CATEGORY: FOC College Football
HED:MSU offensive line go thinner following appendix surgery to Wallace Saturday
By Parrish Alford
ATLANTA — Mississippi State’s razor thin depth on the offensive line took hit Christmas night.
Shortly after arriving at the team hotel, redshirt freshman Kyle Wallace, a reserve at the tackle and guard positions, had surgery to have his appendix removed.
Wallace began feeling pain while he and some teammates were driving over in a sport utility vehicle Christmas day. He was released from a local hospital Sunday morning in time to attend the Atlanta Falcons game with the rest of the team.
“Wes Shivers was driving (on the trip over), and I was hurting so bad I had to put my head down on the seat in front of me a couple of times. When we got here I went to find Paul (Mock, trainer) and said, ‘Man, you’ve got to do something.’”
Simpson walked around in sweats offering moral support as the team worked out at Morris Brown College Monday.
“I’m not in a lot of pain, but I feel kind of like a pregnant woman because I have to put my hand on the back of the chair when I sit down,” Wallace said.
Backup center Tron Thomas has a sore back but should play. Punter Jeff Walker has the flu. He missed Monday’s workout but is expected to play in the game. Walker caught the flu from his wife and children.
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden characterized State as a rushing team with a “low-risk offense”, a chosen style he said has worked for MSU coach Jackie Sherrill.
Sherrill balked at the stereotype.
“We threw the ball more this year than we have in the last three years,” he said. “In the games we came back to win, we were effective throwing the football. Maybe we should open the game in four wides.
“A lot of teams throw for a lot of yards but don’t necessarily win championships. Alabama won the SEC championship because they could run the football.
“People tend to forget I had a little quarterback at Pitt named Danny Marino. We ran it every down with him too, right? I’ve been on both sides of the football.”
For the record, State got 68 percent of its yardage through the air this season, compared to Clemson’s 61 percent.
Strong safety Ashley Cooper summed up State’s top-ranked defense this way for inquiring minds at Monday’s press conference: “We are successful because we don’t wait on the next player to make the play. We all try to make the play. It’s like a competition thing out there. I’m not going to let Barrin Simpson make a play that I can make.”
ACC vs. SEC
Cooper and quarterback Wayne Madkin were State’s representatives at the press conference.
Questions from local media began almost immediately to draw comparisons between the Atlantic Coast Conference and the SEC.
The leagues are the two dominant Southern-based conferences and often cross paths on the recruiting trail, particularly in this area.
The ACC was 4-1 against the SEC this season and has won eight of the last 12 meetings between the leagues.
The numbers don’t matter to Cooper.
“The SEC is the toughest conference in America week in and week out. Can you honestly say that Florida State would win every week in the SEC,” Cooper asked reporters. “It wouldn’t happen.”
As the Peach Bowl enters its eighth season with an ACC-SEC matchup, the ACC leads 4-3, but the SEC has won the last three games.
The last SEC team to lose in the Peach Bowl was State when it dropped a 28-24 decision to North Carolina State in 1995.