STARKVILLE • Mississippi State is taking some time to rest up and heal during its second open date of the season.
The Bulldogs practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday but will take the rest of the week off before returning to work on Sunday in preparation to play Alabama. The focus of MSU’s work this week has been centered around getting work for some of the younger and more inexperienced players on its roster.
“We have a ton of talent in our true freshman class,” said MSU coach Joe Moorhead. “Those guys did a real good job of competing this week. They made a bunch of plays and I saw a lot of improvement.”
True freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader was among those players who practiced this week. Shrader missed the Arkansas game last weekend due to injury, which allowed senior Tommy Stevens to regain the starting signal-caller role.
Moorhead said he and his staff will have a better idea of how they will utilize the quarterbacks when they resume practices next week.
The coaching staff will hit the road recruiting today and Friday and have already completed two days of game prep for the Crimson Tide.
WALKER TURNING HEADS
One player who continues to impress the coaching staff is junior running back Kareem Walker.
Walker, a former five-star recruit who played in five games at Michigan as a redshirt freshman in 2017, was a late arrival to State and was not cleared to begin practicing with the Bulldogs until Oct. 1.
“Kareem Walker has a chance to be really, really good,” Moorhead said. “He is an older guy that’s been in the Power 5 and has a presence and leadership to him. He really understands football and runs hard. He’s kind of a slasher and has done some nice things.”
The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder from Irvington, New Jersey, is sitting out this season as an academic redshirt and will have one year of eligibility remaining next fall. Having a back of Walker’s caliber on the scout team has been a blessing for the Bulldogs’ defense each week.
“He’s giving those guys a heck of a look,” Moorhead said. “He’s running hard and challenging them. If you don’t get your pads down and square him up, you’re going to bounce off of him.”
YOUNG’S SEASON ENDS
Moorhead announced on Wednesday that redshirt freshman defensive tackle Cameron Young will miss the rest of the season with a lower body injury.
Young sustained the injury against Arkansas last Saturday. The 6-foot-3, 305-pounder from Crosby had appeared in eight games this season and recorded five tackles, one of which was for a loss.
Young is the fourth player Mississippi State has lost for the year, joining senior running back Alec Murphy, senior defensive end Fletcher Adams and senior cornerback Maurice Smitherman.