Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen reaffirmed his confidence Monday that junior tight end Marcus Green would play Saturday night against Louisiana State.
The Bulldogs main pass-catching option at the tight end position suffered an injury to his right knee that kept him out of the second half of MSU’s 17-14 home loss to Auburn Thursday night.
Mullen didn’t even bother to list any players on his weekly injury report as ‘probable’ and after listing him as the starting tight end on the depth chart, restated Monday during his media gathering that he expects him to be able to play without any physical limitations.
However, Green was not available for comment after Monday’s practice. MSU officials said Green’s participation in the first workout of the week was limited.
Mullen said Green had received his MRI exam this weekend and his confident talk when he sat down with reporters Friday about Green’s health was apparently backed up by the medical scan. The second-year head coach said Green “should be good to go”.
“What they said – they’re doing an MRI to make sure it’s nothing,” Mullen said Friday. “They told us where they feel he should be fine for next week is what I’ve heard but I haven’t heard back from the MRI yet.”
Green was seen leaving the Bryan Building Friday evening before he’d received his MRI exam with a large wrap-around brace protector on his knee. He was seen with the same brace, which goes from his hip down to his ankle, on his right leg after practice Monday.
The junior tight end caught 27 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns last year and was one of the most highly-recruited prospects in Mississippi three years ago out of Kemper County High in Scooba.
Senior tight end Brandon Henderson is listed as the backup but he is tied with Green with three catches this season for 25 yards.
“We like the mismatch those guys play and like any position we want to be able to rotate guys through,” Mullen said. “Brandon’s done a nice job, really improved his game from where he was from this time last year to now.
After returning for his final season after recovering from last season’s ankle injury, Henderson has become a major threat in the passing game by being able to use his 245-pound frame on a safety or smaller linebacker.
“With a guy like Brandon you wish the light would’ve come on for him a year and a half ago cause he knows what type of player he could be today,” Mullen said. “A lot of those guys they get to their senior year and start making plays because there’s that sense of urgency to perform at practice (and) in games.”
No Bayou QB controversy yet
LSU’s coaching staff attempted to quiet the rumbling Monday that a switch at the quarterback position could be coming in Baton Rouge.
Tigers head coach Les Miles in his media gathering yesterday named junior Jordan Jefferson as the starting quarterback for Saturday night’s contest against Mississippi State (6 p.m., ESPNU).
“I think Jordan Jefferson has run this team and can run this team, and whatever we can do to make him more aggressive playing quarterback for us is what we are going to do,” Miles said. “We also like the improvements that (junior backup) Jarrett Lee has made, and certainly he is a very strong consideration, but first I want you to know that I want to see if we can get Jordan on track.”
Last Saturday Jefferson was only 8-of-20 for 96 yards and an interception against Vanderbilt and Miles left open the idea of giving Lee more snaps.
“We're going to continue to evaluate our quarterback situation, and frankly we're going to expect more out of the position,” Miles said. “I think both those guys can give it to us. I think (Jordan) Jefferson definitely can, and we're going to encourage (Jarrett) Lee because he's a guy who's going to have to win games for us as we go forward.”
During his redshirt-freshman season two years ago, Lee was handed the starter duties against Mississippi State in late September and preceded to complete 18-of-27 passes for 261 yards along with two touchdowns on his way to being named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week.
When he met they reporters Monday, Mullen and MSU defensive coordinator Manny Diaz gave the impression that the Bulldogs coaching staff were under the impression Jefferson would be the guy anyway but have seen film on both signal callers.
“They’ve established an identity through the years but when you look at the body of work of Jefferson, we expect to see him,” Diaz said. “He’s done a lot of good things there.”