Steve Robertson/Genespage.com

Mississippi State defensive line coach David Turner gives a progress report of his unit after two games.

Now in his sixth year as Mississippi State's defensive line boss, Coach David Turner is one of the most respected position coaches in the Southeastern Conference. Turner regularly produces NFL bound defensive lineman with 2014 Bulldogs Kaleb Eulls and Preston Smith joining NFL rosters this season. Two games into the 2015 campaign, Turner's personnel group is performing well.

SR: Two games into the season how do you feel like your guys have performed? What are you happy about and what are you concerned about?

DT: Well, I think we got a good group of guys. We have some things we need to clean up technique wise and fundamentally. We have had stretches where we have played really good, but we haven't been consistent for four quarters. That's what we have to get better at. We have to be mentally tougher, physically tougher and we have to put together snap after snap after snap for four quarters.

SR: It seemed like on Saturday against LSU that the defense was crashing some gaps, but then Fournette would bounce it outside. Was that a situation where you were losing outside contain or is that just a great player making a play?

DT: A lot of it is trust and that is what we preach to the guys. You have to trust that everybody else is going to do their job and be where they are supposed to be in their gap. Sometimes it's a matter of one guy getting out of a gap and trying to do too much. That goes back to trust. You have to trust your teammates to be where they're supposed to be. We have to gap it up. When we did that, it was amazing the success we had. We just had some plays where we didn't do it or we didn't do it consistently. 

SR: Two games in a row the defense has been very strong in the second half allowing just 6 second half points against Southern Miss and just 7 second half points to LSU. Is this about adjustments or are the guys figuring some things out and playing harder?

DT: I think it's just about the guys playing better. There haven't been a whole lot of adjustments in terms of what we had to do in the second half other than playing better. Now we have to have to start faster. That's a fact and that's a point that we have made to the guys. We have to come out of the gate a whole lot faster. We have to get our engines hot, so we don't have to play catch up. 

SR: Both games this year, you were facing some unknowns by being game one for both opponents. This week you will have two games of film to review. How much easier does that make the task?

DT: I think it's really about us and getting us better. Let's work on us and do the things we need to do. A whole lot doesn't really vary from week to week. We just need to do the things we need to do in order to play winning football.

SR: Coach Mullen said that he felt Nick James played the best football of his career against Southern Miss. How do you feel like Nick played against LSU?

DT: It's been up and down. His first game was a whole lot better than his second game. I think maybe the opponent, maybe the atmosphere got to him a little bit. I think Nick was so excited that he started to do some things that was uncharacteristic for him. We just have to get him to play within himself and don't play the logo. We just need him to line up and play and do his job. 

SR: You said after fall camp that you felt Chris Jones had really committed himself and was playing some great football. Is he still performing up to your expectations?

DT: He's playing better. I have high expectations of Chris and he has high expectations of himself. He's playing better, but he still has to be consistent. He has to play snap after snap after snap of dominant football. That's where we're trying to get him to.

SR: Final question. What are your expectations for the defensive line this weekend against Northwestern State?

DT: I want to see us improve. I want to see us play four quarters of consistent football. I want to see us trust each other and get better fundamentally. I just want to see us take a step forward and play Mississippi State football. 


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