By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – The hard part is over.
Mississippi State finished up the meat of its spring football work on Thursday, getting in one more serious scrimmage before Saturday’s Maroon-White spring game. It was the 13th practice of spring, and the Bulldogs will do some light work without pads today to prep for the big show.
“Like coach (Dan) Mullen said, the spring is over,” quarterback Tyler Russell said. “The spring game is just go out there, show the fans a little bit of what we’ve been doing and working hard on.”
Spring was a time for growth and development, and the defense has shown a lot of potential. The linebackers have been very active, the defensive line is deep, and the secondary is, as suspected, full of play makers.
“It’s a good feeling knowing spring ball is over, get a little time to recover, heal up,” linebacker Cam Lawrence said. “I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot through spring.”
This is the final spring for Lawrence, who will be a senior. He led the team in tackles last season and is the leader of a group with promising youngsters like Ferlando Bohanna and Benardrick McKinney.
McKinney led another strong red-zone effort by the defense on Thursday. The redshirt freshman helped keep the offense out of the end zone on one possession when he helped stuff a running play and then broke up a fourth-down pass in the end zone.
“I’m just trying to play hard and show the coaches I can play and show my team I can play so they can trust me on the field,” McKinney said.
Tough to crack
MSU’s defense has been tough to crack near the goal line, but the offense did move the ball well on Thursday. Russell had TD passes to Chad Bumphis and Ricco Sanders, while Dak Prescott hit Joe Morrow for a score on fourth-and-long.
The day capped what Russell believes was a very balanced spring.
“I think if you go back and look at the paper, I think we actually beat the defense today,” he said. “You go back and look at it, it’s two to two now. Defense won twice, we won twice.
“So for a spring, I’m pretty happy with that. Nobody lost, and that just shows you we’ve got a good combination of defensive and offensive play.”