Brown, Bulldogs Prepare for Auburn Offense

Mississippi State sophomore linebacker Richie Brown earned National defensive player of the week honors for his three interception performance against Texas A&M, a 48-31 Bulldog victory. While Brown is certainly appreciative of the honor, the Long Beach, Mississippi product is eager to get back on the field of play to help his team earn another SEC victory.

During the first five weeks of the 2014 football season, the Bulldog defensive unit has been awfully stingy when it mattered most.

While State has given up some yards late in games once the victory has been all but assured, when the game has hung in the balance the Bulldog defenders have stood tall.

In five third quarters this season, Geoff Collins' defensive unit has surrendered just two scores, neither of which came on opponents' open drive after implementing their half time adjustments.

One of the key reasons why the Mississippi State defense is able to avoid wearing down is because of liberal substitutions throughout the contest allowing players a chance to recover.

"It keeps you fresh," said Brown of the Bulldogs' defense substitution pattern. "You can play with confidence knowing that if you run 120% to the ball six plays in a row, then you can call your other guy in.

"It keeps you fresh and it keeps your mind fresh."

Brown's "other guy" is All-American candidate Bernardrick McKinney. The Tunica, Mississippi product has served as a mentor to Brown on and off of the field.

"I love playing behind Bernardrick (McKinney)," explained Brown. "He is one of my best friends here and I have no problem with it at all."

McKinney has helped Brown adjust to life in the SEC, even advising the sophomore of in game tendencies.

Brown's first interception against Texas A&M took place two plays after McKinney had advised Brown to watch for a hitch and go.

The adjustment had Brown near the action when the ball floated free.

"As Coach (Dan) Mullen says, if you keep running to the ball, if you keep pursuing then good things happen to those guys," shared Brown. "He says that there really is no such thing as luck or coincidence in football."

With the Aggies now in the rearview mirror for another twelve months, Brown and the Bulldogs have turned their focus the Auburn Tigers who will travel to Starkville for a weekend match-up between top three teams.

While the Bulldogs gave the Tiger running game some issues last fall, Brown is preparing for a much improved Auburn offense.

"They're a lot better team than they were last year," said Brown of the Tigers. "I think they are, as we are, growing as a team. I think they're going to be a bigger challenge, but at the same time, we're getting better as well, so it's going to be a great game."

Auburn is led by one of the top innovators in college football, Coach Gus Malzhan. The Malzhan offensive scheme has a lot of different moving parts, so it is difficult to prepare for.

Brown believes that the Tigers will bring their best effort and the Bulldogs will look to counter with a strong defensive effort.

"It really is a challenge. They have a great offense," said Brown. "We have a great D coordinator (Geoff Collins) and a great coaching staff.

"We have a lot of confidence in them and we're going to do what they say and prepare as we always have."

"Some of their looks are very similar to the offenses that we run, so that helps."

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