Senior Has Starter's Focus

Justin Senior entered the 2014 campaign in a battle with for the starting spot at right tackle. The competition ended when senior Damien Robinson was lost for the season to an injury. Accepting the next man up mentality, Senior went to work and has proven to be a reliable starter for the Bulldog offense. Now with nine career starts under his belt, Senior appears to be finding his groove.

This weekend, Mississippi State hosts Tennessee-Martin for homecoming. While the national media will have their eyes pointed elsewhere, the Bulldogs are locked in on the Skyhawks.

"Practice has been the same this week as far as what we do and how we prepare," explained Senior. "They run sort of a different defense, so the install for this game was a little bit longer. We don't really change our approach to practice no matter who the opponent is.

"We don't change what we do."

The weekly routine has worked well for the #1 ranked Bulldogs who has won 11 straight games, a string that is the second longest active streak in the country.

Each week brings a new opponent with a new way of doing things and new challenges to prepare for. Senior reports that every game is different, so there are different areas of concern to address.

"We take every opponent seriously," said Senior. "I have been doing that since the beginning of the season. All of these teams early in the schedule like South Alabama could have beaten us if we hadn't prepared the right way.

"We don't look at who's a winning team and who's not. We don't focus on who they've played or who they're going to play. We just focus on who they are and what defense they run."

Davis Wade Stadium has proven to be a difficult place for opponents to play. Senior reports that the atmosphere in Davis Wade Stadium has hit a new level with the latest stadium expansion.

"It's way more fun this year," said Senior with a smile. "I wish it was even louder. I wish people would be louder when our defense is out there and maybe be a little quieter when our offense is out there.

"Every stadium we've played in this year has been sold out and it's been nice playing in front of those crowds."

The big crowds, big venues and big moments have not been too big for the first year starter. Senior is holding his own against some of the top teams in America.

"I am just doing my job," said Senior. "I just focus on what I have to do and what my responsibilities are. Last year, I started a game and I wasn't supposed to start at all last year.

"I was able to get all of the jitters out last year. This year, I am just focused on doing my job.

"I still think I have a lot of work to do and this off season is going to be about me putting in a ton of work to get better."

Last season, Senior prepared to play, but did not always expect play. His role on the team has changed a great deal and as a result, the Canadian import sees the work required to succeed in the SEC.

"My mindset has changed, because I know that I am going to play every week," said Senior. "I know I am going to play and I have to know my job. I know that I have to perform.

"I get along really well with everyone I play with and we all help each other. Ben Beckwith is my closest partner on the line and Dillon (Day) sort of coaches everybody to do the right things. We all work really well together."

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