August 19, 2014 4:31:23 PM
STARKVILLE -- One of the biggest questions facing Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen and his team entering this season has been who will take over at right tackle for two-year starter Aaron Siddoway.
After the Bulldogs' final preseason scrimmage Friday night, that question looms even larger.
Senior offensive lineman Damien Robinson, a 6-foot-8, 325-pounder from Olive Branch, was lost for the season after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Mullen confirmed the injury Monday night.
"That's one place where we don't have a lot of depth," Mullen said. "But guys will have to step up."
Mullen mentioned players like sophomore Justin Senior, junior Rufus Warren, and sophomore Cole Carter, a Caledonia High School product, as replacements for Robinson, who has played in 37 games after signing with MSU in 2010.
"A guy like Justin Malone could move over there and play, and we bring in Jamaal Clayborn," Mullen said.
Malone, a 6-7, 320-pound junior, was MSU's starting right guard before missing much of the 2013 season with an injury, while Clayborn played in seven games as a freshman.
Robinson is the second MSU player has lost for the season in fall camp. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Shelby Christy was sidelined early last week with an ACL tear.
Cooper, Durr at Copiah-Lincoln
Mullen also announced Deshon Cooper, a freshman linebacker from Atlanta who had been practicing with the team while awaiting academic clearance from the NCAA, has enrolled at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Cooper, a 6-2, 209 pounder, was a three-star prospect out of Atlanta's Columbia High School.
Cooper will join fellow MSU signee Lashard Durr, a cornerback from Harrison Central, at Co-Lin, which is ranked No. 3 in the NJCAA's preseason national ranking.
Getting on the Bus
Jerome Bettis, a former Super Bowl winner and perennial All-Pro performer with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was a surprise guest at MSU's fall football camp over the weekend. Bettis spoke to the team for a little more than five minutes after the Bulldogs' final practice of the day.
"It was good," Mullen said. "He and I and coach Deshea (Townsend, MSU's cornerbacks coach) were talking before he went out there. And we said, 'Just go out there and tell them how you've gotten to where you are today.' It's not every day you have a future Hall of Famer come in and talk to your players. The kids will listen to a guy like him."
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brandon Walker on Twitter @BWonStateBeat