Mississippi State does not have many questions offensively but one thing Dan Mullen will have to address is at right tackle.
Charles Siddoway has been a bookend for the Bulldogs the last two seasons starting every game. Now MSU will have to find his replacement to complement Blaine Clausell, a three-year starter at left tackle.
Damien Robinson is the likely candidate to take over at right tackle. The former four-star prospect has patiently been waiting his turn for four years and has needed the time to develop. But with only one year of eligibility left it’s now or never for the former Olive Branch standout.
Robinson is a huge guy at 6-foot-8, 335-pounds. However he does not move particularly well which creates a problem against a pass rushing defensive end. The good thing in the Bulldogs case is that Robinson has a long reach and has improved his footwork enough that he is finally serviceable on the field.
The aforementioned Clausell has quietly had a fine career for the Bulldogs. The 6-foot-7, 310-pounder has made 29 career starts including a dozen last year. Clausell doesn’t maul folks over but simply gets the job done protecting the quarterback’s blind side. He will be critical in keeping Dak Prescott healthy in the fall.
Rising sophomores Cole Carter and Justin Senior split reps as the second team left tackle this spring each entering their third year in the program.
Carter is a former high school tight end who has had to learn the art of offensive line the past few years from John Hevesy. He has worked hard to not only improve his technique but also to add weight and was at 302 in the spring on his 6-foot-6 frame. He played in 11 games for the Bulldogs last season.
Senior has had one more semester in the program than Carter having enrolled in January 2012 from Hargrave Military Academy. The Canadian was a project when he arrived but has shown steady improvement. Senior appeared to be much leaner this spring which isn’t necessarily a positive when it comes to an offensive tackle. I’m sure the strength coaches will make it a point to get him back around the 300-pound mark when training camp starts.
Senior appeared in 11 games for State last season including his first career start against Bowling Green.
Jake Thomas is one redshirt freshman I am excited to see step onto the field having covered him quite a bit at Columbus High School. Thomas is a cerebral offensive lineman who could play multiple positions. He began the spring at right tackle but had shifted inside to guard in the latter stages. It will be interesting to see which position he starts off at in the fall.
The move to turn Rufus Warren into a tackle makes perfect sense. He had caught only one pass for 23 yards in his career as a tight end and at 6-foot-7 and a large frame gives the team an athletic tackle. Warren added 30-pounds during the offseason up to 295 so he’s already at the right size.
The task for Warren is can he make the transition mentally to sticking with his hand on the ground. In talking with him it appears he has embraced the move and if he picks things up quickly could contend with Robinson for the right tackle job.
Originally I thought Jocquell Johnson was brought in to be the replacement at right tackle after transferring in during the spring semester from Copiah-Lincoln Community College. That still may be the case but Johnson stayed injured the entire spring so I never got a gauge of where the coaches like him at.