By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
READ MORE: At last, game week
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State remains unsettled at right tackle heading into Saturday’s season opener against Jackson State, and Les Koenning is as curious as anyone how that battle will pan out.
Both sophomore Damien Robinson and junior college transfer Charles Siddoway will play.
“When a guy has not played a whole bunch in the SEC, you’re curious to see what that’s like,” Koenning, MSU’s offensive coordinator, said Monday. “That’s some of the things we’re looking at. I can’t give you an answer right now; after the game I can.”
Robinson gained some experience last year, while Siddoway came in for the spring and has been playing catch-up. Both have great size: Robinson is 6-foot-7, 315 pounds, while Siddoway is 6-7, 300.
“Charles has picked it up and gotten used to the speed,” head coach Dan Mullen said. “I also think he had a great offseason from when he got here till now.”
Both tackles may have to deal with JSU defensive end Joseph LeBeau, who had 16 sacks and 22.5 tackles-for-loss last season.
“He helps them a bunch,” Koenning said. “We’ve got to be aware of him.”
It’s been five days since Tim Brewster was hired as wide receivers coach, replacing Angelo Mirando, who resigned on Aug. 19 amid an NCAA investigation into his recruiting tactics. He’s still trying to get settled in, and his role on Saturday remains undetermined.
Will Brewster be on the sidelines or in the booth? What kind of input will he have?
“We’re looking at that through practice,” Koenning said. “We’re going to make sure that we’ve got him in the right position where he’s comfortable, and also his players are comfortable.”
Brewster has been working on fundamentals with the receivers, but he’s still trying to catch up on the language of the offense.
“He’s learning, so it’s been a process of teaching Tim our system and going through and making sure he understands it,” Koenning said.
Mullen said tight end Malcolm Johnson, who injured himself in July, will be doubtful for at least the first two games. Mullen finally revealed something specific about Johnson’s injury: It’s in the pectoral region.
Mullen said starting right guard Tobias Smith, who suffered a knee injury early last season, will start Saturday but might not play the whole game.
Saturday’s kickoff is set for 6:08 p.m. and will be televised by Fox Sports Net. … Mullen’s weekly radio show has moved to Buffalo Wild Wings and will air at 7 p.m. Thursday on the MSU Radio Network. … JSU is expected to start senior Dedric McDonald at quarterback.