Smith Respects Auburn's Big Play Ability

Mississippi State defensive end Preston Smith expects opposing offenses to account for him. With three consecutive SEC defensive lineman of the week honors to begin the season, #91 has learned that with notoriety comes attention. The senior standout knows that the Auburn Tigers will seek to limit his influence on this weekend's game, but Smith will look to counter with a strong effort of his own.

The Bulldogs held Auburn to a season low 120 yards rushing last year. The game was early in the schedule, so new starting quarterback Nick Marshall was still learning the nuances of the offense.

While some of the plays and formations may change, Smith expects the Tigers to come out this week and try to establish the running game.

"It's a learning thing," said Smith. "We know that they're going to come in and try to run the ball.

"We know what we have to do up front to stop the run and we have to play physical like we did last year, but we have to turn up to another level."

After doing some extensive film review of the 2014 Tigers, the talented defensive end admits to being impressed by what he has seen.

"They're coming along as a complete team," said Smith. "They're the defending (conference) champions, so you know they have good players on their team.

"They have a great coaching staff and they make a lot of great plays."

Job one involves scheming to slow down Auburn signal caller Nick Marshall who can hurt teams in a variety of ways.

"We know we have to contain him and keep him in the pocket," said Smith of Marshall. "We have to force him to throw under pressure, because we know when he gets outside the pocket, he can make things happen with his feet.

"He can run to open up other people for the pass."

While there are several signal callers that can keep defenses honest with their running ability, Smith sees the Auburn cadence caller as a real game breaker.

"He's not like most quarterbacks that can run for a little bit of yardage," said Smith. "He can take one on to the house if you don't contain him.

"If you let him get in space and run, he's like a wide receiver who can throw the ball really well."

Simulating a player with Marshall's ability would be a difficult chore for any scout team quarterback, but fortunately for the Bulldog defense that have been able to work all year against one of the nation's best.

"Dak gives us a great look during practice," said Smith. "We face mobile quarterbacks in practice and during the season. We get a great look in Dak though.

"He can do it all. I believe that he gives us the best look for any quarterback that we will face this year.

"They (Auburn) sort of reminds us of what we see everyday in practice, so we've sort of been preparing for this for a long time."

A capacity cowbell clanging crowd awaits Marshall and the rest of the Tigers when they arrive at Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday.

The national media is following the contest with great interest.

Smith reports that the players are doing their best to simply block out any outside distractions.

"We see and hear the hype, but it doesn't come inside this facility," explained Smith. "We hear it on campus and we see it on twitter and instagram.

"We see all of the fans going crazy and showing us love and support.

"We can't get caught in the hype. We have to keep playing our brand of football every week and not let the hype effect us.

"We know we can't get complacent. We have to keep playing hard."

Once the final whistle sounds on Saturday, the Bulldogs and Tigers will both be surging towards an open date.

Smith reports that a weekend off is not high on the Mississippi State list of things to do.

"We're just trying to focus on things one week at a time and one day at time," said Smith. "After the game, we can focus on the bye week.

"This game will determine how our bye week goes.

"If we win, it will be a smooth bye week, but if we lose, then there is going to be a lot of practice and stuff.

"We don't plan on losing, so we plan on having a great bye week after the game this week."

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