MSU’s new two-way player: Maurice Langston
It is possible fans may see a situation this Saturday where senior Maurice Langston never comes off the field.
For the last two weeks, Mississippi State has had the senior working with the receiving group to fill the void left by the season-ending ankle injury to Leon Berry.
Langston was lined up on offense for one snap in last week’s 10-7 win at Florida and didn’t play once at his normal nickel position in the Bulldogs defensive backfield.
“He’s rotating a little at corner so he can still do that for us,” Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said Tuesday. “What we’ll do is have him learn a little bit of offense just to add to the depth at receiver.”
Langston had 44 catches for 658 yards and seven touchdowns in his final season at East Central Community College before arriving on the Starkville campus to play full-time defensive back.
“It’s kind of like déjà vu,” Langston said. “It reminds me of my old juco days. It feels good to run routes and catch passes again.”
Langston said Tuesday he isn’t practicing with the defense because the coaching staff is trying to quickly get him acclimated to receivers perspective of the MSU playbook.
“I think I pretty much know what I’m supposed to do on defense,” Langston said. “If needed, I can help out on defense if they ask.”
Langston will also potentially replace Berry but being involved in the return game on both kickoffs and punts.
“Leon is a huge miss for us with just his leadership on and off the field,” Langston said. “I’m coming in there just trying to fill that empty void but Leon will be missed throughout the rest of the season.”
After having two of the eight offensive plays this season over 50 yards on offense, the MSU receivers are hoping Langston can take over Berry’s role as a deep option in the Bulldogs passing game for the remainder of the 2010 season.
“He can just flat our run, dude can fly,” sophomore wide receiver Chad Bumphis said. “He’s already got receiver experience, it’s just him learning the plays.”
Bumphis talked to the media Tuesday about the leadership role he’s being asked to take with such a young receiving group. The sophomore from Tupelo leads MSU with 33 catches this season (21 more than anybody else on the team) for 461 yards and four touchdowns.
“You just got to make the best of your opportunities when you get the chance,” Bumphis said. “It’s a lot more difficult than people understand. All of our routes are reading on the run.”