You can tell spring practice is about to get underway at Mississippi State because the Bulldogs' coveted pre-spring depth chart is out.
Mississippi State kicks things off Thursday and there aren't any surprises on offense, but there's no question that the offensive line will get a ton of attention this spring. The Bulldogs are without tackles James Carmon and Addison Lawrence, so sophomores Blaine Clausell (left tackle) and Damien Robinson (right tackle) will begin the spring in their spots.
With safety Charles Mitchell gone and fellow safety Nickoe Whitley limited with a ruptured Achilles, senior Louis Watson and sophomore Jay Hughes are listed at the starting safety spots to open the spring.
You'll also notice that early enrollee defensive linemen Denico Autry (JUCO defensive end) and Quay Evans (defensive tackle) aren't both listed on Mississippi State's two-deep. Not to fret Bulldogs fans. They aren't in coach Dan Mullen's doghouse. Autry is behind Shane McCardell, but man think he could exit the spring as a starter. They just have to earn their way. Both are highly touted new arrivals and both will have plenty of opportunities to earn spots this spring.
South Carolina practice update
The Gamecocks went through their fourth spring practice Tuesday, but did so without a few players who were dealing with injuries.
Starting center T.J. Johnson sat out Tuesday's practice after suffering a sprained foot last week. Other players out were tight end Rory Anderson (sprained ankle), cornerback Ahmad Christian (concussion), cornerback Cadarious Sanders (hamstring) and linebacker Quin Smith (back).
With South Carolina set to conduct its first scrimmage of the spring Saturday, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward talked about how some players on defense have looked heading into the weekend.
He complimented the play of the line up front, singling out end Gerald Dixon and tackles Gerald Dixon Jr. and J.T. Surratt. Ward said sophomore safety Kadetrix Marcus is doing well on the perimeter, while fellow safety Brison Williams has shown signs of "being a starter for us at the boundary safety spot."
Ward also said that while cornerback Victor Hampton is doing well at times, he has a tendency to take too many chances at times.
This defense is expected to yet again be one of the top ones in the SEC this fall, but Ward said the unit still has a ways to go and still has a lot to clean up in the coming weeks.
“We still have a long way to go,” Ward said. “We’ve seen some slight improvement by some young guys but not enough improvement to where we can feel good about them helping us win a lot of ball games next season. We’ve still got a ways to go, but still have quite a few practices to get it done.
"I feel good about some of the young guys but we’ve got to get a lot more out of a couple of them.”
South Carolina returns to practice Friday at 4:15 p.m. ET and it's open to the public.