Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen spent lots of time with one-on-one teaching sessions with prized freshman defensive end Chris Jones (96). Photo by: David Miller/Special to The Dispatch
August 3, 2013 6:43:16 PM
STARKVILLE - With so many young players and freshman on the field together for the afternoon version of Saturday practice, the Mississippi State University coaching staff decided to go slower and focus more on technique play by play.
The Bulldogs coaching staff decided to take the younger players indoors to the Palmeiro Center for a closed practice instead of bake them in the Mississippi heat during the middle of the day.
Here's some bullet points of noticeable items gleamed from Saturday's afternoon practice session:
- Christian Holmes, who started to work with the offense at tight end this past spring, was working primarily with the running backs in drills as a converted fullback but in team drill scenarios was lining up at tight end. Holmes will be a valuable H-back after spending the spring learning the offensive playbook. In one-on-one bull in the ring drill, Holmes physically held his own against MSU linebackers.
- Music continued to be played even indoors in the Palmeiro Center with selections being U2, Eminem and Metallica.
Former Columbus High School star and four-star prospect Jake Thomas were closely viewed by MSU offensive line coach John Hevesy throughout the entire practice. Thomas went against freshmen defensive lineman Trent Simpson and Chris Jones. Thomas struggled with his footwork but slowly began to gain confidence at right tackle.
- MSU receivers coach Billy Gonzales spent a lot of one-on-one time with freshmen wideouts De'Runnya Wilson and BJ Hammond. The Bulldogs first-year coach was taking a lot of time just focusing on the basics with the duo including where to line up and blocking fundamentals. Wilson made some impressive athletic catches from MSU freshman quarterback Damian Williams. Hammond later beat former Starkville High School star Gabe Myles on a deep route as Myles continues to have to learn how to play defensive back after playing just quarterback with the Yellowjackets. However, late in the practice Myles got a interception returned for a touchdown to increase his confidence level in his third ever college practice.
- The running back depth for MSU pays off in split-squad practices as running backs coach Greg Knox continued to walk over to Nick Griffin during individual drills and saying "stay behind him and make sure he does it right" referring to freshman tailback Ashton Shumpert.
- Hevesy had former Caledonia High School Cole Carter at left tackle as Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen worked at length with freshman phenom Chris Jones on his moves after initial contact.
- Trent Simpson also had a touchdown on a fumbled snap by the center and quarterback Josh Hand.
- The best line of the day during the practice was by Mullen in the final speech to the entire group when he was stressing the importance of technique and experience as a player. Mullen said to the group "I want to fly a plane right now even though I've never done it. Who is getting on that plane right now?" Sophomore defensive tackle Nick James raised his hand immediately and Mullen laughed with a "thanks for the confidence boost Nick, I love you big guy" and ended the exchange with a fist pound.
- The entire Mississippi State roster will practice at noon Sunday afternoon, which will be the final open session to the public.
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.
2. The beat goes on at 'Unplugged 3' this week ENTERTAINMENT
3. CCT youth: Come on in, meet 'Mississippi Characters' ENTERTAINMENT