By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – While Mississippi State’s youngsters put in extra work during Gator Bowl preparations, the veterans get to catch their collective breath and even catch up on old times.
The clock is ticking down on the careers of MSU’s seniors, so they’re making the most of what time remains.
“A lot of the older guys, we just hang out on the side and talk about the good times, just clowning, just having fun,” receiver Arceto Clark said.
Clark, a Shannon product, is third on the team with 451 receiving yards. He’s pretty happy with how it’s ending for him, although he’s still seeking his first touchdown of the year.
“It’s been a long season, but it’s also been fun just being around my teammates who I’ve grown so close to over the years,” Clark said.
Clark is able to rest a little right now. So is quarterback Tyler Russell, who’s nursing a sprained right ankle. He sat out of drills Thursday but will be back on the field today.
Head coach Dan Mullen expects Russell to be ready to go once game preparations begin Monday. MSU (8-4) plays No. 21 Northwestern (9-3) on Jan. 1.
“He’ll be back out throwing (today) and doing that – throw a day, rest a day. The whole key was to make sure he’s ready to go for Monday,” Mullen said.
Prescott gets work
Russell’s injury gives backup Dak Prescott even more of an opportunity to get snaps and hone his game. He’s gotten a fair amount of playing time this season.
“He’s getting to run the whole show and get a lot of the reps right now, and Tyler’s getting some good rest,” Mullen said. “That’s really just going to help him as he continues to move forward.”
Prescott is a bit of a known commodity. Right now is a chance for players who have been relegated to scout team duty all season to make a case for playing time next fall. They’re getting to run their own schemes instead of the opponent’s.
“I like the energy, the effort,” Mullen said. “That’s what I evaluate a lot of this, the effort. There’s an awful lot of coaching and teaching and mistakes being made out here, but as long as they play with the effort that we demand, you can make improvements off of it.”