The second portion of Mississippi State’s open split-squad practice was a bit unlike the first. The mix of mostly non-starters was sloppy at times, though with a few bright spots dispersed throughout the evening.
Fumbles plagued the early portion of practice in positional and 1-on-1 drills, as speedy freshman receiver Brandon Holloway had trouble hanging onto the ball for much of the day and sophomore running back Nick Griffin suffered from some slippery fingers when the running backs worked by themselves.
Griffin later redeemed himself, however, punching in the final touchdown for his group in 11-on-11 team goal line drills, though he got hit pretty hard by safety Dee Arrington as he crossed the white line.
Receivers Jameon Lewis, Arceto Clark and Chris Smith were easily the stars of the day on offense, though they’re also the ones with, by far, the most experience.
On defense, redshirt freshman cornerback Taveze Calhoun caught a lot of eyes with a nifty little pass break-up downfield, and sophomore linebacker Christian Holmes, who Geoff Collins mentioned earlier in the day, had several nice plays of his own, including a couple more balls knocked away from would-be receivers.
A few notes before my notes (a pre-note, I suppose): true freshman receiver Fred Brown, listed at 6’0”, looked a lot bigger than I expected, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Chris Smith. He made a few nice catches in 1-on-1s and has long arms that helped him haul in some errant tosses.
Redshirt freshman Dak Prescott and walk-on Steven Swindle were the two quarterbacks in the evening jaunt around the field, both of whom were at times inconsistent. Prescott did, however, make several impressive deep throws and took command of the offense in the two-minute drill to end practice.
Now, some highlights from my scribble on the trusty notepad.
- In 1-on-1s, freshman tight end Gus Walley made a particularly nice catch with safety Louis Watson blanketed on top of him.
- Three times in my notes during skeleton (no linemen) drills, “Nice catch by Lewis” pops up, including one on the sideline and two over the middle in traffic. The same note shows up two more times in 11-on-11. Suffice to say, Lewis had a good day.
- Clark had a particularly nice touchdown catch late in 11-on-11, when Prescott rolled to his right and tagged Clark in the numbers in a crowded corner of the end zone.
- Prescott had occasional trouble with low snaps from center Dylan Holley, a junior college transfer.
- Chris Smith had a pair of impressive deep catches down the sideline, one in 1-on-1 and the other in 11-on-11, both coming from Prescott.
We’ll have more on the blog tomorrow, including some thoughts from Lewis and Holmes, as well as some thoughts of my own on what stood out after seeing the full team.