By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
MEMPHIS – James Carmon’s career as a left tackle began inauspicious start.
The senior, who last season played defensive tackle for Mississippi State, was moved to offense to try and replace departed All-American Derek Sherrod, who was selected by Green Bay in the first round of the NFL Draft. Carmon has been working to master the mental aspect of the position change, and he was struggling early on in MSU’s 59-14 win over Memphis.
On the first drive of the game, he was flagged for two false start penalties, and that drive ended in a punt. Carmon was having to engage defensive end Frank Trotter, one of the best linemen in C-USA.
Carmon drew no more penalties after that, however, and he didn’t give up a sack. In fact, MSU quarterbacks Chris Relf and Tyler Russell felt little pressure from their blind sides.
“It felt good to go out and play more plays than I did last year,” Carmon said. “I didn’t get to play but about 20 plays a game last year. I was ready to play. … I still feel good, and I’m fresh. I could play another game.”
Sherrod had been battling redshirt freshman Blaine Clausell for the starting job, and Clausell was one of five players suspended for the game.
The offensive line as a whole opened up holes and gave the QBs time as MSU racked up a school-record 645 yards of total offense. MSU had four scoring plays of more than 40 yards, including a 66-yard run by Vick Ballard and an 80-yard catch-and-run by Jameon Lewis.
“We always feel confident that if we go out and block, block and block, we can set up big plays,” Carmon said. “We did tonight.”