Practice one is in the books. It was mostly a walk-through, but the Mississippi State football team has completed day one of fall camp, as reported by Dan Mullen.
The head coach visited with the assorted media members shortly after the first round of football, answering various questions about his team.
Mullen said it was great to be back on the field with the players and coaches, doing what they love to do. The initial goal, he said, is to channel his inner professor.
“I’ve got a lot of learning I want to get accomplished,” Mullen said. “And so here in day one, just in helmets, it’s just repetitions for guys, getting comfortable. It’s hard to evaluate guys until they’re fully comfortable with what we expect them to do. Lotta, lotta teaching over the next few weeks.”
Citing his policy not to discuss injuries, Mullen did not delve into great detail about junior safety Nickoe Whitley and senior offensive lineman Tobias Smith, though he did say, “They’re working with the team.”
Speaking of safety, Mullen mentioned something we’ve pondered here on the HailState Beat when asked if anyone may be at a new position.
“[Senior cornerback Corey] Broomfield is playing some safety,” Mullen said.
In other “newness,” Mullen said senior tight end Marcus Green, who was recently granted a sixth year of eligibility, returned to working out with the team in July and appears to be in good shape.
The newest part of the team to most, however, will be the new starting quarterback, Tyler Russell.
Mullen said the junior signal caller looked about as crisp as he could expect given the layoff since spring practice.
“I see a Tyler that’s very comfortable,” Mullen said. “I’m not a guy that’s thinking on the field. I see a guy who is obviously going to make mistakes, but when he makes a mistake, he knows the mistake he made. Or when you’re talking about it, he understands what happened, where some younger guys or how he used to be in the past. Sometimes you’ll tell them and you can see, ‘Well, I didn’t get that at all.’ So you’ve got to go back and teach it on film. With an experienced guy like Tyler, he sees it.”
The next time we’ll hear from – and see – the team will be Saturday, when MSU’s split squad practices will be open to the public, one at 9 a.m. and one at 7 p.m.
Asked how he will decide who goes in which practice, Mullen said it will be up the position coaches on how they want to group their guys together.
Coming out of their first practice and heading into their second one, Mullen said he was relatively happy with the team’s retention from the spring.
“I feel like there was [retention],” Mullen said. “I mean, work over the summer, sometimes tough to tell. Just getting out there, some guys we’ll see as we keep developing. I was pleased with what appeared to be some retention. We weren’t, like, crisp on every single play, offense or defense, but it wasn’t confused looks on people’s faces. We put a lot in on them today.”
If you just can’t wait until Saturday to see some football, feel free to whet your appetite with these pictures from day one.