Smith Leads Mississippi State Pass Rush

Preston Smith leads the Mississippi State defense with five tackles for loss including three quarterback sacks. That trio of quarterback throw downs is good for fifth best in the Southeastern Conference. Smith and the Bulldog front four will be heavily counted on this week to harass, hurry and haul down Texas A&M signal caller Kenny Hill.

"We just have to keep preparing knowing what's at stake," said Smith of the top 15 match-up with the Aggies. "We are facing a quarterback with a lot of mobility.

"He can also sit back there and make a lot of great passes if we let him sit in the pocket all day.

"We have to put some pressure on him and force him into making some throws he doesn't want to make."

The Bulldogs got a bit of preparation for a dual threat quarterback when they faced South Alabama product, Brandon Bridge, but Hill is both bigger and stronger.

Smith reports that while the skill set of the signal caller changes week to week, the job remains the same for the Mississippi State defense.

"I don't feel like this is anything we haven't seen before," said Smith. "We played against Johnny Manziel last year and he probably brought more than any other quarterback ever could.

"You had to prepare for him in the pocket, out of the pocket, running, scrambling and just doing the things he could do.

"We have sort of prepared for the same sort of things this year."

Quarterbacks who can extend the play provide more opportunities for their offense, but it also gives defenders more time to pursue and record a big tackle.

"If a guy is going to sit in the pocket, looking for somewhere to throw, then he just hangs on to the ball longer," said Smith. "That just gives me more time to rush and hopefully make the sack."

The Aggies caught fire late in a very physical match-up against Arkansas last week. Smith believes the Bulldogs will bring another quality slugfest to the Texas A&M offense this Saturday.

"We know that we have to come out and play just as physical as they are if not more," said Smith. "We are coming out to play sixty minutes of football.

"We can't give in and we have to avoid mental errors.

"We have to wrap up on tackles, eliminate mistakes and just execute our assignments."

Smith has earned more than his fair share of weekly honors from the SEC office.

Despite his accolades, Smith is working to remain humble and improve every single week.

"I am just trying to work hard every day and work harder than I did last week," said Smith. "I just want to be better every single game.

"We have been focused on Texas A&M for two weeks now and we want to come out and play our best game of the season so far this week.

"We have had the bye week to rest up our bodies and our minds and we are prepared for a very physical game that is going to take place this week."

Gene's Page Top Stories