Steve Robertson -

Ground Game Showing Some Gains But Must Pick Up Pace Fast

Maybe it was a shift in offensive emphasis? Or maybe it was a sign of progress? Whatever the reason, Mississippi State made significant gains in the ground game in last week's loss at Texas A&M. Offensive line coach and run game coordinator John Hevesy did see improvements but knows Mississippi State must do more and better.

How did you evaluate the offensive line after going against one of the best defensive lines in the country? “We’ve got to do better. We’ve got to make a play. I mean, they’re going to make plays, we have to make plays. We had about four to five opportunities that (if) we make a play it’s a different game. And we didn’t make a play.:

“It’s as simple as that, nothing more or less than that.”


How is Rufus Warren? “I think Rufus is fine. He was practicing today so there’s nothing, I mean to me it doesn’t change much. It just moves Elgton (Jenkins) up to play more, get more reps in a game.”

“But to me (Rufus) practiced so there’s nothing I’m worried about. If I have to use him I can use him. But I’d probably do the same thing with him, let him play and Elgton get some reps the same way.”


How did Jenkins grade? “Alright. It’s just him learning the game. It’s a lot faster than practice, adjustments are going to be quicker, adjustments are going to happen faster on the run. But a lot of things to me are just for him trusting what he does in practice is what he’s going to see in a game. And turn it over.”

“It’s just the speed is going to be a little different, which is part of it. If we’ve got to go 10 mph he’s running about 8-1/2. Which to me he’s got to get that mile-and-a-half up faster. Which every rep he’s going to get better at that.”


Deion Calhoun is also getting playing in backup, where does he stand? “Same thing. Again, playing them early it’s to get them in. We’ve had that philosophy of getting them in early. Then if they have to play in the game, I don’t want to have to wait until three minutes left in the fourth quarter to have to go in and not have any idea what’s going on. At least they’ve been hit. They see what’s going on, they see what they’re going to have to go against.”

“But it’s the same thing, catching them up to speed in play so if they have to cover the full-time guy they’ve had opportunities to do that, and in big games. It’s been SEC opponents, not like it’s been non-SEC opponents.”


With more emphasis on the running game last week, what was your evaluation? “It was better. It’s the same thing, it’s making a play. Just sit there and pin-point any one person, it’s the opportunity at that moment.”

“If it’s my five (linemen) and the running back, or it’s a tight end and whatever involved, it’s one guy away from making a play. I grade my guys if five guys on the play did their job. You see those plays that are four of the five doing great job; one is a hair-off. That’s costing us from a 30-yard run to a four-yard run.”

“Again that’s a difference. We’ve got to make a play. We had two in the first drive that if we finish a block and get around a corner, it’s what we saw before. That’s a part of they’ve got to learn to make that play, not it’s just going to happen. Go make that play. You’ve got focus in that exact moment of what you have to do and go get it done.”

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