Bulldogs shift their focus toward Gator Bowl practice

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – Josh Robinson has had a very good December on the practice fields, but he’s glad for the chance to change focus.
Mississippi State’s scrimmage on Sunday marked the transition from one phase of Gator Bowl prep to another. The Bulldogs, who began practices on Dec. 7, have been giving most of the snaps to freshmen and sophomores, and that was the case one last time in the scrimmage.
“I’m done, we’re done. We’re just so happy for it,” said Robinson, a redshirt freshman tailback. “We had the young guys just come in and work on their fundamentals and get in game reps. That’s going to help them in their future, and that’s going to help us as well.”
Robinson, who’s second on the team with 244 rushing yards this season, has made his presence known during recent practices. In the scrimmage, he rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown and added a 30-yard reception.
He said these bowl practices have been very beneficial.
“The biggest benefit is seeing what happens before it happens,” Robinson said. “Just like (running backs) coach (Greg) Knox taught us, we’ve got to see the play and run the play before we even run the play.”
Backup quarterback Dak Prescott had a tough day Sunday, but these last few practices have given him the chance to work on some things.
“Definitely the timing, getting timing with some of the guys and getting my protections right,” he said. “I’m real comfortable with that now. It’s really the little things, prepping up the smaller things and becoming better.”
Focus shifts
Today, MSU (8-4) starts working on its game plan for No. 21 Northwestern (9-3). The two meet in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1.
“For us game planning started already, for the coaching staff,” head coach Dan Mullen said. “But yeah, (today) we start with our scouting report meetings, just like we would a regular game week, except better because there’s no school or any other distractions.”
The remainder of practices are closed to the public and media.
Russell ready
Starting QB Tyler Russell, who’s nursing a sprained right ankle, is expected to practice today. He’s been participating in drills every other day.
“Yeah, I got out here today with the tape on just to see, moving around,” Russell said. “It’s a little sore, but I’ll be fine.”
brad.locke@journalinc.com