On the Links: Opinion Offering; Texas A&M Updates

This week’s game: No. 16 Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2 SEC) at No. 17 MSU (7-1, 3-1), Saturday, 11 a.m., ESPN (Brad NesslerTodd Blackledge and Holly Rowe)


In two days MSU will face the league’s best offense and its most dynamic quarterback, Johnny Manziel. Defending him is something I’m writing about in detail for Friday’s paper, but in today’s opinion offering I look at MSU’s defense and the issues that have surfaced over the course of this season.

And when you consider the effort to slow down A&M, the first area you point to is the run defense. Manziel leads the league in rushing, and the Aggies as a whole lead the SEC in that category. State has had trouble with the run at times, most notably against Troy (223 yards) and Tennessee (213 yards). Besides Manziel, Texas A&M can turn to Ben Malena and Christine Michael in the backfield.

When MSU has trouble against the run, the defensive line has struggled shedding blocks and other defenders tackled poorly. As I wrote in the column, if the defensive issues remain these last four games, it’ll spell trouble. And it’ll tell us that this defense still has a long way to go.

• Some more links for you: Saw this story last night on Dan Mullen and his mother, Barbara Mullen. … ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit believes A&M will give Alabama a bigger test than will LSU. … Manziel is getting some Heisman love. … Kevin Sumlin is impressed with MSU’s secondary.

I am the online content coordinator for DJournal.com. I also co-host The Memo and Prep Rally podcasts and host the Newsbreak program. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04).

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  • jaxdawg

    Read your article on MSU’s defense – very realistic. We’ve got to toughen if we want to win our remaining games.

  • 6571duff

    It’s like I said before, good players can look bad with poor strategy and coaching. MS State has good enough players to compete, and against Bama they were out manned and out coached. When the competition is better, chances have to be taken. If you run a base defense with not much stunting, attacking, disrupting, the SEC will eat you up. Our guys look bad because they are coached not to lose instead of taking the win. If things don’t change, we will lose out, and that will be hugely disappointing. Mullen get’s paid a lot, so a lot should be expected.

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