The Bulldog defense leads the SEC in 3rd down conversions allowed and is 8th best nationally. In addition, Coach Manny Diaz and his unit have been especially stingy in the red zone, ranking third best in the league behind Georgia and Vanderbilt.
While the early returns have been solid, Nelson Adams believes the group still has some areas they need to improve upon.
"I feel like we're a little bit off of where we should be as far as the running game goes," Adams said. "We need to do a little bit better job at stopping the run, but the last game was good for us. We gave up zero touchdowns and just nine points on the road in the SEC.
"We're coming along and getting better every week as we go."
Getting better is the name of the game for a team that was picked dead last in the SEC West in the preseason. There were a few spots on defensive two deep chart that needed to be shored up. Adams is now solidly holding down his spot in the rotation at defensive tackle.
"I could still play some at end depending on what the game plan is, but I am pretty much playing at defensive tackle all of the time now," Adams said. "I like playing them both, but it looks like defensive tackle is going to be my main position as far as this season goes."
The Bulldogs are preparing for a tough challenge this weekend as they travel to College Station, Texas to battle the Aggies of Texas A&M. Adams reports that he has been impressed with the Kevin Sumlin offense. The Mississippi State game plan on defense will likely lean on the front four to create chaos.
"They like to run the ball," Adams said. "We have to rush the 'A' gaps real well. We have to get pressure on the quarterback. We want to get him off of the spot. We can't let him sit back in the pocket and throw the ball."
A week ago, the Bulldogs had perhaps their most complete game defensively this season. Adams credits the team for working hard in the days leading up to the trip at Auburn. The talented junior reports that he has seen some of that dedication carry over this week.
"Last week, I think guys watched a lot more film and it showed during the game," Adams explained. "We played pretty well on defense and this week everybody seems pretty locked in again. We have to keep watching film to know what they want to do and we have to tackle well. I thought we tackled pretty well last week."
The game film from the Bulldogs win over Auburn shows a better effort at tackling. Adams reports that it took some time for some of the newcomers to acclimate to the college game.
"We had some new guys playing on defense and some guys starting for the first time," Adams said. "Last year, we were a little older on defense. We had some guys who had to learn that playing in games was a little different than playing in practice. They had to adjust to the speed of the game and learn about tackling guys live on every snap. Everybody seems to be getting that down now."
Adams as a lightly recruited prospect out of Brandon High School in Brandon, Mississippi. Now a regular on the Bulldog defense, the 310 pounder gives some of the credit for his maturation as a player to his position coach David Turner.
"Coach Turner is very helpful. He's good with technique," Adams said. "He talks with me everyday and keeps me focused. He just wants me to get better every day and he gives me something to work on every single day. Today he was talking with me about staying low. Tomorrow, he might tell me to run to the ball better. He always has something he wants me to work on."
The Bulldogs are 2-0 on the road this season. Adams believes that the experience of loading up the bus and earning a victory on the road is invaluable. With a pair of road wins under their belt, Adams believes the Bulldogs are mentally prepared for the challenges that await them at Kyle Field this weekend.
"Last weekend showed us that we can win on the road in the SEC," Adams said. "College Station is going to be a much different environement than the last two places we visited. It's going to be important for us to score fast, get ahead and try to take the game out of it early."