Mississippi State back on field after troublesome break

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) It's safe to say Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is pleased spring break is over and spring football practice has begun.

The Bulldogs went through their first day of spring drills on Tuesday, trying to build off a 10-3 season that included a trip to the Orange Bowl. It was a fairly uneventful practice, which was a pleasant change considering the previous week was far from quiet.

Mississippi State players were involved in several off-field situations:

- Three football players - including quarterback Dak Prescott - were involved in a fight in Panama City Beach, Florida. Prescott was hit with a bottle in the altercation but didn't have to go to the hospital. The three players elected not to press charges and came back to Starkville immediately following the incident.

- Top returning receiver De'Runnya Wilson was arrested along with three other people and charged with marijuana possession second degree and possession of drug paraphernalia in Andalusia, Alabama.

- Freshman offensive lineman, Elgton Jenkins, was arrested and charged with simple assault stemming from an incident during a snowball fight on Mississippi State's campus in February. Mississippi State police said they were still investigating the incident.

Mullen said Prescott is ''fine'' after the fight. The coach said he's had conversations with his quarterback - who was in the Heisman Trophy discussion last season - about avoiding bad situations.

''These guys are kids - they want to go out and try to have fun,'' Mullen said. ''You try to get guys to make good decisions, but they're college kids.''

Mullen said any punishments for Wilson or Jenkins, who were both arrested, will be handled internally.

''Any time any of our players are accused of anything, we thoroughly investigate it,'' Mullen said. ''We want to get a full, thorough investigation of what goes on, cooperate with all the authorities involved and then when we get to the bottom of the reality of the situation then we will look at discipline issues.''

On the field, the Bulldogs are hoping to continue their momentum after one of the best seasons in school history. Prescott returns after throwing for 3,449 yards and 27 touchdowns last season while also running for 986 yards and 14 touchdowns.

But several key pieces around him have to be replaced. Mullen must find three new starting offensive linemen and a new lead running back to take over for Josh Robinson, who ran for 1,203 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.

The offensive line is particularly concerning, especially at center. The Bulldogs' top three centers from last year have all departed, leaving a huge void on the depth chart. Junior Jamaal Clayborn took most of the 1st-team snaps on Tuesday.

''We're going to be experimenting there a bunch,'' Mullen said.

The Bulldogs are also trying to plug some holes on the defense after the departure of mainstays like linebacker Benardrick McKinney, defensive end Preston Smith and defensive back Justin Cox.

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Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

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