For starters: No more wait for State as Bulldogs open preseason practice

Nick Fitzgerald

Staff Writer

The wait is over for Mississippi State.

On Friday, the 2018 football season arrived as the Bulldogs began preseason training camp ahead of their Sept. 1 season opener. New MSU head football coach Joe Moorhead admitted there wasn’t much for him to learn after just one practice, but overall, he was pleased with what he saw.

“It’s kind of like gym class,” Moorhead said when asked who stood out on day one. “You got helmets on and t-shirts and shorts. You have a bunch of young freshmen swimming from an assignment standpoint. The great thing was that guys came out and gave tremendous effort. We had a lot of retention from the spring game until now. That shows that the guys were studying film and doing things on their own in the summer. That’s a positive aspect of the day. Once we get the pads on, we’ll be able to tell who is separating themselves.”

Moorhead and the Bulldogs have the next four weeks to sort out position battles and settle the depth chart going into the year ahead. MSU will continue that quest with its second day of practice Saturday.

The Bulldogs will hold four practices prior to practicing with full pads for the first time on Wednesday.

Moorhead and his staff will have plenty of time to find the answers to their questions over the next month, but for now, Moorhead says it’s just refreshing to get back on the gridiron.
“It’s just great to be playing football again,” Moorhead said.

Fitzgerald healthy

In Friday’s practice, quarterback Nick Fitzgerald showed no signs of favoring the ankle that was broken during last year’s regular season finale against Ole Miss. Fitzgerald is completely cleared for preseason camp after being limited during the spring.

Moorhead was pleased with what he saw out of his senior signal caller.

“Number one, he looked healthy,” Moorhead said. “His drops were clean. His run game and footwork looked good.

“He was moving around well. There were no signs of any lingering issues.”

Guidry, Mixon, others good to go

Wide receivers Stephen Guidry and Keith Mixon were also back in action after being limited by injuries in the spring.

Mixon battled a foot injury in the spring, while Guidry had offseason shoulder surgery. Neither seem hampered on Friday.

In fact, State’s entire roster was in action on Friday. There was no one held out due to injury.

Charles moves to receiver

Sophomore Korey Charles is changing roles for the Bulldogs. The former defensive back is now a wide receiver.

Moorhead said it’s a move that benefits everyone.

“We’re pretty deep at defensive back and Korey is a guy that has tested very, very well in terms of (40-yard-dash) time and vertical jump and things like that,” Moorhead said. “He’s a very explosive athlete and we were looking to add more explosiveness to the receiver position. He actually approached me about it prior to spring ball so it was something we had discussed.

“We just felt for a couple different reasons it was a good move for us as a team and for him personally.”