By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State fans’ lone chance to see the Bulldogs in action before Sept. 1 happens today.
After taking Friday off for final exams, MSU returns to the practice fields today for split-squad practices. The first session is at 9 a.m., the second at 7 p.m., and they are the only practices that will be open to the public during the preseason.
Coach Dan Mullen said the team will be split up in a “position-oriented” manner. He added, “It’s not flat across the board. Like for example, (running backs coach Greg) Knox came to me and he wants (LaDarius) Perkins and Josh Robinson together and (Derrick) Milton and (Nick) Griffin together. Each coach has a reason why we do it. …
“When you get in line and there’s two running backs instead of five running backs, you get a lot more specific teaching.”
This is the second day of preseason practice for MSU, which opens the season Sept. 1 against Jackson State. Thursday’s work was focused on installation, and today’s will be more about instruction.
In the past, the split-squad practices have been held back-to-back. Having a big break between them this time is a welcome change for the assistant coaches.
“I think the last two years ago or last year we did it back to back, we got a lot of negative reviews from our coaching staff,” said Mullen.
There won’t be contact again today, because the Bulldogs won’t put on shoulder pads until Sunday, then full pads on Tuesday. That’s when real contact work can begin, and Mullen is going to make sure his quarterbacks are protected.
There are only two scholarship QBs on the roster, Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott.
“This year we’ll protect them a little bit more; even this spring we did,” Mullen said. “I was much more protective of them this spring, where if you have more of them, I kind of let them have a little bit more freedom and play a little bit more live to get ready to go.”