Not green as in wearing hands-off quarterback jerseys of course. Or ecologically sensitive, certainly not for big Bulldogs who tear up lots of turf at the line of scrimmage. What David Turner talks about is the relative newness of situation for almost every defensive lineman this spring camp.
If not brand-new to both Mississippi State and senior college football, then some of the guys are getting their first taste of varsity status. Or moving up the experience ladder, they are new to being in the rotation at tackle or end. Beyond that state, it’s moving into the first team on a regular practice basis.
And finally, it is taking on the role of a unit and team leader. That much as anything is what stands out about the Bulldog defensive line roster for 2015. Everyone there is moving into or up the depth chart, taking on larger shares of snaps, and accepting greater responsibilities.
For Turner’s part, there’s never anything truly new about rebuilding a defensive line. Not even after losing a threesome that accounted for most of the starts over the past three seasons. Compared to a year ago Turner does not have perhaps the sheer number of bodies to practice with.
But he does think there are enough to meet his minimum demands for a real rotation. Even better, with Kaleb Eulls, P.J. Jones, Preston Brown all gone, there are snaps for the taking.
“They know I played anywhere from eight to ten guys last year. And numerically they should be in it. They’re not going to play just because they’re out there, they’re going to learn to play. But they see an opportunity.”
At times Turner gets downright colorful with the commentary. Take his version of what mid-year transfer end Jonathan Calvin is going through now in senior college. “Right now he’s a lost ball in the high weeds,” Turner said. Or evaluating A.J. Jefferson’s rise to potential star status. “He’s kind of sneaky-good. He should be hopefully the alpha dog of this group, the bell cow of this group.”
And as to tagging tackle Chris Jones as a team leader? “I’m not worried about him trying to lead anybody else, I just want him to lead himself.”
For the full Tuesday interview: