By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Corey Broomfield knows the best way to be remembered: Get his hands on the ball.
It’s something the Mississippi State cornerback has been adept at doing the past two seasons. The junior owns nine interceptions in his career, just seven shy of the school record, held by Walt Harris.
“At Mississippi State that’s one thing we take pride in. We take pride not only in getting the ball but putting it in the other end zone,” Broomfield said.
It’s a sentiment shared by his fellow defensive backs, especially the corners.
“That’s what all cornerbacks want to do, get interceptions,” junior Johnthan Banks said. “In our defense, we’re out there to tackle, but people ain’t going to notice us for getting just 70 or 80 tackles – that’s for linebackers and D-linemen and safeties.”
During his breakout redshirt freshman year, I asked Broomfield about what he wanted to accomplish at MSU. Aside from winning, he said he wants to see his picture on the wall of the football offices someday, alongside those of Harris and Fred Smoot, both All-American cornerbacks at MSU.
“I ain’t up there yet,” Broomfield said with a huge smile. “I ain’t reached my goal yet, so if I ever get the big head, you remind me, because I still ain’t got my picture up there.”
He’s got time to cement that legacy.
MSU will be leaning on Broomfield and the rest of the secondary this season, or at least that’s the conventional wisdom. There are some key losses at defensive end and linebacker the Bulldogs must overcome.
The Bulldogs don’t seem too worried about the turnover. The philosophy remains exactly the same, even after defensive coordinator Manny Diaz left and Chris Wilson was promoted to the post.
The goal, Broomfield said, is to “touchdown-proof our defense.” The Bulldogs were ninth in the SEC in pass defense last season (237.8 yards per game) but was third in scoring defense (19.8 points per game).
MSU didn’t give up a lot of big plays in the passing game – just three of 50-plus yards, well below the national median of nine (according to cfbstats.com).
State also forced 28 turnovers, tied for third in the league, and 13 of those were interceptions. Broomfield had three of the picks.
Three of his nine career interceptions have been returned for touchdowns.
Turnovers are what MSU’s corners do, and while they’d prefer to get a bunch of three-and-outs, well, Broomfield can see an upside to not doing that.
“You’re mad when they get a first down on a third-and-5,” he said, “but at the same time you get three more downs to create another turnover.”
Brad Locke (email@example.com) covers Mississippi State for the Daily Journal and blogs daily at NEMS360.com.