By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – After just one full-team practice, Dan Mullen can tell his players haven’t regressed one bit since the end of spring.
Mississippi State held split-squad practices to open August camp on Tuesday, and it got everyone together Thursday a little before 6 p.m. It was an efficiently productive session in Mullen’s eyes.
“The one thing you hope when you leave spring, when you come back out in the fall, that you’re not starting behind,” Mullen said. “You’re starting at least at the point where we left in spring or improved. Looking at how we ran around today, I think we’re at least where we left off if not better than where we left off in the spring.”
In front of several dozen fans, and in much more pleasant weather than what greeted the Bulldogs on Tuesday, there was a heavy focus on team drills, including 11-on-11 work for the final 15 minutes of practice.
Reporters might have been taking notes on who was getting first-team snaps – tailback Robert Elliott, receiver Ricco Sanders, safety Nickoe Whitley – but Mullen doesn’t worry too much about the depth chart this early in camp.
“If you look at practice, everybody got the same number of reps today,” he said. “So as we evaluate the reps afterwards, it doesn’t really matter what group you’re in, because everybody’s getting the same reps.”
Take the defensive line. That unit’s coach, Chris Wilson, said senior left end Pernell McPhee is the only sure-fire starter at this point.
This part of camp is simply about competition at each position.
“What we’re going to do is get all these young guys an opportunity to compete,” Wilson said. “That’s what we told them when they came here, so we’re getting them out there and getting them the reps.”
MSU returns to split-squad practices today, starting about 3:15 p.m.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.