A Q&A With MSU TE Coach Scott Sallach

Mississippi State tight ends coach Scott Sallach talks about how his tight ends have progressed since the fall.

Talk about what you have seen from your guys individually?
"With us having three practices and getting a chance to evaluate the guys, it's good to see (senior) Marcus Green running around again. He clearly doesn't have the strength and speed with which he needs to be going with, but coming off knee surgery it's still to see him out there running around and trying to take a little bit more of a leadership role. His grasp of what we have going on is above and beyond anybody that we have right now. Right now, he's getting a little bit of physical work but a ton of mental work, which will help him immensely in the fall.

"(Senior) Kendrick Cook has done a good job this spring. He's lost a little bit of weight, so he's moving a little bit better. Through three practices, he's looked pretty good. As we get more into the pads, his strength will be getting in there and getting dirty with the defensive guys. With today being the first day in pads and hitting, we didn't do a ton of it obviously. So, it will be interesting how he continues to progress in that manner.

"(Redshirt freshman) Brandon Hill, through three practices, has shown improvement but he still has a ways to go. But he's better than he was when we were prepping for Michigan in the bowl game."

Don't you see a lot of potential in Brandon Hill?
"He has a lot of potential. And it's my job to turn that potential in productivity. I have to keep reminding myself that he is still a freshman and it's a slow process. And he's changed positions, so every day is a new day for him. But he's better than he was, although he still has a ways to go. And I've seen improvement in him in the three days of practice, which is really what you are looking for."

What is his long-term potential?
"Long-term, he has all the skills that you are looking for in the tight end position. He can put his hand on the ground. He can line up as a wide receiver. He can line up like a running back. He can create mis-matches against the defense. He is strong enough to block a defense end. And he is athletic enough to play in space. Potentially, he can do all the things you want a guy at that position to do.

"The thing I have to do is get Brandon ready. This time next year, he's the guy. That's ok as long as he continues to get better every day. But the thing I have are two great leaders in Green and Cook who, when he's standing on the side and I'm working with someone else, can work with him and explain to him what is going on and try to help him with the process."

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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