Coach Croom Not Impressed With First Scrimmage


Posted Apr 3, 2004


Mississippi State football coach Sly Croom, a coach that is fast becoming known as a man that is not easily impressed, talked to the media about Saturday's scrimmage, MSU's first scrimmage of the spring.

What were some things you liked and didn't like about the scrimmage?
"We really have to get this quarterback/center exchange (problem) squared away. We have way too many of them for as many days of practice that we have had. Other than that, I thought that late in the scrimmage, when they were tired, we ran the ball well. They showed a little more heart, a little more toughness than what we have been showing in practice. But, we have a long way to go. We are dropping way too many balls when the receivers are open. The quarterback will get them the ball and they will drop it or sometimes the quarterback is open and not getting them the ball. Our protection has to get better. Defensively, we tackled pretty good early. At the end, we looked thin on defense. We got a little tired and started dropping our eyes and looking at our shoes. Overall, it was a heck of a lot better than (Friday). We made some positive steps but they were small, baby steps."

Was there anybody that you felt jumped out during the scrimmage?
"I thought that (redshirt freshman running back)Carlton Rice did some good things running the football. I think he is making a move. All of our running backs made a few plays for us. Jerious (Norwood) has had a good spring. He ran well early and showed a lot more burst than I thought he had. Fred Reid is having a good spring and did some good things today. (Redshirt freshman) Jason Jude, who has a lot of growing up to do, showed some signs of having some ability and can give us some depth. I think we have a little more depth at running back than I thought we had.

"I thought the hit that (sophomore cornerback) Quinton Culberson made was one of our better hits in the spring. Beyond that, I can't tell about our coverage because we don't throw and catch well enough to test anybody back there. Right now, the way we throw and catch you could play linebackers back there. It wouldn't make any difference."

Didn't you think it would be a slow process considering how much the quarterbacks had to learn?
"There was no question that it was going to be a slow process, but not so slow that we can't get the quarterback/center exchange down. We have started off so slow that we can't get started with our progression. We have a lot of work to do. At some point, we will definitely cut some things down and give ourselves a better chance to win, but we are not going to be a bare bones offense. I can tell you that right now. We are going to get somebody that can learn to do what we want to get done."

Did you see anything positive out of quarterbacks Omarr Conner or Aries Nelson today?
"I thought that we were average at best. And average ain't good enough."

(Redshirt freshman) tight end Dezmond Sherrod looked good catching and holding onto a ball after getting hit pretty hard. Talk a little about how he has progress.
"He does some things well, but, like a lot of them, he has a lot of growing up to do."

Were you pleased with the way the defense hit today?
"I thought, for the first day, we ran pretty good to the football. I always check the backside to see how we are pursuing to the ball and I thought our pursuit was pretty good."

What kind of injury did Jerious Norwood sustain?
"I'm not sure. He had run well enough that I told them to not put him back in there anyway. He had practiced well almost everyday."


Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.



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