By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Just five practices into the spring, Mississippi State’s wide receivers look to be in midseason form.
They were making plays left and right during Saturday’s work, which featured team drills and a 12-possession red-zone scrimmage at the end of practice. The passing game production wasn’t especially surprising, as this is an experienced group of receivers: MSU returns all but one receiver from last fall, with Michael Carr quitting the team this offseason.
The receiving corps includes four seniors, and there is some young talent trying to make a mark.
“We’re a lot better,” senior Arceto Clark said. “A lot more of the young guys are learning the plays, therefore they can play a lot more this year.”
Clark had one of the best catches Saturday, a diving 23-yard touchdown along the sideline, and in very tight coverage. Seniors Chad Bumphis, Brandon Heavens and Chris Smith all had highlight moments during the team-oriented portions.
During the red-zone scrimmage, the offense scored 10 touchdowns, with four of those coming through the air. The offense as a whole had a good day.
“Offense, you also need consistency, and at times I thought the offense looked real good,” head coach Dan Mullen said. “And then when it didn’t look good, it looked real bad. … We’ve got to clean up the consistency part but keep the big plays that we’re having.”
It should be noted that starting CB Corey Broomfield was limited by injury, and starting safety Nickoe Whitley did not participate as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon.
Nevertheless, the receivers look like they’re ready to become bigger contributors, and a more well-rounded group, too. Having all that experience, plus a big target like redshirt freshman Joe Morrow, should make this a more potent group.
“We’ve got to continue to go up, don’t go down,” Smith said.
It helps to have quarterback Tyler Russell back. The fourth-year junior is the clear No. 1, and the timing with his ball-catchers is there this early in the spring.