Sunday practice notes

Ephraim Banda, left, coached the safeties such as Jamal Peters (12) on Sunday in the absence of Tony Hughes. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Ephraim Banda, left, coached the safeties such as Jamal Peters (12) on Sunday in the absence of Tony Hughes. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

There was a pretty good turnout for Mississippi State’s third open bowl practice Sunday afternoon. Lots of couples brought their children along and many were holding items hoping to get signed following practice.

Here are a few things I jotted down in my notebook today:

Safeties coach Tony Hughes was not at practice. MSU officials would not comment on his whereabouts. I suspect Hughes will be named the next Jackson State head coach as early as Monday. If that happens, it would be a very solid hire in my opinion. I’ve worked with Hughes at both Ole Miss and MSU and can vouch for the stand up man that he is.

Defensive quality control coach Ephraim Banda coached the safeties in Hughes’ absence.

Freshman cornerback Chris Stamps continued to be in the injury pit wearing a red jersey but I did see him go through some individual non-contact drills.

Former Diamond Dog pitcher and World Series champion Jay Powell was at practice.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Elijah Staley was back at practice. Staley missed the first two bowl practices while traveling with the basketball team to Kansas City.

I saw senior quarterback Dak Prescott taking time to high-five kids as he went from drill to drill.

During the pass skeleton drill, junior cornerback Cedric Jiles had a pick-six off of junior quarterback Damian Williams.

Just like on Friday, freshman quarterback Nick Tiano busted the pastic boards the managers hold up at the line of scrimmage on his first pass attempt.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Josiah Phillips was sporting a cowboy collar at practice. Haven’t seen one of those in a while.

Senior cornerback Taveze Calhoun intercepted Staley.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Fitzgerald hit senior wide receiver Joe Morrow on a crossing route for a 40-yard gain.

Freshman wide receiver Deddrick Thomas faked redshirt freshman cornerback Chris Rayford out of his shoes with a combination of juke moves.

Freshman safety Jamal Peters broke up a Staley pass.

Williams hit junior wide receiver Fred Ross down the left sideline for a 75-yard touchdown.

Junior tight end Gus Walley, senior defensive end Ryan Brown and sophomore linebacker Dezmond Harris were all at practice but not dressed out due to injury.

Tiano connected with sophomore wide receiver Donald Gray for a 75-yard touchdown along the left sideline.

Junior defensive tackle Nick James was once again not wearing shoulder pads and did not go through drills.

Senior long snapper Winston Chapman was dressed out and snapping. It would be a cool ending to his career if he can comeback and snap in his final game.

During the scrimmage, redshirt freshman running back Dontavian Lee had a 60-yard touchdown rn then followed up with a 30-plus yard run a few plays later.

Junior safety Kivon Coman broke up a Fitzgerald screen pass.

Freshman defensive end Kendell Jones probably had the best day of anyone I saw on Sunday. Jones had three tackles for loss during the scrimmage – two on freshman running back Nick Gibson.

Freshman linebacker Tim Washington broke up a Williams pass and nearly caught his own deflection.

Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Braxton Hoyett batted down a Williams pass at the line of scrimmage.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Gerri Green tackled redshirt freshman running back Aeris Williams behind the line of scrimmage.

Gibson fumbled at the end of a good gain up the middle and was recovered by freshman cornerback Maurice Smitherman for what would have likely been a scoop and score but the whistle blew.

On one play, freshman center Harrison Moon oversnapped Damian Williams in the shotgun. The ball was caught by quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson who immediately fired the intended screen pass to Aeris Williams but it was dropped.

Sophomore linebacker J.T. Gray had an outstanding diving interception off Damian Williams.

Staley threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Thomas.

Starkville standouts A.J. Brown, Willie Gay and Kobe Jones were all at practice. All are rated four-star recruits.

Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Cory Thomas batted a Fitzgerald pass at the line of scrimmage and it was nearly picked off by sophomore cornerback Jamoral Graham.

Tiano fired a 55-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Keith Mixon, who faked out Smitherman en route to the score.

Depth chart

First team offense

QB Nick Fitzgerald

RB Brandon Holloway

WR De’Runnya Wilson

WR Fred Brown

WR Fred Ross

TE Darrion Hutcherson

LT Rufus Warren

LG Justin Malone

C Jamaal Clayborn

RG Deion Calhoun

RT Justin Senior

First team defense

DE Johnathan Calvin

DT Nelson Adams

DT Torrey Dale

DE Will Coleman

LB J.T. Gray

LB Gerri Green

LB DeAndre Ward

CB Cedric Jiles

CB Tolando Cleveland

S Kivon Coman

S Deontay Evans

Second team offense

QB Nick Tiano

RB Dontavian Lee

WR Donald Gray

WR Gabe Myles

WR Joe Morrow

TE Justin Johnson

LT Martinas Rankin

LG Ronald Cochran

C Harrison Moon

RG Darryl Williams

RT Elgton Jenkins

Second team defense

DE Kendall Jones

DT Braxton Hoyett

DT Cory Thomas

DE Anfernee Mullins

LB Travor Jung

LB Leo Lewis

LB Tim Washington

CB Jamoral Graham

CB Chris Rayford

S Jamal Peters

S Mark McLaurin

Third team offense

QB Elijah Staley

RB Alec Murphy

WR Deddrick Thomas

WR Malik Dear

WR Jesse Jackson

TE Farrod Green

LT Cole Carter

LG Michael Story

C Nick Proby

RG Rodney Lacy

RT Jocquell Johnson

Third team defense

DE Walk-on

DT Grant Harris

DT Fletcher Adams

DE Walk-on

LB Josiah Phillips

LB Allen Perkins

LB Kelan Chairs

CB Brandon Davis

CB Maurice Smitherman

S Zak Neary

S Walk-on

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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