STARKVILLE – Charles Cross has his order at Moe’s Original BBQ.
When Mississippi state left tackle and his fellow offensive linemen are invited to dinner every Thursday night by quarterback Will Rogers, Cross knows what he’s getting: double shrimp, double fish, baked beans. and macaroni and cheese.
The weekly dinners – which are part of a Rogers name, image and likeness deal with the Main Street staple – are a way for Rogers to reimburse its offensive linemen. And in the Bulldogs’ last two games, the second-year quarterback’s blockers have returned the favor.
Mississippi State has limited its last two opponents, LSU and Texas A&M, to just four sacks – for just 7 total yards. None of the four strikeouts resulted in a loss of more than 3 yards, a sign that the Bulldogs’ offensive line is working as it should.
“The difference is, we’re just playing together, as one,” Cross said on Tuesday. “We are a unit and play as a unit. “
He attributed the time spent on the training grounds and in the weight room, from spring football to summer training to fall camp, saying he had become a “brother” to his fellow starting linemen. : left guard Kameron Jones, center LaQuinston Sharp, right guard Kwatrivous “Dollar Bill” Johnson and right tackle Scott Lashley.
It’s a pretty new group than the five that started last season, but so far the Bulldogs are making it work.
“I think they still haven’t registered a lot of reps together,” head coach Mike Leach said on Monday. “They recorded more than at the beginning, that’s for sure. It’s a group that works and wants to improve, so they are motivated.
Bulldogs expect tough test in Robinson
Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. had 24 runs against Texas A&M in Crimson Tide’s 41-38 loss to the Aggies on Saturday.
The way Robinson was running was like more – for Mississippi State Defensive Coordinator Zach Arnett, anyway. Tuscaloosa’s senior red shirt racked up 147 yards and will be as big a challenge for the Bulldogs’ defense as any running back they face this season.
“I love watching him play,” Arnett said Wednesday. “He directs the ball the way you want a running back to throw it. He’s pretty athletic, he’ll make the guys miss, he can change direction and he’s not afraid to drop his shoulder and let go of the hammer on tackles.
Robinson’s 6-foot-1, 225-pound frame even makes him look a little out of position, which has become a recent joke from Arnett to his linebacker body.
“I said I felt like when I see him before the game, I wish he played more inside the linebacker for us than any of you,” said Arnett.
It’s not just Robinson, of course, who can wreak havoc on the Tide. Jase McClellan is out for the season with a knee injury, but Roydell Williams is averaging more yards per carry – 6.0 – than any other running back in Alabama this season.
“They go straight down, break a lot of tackles,” said Mississippi state linebacker Aaron Brule. “Their 1 to 4 ball carriers can really play. “
Safety for first-year Ellington progresses
Corey Ellington already looks like the state of Mississippi.
Since arriving on campus, the Holmes County Central High School freshman security has gained 15-20 pounds. He learned the Bulldogs playbook and defensive missions.
And he’s set to be the next young defensive player to see the field for Mississippi State.
“It looks like what you want an SEC security to look like,” Arnett said. “Since he feels more comfortable with the mission and the stuff in the program, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him there over the next few weeks.”
Safety coach Jason Washington said things were all new for the Lexington native when he arrived not too long ago, but Ellington is learning fast.
“He picked it up, and I’m proud of him,” Washington said. “He’s taken a lot of things under his wing, and the older guys have been really good to him.”
Washington also mentioned senior red-shirt Jay Jimison among players in his group of positions who may soon be ready for bigger roles.
Theo DeRosa reports on Mississippi state sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.