USM, MSU football looks good spring

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 13, 2000

USM wound up its spring fling last Saturday, while Mississippi State finishes off-season football practices with its game this Saturday. Ole Miss had its wrapup scrimmage a week or so ago.

Looking for a solid subject to finish off spring games, coach Jeff Bower chose linebacker talk for prime time media discussions where his 2000 Golden Eagles are concerned, while State head coach Jackie Sherrill chose to talk about possibly needing a punter this fall because of the expected offensive clout in camp.

Southern lost a good ‘un in linebacker T. J. Slaughter from last fall’s varsity, and talk at USM is that Rod Davis, a 228-pound former Gulfport High safety that redshirted as a freshman last fall, is heir-apparent at the post.

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In their last scrimmage, Davis broke up a pass and made six tackles. USM defensive coordinator Dave Wommack talked about Davis’ natural instincts, and everyone knows how important that is to the position. He is a vocal leader and simply rugged-sounding at all times, it is said.

There’s even depth in the USM camp at defensive end, where a prospective All-American holds way. That wound be Cedric Scott on the other end.

Defense was the main topic as spring drills wound down, for coach Jeff Bower’s comments did for a fact have to do with the Golden Eagles’ expected overall defense, one thing he likes to work hard on. Like all head coaches.

Southern’s going to be good again; look for it this fall.

At Mississippi State, meantime, things are really looking up offensively according to coaches’ word of mouth out of spring camp. In fact, Columbus Dispatch assistant sports editor Danny Smith opined as well for the April 7 edition that &uot;with the way the offense has looked in practice, the Bulldogs might not need to punt very much next season.&uot;

That’s mainly a way of crediting the Dogs’ offense with being prospectively good again, but Danny’s nearly and probably on the (spring training) scene much of the time, talks to the coaches, and knows what he sees for himself.

As regards punting at State, Smith says Prentiss Cole is working most at the position this spring. Big shoes are left to be filled, for All-SEC punter Jeff Walker graduated.

Starting quarterback Wayne Madkin is back, a solid plus for MSU. Coach Sherrill has complimented Madkin all along, noting that he has thrown well this spring. He won’t have leading ’99 receiver Kelvin Love to chunk to anymore. He graduated after catching 43 passes for 834 yards last fall.

State coaches are eyeing the cornerback position, where one-half of the ’99 tandem returns. That wound be Fred Smoot, but graduated Robert Bean was good enough that coaches bemoan the loss.

State’s spring game is scheduled for April 15 as part of Super Bulldog weekend. Things don’t look bad over Starkville way. It won’t be long ’til we see.

VIJAY SINGH – credit him with hanging tough in the heralded Master’s golf tournament. And credit the Fiji native with a steady-as-you-go pace in the face of fierce competition. Even Tiger Woods made a move before falling back again.

But it remained for Ernie Els to come the closest, three strokes behind, while David Duval and hot-putting Loren Roberts were another stroke back.

Reporter Mike Lopresti called Singh’s final victory-sealing 69 an &uot;unblinking&uot; one, crediting him with facing down first Duval then Els and Woods. And all that the Augusta Masters could throw at him.

The prettiest and the best, Augusta’s Masters and its famous mystique.