Fan and team favorite Coach Tony Hughes left the Mississippi State staff following last season to accept the head coaching position at Jackson State. As a show of respect, Coach Dan Mullen asked Hughes to return for the Belk Bowl. The Bulldogs won that contest over NC State soundly. Hughes had an emotional send off once the final horn sounded.
With Hughes taking over the head coaching helm in Jackson, the Bulldogs turned to former Iowa State assistant Maurice Linguist to coach a personnel group loaded with young talent. The former Baylor safety appears to have made a strong initial impression on Bryant.
"Coach Mo is a very good coach," Bryant said. "He is a very demanding man, because he wants the best out of you. I need a man to coach me like that, because he can bring the best out of me each play. He tells me, 'Brandon, keep going, keep going' and that drives me to put one foot over the other."
While Bryant is just learning what type of on the field teacher Linguist can be, the red shirt sophomore reports that he has a good handle on what type of person the first year Bulldog assistant is.
"He is a real great man too," Bryant said of Linguist. "I sit in the office and talk with him about life, talk about my life and talk about his life. We just have heart-to-heart conversations. He is just a real good man to me. He's a good coach and a good mentor."
Due to an injury to Kendrick Market a season ago, Bryant was thrust into a starting role. At times, the Bulldogs played three freshman safeties at once with true frosh Mark McLaurin and Jamal Peters joining the huddle alongside Bryant.
The trio gained valuable experience together last fall. That same group, along with senior to be Kvion Coman, will battle for depth chart placement this spring. Bryant believes the chemistry created last season has carried over through the off season.
"It's good, because most of us got experience out on the field last year," Bryant said. "Jamal and Mark played early and played as freshmen. We just came out here and worked hard. Coach Mo is always telling us to get better everyday and that you have to improve on your craft. That's what we're trying to do."
New coaches have a new way of doing things, so change was inevitable with a complete turnover of the Mississippi State defensive staff. Bryant reports that learning the new Bulldog way has been exciting and educational.
"Coach (Peter) Sirmon really broke the defense down to us," Bryant explained. "Instead of just throwing everything on us, he broke everything down and had everything right for us. We are just out here learning each day. We're installing new things and we just have to keep moving forward and don't look back.'
With new coaches on staff with some real familiarity with the 3-4 defensive alignment, the Bulldogs will look to be more multiple this fall under the direction of newly hired defensive boss, Sirmon. Bryant reports that he is excited about what is to come.
"It's a great defense," Bryant said. "The 3-4 defense is real complicated for an offense. We are just trying to create a lot of disruption at the point of attack and just do everything the right way. We want to create turnovers and just be the psycho defense that everyone knows us as."