Mississippi State will prove it this week when, with starting center Dillon Day suspended a game by the SEC, guard Ben Beckwith goes over the ball for the first real time in his college life. The corresponding adjustment at his right guard position will shuffle through the roster, and the game go on.
Because as Hevesy reminds, no one cares about who isn’t on the field when the clock is running and cadence calling. The Bulldogs on the field are all that matter.
You’ve had a week to adjust the offensive line, but everyone knows other positions so it’s not a big change at center?
“Yeah, I think going into the preseason it’s the same thing. We’ve talked about having eight guys ready; the two different centers, the three guards, three tackles. So it’s again just changing them around a little bit to put them in. And Ben going at center right now, is a great leader and he’s been around here for five years and done a lot of things. I’ve got all the faith in the world in him.”
At the same time you’re not giving up on Archie Muniz and Devon Desper?
“No, no, they’re ready. They’re always ready to go. To me it’s no different than I told them after the LSU game. You know, with Archie and his snap, I said no matter who your, a starter or a second-team guy, where you are you’re shoelace away from going into the game. I said so to me when your moment shows up you have to be ready, that doesn’t matter when it is.”
“During the game Devon’s facemask got pulled off; Devon, go! he goes in there. You don’t know what’s going to happen. I told him Dillon Day three years ago, third snap of the game when Tobias (Smith) blew his knee out, I mean that was his first play, first game on the third rep of the LSU game. To me that’s where your preparation between really the last game to this game is getting ready for your number to be called.”
Ben Beckwith has gone from walk-on to SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week and now playing two positions for you?
“He’s always been the backup center. He’s always been a center, he’s always taken snaps. And you look at the way our program is based, the way he has gone through the program is exactly how you want. He redshirted his freshman year, his redshirt freshman he ran the punt team. Redshirt sophomore year he ran the punt team which to me is a great honor, it’s great leadership how we take it on this team is special teams is number-one. And as a redshirt freshman and sophomore he ran the punt team, did everything with it.”
“Last year again his number got called the third quarter of the Oklahoma State game. Not thinking he’s a starter, in the third quarter he’s sitting there and then plays the whole season. So to me it’s what he’s gone through, and he’s learned in this program ownership and responsibility, accountability to his team no matter what it is. Whether it’s been the rocker on the field goal, the guy on the punt, it hasn’t always been the center or the right guard.”
“I think that’s what we try to teach all these young kids, is you’ve got to get a role on field goal somewhere, everyone has a role and a responsibility. And in that responsibility get your job done 100%.”
Along those lines Justin Senior has stepped in and played well?
"Exactly. And it’s no different than Rufus (Warren) coming over from tight end. Again he’s been in a lot of the games so far and knock on wood if anything happens he’s got to ready to go. Like I tell them, nobody cares that wow, this guy got hurt, that guy got hurt; this guys’ this and this guy’s that. I mean 60,000 people, no one cares; they want you to get your job done and just like everyone else on the team. I said to Archie after the game it’s one case, don’t make a big deal of it. It basically was five guys that played the whole game, I wanted to get them (the backups) in that atmosphere, that crowd, get them reps. Just play that, because that’s what is going to come the rest of the way. And again his number was called, you’ve got to make it happen. And the five guys, don’t look at me or the fans or any of those things. Those five guys that just played 70 snaps prior to that, they’re your peers and the ones you’ve got to look at.”
Coach Mullen said Jamaal Clayborn was being worked back in after his absences, how is he doing this week?
“Same thing. He’s working. It’s not like he forgot everything he knows, it’s just a matter of getting back in. And to me it’s earning the trust from the guys around you, that to me is more than anything. You might not be the most gifted but to me when you run in that game those four guys trust when you’re in the game you’re going to get your job done. That’s all to me, and the other guys on offense and defense. Trust that you’re going to get your job done, that’s how you play. If they don’t trust you, you’re not playing.”
What does A&M do on the defense that gives opponents issues?
“Well I think it’s no different than any other SEC team you’re going to play. They’re big inside, they’re talented outside, they are athletic with their ends. Number 10, 15, 9, all the different numbers, inside they’re big. I’ve been in this league whatever years, it’s an SEC opponent. So when you turn that film on there they are, the size of them butts you’re looking at on the defensive side of the ball, it’s just this league.”
How Senior look today coming back from that knee procedure?
“Good. Good. That was just a clean-up so it’s fine, he needed a little time off last week. But he was out there today taking all the reps so there’s no issue with him at all.”
Dak Prescott and Josh Robinson are both top-ten rushing in the league, how does it help in play calling and what you can do with two guys that can run like that?
“It gives you opportunities to do different things. To me it’s the same thing, their numbers were called and they played. I guess you don’t look at it as you have plenty of guys to do different things, certain things for you. When you have them and they can do it, utilize them. When Jameon (Lewis) is out there, get him the ball. When De’Runnya (Wilson) is out there, he’s 6-5 target; utilize him. So I think it means when you have different people to get it to, that you could trust to get it to, and they’ve earned the trust and the accountability. And they’ve done that obviously this season so far, keep giving it to them. They’ve earned it.”
In the LSU game Justin Senior was getting way outside or downfield with his blocks, that range was impressive?
“Oh yeah. He can run. He’s like me, he can run like the wind! And we ask them to do that, every one of the linemen have to run. He’s athletic. Is he 340 pounds, no. Is he 6-9, no. But to me he can run and use great leverage and balance and technique, and do exactly what you’re supposed to do. Which he did. Him and Ben both, Ben did a great job getting out there cutting. They were exactly where they were supposed to be and made the play go.”
A&M generates a lot of pass rush, how do you handle that?
“To me it’s like anything, they’re going to get after you, they’re going to get up the field. They do a great job with their hands and their movement, they’re very quick changing direction with the two ends. So again it’s a matter of just hold up, move our feet faster than theirs.”