Just as Mississippi State's first preseason practice got under way this evening, the winds picked up and the temperature dropped. Instead of being scorching and muggy, it was quite pleasant for the 200 or so people who viewed the session – at least until the downpour came.
Those winds eventually brought storms, which forced the Bulldogs into the Palmeiro Center about 90 minutes into practice.
"We got what we needed to do when we were on the full field, and then the stuff we got done in here we could get done while we got here," coach Dan Mullen said. "So it broke up pretty well."
So what did we learn today? Well, not a whole lot, except about who's here and who isn't, or who's here but isn't practicing. In all, Mullen thought it went pretty well. He wasn't looking for anything specific on the first day.
"No, just guys getting adjusted to being back out here," he said. "With older guys, some recollection. With the younger guys, just trying to figure out how to line up, how to run to the ball, what a college football practice is all about."
Said center Quentin Saulsberry, "There was a lot of intensity. The intensity level was high, the attitude was better than ever."
• Redshirt freshman running back Nick Griffin could be seen jogging up and down the sideline. He's rehabbing that torn ACL he had surgery on in the spring, and so he won't be part of the 105-man roster until classes starter Aug. 17.
• Tight end Kendric Cook's MSU playing career is officially over due to a nerve injury in his neck. He will be a volunteer student assistant, just like former offensive lineman D.J. Looney was last year.
"The doctors didn't really have a strong opinion either way of saying you absolutely can never play, but there's risk if you do play," said Mullen. "He and I met multiple times. He and his family spent a lot of time together with it. We let it go through the summer and just said, hey, pray on it, and I think it's a great decision for him, and we're really happy to have him out here helping us coach."
• It's pretty pointless to talk much about the depth chart at this juncture, but we will anyway. LaDarius Perkins was the first guy up on kick returns, and Chad Bumphis on punt returns, which matches the depth chart.
During the first two-minute drill, which featured second-teamers, Blaine Clausell was at left tackle. During 11-on-11 work inside Palmeiro, I saw Wade Bonner at free safety and Shane McCardell at defensive end with the first team.
Again, take all this with a grain of salt. It's early yet, and Mullen isn't too concerned with depth chart issues.
"Early on we try to get everybody going for the first couple of days as many equal reps as possible, so that when we do start to cut it down there is a separation that you're ready to decide and everybody's ready to step into a role."
• Some guys had trouble holding onto the ball – notably new arrival Josh Robinson, a running back who also worked on kick returns – but there were some nice catches today by Chris Smith, Malcolm Johnson and Jameon Lewis. And safety Charles Mitchell picked off Chris Relf twice.
"That's one of my goals this year, is to get at least one interception this year. Got to start with one," said Mitchell, who had four interceptions as a sophomore but none last year.
• By the way, I'll have some video of Mullen in the morning. Had some good video going of Mitchell, but my phone conked out.