Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen returned to football practice Thursday after being away recruiting. He liked what he saw effort wise from the younger guys. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Mississippi State football team had a nice, warm practice on Wednesday.
Head coach Dan Mullen returned and the Bulldogs took their show outside in the cold weather in front of the public and media.
Mullen was away for Wednesday's practice on a recruiting trip.
"It's just scheduling," Mullen said. "With final exams trying to get practice in. It hasn't been able to fit all the other things I had to get done, but it was good to be back out here (Thursday)."
Safeties coach Tony Hughes was in attendance. He was also on the road recruiting Wednesday.
A lot of starters and older guys didn't get much work. The younger guys got the bulk of the action as they have all week.
Many of the younger class guys have not had an opportunity to practice a lot, so this was their first taste of running certain things in the offense and defense.
"Just getting their first taste," Mullen said. "A lot of guys haven't had the opportunity to run our offense or our defense, since back in training camp or the bye week. They are getting their opportunity to get refreshed and learn the system. As we get into the offseason, they are watching the film and it's a little bit fresher on their mind as they are developing."
For the second straight day in a row, freshman defensive lineman Nick James stood out. The 6-foot-4, 330-pound Long Beach native showed he could push some guys around up front.
He has a lot of raw talent and it will take some time to mold him into a SEC lineman. He has the skill set to become a real force for the Bulldogs.
Most of the young guys are trying to impress the coaches to get some playing time. Mullen is just looking for the younger guys that want to be there and are giving everything they've got.
"I like the energy and the effort," Mullen said. "That is what I evaluate a lot. There is an awful lot of coaching, teaching and mistakes being made out here. As long as they play with the effort that we demand, you can make improvements off of it."
The Bulldogs will have another open practice today. It is set to begin at 11:15 a.m. It will be held at the practice fields right next to the softball complex.
The Bulldogs will also have an open practice Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and a scrimmage at Davis Wade Stadium Sunday at 2 p.m. open to the public.
Mixing it up
Many Bulldog fans have been happy with the play of junior signal caller Tyler Russell this season.
They have also seen what redshirt freshman Dak Prescott can do.
Prescott has gotten a bulk of the snaps this week in practice. Russell still has one more year for the Bulldogs, but Mullen is preparing Prescott just in case he must be thrust into the number one spot.
"He is getting to run the whole show and get a lot of the reps right now," Mullen said. "Tyler is getting some good rest. I think that is really going to help (Prescott) as he continues to move forward."
Russell threw in practice on Wednesday, but spent the majority of the Thursday's practice on a stationary bike.
He has been wearing a boot for the last couple of days, but Mullen says it's only an "ankle sprain."
He did not throw on Thursday, but is expected to make a few passes today. Mullen expects him to play in Jacksonville.
"He should be good to go," Mullen said. "He's been throwing. We are going to have him doing some different things. We start practice Monday, kind of our game week prep. That was our goal all along, to have him out here ready to go for Monday."
Young guys stepping up
at cornerback and receiver
The Bulldogs have a lot of seniors at both wide receiver and cornerback. They also will be losing other defensive backs when the season is over.
Before bowl practice started that was Mullen's main focus.
Many of the younger guys in those positions have been getting a lot of reps. He knows that many of these guys will not be returning and is trying to get them some reps before spring drills comes around.
"New guys are going to have to come in and play at those positions," Mullen said. "We have a lot of experience walking out the door at both of those positions. We are going to have a lot of new faces there, guys that are here and new guys that are coming in."
Redshirt freshman receiver Joe Morrow has been one of the young guys to really impress.
On the defensive side of the ball freshman defensive back Deontay Evans made a couple of nice plays.
Freshman defensive back Cedric Jiles has been injured for a part of the season. He did practice Wednesday, but joined Russell in a stationary bike for most of practice.
MSU commit gets invite
to all-star game
MSU 2013 commit Jake Thomas was invited to the U19 Team USA game according to Bulldawgs 247.
The Columbus native will play an international team on Feb. 5, 2013 in Austin, Texas. The game will be televised by CBSSports Network.
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