Bulldog quarterbacks look shaky in first scrimmage
By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
April 5, 2004
STARKVILLE Sylvester Croom knew it would take plenty of time and work for his complex offense to be completely installed at Mississippi State University.
The first-year Bulldogs coach, who took over the program after Jackie Sherrill stepped down at the end of the 2003 season, was willing to take all of the bumps and bruises that came along while the team learned his West Coast system.
As patient as Croom may be during the installation process, he will not mince words about the quarterbacks' progression in the system.
Omarr Conner, who played wide receiver last year, and Aries Nelson shared the majority of snaps during the first scrimmage on Saturday with less than ideal results.
The two sophomore quarterbacks combined for four interceptions and no touchdowns during the nearly two-hour session.
Conner completed 6-of-15 passes for 77 yards with one interception, and Nelson went 8-for-23 for 40 yards with three interceptions.
The two quarterbacks also struggled hooking up with the center on the snap, as the exchange landed on the field several times instead of in the quarterback's hands.
The offense didn't only have trouble throwing the ball against the Bulldogs' defense on Saturday. MSU's defense allowed the ball inside the 20-yard line only twice during the scrimmage, and held the offense to 244 yards.
The defense also recorded 11 sacks. Conner and Nelson combined for 17 rushing attempts that failed to net a single positive yard. The two quarterbacks were tackled for a total loss of 54 yards.
Kyle York, who will be held out of throwing drills during the spring as he recovers from surgery to repair rotator cuff and cartilage tears, is the most experienced of the four signal callers. The junior started two games this past season, and has played in 17 games.
Croom, who estimated to have between 15 to 20 percent of the offense installed at the end of spring drills, said York will be in the mix for the quarterback position when he is healthy.