What to Watch for in Mississippi State Football's Spring Game

Mississippi State football plays their 2024 spring game on Saturday. Here's what you should watch for.
Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby is pictured before a college football game between the
Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby is pictured before a college football game between the / BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY

Mississippi State football plays the 2024 Maroon and White Spring Game on Saturday to conclude their spring practices under first year head coach Jeff Lebby. This spring has brought about major changes for Bulldog football.

Lebby and a mostly new coaching staff are instilling their culture for the program and implementing new schemes on both sides of the ball. The roster looks almost entirely new from a season ago with new faces at plenty of key positions, and even many of the returnees haven't previously been impact players.

Those factors add to the intrigue of the spring game, and while spring games have become increasingly less relevant to evaluating a team for the upcoming fall, we still have plenty of things we'll be closely watching to try and obtain some sort of takeaway about the Bulldogs.

Here's what to watch for when Mississippi State hits the gridiron on Saturday...

Jeff Lebby's offense

This one is obvious, but it's what State fans will have the closest eye on in the spring game. Jeff Lebby is known for offense. Specifically, he's known for producing some of the most explosive, fast-paced, and high-scoring offenses in the nation.

His scheme is unlike anything we've seen run in Starkville previously, and everyone is eager to see how that looks in the spring game. Of course, it's unlikely Lebby unveils too much of his system in a glorified scrimmage, but I'd wager to say that what we see tomorrow will be far more exciting to watch than what we had to endure during the 2023 season.

High impact transfers

State saw massive overturn from the 2023 team. In many senses, that's a good thing. It was time to reset after last season. As a result, they've brought in an extensive transfer class to fill out the roster.

Most of the notable transfers have come on the offensive side of the ball. Former Baylor QB Blake Shapen has been handed the reigns to Lebby's offense, where he'll be throwing to transfers Kelly Akharaiyi and Kevin Coleman while four transfer offensive lineman block for him.

State hasn't added a ton on the defensive side of the ball through the portal, but there are still a few guys to watch. DL transfers Kedrick Bingley-Jones and Sulaiman Kpaka have reportedly impressed in spring practices. It's not fully clear whether or not LB Stone Blanton will participate on Saturday, but if he's ready to go, we'll want to see if he'll be the tackling machine in the middle.

Young faces battling for bigger roles

So much new opens the door for players who've yet to make an impact at State to earn their way onto the field. Can Trevion Williams and Kalvin Dinkins breakout on the defensive line? What about linebackers Khalid Moore and Javae Gilmore? State needs to find new stars in the Front 7.

And of course everyone will be watching the freshman wide receiver trio of Braylon Burnside, Mario Craver, and JJ Harrell. There are plenty of chances to excel in the passing game in this new offense, and these talented young wideouts could easily play a major role this fall.