LB Coach Amos Jones Liked What He Saw

Two of Mississippi State's most highly touted freshmen signees are linebackers Jimmy Miller (6-1, 222) and Jamar Chaney (6-1, 215). MSU linebacker coach Amos Jones talked about his first impressions of both players after Thursday's practice.

Just about every coach in America knew about Miller and Chaney, at least based on how highly recruited they were. Coach Jones, after seeing both of them in practice for the first time, completely understands why they were so highly coveted.

"With Jamar, you see the athleticism and the size that made him a high level recruit within this conference," said Jones. "And Jimmy is a guy that will line them up right. He is what you probably want in a MIKE linebacker from the standpoint of getting them lined up and taking things on with leverage. You can definitely see why they were recruited."

He also noticed several other things about them: Speed, intensity and experience at linebacker.

"There is some speed in our freshmen group," he said. "Jamar Chaney and Jimmy Miller have an intensity about them. And both of them are linebackers. We aren't looking at safeties being converted to linebackers. We are looking at two guys that played linebacker in high school. Instead of bringing in a safety and having to teach him how to take on blocks, how to line up and all the other things a linebacker does, they already know how to do those type things. You notice that right off the bat."

But, despite having all the talent and the necessary intangibles you look for in a linebacker, they are still freshmen and have to deal with the same problems any freshman has to deal with.

"The negatives for them right now is they will get some overload on the scheme and they need to learn how we do thing, practice-wise, intensity-wise," said Jones. "It's not so much how fast they pick up the scheme - because they are going to have mental mistakes - it's just a matter of making them know we want them to run full speed. We just need to make sure they continue running to the ball and use their athleticism."

Although Miller was here for the second half of the summer for the summer conditioning work, Chaney wasn't. Was his conditioning a negative for him during his first full day of practice?

"To be honest, he looked like he ran pretty good today," said the somewhat surprised Jones. "He was not lagging behind. That is a positive because you worry about his conditioning due to what he has had to go through."

Is Jones ready to proclaim both players ready and able for the heat of battle in the SEC after what he saw his first day?

"We'll let the pads tell that," said Jones. "As a linebacker, they have to hit somebody, but I think they will."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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