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MSU's Holmes eyes offense

December 23, 2012

Holmes

The Mississippi State football team is going to have good play at linebacker for some years to come.

There is freshman All-American Benardrick McKinney, junior Deontae Skinner, sophomore Ferlando Bohanna. Also true freshmen Richie Brown and Beniquez Brown are sitting out there first year on campus.

The Bulldogs will be losing senior Cameron Lawrence when the season is over after the New Year's Day TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, but there will be somebody to fill his spot.

With all of that to consider, what does that mean for sophomore linebacker Christian Holmes? Bulldog fans may see him on the other side of the ball in 2013.

"I think I am going to try Christian Holmes at tight end, (and) fullback – our motion back a little bit," MSU head coach Dan Mullen said of what to expect from the early bowl practices. "He is the only main one right now who may be moving around."

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound sophomore from Puckett, has been given the nickname "Turtle."

He is no stranger to the offensive side of the ball. Just like senior defensive back Johnthan Banks, Holmes played offense in high school.

"I caught one last week in practice, but that was the first time since my senior in high school," Holmes said. "I played tight end and receiver."

Holmes was one of the most talented players on the field in high school. The play calls seemed to show it.

"Pretty good," Holmes said of how he did in high school. "I had hands. They just threw it to me and told me to go get it."

The move to the offensive side of the ball almost happened this season. The Bulldogs were thin at tight end with sophomore Malcolm Johnson injured to start the year. He returned against Tennessee and there was no need to move Holmes.

"Coach Mullen and I talked about it during the middle of the season," Holmes said. "He told me it was an iffy call, but Malcolm came back so I didn't do it. Now he is giving me the opportunity again."

From his linebacker position this season, Holmes has seen action in all 12 games. He has 11 total tackles, with four solos and seven assists. He has also forced a fumble.

"Turtle's awesome," MSU linebackers coach Geoff Collins said. "He's a great athlete. Whatever we can do to get Christian on the field, I'm fully supporting that. He's a great kid. He does everything we ask of him. I'm just happy for any success he has."

Playing tight end is different from high school to college. Holmes has found this out.

"The footwork with the blocking and the route running," Holmes said. "It's been awhile since I ran a route. Three years. Just the route running pretty much (is different). The key is blocking."

Whether the move to tight end for Holmes is going to happen has yet to be seen. Don't expect him to play offense against No. 21 (Associated Press) Northwestern in the Gator Bowl.

When asked if he the position change will stick, Holmes's answer was pretty simple.

"I hope so," Holmes said. "I actually like it, but linebacker is my love."

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