Finally healthy, Bulldog defensive back Cedric Jiles is excited to be back on the spring practice field.

Mississippi State corner Cedric Jiles earned a role as a starter as a true sophomore. Jiles had battled back from a hand injury that cut short his freshman campaign. While just a frosh, the 2012 season saw the Clinton High product taking snaps as a reserve. Poised for a break out junior season, Jiles suffered a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the entire 2014 season as the Bulldogs raced to #1.

Back on the field last fall, Jiles saw his most significant action as a college football player. With seniors Taveze Calhoun and Will Redmond expected to sign pro contracts in the coming weeks, Jiles is now the elder statesman in Coach Terrell Buckley's meetings.

Earlier this week, the talented corner took part in the second spring practice session of the 2016 calendar year. Completely healthy for perhaps the first time since his freshman year, Jiles was eager to get back to work.

"It feels great to be back out and get your legs moving and getting your body moving," Jiles said. "It's (good) to get your mind back into football mode. It really feels great."

Spring football this year also ushers in a new era of Bulldog defense. The entire defensive staff is getting to know the roster as well as each other. Jiles reports that the early returns on his new position coach, Buckley, are favorable.

"Coach Buckley was a great cornerback back in the day along with Deshea Townsend," Jiles said. "Coach Buckley is doing well. He has us working a lot of foot work drills. He is going to make us a lot better. We re going to improve and get turnovers."

Perhaps it is the NFL background shared by Buckley and Townsend, but it appears that there are a lot of similarities to what was taught before and what is being taught now despite the coaching change. 

"It's a lot of the same things just different personalities," Jiles explained. "I enjoyed both of them. I am working hard either way."

A lot has changed for Jiles. With the starting tandem of Calhoun and Redmond now departed and the change of leadership at the cornerback coaching position, Jiles is the "answer" guy. For a fifth year senior playing under a new coach, the rising senior has no one left to ask. 

"I am going to miss those guys," Jiles said. "They are gone on to the NFL and I wish them the best of luck. It's time to go. It's my time to go. I waited long enough. I got hurt plenty of times. I feel like it's my time this year to actually show out."

Having missed so many college snaps due to physical ailments, Jiles has learned a full appreciation for the gift of playing college football. Heading into the 2016 season, the fleet footed corner is taking nothing for granted.

"It's my senior year," Jiles said. "I just want to enjoy football and attack every play and make plays for Mississippi State."

Making plays this fall will involve learning a new scheme, new terminology and a new way of doing things. As the Bulldogs have worked through some early in stall this spring, Jiles has embraced Coach Peter Sirmon's defensive ideals.

""I love it," Jiles said of the new scheme. "It is easier to understand. There are a lot of good word choices that makes everybody understand. Everybody is buying in to it and catching on to it a lot better and faster."

The Bulldogs will resume spring practice today, but the incoming weather is expected to force the team inside the Palmeiro Center. Should the team move inside, then practice will be closed to both the media and the public.

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