August 20, 2010 10:30:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- On the eve of Mississippi State''s first fall scrimmage, head coach Dan Mullen spent Thursday putting the team through controlled situations in the Palmeiro Center.
Mullen and his staff wanted to get a solid day of teaching in the books before scrimmaging tonight in a closed practice at Davis Wade Stadium.
Mullen hopes to see his inexperienced players execute and perform with different casts around them.
"The guys that have played a lot, I''m not going to walk out of the scrimmage saying, ''Hey, Derek Sherrod did a good job'' after starting for three years. He should," Mullen said. "It''s some of the guys who are still growing up that I want to see perform."
The second-year head coach remained mum on which players are gaining ground in position battles, but notes the positions of interest in tonight''s scrimmage would be wideout, backup offensive linemen, quarterback and tailback.
He sees the logjam at tailback as a good competition problem to have, saying "It''s going to be a brawl to get carries for those guys."
Still, under center is where the most attention has been in terms of position competition. Mullen has stated the quarterback competition is three-deep between Chris Relf, Tyler Russell and Dylan Favre.
Mullen said all three would get shots to run plays with the first-team offense, though the likelihood of any of them gaining an edge based on tonight''s performance would be premature.
"I think there''s so many variables that could come with it," Mullen said. "We''re still a couple of weeks out. I think we''ll start getting more game-prep organized next week. A lot of it is going to depend on how the flow of the game is going and how guys are playing."
Though Mullen intends to rotate players, he said a significant amount of time would be devoted to first string offense versus first string defense.
The Bulldogs also will have live punt returns during the scrimmage as Mullen hopes to find return options other than Chad Bumphis and Leon Berry.