JuCo transfer Traver Jung is ready for his first action as a Mississippi State Bulldog.

Mississippi State has an assortment of talented linebackers. While names like Richie Brown, J.T. Gray and Gerri Green are familiar to Bulldog fans, some up and comers like Leo Lewis and Traver Jung appear poised to make a real impact this fall. Jung shared his thoughts about his role on the team and the upcoming season in a recent one-on-one interview.

Jung came in a season ago as a summer enrollee. Despite a cram session on Bulldog defense, the Greenville, Mississippi native wore the redshirt all year. The 2015 season allowed Jung time to grow both mentally and physically. The Holmes Community College product now believes he is better prepared to take on the Southeastern Conference.

"I feel great," Jung said. "Learning the defense is pretty much the best part and getting to know the coach. I am basically working on the strongside (linebacker) position and viper."

During bowl practices, Jung was mentioned as a standout with regularity. Six months into his career as a Mississippi State Bulldog, Jung saw the business side of college football when his position coach, Manny Diaz, left Starkville for the same post at the University of Miami.

New defensive coordinator, Coach Peter Sirmon, joined the Bulldog coaching staff with a new energy, a new scheme and a new way of doing things. The transition appears to have been to Jung's liking. The talented junior reports that getting comfortable in the 3-4 alignment takes some getting used to, but he is excited about the aggressive scheme.

"There is going to be a lot of blitzing," Jung said. "Learning the plays is kind of easy, from JuCo, I can learn. Covering is alright, but the blitzing part has been the hardest.

"(Coach Sirmon) runs a 'three down', so I get to cover more. I get to blitz more too and at the same time, I have fun doing it."

The Bulldog linebackers appear to have accepted Sirmon as one their own. Jung reports that the former NFL standout showed up in Starkville ready to get to work and ready to get to know his personnel.

"He came in with a great attitude," Jung said of Sirmon. "He gave all of us players hope for all of us to be able to earn a spot. That's basically what he did for the linebackers"

During the spring practice scrimmages, the momentum shifted back and forth between the offense and defense. Sirmon's group got the better of the first session with the offense evening things up in the second. Despite some offensive fireworks since that first scrimmage, Jung remains confident in his unit.

"It's been competitive, but I think it was more about where coach placed the ball though," Jung said. "It was hard, but we won the first scrimmage. In the second one, they kind of got on us,but the defense should come out and do what we have to do."

Now ready to make his major college debut in the Bulldogs' season opener, Jung looks back on his redshirt year with gratitude. While being on the sideline was not how he envisioned his first year in the SEC going, the fleet footed Jung is happy to have two more years of eligibility remaining.

"It was frustrating, but at the same time I think it was the best decision I made and the coaches made," Jung said. "It helped me out a lot as far as covering, getting a feel of the game and going against some great guys.

"I like it, but we're learning a new defense. I like it, but the adjustment is still kind of hard. At the same time, I am going to give my all every day."

Some say that the only constant in life is change. Change as it pertains to the Mississippi State defense appears to agree with Jung. With a fresh start and some new coaches, Jung appears ready to thrive.

"Well, I kind of like Coach Sirmon's defense," Jung said. "I can say that this is the best defense I can be in right about now. It's fun and I feel like this is a good defense for me."

Due to some bumps and bruises, Jung did not participate in the Mississippi State spring game. He is expected to be back to full strength this summer and completely healthy when the Bulldogs begin fall camp. 


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