Maroon-White Spring Game
When: Saturday, April 20th
Where: Starkville, MS
Time: 12:30 PM CT
Here’s what we’ll be watching Saturday:
A new-look secondary: Only one safety spot held by returner Nickoe Whitley is locked down in the Bulldogs’ revamped secondary. Corners Will Redmond, who redshirted last season, Cedric Jiles, Jamerson Love and Taveze Calhoun are all vying for playing time, with Redmond and Love looking like two starters. Absent will be Johnthan Banks, Darius Slay and Corey Broomfield, as all graduated from an underrated defensive unit and a collectively strong secondary.
Tyler Russell’s new targets: Much like the secondary, MSU’s wide receivers will all be new. Former stars Chad Bumphis, Arceto Clark and Chris Smith give way to Robert Johnson, Jameon Lewis and Joe Morrow in 2013. Get to know these three, because all three are crucial to the offense and will give quarterback Tyler Russell completely new targets to throw to. Morrow is a big down-field threat, while Love is a shifty receiver who is very good in space and will remind you of Bumphis.
One player to keep an eye on: If you’re looking for a spring breakout player on defense, look no further than defensive end Ryan Brown. Brown has emerged as a legit playmaker opposite veteran Denico Autry. He’s currently battling with returner Preston Smith for the starting job. Brown’s arrival is huge for the Bulldogs, especially once freshman Chris Jones hits campus. That gives MSU four legitimate defensive ends to rotate for playing time and help keep each other fresh.
One unit worth watching: Much like the secondary in 2012, MSU’s defensive line will be underrated this season and the anchor of a solid defense. With four legit defensive ends, Kaleb Eulls, Quay Evans and Nick James form a very solid trio at tackle. MSU finished 11th in the SEC in rushing defense, and this group should take a big step forward and is certainly one position group to keep an eye on Saturday.
Photo Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports