"I was pleased. We played the first unit the first half of (the scrimmage). Then I made some substitutions because we are actually trying to find two units that can play. I would like to find 22 guys. I wanted to see all of them against our first-team (offense).
"We stayed fairly simple and ran a couple of different calls, a couple of different blitzes. We will continue adding to the scheme and making sure the guys understand. We stayed simple today because we wanted the guys to execute and play. We think they are playing pretty good.
"We gave up a long run early. I don't know what that was. Other than that, I thought that the defense played decent. We just have to keep getting better."
Are you satisfied with where you are in regard to your players knowing your scheme?
"Yes, I am for a first scrimmage. We've had 8 practices. And for a first scrimmage, I feel real good. I know we have enough talent to where we can get some things done. I was pleased that a big pass didn't go over our head. There were over a 100 snaps and there wasn't a long pass (completed against the defense). There was one long run but, for the most part, our defense played smart, didn't have many foolish penalities. It was a pretty clean day. We just have to keep polishing up.
"I told our guys our goal before the scrimmage was to stop them from running the ball and don't give up any big plays. When we say big plays on defense, we mean 20 yards. I think there may have been two all scrimmage. I think the scheme helped eliminate the big play. You didn't see the DB out on an island by himself. At the same time, we didn't want to have a bunch of missed assignments and mental errors. I don't think we had many of those."
Talk about the players you are using at the linebacker/safety-type position such as Rico Bennett.
"We wanted to make sure we had speed at the linebacker position. Our linebackers, mixed with what we call a Drop, have to be big, fast guys. If you have a guy that doesn't run as well, you put him right in the middle, but he better have instincts. T. J. (Mawhinney) has held down the middle. We feel good with (Marvin) Byrdsong and Jason Clark. We have to find someone else. Rico came on and played well but I have to go back and grade the film.
"Darren Williams and (Kevin) Dockery at safety are solid. Right now, I'm looking for the second group of DBs."
So you feel you have a solid first unit?
"I have some guys who have the potential to play real well. What we are trying to do is put a unit together that can play with everybody we play and beat everybody that we play."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.