MSU ad­justs to fin­ish up spring in­stal­la­tion

Starkville Daily News - - ATHLETICS - By JOEL COLE­MAN sports@starkvilledai­

If Mis­sis­sippi State has be­come used to any­thing over the last few months, it has been ad­just­ment as the Bull­dogs learn the schemes of new head coach Joe Moor­head and be­come ac­quainted with a new-look coach­ing staff.

The Bull­dogs were again adapt­ing on Satur­day as their orig­i­nallysched­uled scrim­mage was can­celed due to heavy rain and thun­der­storms. In­stead, they opted for prac­tice in­doors at the Palmeiro Cen­ter.

“I think the kids were a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed be­cause of the weather that we were not go­ing to have an op­por­tu­nity to scrim­mage, but we got a full prac­tice in, got all of our team pe­ri­ods and in­di­vid­u­als in, so we got much out of (Satur­day)," Moor­head said. "I thought the kids did a great job not al­low­ing cir­cum­stances out­side of their con­trol to dic­tate their at­ti­tude and be­hav­ior.”

Satur­day al­lowed State to put the fin­ish­ing touches on the in­stal­la­tion of Moor­head's schemes. Moor­head said there will be more things added in fall camp and dur­ing the up­com­ing sea­son, but the base foun­da­tion of all three phases of the game are now in.

With only one week left of spring prac­tice, Moor­head has been pleased with how much his play­ers are re­tain­ing from work­out to work­out.

“I don't want to sound like a Pollyanna and come in here ev­ery day and tell you that it is sun­shine and rain­bows, but they are tak­ing the in­for­ma­tion from the meet­ing room, go­ing out on the field play­ing hard and we are see­ing the pre­ci­sion im­prove ev­ery day in prac­tice,” Moor­head said. “From that stand­point, there hasn't been a day where we looked at the film and said we didn't get bet­ter. It hasn't been by leaps and bounds, but we've been im­prov­ing ev­ery prac­tice.”

Moor­head hopes that trend con­tin­ues this week lead­ing up to the an­nual Ma­roon and White Game which will take place at Davis Wade Sta­dium next Satur­day at 3 p.m.

“(I hope to see) con­tin­ued un­der­stand­ing of the scheme and get­ting bet­ter from the fun­da­men­tal, tech­nique and pre­ci­sion as­pect,” Moor­head said. “The in­stal­la­tion is done and now it is just about re­fin­ing.”

Mis­sis­sippi State wide re­ceiver Stephen Guidry has been back at prac­tice this past week af­ter miss­ing the week prior. Moor­head said MSU is be­ing cau­tious with Guidry as he deals with an up­per-body in­jury.

“He's good,” Moor­head said. “We are just be­ing kind of like with (quar­ter­back Nick Fitzger­ald) and just be­ing pa­tient with him, but he has put on 20 pounds of mus­cle since he has been here. He is very gifted ath­let­i­cally and brings a skill set to us. He has been get­ting in some one-onones and do­ing some stuff.”

Moor­head said he an­tic­i­pates that, bar­ring a set­back, Guidry will be fully healthy by fall camp.

Guidry, who en­rolled at MSU in Jan­uary, isn't the only early en­rollee that has im­pressed Moor­head. Wide re­ceiver Devonta Ja­son has also and de­fen­sive back Mar­cus Mur­phy.

While Guidry came to MSU from ju­nior col­lege, both Ja­son and Mur­phy came from high school.

“I was kid­ding around with them on the field and said, ‘y'all should be get­ting ready to go to prom but you're get­ting ready for prac­tice No. 11,'” Moor­head said. “(Ja­son) has done a great job bounc­ing around to a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent po­si­tions and we have him set­tled in now at the X po­si­tion. He is do­ing great in the class­room and on the field. Mar­cus is do­ing the same thing, play­ing a lit­tle bit of nickel, lit­tle bit of safety and do­ing some spe­cial teams. Stephen, be­ing the mid-year ju­nior col­lege kid, if you are that kind of kid, that's what you want – to en­roll early. There are a lot of ben­e­fits to it aca­dem­i­cally, so­cially and foot­ball-wise. They've all taken ad­van­tage of that.”

With Fitzger­ald lim­ited this spring, most of the live reps at quar­ter­back in prac­tice have gone to Key­taon Thomp­son. Thomp­son im­pressed as Fitzger­ald's backup last sea­son and he is again catch­ing eyes this spring with the new coach­ing staff.

“The thing I have been most im­pressed with is his ap­proach and ma­tu­rity,” Moor­head said. “For be­ing a young guy, he's got a calm­ness, a poise and a pres­ence about him. He doesn't get rat­tled and that is what you want out of the quar­ter­back po­si­tion. He's never too high when it's go­ing well and never too low when it's go­ing bad. He has a nice, steady ap­proach and that's not even men­tion­ing his tal­ent and skill set. His ap­proach has been one that has been very im­pres­sive.”

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