A Q&A With MSU Safeties Coach Tony Hughes

Mississippi State safeties coach Tony Hughes talks about the safety positions.

How about giving an overview of the safety positions.
"I think overall we had an excellent spring and off-season. Nickoe Whitley is the senior leader in our secondary. He has a lot of experience and really improved this spring. He probably had the best spring that he has had since he has been here. Jay (Hughes) played a lot for us last year and even started a couple of games for us. He has gained a lot of confidence. Dee Arrington has experience as does Kendrick Market. We also have a couple of young guys, Quad Antoine and Deonte Evans.

"Those are the guys who are going to have to play for us this fall. I think all of them had an excellent spring and started their summer workouts doing really well."

What do you like about each player?
"Nickoe has great ball skills. Over the last few years he is one of the leaders in interceptions in the SEC. For us to be really good on defense and in the secondary, we need for him to have a really big year. Everybody knows about his hitting ability; he just has to be more of a leader back there.

"Jay's strengths are his intelligence and his great passion for the game of football. He is a very good student of the game. He moves around and is usually in the right spot to make plays.

"Dee is a big, strong, physical type guy who is excellent against the run. He is a good tackler in space. He's a good, solid football player.

"Market probably improved the most of any player on the defensive side of the ball. He can run, hit and tackle and loves to play the game. Hopefully, he will continue to develop and be a really good player for us this fall.

"Deonte Evans is talented but is still learning. He's a redshirt freshman. We are just looking for him to find a role to play in the secondary.

"Quad Antoine is also a young kid that has to continue to learn and find a role to play."

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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