By MATTHEW STEVENS
The protocol for a Mississippi State quarterback prior to a practice or scrimmage may be to ask the coaching staff how live they are on that particular day.
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen laughed and smiled after Saturday’s scrimmage when the media asked him what the quarterbacks were doing wearing red jerseys when it appeared they were allowed to receive full contact throughout most of the two-hour workout.
“Yeah….they were supposed to have red jerseys but people started hitting them so it looked like it was working,” Mullen said.
During a red zone drill near the end of the practice, redshirt quarterback Dylan Favre was sandwiched between defensive back Dennis Thames and linebacker Trevor Stigers that left the former Parade All-American signal caller on his hands and knees for a few moments.
“They didn’t seem to complain too much,” Mullen said. “They weren’t totally live….you got to be able to play that way, with that mindset. They were probably three-quarters live.”
Earlier in the day, junior-to-be cornerback Corey Broomfield got a sack on projected starting quarterback Chris Relf where Broomfield recovered Relf’s fumble and returned it for a touchdown.
“I don’t know what they got (the red jersey) on for,” Broomfield said. “If we don’t hit them, they get points and when we do hit them, they get mad so we just hit them anyway.”
Relf, the 2011 Gator Bowl most valuable player, said he "didn't mind being live" but was disappointed in his footwork execution Saturday when working with the first string offense.
"I think I gave good effort but the execution wasn't there," Relf said. "I got a lot of work to do. I think I got my throwing down pat but I've to work on my feet in the pocket."
The one noticeable difference to the first scrimmage of the spring season was the lack of the dropped passes all afternoon as compared to previous years with freshman and sophomores in the those receiver positions. Redshirt freshman Malcolm Johnson became a favorite target of Tyler Russell’s passes while working with the second-team offensive unit.
“They’re executing, getting a little older and getting a little more experienced,” Mullen said. “I thought the quarterbacks with Chris, Tyler and even Dylan some threw the ball pretty well today. It makes the whole pass game look better.”
Sophomore-to-be linebacker Chris Hughes was knocked out of the scrimmage late and Mullen said he was “all right but just got his bell rung” after being led off the field by members of the MSU training staff as a precautionary measure.
Redshirt freshman tailback Nick Griffin was favoring his left knee and was working with the MSU training staff on the sidelines throughout the scrimmage after suffering the injury Friday. Mullen said the injury occurred in a non-contact situation while “just jogging”.
“They didn’t want him to go today and we’re going to get that checked out,” Mullen said.
Once again Saturday, senior-to-be tight end Marcus Green was held out of contact situations due to his continued rehab over his knee injury suffered early last season.
Mississippi State's next open practice will be Tuesday as they continue to move toward the 2011 spring football game at Davis Wade Stadium on April 9.