Collins "We Do What We Do"

Mississippi State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins discusses preparations for this Saturday's SEC West showdown at Alabama.

What do you see in Alabama’s offense that presents challenges? “They’re very well-coached; big, physical offensive line; some great tailbacks; obviously their receiver is a big-time player. And then the tight ends are physical, they do a lot of different things with them. The quarterback makes plays with his feet, he makes good decisions, you can see his confidence growing as the season goes. So he adds another dimension to that offense. And he’s a pretty special player.”

Why is their offense better at home? “Great question. I don’t know the answer to that. They’ve got great players all the way around, great coaches, so it’s a challenge for us.”

Is creating turnovers a greater point of emphasis now? “Sure, that’s something we talk about every single day. Every Instagram post, every tweet I send out in the off-season, during the season, is about that. So our guys know that’s an important thing.

“We left four on the field last week and we had three right in our hands, we had the caused fumble. So we just have to make sure we emphasize that throughout the week and season like we do.”

Much of the scheme leaves the cornerbacks on an island, does that change this week with Amari Cooper? “Yeah, he’s a dynamic play-maker. And they get him the ball in a bunch of different ways. And I think throughout the season you kind of notice people when they go against Alabama’s offense making sure they understand where he is, because he plays such a pivotal role in that offense.”

How much single coverage will you put on him or will you get help? “We do what we do. And the emphasis all year and all the time is to stop the run. And at times there’s going to be kids put in one-on-one situations. There’s going to be kids put in one-on-one situations on pass rush, or in open field tackling. So the kids understand we move stress around throughout the game, and sometimes you’re going to have some stress on you. The challenge is to make that play when it comes.”

What are your impressions on T.J. Yeldon? “Well, he’s been impressive ever since high school. We know him very well. He’s just a dynamic play-maker, they get him the ball out of the backfield, he’s a big back and he plays with some speed and some agility. He’s an impressive player.”

The last few weeks Chris Jones has moved to end, and Nelson Adams inside, what have you seen? “Yeah, it’s a good changeup. Chris always played defensive end for us on third downs. But then him playing for us on normal downs too has been good. He’s such a big kid and a big personality, too. Just him being able to move around.”

”And teams the last couple of weeks have had some big tight ends. That remains the same this week, so having a bigger guy on the edge helps us.”

What is coaching Jay Hughes like? “I know you guys have met his dad. His dad is an unbelievable human being. I say this all the time, I’ve spent more time with Tony Hughes the last four year than I’ve spent with my wife! He and I are together 12, 13 hours a day, every day for four years. And you can tell why Jay is such a great kid because of his dad, his mom.”

”But Jay is the vocal leader of the team, the emotional leader of the team. He just gave a great speech to the team out there after practice, just how much this season means to him; how much his teammates mean to him. And I think man for man on this team they would say the same about him.”

What has Lane Kiffen brought that makes Alabama different? “He does a great job creating unique formations. I mean they change every week, trying to create miss-matches in space, get his play-makers in different spots. And it changes every single game. So I’d say the way they do things, it’s not just cut-and-dried this is the formation, this is what you’re going to get. They break the huddle, they’re moving Amari around, they’re moving T.J. around, they’re moving the tight ends all over the place. Just his creativity, and I think he’s one of the best play-callers in the game, too.”

How do you challenge your guys to recognize and adjust? “And that’s the case every single week with every team we play. Is just understand the different things they can do out of each set when they move the chess pieces around. And the great players that they have, understanding what each one of those moves means to them and what they can do out of it.”

There are reports Alabama players are banged-up, do you believe that? “If you’re playing in this league every single week is going to be a tough, physical matchup. So I think that’s the case every single week in this league.”

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