Malone Talks Mississippi State Offensive Line

All summer, much of the discussions about Mississippi State surrounded a developing offensive line faced with the challenge of replacing All-American guard Gabe Jackson and projected starter at right tackle Damien Robinson. With four games, four Bulldog wins and a dominating showing in Death Valley against LSU, the Bulldog big uglies are beginning to show that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Malone and the Bulldog front did not just beat the LSU defensive line, they dominated them. The redshirt junior reports that the Bulldogs' attention to detail in the practice sessions for the SEC opener paid dividends once the ball was snapped.

"Coach Hevesy has been on us all season about footwork, technique and hand placement," said Malone. "When it came to LSU, he told us that you're not playing teams like Southern Miss or South Alabama.

"We were about to go out and play an SEC team that is ranked in the top ten. They do the things we do. They lift weights. They're big and powerful and they're talented guys.

"If we didn't come out and use the technique, then we're not going to get the job done.

"He drilled that in our heads all week long.

"Everything was about taking the right steps, putting your hands in the right place and all of those things Coach Hevesy told us going into the game."

The Bulldog blockers pushed, pulled and paved the way to a 302 yard rushing night, an accomplishment Malone takes a lot of pride in.

"That's a very good thing and I am very proud of that," said Malone. "I have wanted to beat them since I got here. We finally got over it and got it done.

"We always talk about going from good to great and competing for a championship and all of those things. This year the leadership was different.

"They didn't sit by and watch. They made us do everything to do their standard. We know go into every game now not just thinking we can win, but knowing that we can."

With LSU now in the rear view mirror and the game recorded as a win in the Mississippi State record book, Malone and the team will turn their attention towards Texas A&M, a game where they will be without senior center Dillon Day.

The veteran offensive guard reports that as a unit, the offensive line, is prepared to do business even with a regular in the lineup.

"The job doesn't change," explained Malone. "You have to communicate as a unit anyway. We have to know what is going on and we have to get calls off. The talking we normally do, we are going to keep doing.

"Everybody knows what to do and we're going to keep doing it and just keep working."

Most of the Bulldog big men making the dress list this season have seen in action. Those snaps in the non-conference allowed the guys down the depth chart to gain some meaningful experience that should serve the Bulldogs well now and down the 2014 road.

"We have a lot of depth this year, more than we've had in the past," explained Malone. "We can just switch people out and put them where we need them to be.

"People are going to be hurt and you just have to be ready for it and just keep on doing what you've been doing."

Some players are learning on the fly that being an offensive lineman for a quarterback like Dak Prescott is a little different than most and that the Bulldog bowling ball might run over you no matter what color shirt you have on.

"I have never seen a quarterback like Dak combined with somebody like Josh and seen the things that they can do together," said Malone. "Going into the top ten teams, the rest of our conference and our division, it's going to be a lot of help.

"You don't know if you're going to have to deal with Josh running around and hitting you or Dak passing the ball. There are a lot of things you have to be ready for and it's going to be good for us, because it's going to be hard to stop."

"Most of the time you need to protect four to six seconds, but Dak runs. "If something happens, he is going to extend the play and I have to stay on that block for ten seconds, twenty seconds or whatever.

"If something does break down, we know Dak can get out of there."

While Malone has to remain engaged with his block when Prescott has the ball, things are a little different when Josh Robinson takes the hand-off.

"I have to move," said Malone with a grin. "Other running backs might just take a loss or they're going to bounce things outside. If there's not a hole (Josh) will run right through my back.

"He's powerful enough to do it, so when I get on my block, I have to move my man out of the hole or Josh is going to move me. It's one of those things where he is going to create a hole or create space for himself."

For the fourth straight week, Mississippi State had a player earn SEC player of the week honors. For the first time this season, a Bulldog offensive lineman, Ben Beckwith, was included in the weekly accolades.

Malone reports that it is gratifying to see his position mate be recognized for his hard work.

"It was a great. I am really happy for Ben," said Malone. "When I first got here, he was a walk on. He was working hard and he started on punt. He did things the right way to put himself in position for a scholarship and then getting a starting job and now he's SEC offensive lineman of the week."

Gene's Page Top Stories