Steve Robertson -

Mississippi State safeties coach Maurice Linguist shares his thoughts on his group's progress this season.

Mississippi State (2-2) has an open date this weekend. While the Bulldogs will enjoy a weekend to recharge both their batteries and bodies, the practice week was about getting better. With four weeks of lessons learned, safeties coach Maurice Linguist is ready to take an inventory of sorts to gauge his players' progress.

"I think we're still working towards where we want to be," Linguist said. "The good thing is that we still have a good amount of the season left. I think early on, you're identifying who does what in games and really what strengths show up on Saturday. You find out what some of the things are that you need to be careful of. It's about ID'ing personnel and seeing who can do what.

"Scheme wise, we are trying to determine what kind of team we're going to identify ourselves as, what kind of defense we're going to identify ourselves as. The bye week is good opportunity for us to look back and see where the positive things are coming from and where the negative things are coming from. How do you address them? How do you fix them?

"The goal is to keep getting better. Good teams continue to get better. Good players continue to get better. You only get better when you identify your mistakes. You only get better when you strain to find your mistakes and you correct them. You also want to build on the things you've done well and that is where we are right now."

While Linguist's personnel group has been able to stay healthy thus far, the safety room lost a man when Jamal Peters made the move down the hall to the corners' room and Coach Terrell Buckley. The transition left the two deep chart at safety a man short. The Bulldogs have simply adapted and moved forward.

"It pulls the string a bit in the fact that you have to slide one piece over," Linguist said. "You're always shuffling and you're always putting things together. The best thing I love about the kids is that they have taken it all in stride. There are no 'me' guys on the team. Everybody is about the team first. It's about Mississippi State first and about what they can do to help the team.

"For the coaches, it's about us putting players in a position to be successful. That's really what it is. It boils down to what is your strength, what can you do well and what can I do to help you be successful? I also need to know how to avoid putting you in a situation where your weaknesses may be vulnerable. 

"The kids have had a great attitude about it. Are we exactly where we want to be? No, I wouldn't say that. Are we working towards getting there? Yes. Will we get there? I would say yes. As long as the kids keep the great attitude that they have and we keep finding the right pieces for the right places, we will get there."

Earlier this week, Coach Dan Mullen shared that the Bulldogs needed to have more fun and enjoy their successes when they have them. That sentiment was shared by star safety Brandon Bryant later in the week. As Bryant's position coach, Linguist explains that Bryant's willingness to look for opportunities to improve is a good sign.

"It's a fine balancing exact between the strain to find mistakes and wanting to do everything perfect," Linguist said. "The funny thing about a football game is that a perfect game doesn't exist, but you have to play a complete game. If you can play a complete game, you will do enough of the right things to give yourself a chance to win the game. It's knowing how to play through an adverse situation.

"It's about finding the joy in getting the outcome you want in terms of winning and then being able to have enough clarity about yourself to know that we won and finding the things that we did poorly that we need to correct. At the end of every single day, it's about improving. It's about constant improvement.

"Last week, Brandon led the team in tackles and he's still disappointed with his effort. He is disappointed that we didn't play up to our best ability. That's a sign of maturity. That's a sign of a guy who knows that we won, but that we can get better. It should scare you if you didn't play your best and it doesn't bother you. We just have to keep working and the kids have had a great attitude with all of that."

Linguist is for the most part settled in as a Starkville resident. The first year Bulldog assistant reports that the Mississippi State family has welcomed him and his family with open arms.

"When you go in that stadium and you got 65,000 cowbells, it's something else," Linguist said. "My wife has been out there in the stands and she's told me how exciting is to be out there and be a part of that. 

"I'm just glad to here and be with a great group of coaches that are really genuine people. These coaches are great people first. The kids bust their butts and work hard. I don't need a lot. I am around great people and great kids. 

"We have a chance to line up and win every single time we play, because our kids give great effort. That's all anyone can ask in this profession. We are going to keep busting our butts and working towards what we want to get to and we are going to get there."

Mississippi State will look to take the next step in getting there next weekend when the Tigers of Auburn come to town. Kickoff is set for 11 A.M. and tickets remain available. 

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