August 19, 2010

Offensive line preview

The Mississippi State offensively line has certainly grown during the last year under John Hevesy.

The Bulldogs growth up front has not all been from a physical standpoint either. Their mental fortitude has also developed under his watch and with the return of four starters has the makings of a solid group.

"I think it was just getting to know the offense and I think they have a lot more confidence assignment-wise and physically," Hevesy said. "They've made a lot of progress in technique, fundamentals and attitude. I think their attitude more than anything because the guys that are back are starting to get more confidence in what they can do."

MSU's offensive front paved the way for the SEC's top rushing attack in 2009 and finished ninth nationally in that category with better than 225 yards per game on the ground.

Seniors Derek Sherrod and J.C. Brignone along with juniors Quentin Saulsberry and Addison Lawrence all return in the trenches from a season ago.

The only newcomer added to the mix is sophomore Tobias Smith. The 6-foot-3, 305-pounder takes over at right guard for departed senior Craig Jenkins. Smith was slated as the starter heading into 2009 but went down for the second straight year with an ankle injury in fall camp.

The projected starting unit has appeared in 116 games and made 82 career starts together.

Sherrod anchors the line as All-SEC selection at left tackle. He has 33 games of experience and 22 starts under his belt. He is joined on the opposite end by Lawrence, who started all 12 games for the Bulldogs a season ago.

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