By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State is on the brink of its first game week, and that becomes more evident each day.
“It’s not creeping up, it’s jumping on us. One week from today we’re walking off the practice field, and that’s it,” coach Dan Mullen said following Tuesday’s practice, the 21st of preseason camp. “…It’s upon us.”
The Bulldogs, who open at Memphis on Sept. 1, will be working with an adjusted schedule since it’s a Thursday night game. Next Tuesday will be Thursday in Mullen’s mind, because it’ll be the last full practice before a Wednesday (a.k.a. Friday) walk-through.
“We’ve got to keep stressing the sense of urgency to shift out of training camp,” he said. “Nine days from now we walk off the field we can’t be like, oof, we had a bad practice today. It’s permanent at that point.”
The coaches are trying to solidify the depth chart, and when asked about left tackle, Mullen said he has a “good idea” of who will start there. Senior James Carmon is battling redshirt freshman Blaine Clausell, but Mullen wouldn’t specify which had the edge.
MSU does have its official team leaders in place: Tailback Vick Ballard and safety Charles Mitchell, both seniors, were elected permanent team captains by their teammates.
Ballard led State in rushing last season, while Mitchell is a third-year starter and the top returning tackler.
“I look at those two guys – those two guys represent what our program’s about: great students, great people, hard workers, tough football players,” Mullen said. “That’s Mississippi State football.”