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April 18, 2011Curtis Virges' redshirt season was going according to plan in 2010 as he was learning the ropes as a rookie defensive tackle.
But late in the fall Virges saw his practice time come to an end with a labrum injury that required offseason surgery. The 6-foot-3, 290-pounder was back on the field this spring but was still not at 100-percent.
"I don't know the exact percentage number," Virges said. "I know everything is straight but I have to take pain pills just to make it through practice. Another than when I'm out at practice it doesn't bother me that much. I'm caught up with weightlifting but I still have those days where it won't go."
Even though he is still recovering, Virges considers this spring a success.
"It went straight," Virges said. "I got a lot better with my technique and that comes with a lot more reps. "As far as getting on a program and helping me learn the speed of the game it helped me a lot."
Virges recorded one unassisted tackle in the Bulldogs spring game but will have to make a jump this summer and in fall camp to factor in to the rotation along the defensive line.
"(Virges) has a long way to go," said MSU head coach Dan Mullen. "That's something where he's going to have to take a giant step this summer and fall before he hits that rotation and plays to the level of expectation we expect our d-line to play with."
The West Point, Miss., native has been working closely under co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Chris Wilson to better his game.
"He's a cool coach and keeps it real," Virges said. "If you do something wrong he's going to tell you. He's not going to tell you any lies or baby talk you because you're a man."
Virges came to the Bulldogs as a three-star prospect after helping the Green Wave capture a Class 5A State Championship. He made 82 tackles and 14 sacks as a senior and earned a spot in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.
But Virges has found that playing in the Southeastern Conference is quite a change from the prep level.
"It's a lot more tough," Virges said. "You've got to come out here and compete. It's just how it is."