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MSU NOTEBOOK: Griffin suffers ACL tear during practice


Matthew Stevens



STARKVILLE -- Nick Griffin has suffered another major knee injury that will require reconstructive surgery. Mississippi State University's sophomore tailback suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a Saturday practice and will undergo surgery today. 


The surgery will make Griffin unavailable for the 2013 Gator Bowl against Northwestern University (11 a.m., ESPN2) on New Year's Day in Jacksonville, Fla. 


Griffin was present at the first open practice Wednesday inside the Palmeiro Center on the sidelines. MSU head coach Dan Mullen was unavailable for comment after being out recruiting and not at the two-hour practice. Bulldogs offensive line coach John Hevesy ran practice Wednesday. 


Griffin rushed for 223 yards and a touchdown this season while averaging seven yards per carry. The 225-pound tailback emerged as the primary backup for junior starter LaDarius Perkins. 


It is the second ACL tear that Griffin has suffered since arriving on the Starkville campus as he suffered the injury in his left knee before the start of spring practice less than two years ago. 


Griffin was expected to compete for playing time behind Perkins in bowl preparation and spring practices for the 2013 season but a majority of the repetitions went to redshirt freshmen Josh Robinson and Derrick Milton. 




Cowbells will ring on New Year's Day: The Gator Bowl announced Wednesday the EverBank Field stadium staff will allow cowbells in the stadium and fans will be allowed to ring them according to Southeastern Conference rules. The cowbell policy on artificial noisemakers allows fans to use a cowbell only at Scott Field before the game, at halftime, between quarters, in timeouts, after scoring plays, and on possession changes. 


Gator Bowl president Rick Catlett referenced in 2010 MSU's strong fan base as a major positive in their selection to two Gator Bowl games in the last three years. Catlett received his first cowbell at MSU''s 17-14 loss to Auburn at Davis Wade Stadium. 


"We would prefer them to do it the way they learned to do it this year and not do it during plays," Cavlett said in 2010. "But we are gonna allow them to bring their cowbells." 


Southeastern Conference presidents and chancellors voted in June to continue the Mississippi State University cowbell compromise established two years ago. 


The provision allows the use of cowbells in football games at MSU's Davis Wade Stadium. SEC administration also lifted the annual sunset provision in the rule, making future votes on the matter unnecessary unless MSU is deemed to have consistently violated the policy. This action will enable Bulldog fans to continue to use the artificial noisemakers, with restrictions, on a more permanent basis. 


"Mississippi State fans have shown tremendous respect for this beloved tradition by following the rules and 'ringing responsibly'," MSU President Mark Keenum said. "Their efforts provided validation for the case I made with my fellow SEC presidents and chancellors. I told them the cowbell has special meaning in our Bulldog family, and that those feelings were evident in the way our fans responded over the past two seasons." 




Holmes moves from LB to tight end: MSU backed up Dan Mullen's promise from last week to move sophomore Christian Holmes from linebacker to a h-back position that will focus more on tight end work. When bowl preparation started last weekend, Holmes caught a pass for the first time since his senior season at Puckett High School. 


As a two-way player in high school, Holmes had 388 yards receiving and nine touchdowns as a tight end while helping lead Puckett to a 11-2 record in 2009. 


"Coach Mullen and I talked about it during the middle of this season and it was a iffy call to actually try it and make the move," Holmes said Wednesday after practice. "It's a little different in college playing any type of receiver position because I hadn't run a route in years." 


Holmes had 11 total tackles in 12 games this season in his second season in the linebacker depth chart as a backup at all three positions in the MSU defense. Holmes had 18 tackles last season including six versus the University of Arkansas and University of Tennessee at Martin. 


"I actually like it to be honest and if it helps the team, great," Holmes said. "Linebacker is my first love though so I'd really like to not forget that."



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