Execution Is Receiver Corps’ Priority At LSU

Mississippi State wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales talks about his team's upcoming opponent, LSU.

What do you foresee matching up with this LSU defense? “Basically, we’re going to do what we’ve got to do. You look at what they’ve done, they’re young up front but they’re extremely big and fast. In back, they’ve got a lot of hype and talked a little bit about they think that this might be their overall best secondary back-seven that they’ve had in the history of their school.”

“So they’ve got great players. We just have to go out and execute our game. I think our players understand that if we go out and we just execute, that’s all we’re asking of our players to make sure we do. Play mistake-free football, and I think we’ll have an opportunity to be successful if we can do that.”

Was it a conscious decision to get Jameon Lewis more touches heading into SEC play? “I think what you do is you look at teams and how they play. We’ve had this conversation with many players in the past. Sometimes the teams that you play may be giving you more of the outside game with your wide receivers and you’ve got to take advantage of it. The first couple of teams we played did that, they gave us the opportunity to throw the ball a little more to the outside, perimeter guys.”

”This past week we had an opportunity based on their defensive coverage to work the inside a little bit more. So Jameon had a good day for us and a productive day. In order for us to be productive on the perimeter I’m relying on six, seven wide receivers out there weekly to be able to help us. And I think if we can execute at a high level and make big plays…we talk in my room we have to be able to make five big plays of 20-plus yards every game. We didn’t do it this last week. Obviously if we can do that we feel strongly that we’ll be able to put points up on the board.”

Looking at the numbers the offense is pretty balanced run and pass, do you like that? “I do. You know, you’ve got a ton of weapons right now. And when I say weapons, guys that can do their job. What we stress about do their job, I think you look across in the running back position Coach (Greg) Knox is doing a great job rotating guys.”

“You’ve got one ball out there and whether it’s Dak Prescott or whether it’s Josh Robinson or Brandon Holloway or Ashton Shumpert or Nick Griffin coming out of the backfield we feel real strong about all those guys. And on the perimeter we’re rotating guys in right now. Part of it in the first couple of games we try to get some of these young guys reps so now that we’ve hit SEC play it’s oh look at these bright lights. They’ve already been there and done it. Because you need those guys on the perimeter, I don’t think you can play a game nowadays and go full-speed with the same guy not 100%. So you have to have guys you feel comfortable with taking multiple reps for you as well.”

Your receivers have made some vigorous blocks downfield that opened up more gains? “And we expect that. One of the things that Coach Mullen has an emphasis on and the wide receivers. And the tight ends, Coach (Scott) Sallach does a great job with it. They know regardless, I don’t care who you are, if you’re not going to block you’re not going to play.”

“And if you’re blocking, you’re going to be able to probably grade a Champion. If you’re going to grade out a Champion you’re going to be a starter in the game. So those guys all take great pride. And we know we want to make five big plays in our room, but also be able to create big plays to have those running backs spring and make a big play. A lot of that is due to downfield blocking. If they can break through the first part we’ve got to do our job on the back end and help them get in the end zone.”

DeRunnya Wilson drew a couple of penalties, what did you see on the tape? “I think Bear…were they penalties, yeah. I think the one thing, we don’t want penalties. Penalties will kill you.”

“The second part of it, he’s extremely big and an extremely physical player, that’s what he was doing. You penalize because he did have the penalties; but he played physical in a couple of things. I know he had a penalty on a block in the back which it was, but he came in and cracked a guy and dropped someone and tried to get an extra block. The extra block was the penalty. The biggest thing, you coach him up and say listen, the second block? Great effort, but don’t peel-back and block towards the line of scrimmage. Once you make the first block turn around and peel-forward. I love your effort, it’s just coaching the little things. If guys are giving me the effort we can coach little things but again we do have to eliminate the penalties.”

In the offense meeting room what do you see from Josh Robinson? “You know, Josh has definitely done a good job for us. He’s been consistent, been able to run the ball. The biggest thing we talk about paired with the running backs is no different than the quarterbacks with the receivers. Number-one we’ve got to protect the ball; we’ve got to make sure we protect the ball. If you don’t have the ball you can’t win. You take a look at statistics from conference to conference, year-in and year-out the teams that are usually on top can control the ball without turnovers. So he’s doing a fantastic job. But at the same time everybody has got to protect the ball for us a little bit better than we’re doing.”

What will this return to LSU be like for you? “It’s just another game. This game is about our players and about our team. And I think every coach on this staff has been in that stadium before, and for most everybody on the other staff has been to our stadium here. So it’s another game for us. For me, it’s about our guys. I’ve got to get our guys ready. I could care less where we’re playing, the biggest thing for me is to get my guys prepared so I can maximize their potential and put them in position to make play on game day. And that’s the only thing I’m every worried about.”

“It’s a great atmosphere. I think our atmosphere he is fantastic. It’s a SEC program and every stadium you play in, the last stadium we played in had 40,000 or close and was packed. But you’ve got to perform whether it’s here on the practice fields or it’s out there playing, playing music or no music, or 60,000 here or 100,000 somewhere else. The bottom line: do you job. And I always go back to do your job.”

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