By JOEL COLEMAN
It’s still the early days of fall camp for Mississippi State. Right now the freshmen are getting acclimated, the veterans are honing their craft and everyone is already battling for playing time.
However, it won’t be long until the Bulldogs are staring down the barrel of a 9 p.m. kickoff in Hattiesburg against Southern Miss in the September 5th season-opener. When MSU head coach Dan Mullen addressed the media following Monday’s practices, he said the USM game time, plus the 8:15 p.m. kick at home against LSU the following week, will influence how his team prepares for those contests.
“The schedule setting up how it does, to me, changes how we prepare because we play at like midnight every kickoff or something like that,” Mullen said. “It is hard. Our first two games, you expect the games will still be going on past midnight, which is kind of ridiculous almost. But, that’s just the way it is. So that will change how we prepare as we get closer to game week because I’m usually asleep by then, and I’ve got to be rocking and rolling in the fourth quarter. “
Mississippi State will get a reprieve from the late-night kickoffs for their September 19th game when the Bulldogs host Northwestern State at 3 p.m. Mullen seems to be looking forward to getting his players on the field at an earlier time.
“Our guys aren’t used to physically performing at midnight,” Mullen said. “We used to even train them at midnight in the summer and the NCAA outlawed that. You can’t do that anymore but they’ll let us play after midnight which is kind of ridiculous.
“I guess we should petition the NCAA. If they’re going to let us play after midnight, then they should let us practice after midnight and train after midnight in the offseason.”
Offensive line ‘coming along’
Mississippi State is continuing its rebuilding work on the offensive line as fall camp rolls on. As the Bulldogs look to fill the shoes of Blaine Clausell, Ben Beckwith and Dillon Day, Mullen says the unit is progressing and that he hopes to see continued development amongst the five potential starters and the depth behind them.
“They’re coming along,” Mullen said. “We’re mixing and matching some guys like will happen in the course of the season.
“The key to it is we have to get a bunch of them ready. You’d like to get ten ready and you have to have at least eight of them ready to go play.”
MSU kickers continue to battle
Devon Bell, Westin Graves and Bryce Brown are all vying for the chance to be MSU’s placekicker this fall. No one has emerged as a clear favorite yet, and Mullen indicated it might still be a while yet before the job is settled.
“We’ve only done two competitive days really with the kickers,” Mullen said. “It’s hard to see. They’re still getting into the groove of things but all three of them are competing and we’ll see how it plays out statistically as we get closer to game day.”
Bulldogs prepare for first scrimmage
MSU will host its first scrimmage of the fall on Thursday.
The Bulldogs have a morning practice scheduled inside the Palmeiro Center earlier in the day before scrimmaging in the evening.
“We’ll just get to see who can tackle and who can make things happen in the stadium in a live situation,” Mullen said. “There’ll be some things I’m looking for out of some of the younger guys and I just want to make sure some of our older guys are where we need them to be.”