Starkville football coach Jamie Mitchell instructs his team during a game last season. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Starkville Yellowjackets hope to take the momentum of last season's run to an appearance in the Class 5A State Championship Game into spring practice.
Four months after playing Picayune for the state title, the Jackets are back on the field today with the start of spring practice.
"The wheels never stop turning," Starkville football coach Jamie Mitchell said. "You get one year behind you and the next one is on you before you know it."
The Jackets have some talent returning, but there are definite holes to fill.
Mitchell is looking for some players who will step up and fill roles over the next few weeks. He wants the returning players to make significant improvement.
"It's going to be a fun couple of weeks," Mitchell said.
Mitchell said two players Starkville will particularly be missing are linemen Cory Cannon and Eric Rogers.
Both were solid on both sides of the football as the two starting guards on offense and two of the starting five on defense.
The Jackets will also be without linebacker David Fair for the spring. Fair, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Tupelo last season, still has not recovered fully.
"He's still a good ways out," Mitchell said.
It's Mitchell's hope that Fair can be used some during the summer in 7-on-7 camps.
The main focus for Mitchell and his staff will be establishing an offensive line and finding help at defensive end.
"Those two things we hope to have figured out when we get done with spring," Mitchell said.
It will be a tough day emotionally for the SHS program as it takes the field for the first time after the death of Devin Mitchell on Jan. 1.
Coach Mitchell said the Jackets will be taking the memory of Devin to practice with them.
"He's going to be with us and that's how we look at things," Mitchell said. "He's certainly going to be a big part of what we do. It will be the first time he's not physically with us, but he's going to be there in our hearts and spirits."
Starkville hosts Columbus for the spring game on April 26.
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