Offense Studied For Second-Half Season Plans

The players' pace slowed briefly for an open date. The coaches? Not much. Certainly not for coordinator Les Koenning. He not only had initial preparations to make for Kentucky this week, but assessing six games' worth of offense in advance of the season's second half.

In complete detail, too. "As we went through it we evaluated all our down-and-distances, our red-zone," Koenning said. "And, found out what we're doing good and what we need to improve on, worked on it, and also prepared for Kentucky. So it was a two-fold deal for us. Get a little healthy, too."

Health or lack thereof has played a part in how Mississippi State's offense functioned through the first half of the schedule. And, not functioned en route. Certainly the injuries have made keeping a consistent lineup on the field week to week, and cost cohesion as well.

This, Koenning said, is where a literal play-by-play evalution of, well, everything makes a difference as State puts together plans for the upcoming contests. Because as he said Monday, "The game tape doesn't lie."

"It comes down to the game tape and you watch the players play in those situations. The coaches aren't around them, and see how they take accountability and see what they can do. I think that's so critical when you evaluate things. In practice it's hard because you're on them all the time, you're around them."

"But when you watch them in the game that's truly what they are. We saw some really good stuff and we saw some stuff we need to improve on. Also quarterback, we had both of them healthy all week so it was really easy for me to get those guys the reps and get them ready."

What does it mean for LaDarius Perkins to be getting stronger each week? "It's big for us. Perk getting healthy is really big. I think it's a big plus for our offense, I think it's a big plus for him. It's going to help us dramatically, it's going to give us depth. It also gives us some speed."

What has Jameon Lewis done to make the big jump this season? "Getting open is a big quality as a wide receiver! So that's part of getting the ball, if you're open you have a tendency to get the ball."

"Again I think number one, he's understanding the system more and more each year. We knew the talent was there. But understanding where to be in the right place, you just can't kind of run and get open. You have to be in the right spot and he's shown us that he's doing that, and he's getting the ball."

Through six games how far have the freshmen receivers and running backs come? "A long way. We've still got a ways to go, don't quote me on saying they don't. They know that just learning the system is the hard part. It's not so much the plays…I shouldn't say the plays, it's part of the system. But once they know what to do then their technique can take over. And they're still learning what to do."

How have the receivers as a whole improved? "Oh, they've gotten better each week. Again knowing where to go and what places to get to is going to make them play faster. Let them catch the ball, let them concentrate on fundamentals rather than concentrating am I in the right spot, am I lined up in the right formation? Those things. Now they're concentrating on more technique."

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