Countdown to Kickoff: 3 Days

We’re counting down to MSU’s season opener against Oklahoma State on Aug. 31, giving you a significant number to ponder as August trudges on. Today’s number is…



As most coaching staffs do, MSU had some turnover after last season. Dan Mullen added three new assistant coaches for this year: Billy Gonzales (receivers), Deshea Townsend (cornerbacks) and David Turner (defensive line). In talking with players over the course of preseason camp, I’ve been able to get a good picture of how they view these new coaches.

Gonzales and Townsend certainly have their work cut out for them, taking over position groups that lost all their starters from last season. Gonzales has a history with Mullen – the two coached together at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida from 2001-08 under Urban Meyer. Offensive line coach John Hevesy was also with those guys during that Meyer run, so there’s plenty of familiarity. The players’ verdict on Gonzales: He’s a very good teacher.

Townsend could be considered sort of a wild card, just because he has so little coaching experience. He does have a 13-year NFL career and two Super Bowl rings on his résumé, but that doesn’t guarantee success as a coach. The only coaching he’s done prior to MSU was two years as an NFL assistant with Arizona. The players’ verdict on Townsend: They love his enthusiasm and energy.

Turner is an older hand, having been an assistant since 1986. And he coached MSU’s defensive line previously, from 2007-09. So he’s worked for Mullen before, and he’s built a solid reputation at coaching and developing defensive linemen. The players’ verdict on Turner: He focuses a lot on technique, and he has a calming influence.

I am the online content coordinator for 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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