Steve Robertson - Genespage.com

Mississippi State offensive line coach John Hevesy talks about his unit's progress.

Every football team in America from the pee wees to the pros is only as successful as its' offensive line. Mississippi State is currently 6-2 on the 2015 campaign and coming off its' most complete game of the season. Up front, Mississippi State played with a real sense of purpose and confidence as the Bulldogs put together an explosive offensive performance in a 42-16 shelling of Kentucky.

Against the Wildcats, the Bulldog offensive line protected well enough for the team to run up a season high 382 yards passing and a season high 30 first downs. The 42 points were also the most against an SEC opponent this year.

While clearly the unit's harshest critic, Bulldog offensive line boss John Hevesy appeared proud of how the players under his direction played the last time they were on the field.

"I feel like there were a lot of things that we did well," Hevesy said. "There are still some things we have to get better at. There were some errors that we caused that kept us from making a few big plays that we should have had, in the run game especially.

"They're starting to play better and they're playing better as a group. That's a positive, but we have to keep going as a group and getting better from here on out."

The pre-season talk suggested that the Bulldog offensive line should be more athletic than the 2014 unit, but that it would be difficult to replace the experience that departing seniors possessed. With eight games under their belts, the chemistry appears to be setting in.

"Every week we have gotten better and better not just understanding our scheme, but the defensive scheme as well," Hevesy said. "We are seeing how everything incorporates and it should get better and better each week. They are getting better, because they have the experience of seeing things."

The Bulldog blockers have their work cut out for themselves this week as they prepare to battle one of the nation's top scoring defenses. The Missouri Tigers present one of the most talented defensive line groups in the country.

"I think the group that we are playing this week are outstanding," Hevesy said. "We have to be even better this week to be able to play against Missouri. We have to be ready. We don't have an option. 

"I think we're starting to understand what's going on, so when we talk offensively or talk defensively, you don't see that puzzled look on their faces anymore. Now it's about understanding what they're trying to do and what we have to do to counter what they're doing. I am looking forward to the game."

Perhaps the one position on the Mississippi State offensive line that has improved the most over the course of the past few weeks is the left tackle position. Senior Rufus Warren and redshirt freshman Elgton Jenkins have continued their competition on into the season with both earning starts.

"The experience of both of them playing has helped," Hevesy said. "The competition has helped make them better, because they both want to play. I just want them to keep going and keep going and if they are successful then I will keep putting them in the game.

"When they start making errors, then I am going to take them out of the game. I just want them to keep going and still want to play. I believe that competition breeds better play from both of them."

Center Jamaal Clayborn made the move from offensive guard during the bowl practices of 2014. While many expected some growing pains, the transition to Dak Prescott's battery mate has been seamless.

"It's gone good," Hevesy said of the position change. "I think he has made one of the biggest improvements as far as taking ownership of the line. He has to do that. That's what that position entitles. He has to do that for us and I feel like he's done a good job with that."

The Bulldogs will be on the road this week to play their final SEC Eastern division opponent of the season. The road trip to Missouri will be one of two contests away from Davis Wade Stadium in the final four games that close out the campaign. 


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