March 23, 2012 11:01:15 AM
STARKVILLE -- When asked if he had any idea how the offensive line starters would shake out before the start of spring workouts, Mullen simply shook his head.
"Nope," Mullen said. "But I try not to. Until you get out there and have to make the calls and make the blocks and do it with pads on and do it effectively, it is really hard to judge."
MSU will lose both starting tackles off an offensive line which helped produce back-to-back bowl victories in left tackle James Carmon and right tackle Addison Lawrence. Along with the graduation losses, MSU will be without the services of guard Tobias Smith this spring as the Columbus native is still recovering from offseason surgery to correct a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last season in a 19-6 home loss to LSU.
"Tobias looks pretty good, the trainers say he's ahead of schedule," Mullen said. "But that is a guy that has played football for us for a number of years, we don't need to rush him back."
Here are the starting offensive line according to the MSU spring depth chart:
LT - BLAINE CLAUSELL, 6-7, 305, SOPH.
LG - GABE JACKSON, 6-4, 320, JR.
C - DILLON DAY, 6-4, 285, SOPH.
RG - JUSTIN MALONE, 6-7, 315, R-FR.
RT - DAMIEN ROBINSON, 6-7, 315, SOPH.
"It is huge that you can take time and really evaluate who is going to be ready to play next fall," Mullen said. "I think when you finish spring you don't have to have your lineup set. And there's certainly no depth chart is going to be set. But you do have an idea of who is ready to go play."
Then there's the early enrollees who were be new to Division 1 college football as center Dylan Holley, offensive lineman Charles Siddoway and offensive lineman Justin Senior officially were enrolled into school in Jan. allowing them to sign financial aid papers and making them eligible for spring practices.
Holley, who was a highly touted offensive line prospect from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, helped lead the nation in rushing and will instantly provide depth to a MSU offensive front looking for quality personnel after injuries forced constant shifting around players in the 2011 campaign.
Siddoway was nmed first-team All-American following his sophomore season by the National Junior College Athletic Association and earned first team all-region honors for his standout performance at Butte College that has produced NFL Pro Bowl caliber quarterback Aaron
Rodgers. In 2009 Siddoway transferred from the University of California to Butte College a year after Rivals.com dubbed him the top prospect in Oregon and No. 43 at his position nationally.
The 280-pound Senior is from Montreal but came to the Starkville campus in January from Hargrave Military Academy that also produced MSU starting basketball senior point guard Dee Bost.
"I think one, they're just getting used to it. I mean, you watch them run or watch our guys do agility, they're both very, very athletic guys. But for any player coming in in the spring is an enormous advantage. You actually get to learn the proper way to learn. Where how the rules are set up in football, you have to crunch it all in in the fall really fast before you go play a game and that is not the most beneficial way to learn. So these guys, the opportunity to come in spring is to really get a grasp for everything that is going on and let it sink in, puts them in a great position to be able to contribute and play next fall for us."
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.
3. The Ups and Downs of Nelson's Pillar BOOK REVIEWS