Mississippi State freshman wide receiver De'Runnya Wilson (81) has been impressive early on in fall camp. Photo by: David Miller/Special to The Dispatch
August 4, 2013 6:29:25 PM
STARKVILLE - With the loss of four wide receivers to graduation from the 2012 Mississippi State University football program, there's a lot of possibilities for playing time this season and young pass catchers are doing the best they can to impress the coaching staff.
The first-string offense included wide receivers Jameon Lewis, Robert Johnson and Joe Morrow today as the Bulldogs closed practice to the public and moved the workout inside the Palmeiro Center because of the heat of a Mississippi summer.
However, the pitch-and-catch combinations of the MSU offense caught MSU fifth-year coach Dan Mullen by surprise as fall practice opened Thursday afternoon with crisper play thanks to the experience of the Bulldogs fifth-year senior quarterback Tyler Russell.
"With a lot of the young, talented players out here right now, there's talent out there right now or otherwise they wouldn't be here," Mullen said Sunday. "The key is them continuing to focus on their technique and on your skill. You have to master the technique."
Junior college receiver Jeremey Chappelle, who is expected to contribute immediately after being a three-star recruit out of Tyler (Texas) Community College, made some impressive grabs across the middle. Chappelle was hoping to use the summer to piggy back off a spring game that saw him finish with 114 yards on eight catches and a touchdown at Davis Wade Stadium.
"I like the attitude of the team because we're putting guys in positions they have never been in before and the adjustment has been better than expected," Mullen said. "To compete in the SEC we've got to have solid depth and a lot of the young guys have come with that correct attitude."
The most dynamic element of the receivers meeting room comes in the form of 5-foot-8 Brandon Holloway as the redshirt freshman is back with the pass catchers after spending time this past spring with the running backs as a emergency option. The highly-touted prospect with 4.3-second speed in the 40-yard-dash has his teammates excited about the possibilities his versatility could give MSU's offense for the 2013 season.
"The guy I was telling some people about after practice is Holloway because he's exactly what we need in this offense because he just makes plays," MSU sophomore wide receiver Jameon Lewis said. "Whether you hand it to him, throw it to him or on special teams, he'll be special because you'll know immediately he's on the field."
Here's some bullet points of noticeable items gleamed from Sunday's practice session:
- The injury pit had more folks in it from time to time today as junior offensive tackle Damien Robinson (knee) was joined by P.J. Jones (ankle) the entire practice Sunday. Also defensive tackle Kaleb Eulls, Fred Ross and Nick Griffin spent time in the injury pit as well. Griffin and Ross were not participating in individual and team drills today.
- Music continued to be played even indoors in the Palmeiro Center with selections being U2, Eminem, Metallica, Notorious B.I.G., Jimmy Hendrix and Rolling Stones.
- Freshman wide receiver De'Runnya Wilson continues to catch nearly everything thrown to him and is trying to give the MSU coaching staff excuses to not redshirt him this 2013 season.
- Former East Mississippi Community College cornerback Justin Cox was being looked at by the MSU training staff and was favoring his right knee in positional drills.
- Nick James, who is struggling with endurance and been placed with the second-string defensive line early in fall camp, got into fights with offensive linemen Kent Flowers, Devon Desper and fullback/tight end Christian Holmes during goal-line drills. James, a four-star recruit from Long Beach, continues to struggle with consistency and maturity throughout his first two years in a MSU uniform.
- While the MSU receiving group was incredibly solid with impressive catches from Jameon Lewis, De'Runnya Wilson and Jeremey Chappelle, Brandon Holloway's lack of sure hands continues to be a problem. His speed is impressive but he drops some well-thrown balls Sunday in team drills.
- Matthew Wells had a interceptions of Tyler Russell where he was impressive with the way he followed Russell's eyes and made the pick in the area where a linebacker is hidden over the middle.
- MSU defensive coordinator Geoff Collins continued to mix-and-match his defensive units today as Quay Evans and Nick James were the second-string defensive tackles. Richie Brown and Beniquez Brown served some time as the second-string linebackers behind Skinner, McKinney and Wells.
The rest of the Mississippi State practices will be closed to the public as the team heads to the farm practice fields starting Monday late afternoon.
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.
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