Today's opinion offering looks at Corey Broomfield, Mississippi State's junior cornerback, and his proclivity for coming up with the football. He's got nine career interceptions halfway through his college career, so the school record of 16 – held by Walt Harris – is well within reach.
Interceptions are, of course, a big deal to defensive backs. MSU's secondary members take great pride not just in making interceptions, but in scoring touchdowns off them.
There is a strong belief among the DBs that they can make anything happen at any time, and that helps explain the mentality the entire defense possesses. In my column, I briefly touched on MSU's ability to limit big plays and keep teams out of the end zone, and I cited its pass defense stats from last year: 237.8 yards per game, ninth in the SEC and 91st in the country.
"When they start giving out points for yards, that's when we'll care about them," Broomfield said. "So I don't care if you run for 5,000 yards and score zero points, I could care less."
MSU gave up 19.8 points per game last season, which ranked 21st in the nation. None of the 20 teams ranked ahead of State gave up so many passing yards, and only eight of them allowed more than 200 per game.
How do the Bulldogs do it?
"They might catch it in front of us, we've got to make sure we tackle the catch and just eliminate YAC yards – no yards after the catch," Broomfield said.
And no matter how close to the goal line the opponent gets, Broomfield said his team never goes into panic mode. The Bulldogs are just looking for that opportunity to make something big happen.
"You want to keep making them snap the ball," said Broomfield, "because if they get to the 1-yard line, the whole crowd might be down, but they don't realize they could throw an interception or fumble it the next play and no points on the board. And if you get the field goal team out there, that's another chance for us to score in my mind. We block the field goal and we're going to score six points."
• Here's my practice update from today's Journal.
• If you didn't catch it last night, I've got video of offensive guard Gabe Jackson.
• Finally, in yesterday's Bulldog Update, athletics director Scott Stricklin shared a really cool letter from a fan about his son meeting kicker Derek DePasquale.