August 4, 2012 9:40:13 PM
STARKVILLE - The backups on the Mississippi State University football team completed the day of open practice.
The offensive execution obviously wasn't as crisp in the skeleton and 11-on-11 scrimmage sessions with numerous dropped passes and fumbles mixed in with the impressive big play in the passing game.
The Bulldogs projected second-string quarterback Dak Prescott had trouble maintaining a rhythm on the center exchange with transfer Dylan Holley. The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College transfer put the ball on the ground twice during 11-on-11 drills but on one of the them Prescott was able to freelance into a completed pass on the play.
Prescott had a very impressive pitch-and-catch play to senior Arceto Clark in one-on-one drills action.
In the morning session of Saturday's open practices, MSU linebackers coach Geoff Collins quickly pointed out that redshirt freshman Christian Holmes had impressed the coaching staff with his workout numbers with Bulldogs strength coach Matt Balis and his work was paying off on the practice field just two days into fall camp.
"Christian Holmes had a great practice (Thursday), just the development that he's made over the summer was really, really impressive to me," Collins said Saturday morning.
The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog was able to discuss with Holmes, a 225-pound outside linebacker from Puckett, his progression from devastation of being given the redshirt status to his increased confidence this fall.
"I was really considering walking away and leaving the game during my redshirt year and then halfway through I really saw my body change and was able to see myself get better as a player," Holmes said. "I really think we have so much depth in our veterans and then you look at (freshmen) Ritchie (Brown) and Beniquez (Brown) and you think 'man these guys can really play too'."
Here are some other notes I was able to gather in the 90-minute session Saturday evening:
- Nick Griffin, one of the four tailbacks battling for playing time this season, had some trouble hanging onto the football Saturday night by fumbling the ball in individual drills and then again during 11-on-11 action. The sophomore, who is still trying to get fully recovered from a torn knee ligament in his first spring action, was still behind Prescott with the primary offense and playing with mostly projected second-team offensive performers.
"I saw some things yesterday that I really enjoyed and I see the confidence coming back in him," MSU running backs coach Greg Knox said.
- Just as similar to Jamil Golden in the morning session, the MSU fan base got introduced to walk-on quarterback Steven Swindle. The Oak Grove High School product, who suffered a fractured leg in his final season of prep football, showed a impressive strong arm but an expected inaccurate touch as he got used to the pace of play in MSU's spread-option offense.
- Sophomore Dee Arrington was working with the top players in this group (so overall, as a second-team safety) along with Jay Hughes in the back two of the Bulldogs defense Saturday night. The Arrington-Hughes dup played in front of Jamerson Love and Taveze Calhoun at cornerback.
- The lead linebacker unit Saturday night was Christian Holmes, Fernando Bohanna and Matthew Wells which means junior Chris Hughes was related to the backups of this groups (so again....third string overall).
- With Marcus Green in the morning session, the primary tight end was Brandon Hill - a former West Lowndes star - and The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog was able to get the sophomore's thoughts on his role now that the position group will be without injured Malcolm Johnson for several weeks.
"With Green coming back I still feel like we're solid at that spot in terms of depth but I always expected to get ready and the best interest of the team is for everybody to train as if they're starting," Hill said. "I enjoyed the thought of Marcus coming back again and once again I have somebody to look up to and learn from every single day."
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.