On a slower day for Mississippi State with just one practice and only in shoulder pads, Dan Mullen said it was the big boys up front, the offensive line, who stood out down at The Farm.
“I thought the line is getting better, which is what you wanna see,” Mullen said. “I’m nowhere close to figuring who the five guys are we’re gonna put on the field to start with.”
Mullen knows he’s set with his three interior linemen, but listed four different guys as candidates at either tackle position.
Most of us assume sophomore Blaine Clausell will start at left tackle, but Mullen deflected that assumption, saying he’s going to figure out the best two tackles and see where they fit on the line.
“You’ve gotta be ready to have some swingers,” Mullen said.
Whoever doesn’t earn one of the starting tackle spots will be swinging back and forth as the primary backup, Mullen said.
The good news, according to Mullen, is that “They’re starting to be more consistent,” and he feels much better about his depth.
“You need at least eight,” he said. “That showed pretty quickly last year when we lost two starters in back-to-back games.”
Mullen also expressed some confidence in right guard Tobias Smith, who is returning from a knee injury suffered early last season. The head coach mentioned him in the same breath as All-SEC left guard Gabe Jackson when asserting which parts of the offensive line he isn’t concerned with.
“Tobias and Gabe, you know those guys are performing for us,” Mullen said.
He also thinks junior college transfer Charles Siddoway, likely a right tackle candidate, is making improvements since he arrived in January.
“Charles, it was a struggle all spring, but now he’s been through it,” Mullen said. “He understands when we’re teaching things.”
Mullen likened Siddoway’s arrival in the spring to day one of a Chinese class, saying the big-bodied tackle just didn’t understand what people were saying when they made play calls.
Tomorrow, Mullen said, the Bulldogs will return to full pads and have their first “scrimmage action” of fall camp, live-tackling included.