Collins, Dogs Scouting A 'Complete Offense'

Geoff Collins rightly rates the offenses he's been preparing for in recent weeks highly. Still a verbal slip was a bit much, as the Bulldog defensive coordinator discussed South Carolina. "They're averaging 480 points…" he began, before checking up. "480 points, that would stink!"

Verbal slippage aside, Collins need not exaggerate a thing about this Gamecocks' go-team. South Carolina rates sixth in SEC-game scoring, as well as third in rushing, passing, and total yardage alike. "And they put up a lot of points," Collins said.

Which means yet again Mississippi State's defense is scouting and scheming for any imaginable, and installable, means of slowing down a SEC squad. That is the task of coordinator Collins and staff, who aren't seeing many weak links to attack in Saturday's 12:21et matchup at Williams-Brice Stadium.

"They've got a lot of great talent. Connor Shaw and the Dylan (Thompson) kid are really good quarterbacks, they distribute the ball well to their play-makers. Huge offensive line, and the running back's leading the SEC in rushing. Two athletic tight ends that do a lot of good stuff for their offense as tight ends and as wide receivers, they use them in both spots."

"So they've got a complete offense, and Coach (Steve) Spurrier is one of the greatest play callers in college football history. So I'm excited about the challenge."

The quarterback and running back have been hurt and sick but you can't allow much for that in preparation? "No. They're good players, and then you watch them they're in the top twenty for a reason. Whoever comes in for them on offense makes plays, gets the offense moving. And they obviously have a lot of confidence in whoever is in there playing. So we're prepared for whoever plays, just like last weekend."

You're not buying the flu thing with Shaw? "Whoever plays, we're ready to play. I'm sure they're practicing, getting ready and we have to do the same thing."

Coach Mullen said on film Denico Autry and Kaleb Eulls grade out highly? "Yeah, they did. Coach (David) Turner has done a great job with those guys and they've played at a high level. And the biggest thing you notice about Denico, Preston Smith, Kaleb, is the way they practice. Every day they come out here at practice they put in a good day's work and it's starting to show on Saturdays."

South Carolina's Michael Davis is a power back, but he's used in the passing game too? "He's been a great receiver. They do a great job, they run everybody off vertical and they hit check-downs; they do slip-screens, they do a great job. He has great hands, just a complete back. And that challenge for our underneath coverage is going to be huge because they run everybody out and then have that outlet pass. Then factor in the quarterbacks both can run, so they get the play started with their legs if nothing is open; then they can find a check-down or find somebody open across the middle."

What does Kendrick Market do that we don't see? "One of the biggest things that Kendrick does is just his energy, his enthusiasm. He makes the calls, he gets everybody lined-up. Losing Jay Hughes at the beginning of the season was hard for us. But Kendrick has stepped up with that role. He's one of the best pound-for-pound football players in the conference. And they call him Poke-Dog, and Poke-Dog makes a lot of plays. I love getting the chance to coach him every day."

As a defensive coordinator seeing Jameon Lewis what do you tell your team? "You'd better know where that little poot is every play! He's really good, he's dynamic when he gets the ball in his hands. And you can't fall asleep if you're the back-end, if you've got deep coverage and he's got the ball he might throw it. So you have to make sure you've got every part of your defense covered at all times."

Today's revised depth chart showed more shuffles in the secondary, but it doesn't matter who starts, it's who finishes? "That's exactly right. You look out there at the end of the games, and sometimes I'm like ‘oh he's in right now? OK, that's fine, let's go'. So we just get them all ready, Coach Hughes and Coach Townsend have done a great job with those guys. So whoever plays, plays."

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