April 5, 2013 12:55:36 PM
STARKVILLE - With the Mississippi State University baseball team needing the Palmeiro Center to prepare for its three-game series against the University of Florida, the MSU football coaches put on their rain gear and practiced in blowing raindrops throughout the two-hour workout.
MSU did a lot of scrimmage work in preparation for the Saturday scrimmage at noon at Davis Wade Stadium. Since they are considered by the NCAA student-athletes, what Mississippi State University coach Dan Mullen is conducting Saturday afternoon could be interpreted as a scheduled quiz of his playbook.
The MSU football program will have its first intra-squad scrimmage of the spring season at noon, which is free and open to the public, at Davis Wade Stadium after six days of installing the base offense and defensive packages in practice. This scrimmage will test what the fifth-year coach said he will be "who can process it and know what to do".
"Today was the last big installation day and you can start to see some of the younger guys start to hit the wall a little bit in terms of figuring out what's going on," Mullen said after Thursday''s practice session. "It was a day that we put in new stuff while we were still reviewing the old stuff."
The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog spoke to Tyler Russell Thursday after the practice to see if the communication about play calling would begin with the Saturday scrimmage. What was surprising was Russell saying the plays run Saturday will be a hodgepodge of the playbook to try and weed out what he feels comfortable with and what he struggles with as well.
"Typically in a scrimmage, you want to see everything as a coach and a player," Russell said. "The reason for that is it's visual evidence later on film to show how this set, play or throw looks against this specific defensive look. It's kind of about trial and error at this point with what you're not comfortable with."
On the defensive side of the ball, it will be the first simulated game scenario in the spring season for new defensive coordinator Geoff Collins. Collins, who had the play-calling duties for the 2013 Gator Bowl loss to Northwestern University in Jacksonville, Fla., said Thursday he may be evaluating effort over execution as it may be the first experience for younger players in starting roles inside the 55,082 capacity stadium.
"It's not an exam for me or our unit per se but it's about finding out who wants to fly to the football," Collins said. "I don't want to cloud their minds too much before this scrimmage with concepts or a game plan because Saturday is all about feeling that juice again inside the stadium. Sometimes kids need that energy without the stress of worrying about mistakes."
Mullen said Thursday he like to see some underclassmen showcase what they've learned from the playbook and be able to translate that knowledge into being able to make the physical plays they were recruited to make since the moment they signed with MSU.
"I want to see continued improvement from the older guys and the younger guys need to show they can make some plays in the stadium," Mullen said. "As we know, it's a totally different deal in that stadium even if it's empty for a scrimmage like this. I want to see how some guys react to that."
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.