A Q&A With Coach Tony Hughes

A one-on-one Q&A with Mississippi State safeties coach Tony Hughes.

Talk about each of your players and how they have done so far this spring. Start with senior Charles Mitchell.
"Charles is working hard. He's picked up where he left off. He's the leader of not only our team but our defense. I think he gives us good leadership and a lot of experience. And we hope that will continue to carry over and make us better."

What are your thoughts about Wade Bonner?
"He's our other senior who is a hard worker and a solid guy. He's stepping up and becoming a leader for us. I'm really, really proud of the way he plays on all the special teams. He's a very unselfish guy and a team player."

What improvements have you see from sophomore Dennis Thames?
"He played on mostly special teams last year. He's come a long way and has made a lot of improvement. He better understands what he is doing from a scheme and terminology standpoint. The end of the year, going through the bowl game, has given him a confidence. Just being out there a year and doing it a year makes him more comfortable now. He doesn't make many mistakes."

Sophomore Nickoe Whitley is also young but played a lot last year.
"Nickoe, of course, played a lot and started quite a few games for us. He's really improved also."

Even though he played a lot, what are some things you want Nickoe to improve on this spring?
"Any time a freshman plays in the SEC, they don't have it all down pat. Believe me, they make a lot of mistakes, mental mistakes and physical mistakes. What we are striving to do is get him to pay attention to detail in everything that he does. We want him to try and improve his recognition, schemes, understand what offenses do. Those type of things. In order to go from a good player to a great player, that is what we are striving to do with him. He has a lot of talent and a lot of potential. We just want him to step it up another notch."

That's a pretty good group.
"Those four guys give us good depth. And all of them have played in games."

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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