• 57°

Croom thinks Bulldogs are showing steady progress

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — : Mississippi State’s Sylvester Croom feels like he finally has the offensive personnel to run the West Coast-style system.

The Bulldogs finished last in the league in passing last season, relying heavily on tailback Jerious Norwood and the ground game.

With Norwood gone, Croom signed three wide receivers to help sophomore quarterback Michael Henig and the passing game.

He also moved quarterback Omarr Conner to receiver.

“We can finally run the offense now, do the things that we like doing,” Croom said. “Basically, we withdrew into a shell last year, became a very conservative football team, because we didn’t have a lot of receivers and because of inexperience on the offensive line.”

Henig started the final three games last season. He broke a toe on his left foot running up stairs in June, but said a doctor cleared him this week to participate in practices next week.

The Bulldogs have won three games in each of Croom’s first two seasons. Henig thinks both the offense and the record should see improvement this season.

“He is through with the baby steps,” he said. “Our goals are to win the division, go to a bowl game and just give the fans what they want.”

And, on his rebuilding program, Croom offered this, “They built a national championship program at Miami. When I was playing at Alabama, Miami was a homecoming team every week. They built a national championship program at Florida State, they built one at Clemson. Why can’t we build one at Mississippi State?

There’s no difference.”

MSu quarterback Michael Hennig is looking forward to the first game of the year, an SEC showdon against South Carolina in Starkville that will be televised nationally by ESPN.

“I couldn’t dream of anything better than opening the season against South Carolina,” he added. “We are going to have to step it up and play hard. We are exciting to start and to know that a lot of people will be watching.”