Dan Mullen was back with the team today for practice No. 12 of the spring. As you'll recall, he missed Friday's scrimmage due to his wife giving birth to the couple's second child.
MSU was forced indoors because the rain was giving relentless effort, so instead of doing more scrimmaging today as planned, the Bulldogs did a lot of situational work. Several different personnel groupings were used, including defensive tackles Dewayne Cherrington and Quay Evans with the ones during goal line drills. Also, Blaine Clausell, Damien Robinson and Charles Siddoway rotated between the two offensive tackle spots.
"You only get so many practices. It's kind of like getting halfway through camp in training camp," Mullen said. "You're going to mix up a lot of combinations, put guys in different situations. How would guys respond when they're with the ones. How do ones respond sometimes when they go to twos. Do they raise the level of play of everybody around them, or do they sink to their level? And the same, if you step up with the ones, does that raise your level of play, and we want to see those things."
(For video of Mullen, CLICK HERE.)
I saw some strong defensive plays by linebackers Ferlando Bohanna and Deontae Skinner, and cornerback Johnthan Banks wasn't giving up anything to Joe Morrow on goal-line fade routes. The 6-foot-4 Morrow did make a nice TD catch on such a route with Jamerson Love covering him. Morrow also dropped one in the end zone when he eyed a second defender closing in.
Receivers dropped a lot of passes – even sure-handed tight end Malcolm Johnson had trouble with a couple. Dak Prescott's day was a bit of a mixed bag, but more good than bad. He'll sometimes try to force throws that aren't really there when he's checking down.
"I thought today was pretty sloppy. But when you go situational, sometimes you do that," Mullen said.
Tailback Derrick Milton looked good in the red zone, but he also had a long TD run during team drills. Tailback Nick Griffin had a long TD, catching a swing pass as the receivers cleared out the entire left side of the field for him. Tyler Russell was intercepted by Skinner (tip drill) and Banks (throw went inside, receiver didn't), but he also made some nice reads, including one to tight end Rufus Warren for a short touchdown.
Going back to Evans, he was drawing some double teams and did a nice job on one play of getting to tailback LaDarius Perkins. On another play, Evans was pancaked by guard Justin Malone. Evans, a freshman, is still in a learning process.
"I think he's starting to understand how to go hard," said Mullen. "That's one of the big adjustments high school to college players have. Coming into the spring allows him the time to see it. Sometimes in training camp it goes so fast, you don't have time to see it. He has time to actually watch the film and study and realize, I'm not very good, I don't run very hard, I don't practice very hard."
Mullen also talked about his film review of Friday's scrimmage, some of which you can hear in the above video. I'll blog about that later.