Steve Robertson -

Veteran Linebacker Finds Fast Fit with New Coordinator Coach

There are plenty peers already to consult. For that matter Richie Brown has all his own experience to call upon. But the new position coach and coordinator is absolutely welcomed by this Bulldog linebacker. “We can relate to him,” Brown said.

Him being Peter Sirmon. Though hired by Dan Mullen after eight seasons of coaching college football in various defensive roles, Sirmon’s calling card with his bunch of Bulldogs is a NFL career. A seven-season NFL career, at Tennessee with three playoff appearances; all as a fourth-round draft pick, too.

The resume gets player attention. Now though it’s the respect Sirmon has earned for developing Mississippi State linebackers as well as coordinating the entire defense.

With, said Brown, a fresh style of instruction.

“He has a very unique of coaching us. It’s very relatable.”

This matters. Never you mind that by now Brown could capably coordinate a good Dog defense in his own right. The team’s top tackler last year, fifth-most in the SEC, and a pre-season all-conference pick by both media and coaches, Brown is rightly regarded as one of the classic Mississippi State middle linebackers. He’s also bidding for consecutive 100-tackle campaigns.

Still this old Dog wants to learn every new trick possible. The third position coach/coordinator of his MSU career will oblige. Even more meaningful to Brown though is how Sirmon just suits the linebacker corps’ emotional style.

“Most coaches, ‘oh you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re just telling me to hustle because that’s your job, you never played football’,” Brown said.

“But him, he’s been there, he knows what he’s talking about. It comes as more inspiration than someone just screaming at you because it’s their job. And we feel like he cares more because he’s been in our shoes.”

For his part, Sirmon has stepped into a well-stocked situation. He has to replace Brown’s ‘backing brother Beniquez Brown, who exited a year early for NFL free agency. But Sirmon has lots of tested and redshirted talent to work with.

And for all the speculation of Sirmon’s more-multiple schemes, what with both three- and four-man lines and various linebacker packages, Brown said the fit has been fast. “I think we’re pretty installed now.”

“It’s just some fine tuning, some little tweaks here and there. Obviously you can always get better. But for the most part we’re installed and just reviewing stuff.”

That seems a strong statement since this IS a new coordinator and new system. Sirmon stresses changes from State’s previous approach, out of a 4-3 base, aren’t too radical. But…change is change. Isn’t it?

“I mean it’s been interesting,” said Brown. “But I’ve learned at the same pace. It’s all kind of correlating in my head now. The techniques are similar, there’s just different names for them. I actually know this defense better than the one I learned for four years, believe it or not.”

Which says much for Brown’s veteran ability to absorb and apply different concepts. It should stand him in good stead with NFL scouts obviously. This is also an opportunity for the unit’s ranking Dog to lend his new coach a hand as needed.

“I’m not sure how much he leans on it! But I try to give him everything I have,” Brown said.

“I’m out there screaming at the guys as much as I can trying to get them lined up, some of the young guys making calls. I try to help him as much as I can. I’m not perfect but what I do know I’m trying to communicate to the younger guys.”


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