"I saw some guys make some plays. The Unfortunate thing about coaching is the things that stick in your mind are the bad things. Things like the inconsistency where we get a drive going and we miss a block up front, or some checks at the line of scrimmage where a back goes the wrong way. The good thing is those things are coachable. Like I told the offense, the encouraging thing is there are some guys out here who can make some plays. Now, it is our job to get it in their hands.
"Without seeing the film first, (about all I can say) is I saw some good plays and good effort. You can't win in this game without some consistency, like, for example, the little, short passes that we threw and dropped sometimes or the quarterback missed, you can't do that. Like I told them, you put me and our offense in a tough position because, if we are calling little ball-control on first down and running a bubble screen out there, you have to hit those everytime. You can't make a bad throw on those situations."
How much has the inconsistency up front due to injuries slowed you down?
"A little bit. What we did today, we really cut down on the number of things that we did, because we've had to move guys around. Today, we had to move a guard out to tackle the entire scrimmage. It was unfair to him, but (Brad) Weathers did a pretty dang good job.
"Monday, we will go back to throwing everything at them. They are struggling with terminology and all the new things that we are doing, but I'm really pleased how far we have come along in what we are doing. The problem is when they run multiple things on defense and the looks all change, we struggle making our calls to match up. As you saw today, we had guys who completely ran through the line of scrimmage free. I'm not going to be upset about some of those things because some of those guys are playing a position for the first time and there are a bunch of different looks.
"It's like I told them before the scrimmage, when the scrimmage is over, if our feeling are that you played hard, you hustled and did all the things we don't want to coach, then I will be happy about the scrimmage. The rest of it is what we are here for. We have to be able to coach guys and get them to do the right things and recognize defenses. The other things you can't coach."
Talk about your quarterbacks.
"I have been pleased with them. We've had one bad practice. That was last Monday. I thought that they came to practice and weren't in it the way they should have been. They came back and had a great practice on Wednesday and a great practice on Thursday.
"I thought they did some things today. The things that made them struggle today was we missed blocks that made them look bad. The thing I said before, when we had those little, short passes that are ball-control, they can't miss any of those. That was the thing I was a little disappointed in. I told them you have to make those plays; there is no excuse. Everybody says you can't hit everything, well yes you can. That's the attitude that they have to have and that's what they have to do."
Are you where you expected to be at this point in the spring?
"I feel good about where we are right now. The thing is how far can we advance now until the last of spring. I told them if we could come out of spring practice and we could break the huddle and run every formation that I want to run with nobody ever lining up wrong and we could do all the motions and shifts, recognize defenses and not blow many blocking assignments, then I would be satisfied. If we have to come back in two-a-days and coach how to get into formations and shifts, then we are behind. We'll know exactly where we are at the end of spring practice.
"What we want to do when we first step our foot on the field for two-a-days, (we want it to be) all coaching, teaching gameplan stuff and techniques. We don't want to worry about things like can you recognize a formation, can you shift, do you know how to go into motion and return. All those things should be just like that (snapped his finger)."
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.