan has decided to transfer and we wish him the best," Mullen said. "He has our full support in everything and did a great job for us during his time here."
The 2009 Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Football selection in the state of Mississippi, saw action in four games during the 2011 season going 13-for-26 for 119 yards and one touchdown. Favre also had two rushing touchdowns against the University of Tennessee at Martin and Arkansas. The nephew of former National Football League quarterback Brett Favre chose MSU over Southern Mississippi and Tulane after shattering most of the state high school passing records.
Junior defensive end Trevor Stigers will be forgoing his final year of eligibility after Mullen confirmed he would be graduating from the university after this spring semester and ending his college football career.
Stigers, had 10 tackles, two forced fumbles and a sack during the 2011 campaign.
"Trevor is graduating," Mullen said. "He had some academic things to get caught up and finish his graduation and he's going to graduate and start his next phase of his life."
MSU coaches and players will have Sunday off and get back on the practice field for a 1 p.m. open session Monday.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
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