Coach Collins said they had used these first three games as a time to allow the secondary to be in one-on-one situations to help you guys learn. Now, you have to produce in the secondary.
"Oh yeah, man, this is conference play. He has been emphasizing all week that our level of play has to increase. And we have been working toward that. ."
As a safety, how do you balance them running so much and them also being able to make that big play (throwing the ball)?
"We have to read our keys on the back end, stay deep. That is one thing. We have emphasized that in practice, staying deep. Their receivers are fast. They are fast guys, track guys. So, we are going to have to stretch real good."
Is this is a game where there has to be that trust factor among all the defensive guys, that everybody is going to do their one job?
"Yeah, but we work well together. We communicate well pre-snap. All that we have to do is line up and play our game and we'll be fine."
If their receivers are track fast and faster than you, how do you adjust for that?
"Well, you have to keep them in front of you. You can't ever let them get behind you. If they get behind you it is all over."
Has practice been turned up to another level due to it being an SEC game?
"Yeah, it has been turned up a lot. You see guys out there hustling around. A lot of guys who don't always hustle all the time, all the time, all the time (laugh by media) really understand this week is important. We have just been trying to work on our effort, out play and our assignments."
This team has won six in a row counting last season. Do you feel like this team is receiving the respect it deserves?
"Oh, of course not. We are predicted to lose every game. That is nothing new to us. We knew it was going to be that way anyway. So, it's not that big of a deal. We know who we are, we know what we can do, we know what we expect."
Last year, you were on the sidelines when the game got away from you against LSU. Now, you can come back and say this is what can happen.
"Yeah, I think that is one thing that we got better at at the end of the season last year, just finishing games. As long as we play as hard as we can for four quarters, I think we will be fine."
Last year, the secondary really struggled against LSU. How important is it for the secondary to come out and play at a high level this year?
"It is always not good to get a ball caught on you. One thing that we emphasize is staying back. We have these concepts that help the corner. A lot of their routes are one to two man routes. They are easy to defend as long as you have help over the top."
I want to followup on my earlier question. Why do you think Mississippi State doesn't get the respect that you feel they deserve?
"I'm not even sure, man. We just play ball. We live by the Bulldog creed, relentless effort. As long as we do that, then it doesn't matter what the predictions say about us."
Do you think if you beat LSU that will make a big difference?
"No. We still have a long way to go."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.