STARKVILLE – It has been more than two decades since Brian Baker last coached in college.
Since then, Baker coached in the NFL for eight different teams. But after being let go by the Redskins in 2014, Baker had some time to reflect while coaching at Covenant Christian Academy, a small private school in Colleyville, Texas.
It was there that his desire to return to the college level was rekindled. Baker now has that opportunity as Mississippi State’s new defensive line coach.
“I knew having a chance to deal with kids from 18 to 22, 23 year old kids, that they would be more receptive to a philosophy,” Baker said. “The philosophy is real simple, it’s just an attitude of gratitude. Understanding that them being here as players is a gift from the good Lord. And me being here as a coach is an absolute gift from the good Lord. They should work every day to show that appreciation. Their work should be that attitude. I try to do that through the way i coach and the way I lead.”
Baker was hired on March 1 to replace David Turner, who departed to be the defensive tackles coach at Texas A&M. Although Baker went through just his second spring practice with his position coach on Tuesday, his background in professional football has quickly helped him earn respect from his new players.
“The benefit of being in the NFL, I come in with a pedigree and can get their attention,” Baker said. “I’ve coached some Pro Bowl players and All-Pros and I learned from those guys and they learned from me. So when these guys come in, I have their attention and now it’s up to me to keep it and earn it.”
Baker is one of four new coaches on the defensive side of the ball for the Bulldogs, joining coordinator and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon, cornerbacks coach Terrell Buckley and safeties coach Maurice Linguist.
“It’s a unique staff because three of us have quite a bit of NFL experience,” Baker said. “Peter and Terrell played in the league and I coached in the league for a number of years. They’ve both helped me because they have more college experience than me. They know what I’m used to and have helped me through the process.”
One of the things Baker has had to get reacquainted with is recruiting. That aspect of coaching has changed “1000 percent” according to Baker since he last coached at Georgia Tech in 1995.
Baker has already had to upgrade from his trusty flip phone to a smart phone to keep up with recruits on social media.
“That part of it is completely different,” Baker said. “I can’t wait until we get to the part I know I’m good at and that’s getting in front of mom, dad and the kid in their house and telling them about Mississippi State football and how we can help them be great and reach their potential as young men.”