MSU NOTEBOOK: Variety is spice in Bulldogs’ drills

COLLINS

COLLINS

By Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – Spring football practice can get repetitive and mundane at times.

But Mississippi State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins is guarding against that using some unorthodox coaching strategies to shake things up.

“We’ve got guys working at different positions and sending them through different drills,” Collins said. “We’ve got all of our guys going through defensive back drills, d-line drills and linebacker drills. The more exposure they have at those different positions then the better they’ll be.”

During these defensive specialty periods, stations are set up where each position unit will work with a position coach for a few minutes before moving on to the next drill. For instance,the defensive linemen will begin with their position coach David Turner before shifting to the linebackers station and even spending time with the defensive back coaches as well.

“We’ve got all kinds of circuits,” Collins said. “Coach (Dan) Mullen does a great job giving us time while they are running plays to do different circuit work. Who better to teach those groups those skills than those coaches?”

Warren beefs up

Rufus Warren played in 18 games, catching one pass for 23 yards in two years as a tight end for the Bulldogs.

So in the offseason, the 6-foot-7 rising junior from Indianola packed on 30-pounds up to 295 and is now an offensive tackle. Warren has been working at right tackle vying to replace departed senior Charles Siddoway.

“Rufus is a great kid and has been around here,” said offensive line coach John Hevesy. “I told him now it’s time for him to step up and be a full-time contributor.”

Warren had to work diligently in the past to keep his weight down, so it was easy for him to bulk up over the past few months.

“He was always fighting to keep his weight down,” Mullen said. “Hopefully we have some depth at tight end now and are young on the offensive line. It’s an opportunity for him. Instead of batting to keep his weight down, he gets to eat what he feels like at dinner.”

Turtle returns

Christian Holmes contemplated leaving the football program with a year of eligibility remaining having already earned his degree.

The career special teamer from Puckett, nicknamed “Turtle,” has made 44 career tackles, broke up one pass and forced a fumble in 39 games.

“Christian is a good program guy,” Mullen said. “He has a role and knows his role. He might not be starting linebacker but plays on a lot of our special teams. He was top 40 on our team in reps last year. A lot of them were on special teams, but when you look at total number of snaps played he played a lot of reps last year.”

Holmes split time between tight end and linebacker last year but has practiced primarily on defense so far this spring.

State holds its first spring scrimmage today at 11:30 a.m. and is open to the public.

logan.lowery@journalinc.com