This week’s game: vs. No. 25 Georgia Tech (3-1), 6:35 p.m., CSS (announcers: Doug Bell play-by-play, Chris Doering color), ESPN360.com, XM Channel 242, Sirius Channel 211.
In this morning’s Daily Journal you’ll find a story examining how Mississippi State’s defense will approach Georgia Tech’s spread option offense on Saturday. The gist: Stay with your man, do your assignment. As MSU defensive coordinator Carl Torbush calls it, “pure football.” But let’s take a closer look at particular keys to keeping the Yellow Jackets in check.
• Mind the gaps: GT’s offensive lineman are loosely spaced and can stretch a defensive line. Said Torbush, “You’ve got to make sure, first of all, that you’re in the correct gap, that you’re taking the right responsibility. And then it’s not just a matter of that, then you’ve got to tackle them.”
• Get a piece: DL Kyle Love said even though the Bulldogs need to stay on their man, there is a way to help each other out. “Hopefully, what we can do with the D-line is – they do a lot of veer blocking – for us to help out linebackers, we have to get a piece of them, the guards and the tackles that are trying to veer block. If we can get a piece of them, that’ll help the linebackers out a lot more. And that’ll cause less one-on-one, open-field tackles. If we can do that, if we can get more guys around the ball, it’ll be stopped.”
• Stay focused: Tech only throws the ball about a dozen times a game, so the DBs have to make sure they don’t get lulled to sleep and are ready to cover or help out against the run. “When stuff happens and you’re moving your eyes, you get kind of worried and make sure there’s nothing coming your way, but you’re still watching to make sure don’t nothing get outside,” CB Damein Anderson said.
• Beware the long ball: While Tech QB Josh Nesbitt‘s numbers aren’t great – he completes just 43 percent of his passes – the kid can fling it. He averages 20.3 yards per completion. And of course, he can run, averaging 77.5 yards per game. Said Torbush, “You think you’ve got him hemmed up, and he’s scrambling around, and he throws that ball about 60 yards down the field. Most of his plays are off play-action pass, so we’ve got to be able to adjust and adapt to that.”
• Contain Dwyer: That’s RB Jonathan Dwyer, who actually lines up like a fullback. He’s 235 pounds but faster than you’d think. He had an 88-yard TD run against State last season. “They give him the ball on some counter-option game, and he runs extremely fast,” Torbush said. “You better know where he’s at every snap and be able to stop him, or you’re getting ready to have some trouble.”
OK, let’s hit some links, people.
• The Times Daily of Florence, Ala., reports that MSU assistant coach Mark Hudspeth misses North Alabama but has no regrets coming to Starkville.
• Here’s one man’s breakdown of the Georgia Tech-MSU game.
• And the AJC’s Tony Barnhart has his Fearless Friday Forecast. Who’s he pick to win in Starkville? Well, go and see.