Fans get glimpse of Bulldogs at work

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal


STARKVILLE – Tobias Smith has had a star-crossed career already, and he’s making an effort not to jinx himself.
The Mississippi State right guard is coming off his third major injury since 2008, a torn ACL suffered early last season. Smith is nearing full health as the season approaches, but he said after Saturday’s practice that he does not think about getting injured again.
“If I think about it, they’re going to come. So I just try not to think about it at all,” Smith said. “That’s the only way to go about it. If it becomes mental and physical, that’s a double-negative.”
Smith was limited in Saturday’s work, participating in position drills but not full team drills. He said he feels fine, and that his limited action was only precautionary.
Just two days earlier, head coach Dan Mullen nearly cut short an interview session with local media over questions about injuries, including whether Smith would be 100 percent healthy by the Sept. 1 season opener versus Jackson State.
The senior said he should be good to go when the time comes.
“Yeah, of course. Coach wouldn’t put me out there if he didn’t trust me to do what it takes physically.”
Still in PJ’s
MSU held two split-squad practices Saturday, and it was the only chance this preseason for fans and media to watch the Bulldogs work. The defense made a lot of good plays in the morning session, but defensive coordinator Chris Wilson didn’t read too much into that, especially with the team not yet in pads.
“We’re in pajamas,” Wilson said. “To say anybody’s ahead in pajamas would be really self-serving. At the end of the day, there’s good competition. The biggest thing is you want to see guys flying around and executing at a high level.”
Mullen split the players up to where a lot of first-stringers were able to work with freshmen and other inexperienced players.
“For a lot of the young guys, it was kind of a shock for them,” offensive coordinator Les Koenning said, “just the pace, moving from drill to drill, going back and getting on the ball and running the play, and going fast.
“Those things are really, really different for them, because they’ve been working out. They haven’t been around a football all summer.”
The Bulldogs will don shoulder pads today, then go to full pads Tuesday.
Robinson ready to run
MSU is expected to steer its offensive schemes more toward the pass this fall because of Tyler Russell’s arm. Redshirt freshman Josh Robinson, part of a deep tailback group, isn’t so sure of that.
“Look, Mississippi State is based on running,” Robinson said. “We got four great running backs, so why not run the ball?”
LaDarius Perkins and Nick Griffin will carry the bulk of the load, with Robinson and another redshirt freshman, Derrick Milton, providing the depth.
“We all feel like we got a stable (of backs) in that meeting room that nobody else has in the country,” Robinson said. “We got four great running backs that we can put into any situation and they got different skills for a different situation.”
brad.locke@journalinc.com