March 8, 2011

Bulldogs don full pads

STARKVILLE, Miss., - For the second straight practice session, Mississippi State had to hold its spring workouts inside the Palmeiro Center. And naturally, that doesn't always sit too well with head coach Dan Mullen. However, the key was to get more work inside than spending more time battling the weather conditions.

"You know I don't like coming inside for much," said Mullen. "But I guess I am getting smarter and we will get a lot more accomplished in here than just sitting out there with the lightning, thunder and high winds."

Tuesday also marked the first day of full pads for the Bulldogs, which can sometimes separate a few players, said Mullen.

"Yea, we got to get out and hit and the all-shorts team is over," said Mullen. "Some guys are stars when it's all-shorts team and then disappear when we put the pads on and it's important. But we'll go back and watch film and see how everybody looked."

Once again, the Bulldogs appeared rather sharp and crisp on offense concerning this time of the year. But that should be expected with the plays they were running, noted Mullen.

"Better at times and that was our specialty and we were out here doing a lot of first-downs stuff," said Mullen. "Run-play action has been the strength of our team so that kinda gives a little advantage to our offense."

Also on offense of note, redshirt freshman Malcolm Johnson spent most of his day working with the tight ends. Johnson spent all of last year running with the receivers during his true freshman campaign.

Of course in State's offensive sets, the tight ends usually line up wide as well.

"Yea, just to get him to learn all that stuff works," said Mullen of Johnson. "He is really a receiver but back in the old days there used to be a lot of four-receiver sets. We would like to get back to doing more of that and we just need a guy that knows that position when we go to four-receiver sets."

Mullen noted on Tuesday that junior defensive tackle Fletcher Cox was not at practice and "back home" with "personal issues" but should be back at practice Thursday.

Mullen also noted that outside linebacker Mike Hunt is no longer with the team and that Hunt was "tired of playing football" and would not be back.

Following Tuesday's practice, Mullen and the assistant coaches will be busy studying film. And there were two types of players Mullen will be focused on during film study.

"The same things and there is a lot of instillation still going on," said Mullen. "You want to see that and the guys that should know, I want to see their technique. The guys that are learning, I want to see what they know."

And that "tweaking" on both sides of the football will continue all spring, said Mullen, as well as adding a few new twists here and there.

"We are always tweaking things and always adding things to both sides of the ball," said Mullen. "Just making sure with the old stuff that we're real good at and then evaluating the new stuff we are trying to do."

The Bulldogs return to practice on Thursday and it will be the last practice before MSU takes a two-week break from the practice fields.

"We will be pretty physical on Thursday and scrimmage a little bit," said Mullen. "We will do some live-tackling stuff and it will be a pretty physical day cause they get a little bit of a breather after that."




 

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