Bulldogs’ QB targeting footwork improvement

STARKVILLE

After his team’s first spring practice on Monday, Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom talked extensively of his off-season instructions he candidly outlined for his quarterbacks.

More than anything else, he wanted to see improved footwork.

By that, he means several things, starting with the quarterback’s first step from center, how they set up in the pocket, how the toes are pointed, and finally, the release of the football.

“Every position has footwork specifics that everybody has got to do,” the fifth-year coach said. “It starts with quarterbacks.

“First, you’ve got to be in balance. Then, you’ve got to take a step to throw the football, and you’ve got to take the right step. Those are the kind of things I’m talking about. “

They’re details Wesley Carroll paid close attention to in his quest to improve his overall mechanics.

Last fall when he was thrust in the starting role due to injuries to Michael Henig and Josh Riddell, he didn’t have the luxury of fine tuning those skills. The objective at that time was to prepare him for games.

“The biggest thing was working on getting away from the center, creating depth from myself and the line of scrimmage,” said the sophomore signal caller, who was 134-of-255 passing last year for 1,932 yards, 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. “That makes it so much easier seeing routes progress. As coach said, that’s one of the more important things a quarterback has to work on.

“I’ve watched a lot of film in the offseason to see what I did wrong. I can really analyze myself and progress from there.”

Croom delivers tragic news

n During Friday’s practice, Croom took sophomore center J.C. Brignone of Pass Christian aside and informed him his dad, Julio, had died unexceptionally.

As of now, funeral arrangements are unknown.

Softball update

n One of the reasons why Mississippi State finds itself ranked 18th nationally is the play of catcher Chelsea Bramlett.

She’s second in the SEC in hitting (.439) and hits (29) and is only one of three players with two triples.

Currently, the Lady Bulldogs are 15-4 and play Massa-chusetts today in the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. Their next home game is at 6 p.m. Tuesday against UAB.

Also on Saturday, Jay Miller collected his 900th career win with the Lady Bulldogs 8-2 victory against Syracuse.

Tennis update

n Mississippi State dropped to 4-3 with a 6-1 setback to No. 3 Georgia on Friday.

However, singles standout Ivan Bjelica, ranked 45th, stunned No. 8 Nate Schnugg, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

The Bulldogs face another ranked team today when they travel to No. 14 Tennessee.

Gregg Ellis (gregg.ellis@djournal.com) covers MSU for The Daily Journal.