Hughes Talks Bama Wideouts

#1 Mississippi State will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on annual SEC nemesis Alabama this Saturday. The Bulldogs are aware of the strides the Crimson Tide passing game has made this season under the direction of first year starter Blake Sims. Bulldog safeties coach Tony Hughes understands his players will have to play one of their best games of the season if the Bulldogs are to remain unbeaten

"It's been excellent," Hughes said of the Bulldogs' practices this week. "They try to isolate their best receivers and win a lot of one-on-ones, so it is going to come down to a game of one-on-one and execution and who can execute the best."

Hughes, a veteran of several SEC wars, understands that even in a big game, the team has to be true to who they are and what they are.

The Tide offense features one of the most prolific wide receivers in the country in Amari Cooper. Hughes reports that he and the Mississippi State defense have been impressed with how Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has called plays to showcase Cooper's abilities.

"We have to do what we do at a high level," Hughes explained. "Of course, you always have to be aware of where (Amari) Cooper is at all times. He has 79 catches and that doesn't count the number of times that they have attempted to get the ball to him.

"Or they threw the ball to him and it was incomplete or intended to throw the football to him and the throw didn't get off or he was double covered.

"You are probably talking about 150 times this season where they have tried to get him the football. We have to be aware every single play."

Alabama is more than a one trick pony. If a defense gets preoccupied with the Tide passing game, T.J. Yeldon or another talented back can create some damage on the ground.

Coach Hughes reports that the balance of the Crimson Tide offense creates some different approaches on defense.

"They are good at running the football and they are good at passing the football," Hughes said. "The quarterback (Blake Sims) is very athletic. He has made a lot of plays and (kept) plays live scrambling around. He can find people down the field or keep plays alive with his legs.

"You have to be able to execute what you do and it comes down to tackling and making the plays that you're supposed to make.

"Whatever we call, if I am responsible for the run, I have to play the run. If I am responsible for the pass, then I have to play the pass.

"I have to read my key and play my responsibility and just do the things we've done all year. We can't change, panic or deviate from those things.

Hughes reports that the Bulldog coaching staff has worked hard to keep things as business like as possible this week and guard against the hype surrounding the match-up.

"The only thing that we continually talk about is to remember who we are and our identity," Hughes shared. "Not getting fazed by all of the hype. It's another game for us. We have to execute the way that we have executed all year.

"We have to execute and and do what we do better than what they do and that's what it's going to come down to."

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