A Q&A With Coach Les Koenning

Mississippi State quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Les Koenning talks about how the quarterbacks and the offense looked overall during the first day of spring practice.

How did the quarterbacks look today?
"We were very rusty. We need to keep throwing the ball and get better at it. I was pleased with some things and some things I wasn't. I'll know for sure after I get through watching the film. I didn't like the interceptions. We'll find out what happened with those, then we'll clean it up."

This was really your first time to see true freshman Dak Prescott on the field. What are your thoughts about him?
"Oh wow, I was just really happy that he got the play-call done. And that he was in the right direction to execute a play. A couple of times he was on the wrong side of the field, but then he got it fixed and he was in really good shape."

We already know what Chris Relf can do. You had Tyler Russell and Dylan Favre out there. How did those two do?
"Dylan led us in interceptions today. I wasn't pleased with that and he wasn't pleased either. Tyler also threw one and Relf threw one. We'll see what happened on those. Dylan told me he got baited on one and on the other one I don't know what happened because I lost track of the ball. It still doesn't matter because it was intercepted. We have to make sure we don't do that."

What are your thoughts about the offense overall in the last drill of the practice where the offense went against the defense?
"At times we were good and at times we weren't. But we are so much farther ahead than we were this time last year. When we ran our offense last year we were still teaching. Now, we are in a little bit more of the reacting mode but we are still rusty. When you get out there and kids are running in the right areas it's a little easier to read it. It might not be the perfect route but they are in the right area. This time last year we were still teaching because they were so young. They've been here a year and have had the chance to go through our program so now they are a little more advanced. But we also expect more."

Two keys to the offense are the center and left tackle. Both of your starters from last year, J.C. Brignone and Derek Sherrod, are gone. What did you see from their possible replacements today?
"It's hard for me to watch individuals. I really have to watch the whole team to see what is going on so I can see what is breaking down and what we need to do. Due to that, it's hard to individually watch the left tackle or the center or any individual position. You are watching coverages, progressions, and reads so it's really hard to watch individuals. I can answer that after I watch the film."

Who are the top candidates for center and left tackle?
"One of them (at left tackle) is Blaine Clausell and also James Carmon. We'll find out what they did. Quentin Saulsberry is the center. J.C. was our vocal leader. He could gather the troops up. We'll probably miss him due to that. Anytime a coach has to do that it's not real good. But when a player does it it is a really good deal."

Would Dillon Day be the center backup? Also, who else will be at center?
"Yes, I'm sure (Day will be). I don't know who else will be there right now. We are waiting to see how it goes through the spring. Plus, it's hard to tell who will do what until we get the pads on and see how they do."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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