Scott Sallach Interview, June 23, 2014

Mississippi State tight ends coach Scott Sallach talks one-on-one with Gene's Page about his position players.

What are your thoughts about your tight ends going into the season?
"I feel pretty good going into the season. I think we had a good spring. You want to make sure you are better after the spring than you were starting the spring.

"They performed better as the spring went on. (Senior) Malcolm Johnson had a great spring. (Sophomore) Gus Walley also had a great spring because he was able to finally stay healthy. I think if he continues to stay healthy you'll see why Coach Mullen wanted Gus in the Mississippi State football program. He has a lot of ability that will help us be successful.

"We also have depth for the first time in a while. I'm happy with the way the position has developed over the last couple of years.

"We have (seniors) like Malcolm Johnson and Brandon Hill, both of whom have played in a lot of games during their careers here. And Brandon Hill gets hurt (last season), and (freshman) Artimas Samuel stepped up and starting playing. Due to that, it is a much different scenario."

You mentioned Artimas Samuel. He was a freshman last season. How has he progressed since the end of the season?
"The biggest difference for any freshman is the speed of the game. And (after you have played) things start slowing down. But it's a slow process.

"As an example, take a player like Malcolm Johnson, an All-SEC performer. It has taken him a long time to become good at the things that allows you to be successful at that position. But even Malcolm still has a lot of things to learn. It's not done in one big leap but in steps. And Artimas is taking those steps now."

Redshirt freshman B.J. Hammond moved from wide receiver to tight end and is really in a great situation because he has a lot of veterans in front of him that will allow him to develop at his own pace.
"It is a good situation for the young guys because we have Brandon and Malcolm, two seniors who have been around the block, played in all of the stadiums. That is a good situation for B.J. to be in."

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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