Over the past year, Mississippi State football fans have heard football coach Dan Mullen light heartedly toy with the thought of playing starting cornerback and former East Webster High School player Johnthan Banks at receiver.
On Saturday, that thought became reality as Banks lined up on the offensive side of the ball for the first time since his days in Cumberland.
“It was fun. It was all fun and games out here,” said Banks. “I don't think coach will put me out there in the regular season, but it was fun. It was an adventure. It was my first time getting out there since I was in 8th grade."
The All-Southeastern Conference product caught one pass for 17 yards and was happy to get the opportunity.
“Coach, he might play around with a play or two, but I ain't going to bank on it,” Banks said. “We've got a lot of different receivers, though. We've got Joe Morrow, who's taller than me, probably faster than me. He probably can do what I can do.”
Active defensive front
Mississippi State mixed and matched their defensive front as expected on Saturday evening with the end result being a rather productive showing.
State turned in eight sacks for the afternoon which is a solid effort considering the protection of the quarterbacks.
“I thought they did pretty good," Mullen said. "Josh Boyd played minimally but the other guys came in and did a decent job. They got some pressure. We were pretty liberal with the quarterbacks so I think there might have been some plays that would have been sacks but we gave them a chance to throw the ball. That might have been a little bit different in the course of the game.”
MSU senior defensive back Corey Broomfield spent the spring game offering moral support to his fellow Bulldogs.
There does not appear to be a cause for concern as Mullen and the MSU training staff was simply using caution with a vital piece of the puzzle for the secondary.
“Yeah, he was a little bit sore from the other day," Mullen said. "He was on the same team as Banks and we were each going to let them play a couple of series. He was kind of sore and banged up, so we said all right we'll just let Banks play the first quarter and a half only. They were out, so it was one of those just meet with the trainers. He can go play, it's fine, but why rush it if he's only going to play 10 plays, at most, anyway.”
Don’t be alarmed
State fans need not be alarmed at the effort of the MSU offensive line.
The sheer lack of depth wouldn’t allow State to put together a group that would in any way resemble a starting lineup that will be used this fall.
“They looked good and bad at times," Mullen said. "When you have a lot of young players – I feel comfortable that we're going to start to develop a line now into the fall.
“There's enough guys that know what to do. You're coming in, you're looking at guys in the two-deep such as (Charles) Siddoway and Dylan Holley and Justin Malone, Damien Robinson, that really haven't played a whole lot of football, and we're counting on those guys to play a lot.
“This spring we didn't develop the line chemistry. To me, it was them learning the offense, learning what to do, and now we'll start to develop that chemistry going into the fall of our guys. I'm going to put a lot on those guys. If you've taken a step back between now and the first day of practice, you're going to find yourself out of the rotation pretty quickly.”