Mike Leach

Mike Leach has made a habit of conducting some practices after his team’s spring games, as he did last season at Washington State. He had planned the same thing for his first spring in Starkville before all college athletics were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

STARKVILLE

Tuesday was scheduled to be Mississippi State’s final spring football practice, and normally I would use this space to review what all I’ve learned during those practices and the spring game.

But these aren’t normal times and the Bulldogs weren’t able to get any practices in before most of the world was shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So instead of an evaluation, I’ll share some things that I expected or looked forward to seeing in Mike Leach’s first spring at MSU.

The top thing I was looking forward to was just being around Leach and seeing how he operates on a day-to-day basis. If you’ve followed my tweets over the years, you know that I was an admirer of Leach’s antics long before he arrived in Starkville.

I wanted to see how his practices worked and if he really could install his offense to run somewhat effectively in a two-week window like he bragged about in his introductory press conference. I looked forward to all the sound bites and off-the-wall tangents he’s so famously known for and how I’d incorporate those into my stories while still focusing on football as well.

Leach’s air raid offense would’ve been the focal point of most of my spring coverage. How would State’s dual-threat quarterbacks adjust to the pass-heavy system? Would freshman Will Rogers have a leg up on the rest of the QBs having come from a similar style offense in high school? How many rushing attempts will Kylin Hill get and what other ways will he be utilized? Which wide receivers will shine with the change in scheme and what roles will the former tight ends have in the offense?

These are all questions that will still have to be answered whenever football is given the all clear to resume.

But offense isn’t the only side of the ball the Bulldogs are making a change with. Zach Arnett was set to switch the defense from a 4-2-5 scheme into a 3-3-5 and I wanted to see which players were shuffled where as a result.

Mississippi State already had nine players from its 2020 signing class enrolled for the spring semester and were set to get a jump start on their careers. Among those nine are the Bulldogs’ highest-rated recruits – running back Jo’Quavious Marks, defensive end Jordan Davis and wide receiver Malik Heath – so we wouldn’t have had to wait long to see the best prospects MSU signed in maroon and white and find out if they can provide an immediate impact.

I’d also be curious to know if spring ball might’ve impacted any of the three players that have entered the transfer portal over the past few weeks. I suspect not, but we will never fully know for sure.

This spring has been a different one for a lot of reasons and I am certainly looking forward a time – hopefully in the near future – when I can get back to covering the sports that we all love and learning more about Leach’s Bulldogs.

Logan Lowery (logan.lowery @journalinc.com) covers Mississippi State for the Journal. He blogs daily at DJournal.com

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