March 22, 2014 2:46:53 PM
STARKVILLE -- With the introduction of shoulder pads to the spring workouts this weekend, the Mississippi State football coaches can more so evaluate player development.
With the emergence of contact, the weekend became a day where the lineman could finally get more involved in the installation on both sides of the ball.
The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog will have a in-depth look in Sunday's edition evaluating the development of sophomore defensive lineman Chris Jones as he transitions from hype to expectations into the 2014 season.
Here's a detailed notebook from the observations gained by The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog coming out of the Bulldogs' weekend spring workouts in 2014:
- The injury pit had a new member in the form of sophomore wide receiver Fred Ross but former West Lowndes High School star and MSU junior tight end Brandon Hill was able to fully participate this weekend after sitting out on Thursday.
- Jones, who said after Friday's workout that he was down from 310 pounds to 290 pounds this spring, took some first-team snaps at defensive end for the first time this spring. However, he was at defensive end when MSU defensive coordinator Geoff Collins wanted to show a 3-4 alignment in the 11-on-11 work.
- Jay Hughes and Justin Malone were limited Saturday but fully participating the day before. Mullen said Saturday his staff will continue to be careful with those two veterans and rely on the training staff to make sure they don't suffer any physical setbacks.
- Former MSU players hoping to be ready for NFL training camps, Tyler Russell and Nickoe Whitley, were around the practice this weekend as they continue to work out at the Seal Complex.
- Deontay Evans, Richie Brown, Will Redmond, Jamerson Love and Zack Jackson all had interceptions over the last two days. MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has done his best to break the bumblebee boards by breaking two of the them in consecutive practices. The boards are supposed to replicate defensive lineman arms but Fitzzgerald's passes have on occasion just blown right through the signs.
- This weekend was a big recruiting visit period for MSU targets as several commits or prospects watched the last two days of workouts. Mullen's wife Megan spent time talking to several recruit's families as the Friday workout winded down.
- MSU linebacker Ferlando Bohanna was equipped Friday with a double padded helmet (shown in the top left corner of this post) in the hopes of decreasing his liklihood of concussion issues reemerging during the first full-contact workouts.
- Devon Bell was the only consistent punter during punt return drills but the sophomore boomed punts at least 40 yards on every attempt and sometimes getting the ball 50 yards on the fly. Mullen said his averages were amazing by nearly averaging 50 yards per punt in drills.
- Saturday saw more passes being hauled in by MSU's experienced group of receivers as Gabe Myles, Jeremey Chappelle and De'Runnya Wilson all made tough catches on passes that were thrown into a tight window. Much better day for the chemistry of MSU's pitch-and-catch game.
- Ashton Shumpert saw some first-team reps in the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills Saturday as the 218-pound sophomore will be fighting Josh Robinson for carries and touches in the 2014 season.
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