Bulldogs have candidates to fill right offensive tackle
Mississippi State sophomore Justin Senior (58) is in the mix at the offensive right tackle position. (Photo by Lee Adams)
Mississippi State was already going to have to replace a right tackle this season, but now they have another problem.
It was announced Monday that senior Damien Robinson was lost for the season after tearing his ACL.
Co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach John Hevesy feels comfortable in finding someone to fill the hole left by Robinson.
"Going into that spot open initially, was to get everyone from Rufus (Warren), to Justin Senior, to (Justin) Malone ready to be the first tackle, second, third and fourth."
The Bulldogs lost two offensive linemen from last year's team in left guard Gabe Jackson who is playing for the Oakland Raiders and right tackle Charles Siddoway who graduated.Â
MSU head coach Dan Mullen said Robinson was going to start at right tackle this season, but there are several candidates. Hevesy doesn't care about starters, he just wants enough guys to feel comfortable rotating them in and out
Junior Justin Malone started last season at right guard before being injured and lost for the season. He has been practicing at guard and Tuesday was the first day he rotated between guard and tackle.
"They're very similar, except as a guard you're going to be hitting bigger guys," Malone said. "They're not quite as fast. At tackle, they're faster. They weight 250, 260, (and) sometimes they weigh less than that. They'll try to run around me. They don't want to get hit directly by me."
Malone suffered a season-ending foot injury against Oklahoma State in the opener last year. Sitting out last season was tough for Malone, but he had to stay mentally engaged.
"It hasn't been that bad," Malone said about coming back. "I'm bigger, I'm faster, I'm stronger and everything is all around better for me. I move better, I think better and I see the game more clearly."
Sophomore Justin Senior is another possibility to play right tackle. The Montreal, Quebec, native played in 11 games and drew one start as a redshirt freshman.
He started against Bowling Green in the homecoming game.Â
The start against the Falcons gave him some confidence.
"It got rid of any kind of jitters," Senior said. "Now I'm better this year, so it will be easy."
Many coaches and players have praised Senior's fall camp, but he doesn't feel like it's been all that great.
"I've been getting a lot of praise for fall camp, but personally I don't feel like I've had that great of a fall camp," Senior said. "I just want to be perfect."
Former tight end Warren was moved to tackle this offseason and he could be an option. Sophomore Cole Carter played in 11 games as a redshirt freshman and could be in the mix as well.
Kicker J.J. McGrath has left the Bulldog program, which was news a team spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.Â
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McGrath transferred to MSU after walking on at Michigan last season. He has yet to attempt a kick in his college career as he never played for the Wolverines.
Sophomore Evan Sobiesk and freshman Westin Graves were expected to battle for the kicking job this season with McGrath being the odd man out.
McGrath came to MSU in the summer after being a preferred walk-on for the Wolverines in 2013.