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MSU's Mullen notices areas of concern


Danny P Smith



STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen was a little more demanding on the first practice of the week since the team''s scrimmage Saturday. 


That''s because he noticed several things to work on. 


"We''ve got a long way to go," Mullen said. "We''ve got to get a lot better and clean up a lot with all of the phases the next couple of days, so everything looks cleaner for game week." 


Turnovers and allowing big plays on defense bothered Mullen the most in the scrimmage. 


"Those things can''t happen," Mullen said. 


So the focus Tuesday was "on everything, offense, defense, special teams," Mullen said with a grin. 


The scrimmage wasn''t all bad, though. Mullen liked the play of sophomore tight end Marcus Green and said senior quarterback Tyson Lee, of Columbus, had "a pretty good day leading the offense." 


The Bulldogs kick off the season Sept. 5 at home against Jackson State, and Mullen said things get a little more organized as they get closer to gametime. 


Junior free safety Zach Smith thought the first-team defense returned to practice and "took care of business," but the second and third teams were burned in the passing game a couple of times. 


Still, Smith liked the progress. 


"We''re getting more crisp every day," Smith said. "I think the linebacker and defensive line play is good. Charles Mitchell and I (at safety) and the first-team corners are doing a good job. It''s really shaping up pretty well." 




Stegall practices 


Walk-on quarterback Daniel Stegall got his first opportunity to practice with MSU after ending his minor league baseball career with the New York Mets organization. He enrolled in school Monday. 


Mullen didn''t throw too much at Stegall. 


"He got a rep one play," Mullen said. "He did some things in individual. He''s got to learn what''s going on." 




Smith gets cast off 


Mullen said redshirt freshman offensive guard Tobias Smith, of Columbus, had the cast taken off his severely sprained ankle and has started rehabilitation. 


Freshman wide receiver Chad Bumphis was in full pads Tuesday, but only jogged because of a sprained foot. Redshirt freshman receiver O''Neal Wilder was slowed after getting his wisdom teeth taken out. 




Gurley leaves team 


MSU team spokesman Joe Galbraith confirmed this week that sophomore defensive back Robert Gurley has left the team. 


Gurley, of Dothan, Ala., played in eight games for the Bulldogs last season, primarily on the kickoff coverage unit. He redshirted the 2007 season. 




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