Mississippi State linebackers coach Geoff Collins working with his position group during the individual drill work in Saturday's morning practice session Photo by: MSU athletics
August 4, 2012 1:35:34 PM
STARKVILLE - The Mississippi State University football team ran out mostly first-team and newcomers during Saturday's open morning session of practice.
This division of the team allowed the public to see how first-team units are progressing at what would have to be considered a very early point in fall camp.
The offensive line, which had some holes to fill after the departure of senior guard Quentin Saulsberry and injury rehabilitation of some players from last season, had the following working with the first-team offensive unit during skeleton and scrimmage action:
From left to right - Blaine Clausell (LT), Gabe Jackson (LG), Dillon Day (center), sophomore Ben Beckwith (RG) and sophomore Damien Robinson (RT).
However, senior Tobias Smith was dressed but did not participate in drills as a precautionary measure due to the rehabilitation after tearing ligaments in his left knee. Smith described his status as "limited" Saturday but did suggest he would be available for the season opener on Sept. 1 against Jackson State.
"Last summer I started to feel pretty good and now I'm just limited in some things but when it's time to get back in the swing of things, they'll have me ready to go," Smith said. "If push came to shove, I would get in there because I'm able but right now I'm just limited."
In the battle for the majority of the carries and plays at running back this season, MSU running backs coach Greg Knox paired what he called "an old guy" (junior LaDarius Perkins) with a "young, new guy" (redshirt freshman Josh Robinson) Saturday and describe another reason with going with that combination was the duo having two completely different skill sets.
"The competition (at running back) is really heavy now because any of those four tailbacks could be a starter based on how they do out (on the field)," Knox said. "They all have the abilities to make big plays."
I'll have a pullout feature in The Dispatch's fall football preview edition to hit your front stoop next week on the competition to replace Vick Ballard for the feature tailback position with the Bulldogs.
Here are some other notes I was able to gather in the 90-minute session Saturday morning:
= Backup kicker Brian Egan, who saw action on kickoff duty last season, was not on the current 105-man roster. This essentially leaves the kickoff and field goal kicking duties up to a battle of newcomers of freshman Devon Bell and Evan Sobiesk.
- Senior defensive back Corey Broomfield apparently injured his shoulder during drills and was removed from the practice. The three-year starter from Palm Bay, Fla., was seen at the end of practice with a red jersey signifying no contact.
I asked MSU defensive coordinator Chris Wilson about Broomfield's role as a safety in the Bulldogs defense and his answer was similar to putting his players in matchup scenarios similar to a basketball mentality.
"Here's the neat thing - you want your best corner covering their best player," Wilson said. "So he's going to be moved wherever he is needed. The best guy is going to follow the best (offensive) guy and so when people start thinking it's about scheme but it's about situational and matchup."
- Saturday represented the media's first look at true freshman walk-on Jamil Golden. The Memphis native had some impressive pitch-and-catch plays against what would be considered MSU's fourth-string defense but could be seen as a proper emergency developmental signal caller option in time.
- Junior safety Nickoe Whitley was working as the strong safety in the first-team defense and seems to be full go after suffering a major injury last year to his Achilles tendon.
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