Mississippi State defensive coordinator Ron Cooper talked to Gene's Page about the Oregon game, things he learned about his defense and changes he plans on making after watching the game film."> Mississippi State defensive coordinator Ron Cooper talked to Gene's Page about the Oregon game, things he learned about his defense and changes he plans on making after watching the game film.">

Coach Ron Cooper Comments About Oregon Game

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/coaches/football/cooper.jpg" align="left" width="126" height="160"> Mississippi State defensive coordinator Ron Cooper talked to Gene's Page about the Oregon game, things he learned about his defense and changes he plans on making after watching the game film.

What were some positive and negative things that you saw after reviewing the game film?
"I thought that our guys played hard and didn't quit. We played a lot of people. In the secondary, we probably played 10 guys. Every (defensive back) freshman played in that game. We had some guys that didn't flinch and won't flinch in games, but we still have to get them more game experience.

"The negatives: The ball went over our head (on long pass plays) and we made some stupid mistakes on third and 20. We lost containment a couple of times where we should have kept the containment. I told the guys after the game that I take responsibility for it. It's not what I know but what we teach them. We came in and a lot of things happened for a reason. I even simplified it even more to where all the checks are out. We are just going to play ball."

What exactly does you mean by all the checks are out?
"That means what I call, we are playing it. When I call a defense, we are going to play it. If I call base cover two, we are playing base cover two. If I call a blitz, then the blitz is on. There are no more if they give us this, we do this. With our talent, we need to untie their brains. I am going to totally untie their brains and let their feet do the work."

To make that kind of change, you must have seen quite a few busted plays?
"There were definitely some busts. There were some guys thinking instead of running. They were thinking what do I do. And the next thing they knew the receiver was behind them. Two of the touchdowns were on quarterback scrambles. We came out of the zone on a 3rd and 23. On play action passes we are playing a deep third zone, not even man, and they got 14 points.

"Not to take anything away from Oregon's overall offense, but, when it is all said and done, I really believe Oregon will have one of the best offensive lines that we will face this year."

Actually, after watching the game on ESPN when I got home, I thought your defensive line was doing a pretty good job penetrating their offensive line during the first part of the game.
"There was a lot of good, but we got tired in the second half."

After watching the film, do you think there were times where they physically whipped your guys?
"Not really. We did get a little tired on the last couple of drives when we needed to stop them three and out and get the ball back."

After the 28-0 first quarter, did you make some adjustments on defense or do you think that Oregon started getting more conservative with their play-calling?
"We made some adjustments. And our players calmed down. Clarence McDougal was in his first game. So was (Chris) Swain, Eric Fuller, (Quinton) Culberson...you could go down the list. We calmed down and didn't flinch after the first quarter."

You not only played a lot of new guys but you played a lot of guys period. Was there a system as to when you brought them in? I ask that because you didn't bring guys in as a group but brought in individual players throughout the game no matter what down or situation.
"Some of the guys got winded, so we gave them breaks. And I wanted to see what so and so would do if he got in and played. Even on that last drive, when it was close, (true freshman) Jeramie Johnson was in at safety, because I needed to see if he could play. He played well."

Was it a situation where you had to bite the bullet and let the young guys play in a live game situation when the pressure was on?
"I had to do it. The only way I can see what they can do is to play them in that situation."

Did you get to play all the guys you wanted to play?
"We got everybody in that we wanted to play except for one player; Michael Heard. Other than that, everybody that was in the depth rotation played in the game and played more than one, two or three plays. We wanted to play 22 of them. The guys came in and played in a big game. We just have to play better."


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 http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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