Steve Robertson - Genespage.com

Johnathan Calvin: From D-End To Viper

Mississippi State senior defensive lineman Johnathan Calvin has a new position this season ... sort of.


Playing in all 13 games last season (starting 1), Calvin recorded 27 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. He did that at the defensive end position. This season, with a new three-man front put in by new defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon, Calvin is now the viper in the new defensive scheme.

Mississippi State now has a front that includes a defensive tackle, a nose tackle and a defensive end. On the outside will be the viper and the star positions. Calvin is the starter at the viper position.

"A viper is like a hybrid linebacker but you really stay at defensive end," said the 6-foot-3.5, 275-pounder. "I think it fits me the best because I still come off of the edge. With me moving to viper there is a lot that I already know because I learned a lot of stuff (defensive) end-wise from (former defensive line) Coach (David) Turner. But there is some stuff (that the viper does) that I can get better at such as coverage. I can cover but it is kind of new to me. The coverage that I would do is a little zone drop, not really too much. It would be tight ends that I would cover. I am excited about it though."

Some might think that Calvin at 275 pounds is a little big for the viper position. Calvin doesn't think so.

"Percy Smith of the Washington Redskins plays viper and he is 280 pounds, which is bigger than me," said Calvin.

In addition to having a great understanding of the viper position, Calvin also believes his understanding of the college game is much better, too.

"Things have slowed down for me this year," he said. "Last year things kind of smacked me in the face. I thought I was ready but I really wasn't. After the Southern Miss game I thought I was ready, then, after the LSU game, I realized how fast the game is (in the SEC). I feel like I needed those reps last year or I wouldn't be where I am now. Now, I know what to expect. I know the game speed and I have caught onto the plays."

Calvin has two main goals for the upcoming game against South Alabama Saturday.

"I want to go out and have fun with my brothers and win," he said.


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network.


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