Steve Robertson - Genespage.com

Mississippi State junior defensive end Will Coleman return to his home state this weekend as the Bulldog take on Texas A&M.

The Mississippi State defensive line has taken some solid strides this season despite having to replace three starters. One newcomer who has harassed opposing quarterbacks is redshirt junior defensive end Will Coleman. This weekend Coleman will make the trip to his home state of Texas in hopes of helping the Bulldogs earn a win over the home standing Texas A&M Aggies.

"It feels real good," Coleman said of returning to play on Lone Star State soil. "I have felt really good heading into this week. I feel great about the game plan we have for Texas A&M and it feels good to have a chance to play in front of the crowd back home."

There will be some bragging rights up for grabs for Coleman in more ways than one. Of course, the Tyler, Texas native wants to get a win over a school that passed on him, but he also has a personal connection with an Aggie player.

"I have a former teammate from Tyler Junior College, Joshua Reynolds, that plays at A&M," Coleman explained. "We have a pretty good bond. I've been talking a little trash with him leading up until we get to play against each other. 

"It's going to be good to play against him. It's going to sort of be like a reunion. I haven't seen him in a year and a half, so it will be nice to compete against him after playing with him. It's going to be pretty fun."

Last season, Coleman redshirted and learned to study the game from the sidelines. While missing out on the action was a difficult thing to get used to, Coleman made the most of his time away from the huddle.

"It turned out to be really good for me," Coleman said of the redshirt season. "It allowed me to get bigger, stronger and faster. It helped me to get settled in the program and it's allowed me to be around the guys more and build relationships. I have the routine down now and now I know what it's like to play in the SEC. I have been able to follow Ryan Brown a lot and just learn from the things he does."

Coleman went to work against Southern Miss for the first college action of his career. Late in the ball game, #57 kept Golden Eagle quarterback Nick Mullens uncomfortable thanks to some stunts that brought Coleman straight up the middle. 

The personable Coleman believes that his niche on the Bulldog defense is as a speed rusher.

"I believe my speed is one of the things I bring to the table," Coleman said. "I am not as big as the tradition defensive ends, so with me being long and being agile I feel like I need to use my speed to help bring pressure."

Coach David Turner's meeting room is filled with a motley crew of sorts with each player having a different skill set. Coleman reports that Turner uses the best attributes of each player to piece it all together.

"I think Coach Turner is a great coach," Coleman said. "Coach Turner is the one who brought me in. He believed in me throughout my recruitment.

"He knows how to use everybody's talent. He sees what you're good and at what you're dominant at and puts you in a position to use what you're good at. He knows how to handle the locker room and all of the 'Xs and Os'. He just knows how to get all of us in a position that we can be successful."

The defensive line will be counted on heavily this weekend on the road at Texas A&M. The front four must stop the run and generate pressure on the Aggie quarterbacks.

"They want to run the ball and they want to pass the ball, so we have to keep our eyes where they are supposed to be," Coleman said. "He have to play hard and trust in our teammates. It's all about trust."

Coleman reports that as the season has moved along, the defensive unit has become more like a brotherhood. Now that this unit has some snaps under their collective belts, they are developing some real chemistry.

"We're all really close and every day just brings us closer," Coleman said. "We have been through some good things and bad things together. We've had to get used to a new defensive coordinator together. We've grown closer through all of that.

"We just know how to work with each other now. We know to trust that every player is going to be where he is supposed to be. The trust factor is just growing and growing and growing."

Today is a travel day for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are set to stay just outside of College Station and then bus in for tomorrow's game. Kickoff is set for 6:30,


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