MSU OC Les Koenning Talks Tight Ends

Mississippi State offensive coordinator Les Koenning sat down with Gene's Page and talked about each of the positions on the offensive side of the ball. Today, in part-3, he talks about the tight ends.

Tight Ends

How do you feel about the tight end position going into the season?
"I am really impressed with Marcus Green. He has taken a large ownership in this football team. He really wants to win football games. He comes into meetings early and does other things that it takes to be a really good football player.

"He and Chris Relf are very close. And when you have a close friend who always gets on you about stuff it makes it a little easier as a coach. He's pretty demanding of Chris, which is good. And Chris accepts that since they are such close friends.

"I'm very pleased with what he can do on the football field. The problem he has had is his injuries. He had the hip flexor and the knee. I would love for him to go through a season without getting banged up and getting him the ball and let him make things happen."

What were some positive things you saw from Kendrick Cook during the spring?
"Kendrick and Marcus are different type tight ends. He's more a guy who plays with his hand on the ground whereas Marcus is a kid who can stretch you vertical and put his hand on the ground. Kendrick is as physical as Marcus but he's more of a hands in the dirt tight end."

Those are your two seniors but you have a couple of redshirt freshmen who could have an impact this year - Brandon Hill and Malcolm Johnson.
"In my opinion, Brandon Hill is as talented as Marcus Green. He is really, really talented. He is a freak of an athlete. But he is still learning what to do right now.

"Malcolm Johnson is probably ahead of Brandon right now for two reasons, number 1, he's as talented as Brandon, and number 2, he understands the game of football. He's in the right spot, he understands the passing game, how to get into seams, how to run routes. Whereas, Brandon is very mechanical. Brandon didn't play tight end in high school. But he's very talented; he's as talented as we have. I would love to see him develop and step up."

Recruiting-wise, I guess you are trying to recruit the Green's, Johnson's and Hill's for the tight end position?
"Yes, we want the hybrid kid who can stretch the field and put their hand on the ground. We feel comfortable either way with Marcus. With Malcolm Johnson, he's more of a receiver but we can still use him with his hand on the ground. But he will eventually get to where Marcus is physically. And Brandon can be another Marcus Green if he wants to. He's that talented."

Coming Wednesday Part-4 - Offensive Line/Kickers.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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