What do we takeaway from Mississippi State football's 2024 spring game?

After getting our first look at Bulldog football, what takeaways do we have about the 2024 team?
Mississippi State Spring Football Game
Mississippi State Spring Football Game / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Mississippi State football's 2024 spring practices have come to an end. The Bulldogs gave the nation a glimpse of what's in store for their first season under new head coach Jeff Lebby on Saturday with the Maroon and White Spring Game.

Lebby's impact on the program was clearly evident in the scrimmage. His offense prevailed 67-53 against the defense in a unique approach to a spring game. His side of the ball made big plays throughout and looked like the exact brand of offense State fans have been longing for.

So what can we takeaway from the spring game? Let's get it out of the way now: spring games hold very little weight if any. Neither side of the ball was running a diverse scheme, players still have a long way to go in mastering what scheme they did run, and the roster we saw in the spring game won't be the roster come fall.

Still, it's only natural to react to what we've seen, and I think we saw enough to form some rational takeaways from the spring game.

MSU's offensive transfers look the part.

Jeff Lebby loaded up through the transfer portal to make sure his electrifying offense took off in year one, and those transfers impressed on Saturday. QB Blake Shapen completed 18-22 passes for 312 yards and three TDs in just one half of work. WRs Kelly Akharaiyi and Kevin Coleman each caught TDs and combined for 162 receiving yards.

TE Justin Ball had two TD catches, and three transfers made up a first team OL that kept Shapen protected and got good push throughout the game. Jeff Lebby is known for scoring lots of points, and he's added the pieces necessary to the roster to make sure that happens in 2024.

When healthy, State's starting defensive front should be solid.

There's no question that the offense ruled the day in the spring game. Both the first and second team units had plenty of success moving the ball. But with that being said, MSU's starting defensive front showed enough to think that unit should still be solid once fully healthy.

The edge-rushing, brotherly duo of De'Monte and Donterry Russell both played well. Linebackers Branden Jennings, Nic Mitchell, and Stone Blanton all made impressive stops. State was without two of their top interior DL and LB JP Purvis, and Blanton played limited snaps. There's definitely plenty of room for improvement, but I like the potential in the Front 7.

The Bulldog secondary needs work.

Despite allowing lots of success in the ground game, I still have confidence the Front 7 will be a solid unit. I'm more skeptical about the secondary, however. State's DBs got burnt on several occasions and by multiple receivers throughout the day. This offense challenges your DBs to hold up one-on-one, and they weren't up to the task.

Transfer corner Traveon Wright played well, keeping tight coverage most of the day. But otherwise, that group left a lot to be desired. Jeff Lebby said in the postgame State's looking to add another corner, and they did pick up a commitment from Memphis starter DeAgo Brumfield. But I still think they need at least one more option to cover out wide.