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Thursday, March 3, 2011
Opening spring camp: Mississippi State

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Schedule: Practice was supposed to start Friday, but was moved up to Thursday because of the weather. The spring game is scheduled for April 9.

What’s new: Chris Wilson, the co-defensive coordinator last season, takes over for Manny Diaz as the Bulldogs’ primary defensive play-caller. Geoff Collins is the new co-defensive coordinator and will also coach linebackers. Angelo Mirando was promoted to receivers coach.

On the mend: Offensive guard Tobias Smith will do very little, if anything, this spring after undergoing shoulder surgery in January. Tight end Marcus Green will be limited after partially tearing the ACL and spraining the MCL in his right knee last season in the second game. Receiver Chad Bumphis who broke his collarbone and missed the Gator Bowl last season will be full go, according to Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen.

On the move: James Carmon, who came to Mississippi State last year as a defensive tackle, is moving to offensive tackle. The 6-7, 330-pound Carmon will get a shot to replace Derek Sherrod at left tackle.

Key battle: Juniors Trevor Stigers and Shane McCardell are listed as the co-starters at Pernell McPhee’s old defensive end spot.

New faces: Junior college signee Joey Trapp will be in the mix in the offensive line rotation. Quarterback Dak Prescott, defensive end John Harris and offensive lineman Nick Redmond are all high school players who enrolled early and will go through spring practice.

Breaking out: If senior quarterback Chris Relf improves as much from this spring to next season as he did from last spring to last season, then look out. The 6-4, 240-pound Relf was one of the most improved players in the league in 2010. He’s a bruising runner (713 rushing yards) and made huge strides as a passer. One of the goals this spring will be to improve his accuracy as a passer. He completed 58.6 percent of his passes last season.

Don’t forget about: Even though Vick Ballard was second in the SEC with 20 touchdowns, rushed for 968 yards and had an outstanding debut season for the Bulldogs, sophomore LaDarius Perkins provides a different dimension at running back with his speed. He added three receiving touchdowns to his three rushing touchdowns last season and averaged 5.6 yards per carry.

All eyes on: The Bulldogs lost all three of their starting linebackers, which means this spring will be critical for younger guys like redshirt freshman Ferlando Bohanna.