Because, as if the 2013 Aggies weren’t versatile and creative enough, this ’14 offense will present #12 Mississippi State things scarcely scouted. Made up this very week, even.
“We’ve watched the games for last year and this year and seeing what things they’re still doing, what they’ve added, what new wrinkles they have. The thing about them is each week there’s a new twist, new package, new wrinkle they add.”
How much does the extra time help in preparing for Texas A&M’s offense?
“Yeah, they’ve got the number-one offense in the country. So all the extra preparation helps. They do a great job; a big offensive line, physical in the run game, great pass protectors. Three great running backs that they just roll through, and they all have dynamic ability.”
“Then I think seven receivers have games 100 yards and nine kids have touchdowns on the season! And the quarterback is doing a great job distributing the ball, making good decisions. A very accurate thrower and you can tell he’s got some energy, some juice, and good leadership ability.”
Do you see many differences in the offense from last year to this year?
“It’s a similar offense. You can tell they’ve evolved in the run game. But the kid (Kenny Hill) does a great job anticipating the open receivers, reading coverage, knowing where to go with the ball. And he’s got some talented weapons around him to distribute the ball too.”
If you give up a couple of quick touchdowns do you play psychiatrist on the sideline?
“Well I don’t know if you guys watch us on the sideline on game days! But from the second they come off the sideline until the second they go back on the field me and Deshea (Townsend) and David Turner, we don’t shut up. We’re constantly coaching them.”
“Last Saturday night in Baton Rouge I mean it was every second, the entire time in the whole second half just talking to them and reinforcing the message. So the big thing Saturday is going to be the same thing, making sure we’re making the adjustments, seeing what kind of new things they’re throwing at us and making the right adjustments and the right changes.”
In pass rush situations you’ve gone to a three-man front, what makes that so dangerous and what makes Preston Smith so dangerous in that spot over center?
“The big thing is just the guys we have rotating through. David Turner does a great job of keeping guys rolling throughout the game. We’ll use different personnel packages on that but for the most part Preston is in the middle. And a lot of times they’re going to either slide the protection to him or leave him one-on-one with the center. And with the different blitz packages and a lot of blitzes we do end up getting Preston free. And he’s such a dynamic player because usually offensive tackles are used to dealing with the dynamic playmakers off the edge. Once we move him inside it adds a whole ‘nother dimension for him.”
What have you seen from Beniquez Brown moving into a starting role this year?
“One of the big things about Beniquez is how intelligent he is. I mean last Saturday night against LSU it reminded me of the way Cam (Lawrence, 2012) used to play. Calling out formations, calling out the plays, making checks, making adjustments.”
“And it’s taken some pressure off Benardrick (McKinney) too, because Benardrick now gets to go back to playing instead of getting everybody lined-up. Just the maturity of Beniquez and the intelligence along with his God-given ability…I mean he’s 6-2, 238, he runs a 4.5 and add the mental part to it, it makes us even better as a whole.”
Could we see Matthew Wells in more coverage this game?
“We feel very confident in Matt and Zach Jackson. They’re both 4.35 kids, just the nice thing about Matt is he’s 6-3, 222 that runs a 4.35! But we feel confident with him on the matchups. We do have different personnel groupings, that we do every week. But we feel confident with Matt on the perimeter, too.”
With many of the big plays allowed deep, the guys have been close. Is it a matter of finding consistency now?
“Well the big thing, you look at the completion percentage. It’s a very low completion percentage relative to the rest of the country. Just there’s eight to ten plays that have gone a lot farther than we wanted them to go! But the guys still maintain their confidence.”
“And it’s also a nature of the defense. We want to create tackles for loss, we want to get sacks, we want to create negative plays. So a lot of times those guys on the back end are going to put in one-on-one situations. They’ve won a lot of them, they’ve lost a couple, but whenever they lose everybody knows who lost it, how they lost it, what the result was. Where somebody on a blitz they might not know.”
Does that just come with the style of defense or are there things you can do?
“Yeah, there’s some techniques, some fundamentals, some eyes. But the most part is we’re aggressive and we’re going to have some fun, we’re going to try to hunt negative yardage plays. I think we’re one of the top in the country for tackles-for-loss which is fine.”
“But we still want to reduce the number of big plays, especially against an offense like this that wants the big play. You see in the second half last Saturday against Arkansas it was the big plays that got them. So we understand that. All the guys on the back end understand that, so we know the challenge we have for us. And get ready, you’ve got a couple more days.”
Coach Mullen said a Kevin Sumlin offense will throw short passes to reel you in, then try to hit you deep?
“Absolutely. They do a great job. They sit there and they want you to get frustrated, oh I’ve got to go get this and snap! All of a sudden there goes one launched over your head. So the guys understand the times we’re going to take chances we’ll take chances. The other times we’re playing top-down, we’ve got to be top-down because they have dynamic playmakers out there that can stretch the field and get on top of you if you let them.”
They’re good at yards after contact as well?
“Right. And that’s a big thing too, is just pursuing in the open field, making tackles in space. One of the big things we did in Death Valley was tackle in space. We had six missed tackles for like 40 yards; which is really, really good. If we can do that on Saturday that would be awesome, but we understand there’s going to be a lot of plays on the perimeter, a lot of plays in space. They have dynamic playmakers, we have to rally to the ball and make those plays.”