September 13, 2018 10:39:27 AM
Brett Hudson - [email protected]
STARKVILLE -- Of all the new that has come to light in Mississippi State's transition from Dan Mullen to Joe Moorhead, the final detail didn't make itself public until pregame of its second game.
MSU's 31-10 win over Kansas State was the debut of its new bulldog helmet stickers; much like Florida State rewards players with tomahawk helmet stickers, No. 16 MSU's new staff is doing the same with stickers of bulldogs. After a game like that one, MSU's players should have many more of them 6:30 p.m. Saturday against Louisiana-Lafeyette (ESPN2).
"There's a defined set of criteria for offense, defense and special teams," Moorhead said on how players earn them. "Everyone gets one for a win and two for a road win, then there are numerical or statistical benchmarks and there's subjective criteria in it, such as a game-changing play. Our coaches have a sheet when they grade the film, they hand it to our director of football operations (Andrew Warsaw) who hands it to our equipment guy.
"It would take a little while to go through all of them, but there are statistical benchmarks and items that help you get one."
Moorhead said he brought helmet stickers to Fordham when he took over as the head coach there in 2011. He added no helmet stickers are awarded after losses.
Moorhead said wide receiver Jesse Jackson and cornerback Jamal Peters are day-to-day with upper-body injuries.
With starting safety Johnathan Abram out for the first half against UL Lafayette due to his targeting suspension, Moorhead said C.J. Morgan and Chris Rayford will take his spot.
One player hoping to regain his spot is running back Aeris Williams. After the West Point native ran for 1,107 yards as a junior, he did not play at all against Kansas State. Moorhead said he met with Williams Monday and expects him to get back on the field this week.
"On this situation, but kind of in general from a broad strokes perspective, playing time on Saturday is dictated really by your performance in the week and accountability and all those things," Moorhead said. "Based on this week's body of work, we thought it was Kylin (Hill) and Nick Gibson that did the best job and they get the repetitions on the field.
"With Aeris, we'll get rolling again on Tuesday, we expect him to have a great week and get a good amount of snaps. Love him, great kid and he's going to have a great season going forward."
Bulldogs earn league honors
Two Bulldogs earned Southeastern Conference player of the week honors this week.
Defensive end Montez Sweat and former Columbus High School standout running back Hill were two of the six honored by the SEC this week after their performances against Kansas State. Hill was the offensive player of the week after running for a career-high 211 yards on 17 carries, 12.4 yards per carry, with two touchdowns and a receiving touchdown.
Sweat was the defensive lineman of the week after tallying three tackles, two for a loss, and a sack in the 31-10 win. He is tied for the league lead in sacks (three) and tackles for a loss (five-and-a-half).
Hill was also one of the MSU coaching staff's players of the week, joined by linebackers Erroll Thompson and Alec Murphy in that honor, Murphy earning it on special teams. Moorhead said the scout-team players of the week were running back Robert Rivers, defensive lineman Fabien Lovett and R.J. Jennings on special teams; the academic staff selected freshman linebacker Nathaniel Watson and wide receiver Devonta "Whop" Jason as the student-athletes of the week.
Kentucky kickoff time
MSU (2-0) will play a night game in Lexington, Kentucky, on Sept. 22.
The SEC announced the kickoff times for Week 4 and MSU's game at Kentucky will kickoff at 6 p.m. on an ESPN network to be determined. After this week's game against UL Lafayette, it will be decided if the Kentucky game will be on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson