Good Defense, Sloppy Offense; Injury Updates

By the time the media horde finally left the practice fields, well after we’d spoken with Dan Mullen this evening, the MSU offense was still out there in the cold and rain, serving their “punishment,” as Mullen called it, following practice No. 9 of the spring.

That means the defense won.

The Bulldogs’ D wasn’t perfect, but it made some big plays. Safety Dennis Thames had an interception and later a deflection of Tyler Russell, linebacker Deontae Skinner made some nice plays – including a diving interception on a tip drill – and linebacker Chris Hughes made a fumble recovery.

“They were running around. They were excited, coming from everywhere,” Mullen said. “The biggest problem I had is some of the mistakes were glaring mistakes. There were a lot of big plays, which I love, but we’ve got to get the other things cleaned up.”

As Mullen noted, sometimes the defense looked good because it was making plays, and other times it was just because the offense was awful. Easiest to spot was a problem with the center-quarterback exchange. Redshirt freshman Dillon Day worked at first-team center because of the injury to guard Gabe Jackson (more on him in a minute), which forced Quentin Saulsberry to move from center to guard.

Day didn’t do so well.

“Just some inconsistencies, that’s a lack of mental toughness,” Mullen said. “That’s easy. You can get that fixed tonight. Take a ball home, sit in your dorm and snap the ball 10,000 times. I imagine he’ll be pretty good tomorrow if you do that. That’s got to be a commitment level out of our offensive line and our center.”

• OK, on to some injury updates.

Jackson was hurt Tuesday when a teammate landed on him. He was held out today and is day-to-day with a knee sprain, so nothing too serious there. He was in the pit with fellow guard Tobias Smith (shoulder surgery), who’s been sidelined all spring.

Tight end Kendrick Cook has been limited, and Mullen said today it’s a spinal nerve issue. The MRIs are being sent off to a specialist.

“He’s fine. He wants to play, but they’re just doing some more precautionary tests before he’s allowed to have any contact,” Mullen said.

Then there’s safety Nickoe Whitley, who sprained his right knee on Saturday and had it heavily wrapped today. Mullen said he could be back by Tuesday’s practice.

• MSU practices again tomorrow, and Mullen said it will be lighter work, although he still expects it to be physical. The Bulldogs will scrimmage at 10 a.m. Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium (open to the public).