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Music City Bowl practice report No. 5 - Safety depth a focus for 2012


Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen has spoken often about what both seniors Charles Mitchell and Wade Bonner have meant to the program over the past couple of years. Now the Bulldogs staff is trying to replace them in practice so they're not asking too much from new players at both safety position next fall.  


The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog spoke with Bulldogs secondary coach Tony Hughes about the talent he has depth wise at safety and who will be getting significant reps Friday night for a 5 p.m. scrimmage at Davis Wade Stadium.  


You'll be able to read about the slotting of new players in at safety in my MSU Music City Bowl notebook for Thursday's edition of The Dispatch.  




In the meantime, here's some more notes from what occurred today in a shorter version of Thursday morning: 




- MSU sophomore quarterback Tyler Russell was again sporting a large black brace Wednesday from his thigh to his ankle on his left leg with a wrap inside the brace. Mullen referred to the brace as "the immobilizer" after practice today. Russell will likely be inactive for the scrimmage at Davis Wade Stadium Friday night.  


"Chris (Relf) will get a few reps (and) Dak (Prescott) will be exhausted," Mullen joked. 


Russell is expected to be available for the Music City Bowl against Wake Forest on Dec. 30 (5:40 p.m., ESPN) but Mullen said he "probably won't be 100 percent for the game even" and would try to get him a couple days of practice before the contest.  




- Junior cornerback Johnthan Banks returned to practice after dealing with a personal issue the previous day and made his presence known with a interception of senior Chris Relf returned for a touchdown.  




- The impressive performance of the day went to redshirt freshman Jameon Lewis as he not only was used as a slot receiver Thursday catching passes from Prescott in 2s-for-2s part of the 7-on-7 drill work. However, Lewis was again used in specific wildcat packages for the second straight day.  



- Freshman tailback Josh Robinson had two long touchdown runs in the course of the day including one were he went 60-plus yards untouched for a touchdown through a gap play between the guard and tackle. 




- Mullen also confirmed that freshman defensive end James Maiden has decided to transfer from the MSU program to find a school "closer to home". The Woodville native didn't get any playing time in his first year but was the nation's 35-best tackle prospect, as well as the 11th-best college prospect at all positions in Mississippi this year according to Scout.com.  




"He was home sick and wanted to go home," Mullen said. "He already wanted to do it midseason and told him he had to finish out the semester." 




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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