"In this scheme, I know we're still attacking and getting after the ball," Gerri Green said. "There is a big emphasis on making stops and just playing defense. We just don't want the offense to be able to move the ball and we want to be aggressive at the point of attack, the line of scrimmage."
Green's 49 tackles a season ago was good for sixth best on the team. With the talented linebacker spending more time closer to the action that number is expected to climb. This fall, Bulldog fans could see Green anywhere from an inside linebacker to a stand up defensive end.
"(Coach Sirmon) expects you to know different positions," Green said. "You may start off playing one, but he wants you to know what the guy next to you is doing also. You have to have the flexibility to play more than one position on the defense. For me, that means I might play the Viper position or going back into the box and playing the Mike (middle linebacker) or the Will (weakside linebacker). You need to be versatile to do both.
"I love the challenge. Anything I can do to help this defense, I am open to it. I just want to be on the field in any kind of way."
The move from the middle of the Bulldog defense to an edge rusher provides some different challenges for the talented Green. During the spring practices, Green took snaps as an inside linebacker almost exclusively. In the quest to get the best 11 on the field at once, Green has embraced lining up in a new spot.
"At Mike you're the big, vocal quarterback of the defense," Green said. "You have to sort of control the whole thing. The viper, you're more free. You're just going out there and playing. I embrace the challenge just knowing that I could be needed to play here or there. I feel like it's an honor that they think I can do multiple things. I embrace it and I look forward to all of it."
Last fall, there was a lot of talk about implementing the tackling scheme of the Seattle Seahawks. To date, there has not been much chatter about such details this year. Green explains that the team is taking the lessons learned from last fall and building on them this season.
"We are still using the tackling things we learned last year," Green said. "We are still going to incorporate some of that this year, but getting the ball on the ground is the main key to tackling. That's the main thing we're focused on."
The newly installed defensive staff has preached the team concept since their arrivals earlier this year. Green reports that the Bulldog defenders fully understand their responsibilities and that the expectation is to have 11 players working towards the ball.
"I feel like we have a chance to be incredible," Green shared. "With the guys we have in the linebacker room, I feel we all can play. Our D line is just a great group of guys. We have a chance to do a lot of good things this year.
"We worked hard this summer with the strength program and Coach Savage. Now it's time to get out there and play football. It's going to be exciting."
The Bulldogs are still going through the Farm days of camp as they look to squeeze in as much practice time as they can before classes begin on August 16th. Before the Bulldogs are settled into a new routine, game week will be here. Mississippi State hosts South Alabama on September 3rd in the season opener for both teams. Kickoff is schedule for 11 A.M. Tickets are available.