March 26, 2010 9:04:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Dogged by heavy gusts of wind, coach Dan Mullen was pleased with the second day of the Mississippi State football team''s spring practice.
What started out as a rainy morning and turned into a sunny afternoon and a chilly evening produced solid results ahead of Saturday''s full-pads workout, according to Mullen.
Quarterbacks had to live with passes turning into ducks, as redshirt freshman Tyler Russell was intercepted twice in 11-on-11 drills.
Mullen was satisfied, though, with his quarterbacks considering the conditions.
In his mind, special teams took the biggest hit due to the weather, but Mullen said it helped to work in the breezy conditions.
"That wind took the ball," he said. "I thought we did a decent job throwing it with the wind today. Special teams got a little ugly with the wind blowing as hard as it was today.
"It''s good to get one in with our quarterbacks and guys catching kicks and our receivers adjusting to balls. When you have to play in real windy days it''s going to change some things."
Mullen has been pleased to see the team operate at what he called "a graduate" level as opposed to last season, when everything was fresh in his first year as head coach.
That''s to be expected, and it''s helping coaches get more information to the players.
"They know the whole practice routine," Mullen said. "They''re not wondering what''s coming next and guys are moving at a much faster pace. For a lot of guys, it''s their third time installing the offense. They had last spring, this summer, they got to execute it for a whole season, and now they''re installing it again."
Linebacker K.J. Wright, who has a new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in Manny Diaz, said the defense struggled a bit Thursday with the new blitz installations.
However, he said the mental work for the defensive players is ahead of where it was last year.
"First day we did real good as a defense," Wright said. "Second day it got a little bit more complicated because we put in a few new blitzes and different coverages. Spring''s all about learning, and so far we''re learning pretty good.
"We''re just going to pride ourselves on running our blitzes harder and adding a little twist to it."
MSU will take the practice fields in full gear at 9:45 a.m. Saturday. Practices are open to the public.
n NOTES: Linebacker Bo Walters and defensive tackle LaMarcus Williams are awaiting medical hardship waivers from the NCAA and aren''t participating in spring practices after sitting out last season.
1. MSU's Collins transitions from catcher to third base COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Tigers' Sunday best adds to special day LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Oak Hill Academy boys beat Columbus Christian for district title HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Schaefer wants Bulldogs to maintain attacking mind-set COLLEGE SPORTS
5. New Hope boys beat Oxford HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS