Coaches Comments After Monday's Practice

[Premium Article] Coaches Jackie Sherrill, Ron Cooper and Morris Watts talked about Monday's practice and Saturday's scrimmage after watching the scrimmage film.

Coach Jackie Sherrill

"We played on the (stadium) field to get a better feel for it. We wanted to get our receivers and quarterbacks adjusted to the field. Plus, we wanted to get them in the (game) atmosphere.

"We got a lot of things on film that we will be able to show them (Tuesday).

You have three positions on offense (QB, LT and C) that has battles going on. When do you think you will announce who those starters?
"We probably won't announce those until game week."

Offensive Coordinator Morris Watts

Talk about things you liked after watching the scrimmage film.
"The biggest thing was we are making some big plays. But there is a bad side to that because sometimes you become a team that thinks you can live and die by big plays. We have to be sure we start being consistent in what we are doing.

"I thought that we played hard but we were tired. We practiced twice the day before the scrimmage. But there was a reason we did that. We wanted to see how they would fight through being tired and having pressure on them. Because of that, you don't see a lot of zip in your scrimmage and that showed."

Does it concern you that the running game doesn't seemed to have come around, yet?
"It does concern me."

Do you have any ideas why it's hasn't been better than it has?
"One thing that hurts is we are moving guys around. We have different guards in there now. We have one guy that has played a lot of football, David Stewart. Blake (Jones) has played some. But that's it. Burch hasn't played much. The two guards haven't played much. We are still making missed assignments. And we aren't aggressive enough at the line of scrimmage where we can control it. We just have to hope that we solve some of the problems."

Do you feel the offensive line played better than they did in the first scrimmage?
"They played better than the first scrimmage, but they aren't playing good enough, yet. They know that. We are working on it and we will get better. They know that we have to get better. If we don't, then we will be a one-dimensional team and (the defense) will kick back their heels and come after us."

Is there a point where you might move one of your centers to guard?
"We know that if we have to we can move McNeil (to guard). But you need two centers. And (Jones and McNeil) are our two centers. We are trying to develop guards so that we don't have to worry about that."

Defensive Coordinator Ron Cooper

What were your impressions of the scrimmage after watching the scrimmage film?
"I was pleased with what I saw. The guys that we had rotating with the 1's and 2's didn't have a penalty all day. They didn't do anything stupid or foolish. That was pleasing. Our 1's and 2's didn't give up a big play. And we stopped the run. We didn't missed many tackles with the first and second group."

Didn't the first unit play 3 series during the scrimmage?
"What I did is keep the first two units in the white jerseys. I had two units rotating. I think they played about 6 series all together. (The rest of the time) I wanted to get some of the young guys in, guys like Jeramie Johnson, David Heard and Deljuan Robinson, Andrew Powell and Corey Clark. I put them in all together and kept them in against our 1's so that I could see how they will hold up in a game.

"I feel like our 1's are ready to go and part of our 2's are ready to go. We just have to get the rest of the second group ready to go."

You were pretty excitable out there tonight. Do you get more excitable the closer to the game?
"I actually relax the closer we get to the game. Wednesday, we better make sure we have the game plan going. Thursday, I'm semi-positive. Friday, I've very positive. The day of the game I'm all thoughts."

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is You can contact him by emailing

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