Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Defensive Linemen Plan to Play 'Upfield' In Grantham System

Fans talk about great big switches of sets and schemes. Coaches? It is alllll about the details, Brian Baker explains.

“And any time you change one thing you’re changing the whole thing.”

So, as Mississippi State’s defense lines up for spring practicing the Dogs aren’t so much learning a whole new system per se. According to second-year line coach Baker, they are more learning a new language for 2017.


How have the guys been developing in practice? Coach Baker: “Well, today is the first day in pads. So the jury is still out. But they do work hard. They’re trying to do things right, trying to understand and get a grasp of the new system, new terminology.”

“A lot of the things that we’re doing from the linemen’s standpoint is the same things we’ve done. But there’s been little tweaks and any time you change one thing you’re changing the whole thing. So it’s still kind of getting their feet under them.”


In the context of what you ran last year what are some of the difference? “Verbiage is the biggest difference. You know, we’re going to be playing a little bit more upfield than we did before. Maybe a little bit more movement, it depends on how he calls it. But the verbiage is the biggest difference.”


What is your take on Todd Grantham’s personality on the field? “Well, Todd gets after it. I’m used to that. I’m really concentrating more on the players than the coaches! So I don’t know if I have a real good answer. I know he’s really smart, knowing Todd for a long time he’s really smart, attention-to-detail guy. A coach who is aggressive and wants an aggressive defense.”

“Those things I knew about him before he even got here. So it’s been no different than what I expected.”


What have you seen from Jeffery Simmons going into year-two? “Comfort. He’s just a little bit more aware of what he’s doing. You know, last year he’d never played inside. He’d never been 300 pounds. So getting used to his body, understanding things he’s got to do to get better, he’s making a conscious effort to do those things.”

“His comfort of just being inside, especially the times he’s playing over center, he looks a lot more comfortable with those blocking schemes. He understands what’s going on and he’s playing a little faster than he did before.”


You lost some guys with big personalities, who is stepping up in leadership roles? “I don’t know, that’s still developing. Yeah, that’s still developing.”

“I think a lot of guys are just trying to be themselves, and trying to do things the right way. I think right now as a group they’re kind of pushing and pulling each other.”


Is everyone basically lining-up where they were last year or have you made any moves? “Pretty much where they are.”


Gerri Green said the juco guys came in and didn’t fight the system, is that what you see? “Yeah, that’s been what it is. Yep.”


Is it still mixing up four-front and three-front? “Oh yeah. Yeah. From snap to snap it could be either/or. So that’s one of the similarities to last year.”


Grantham said he wants more outside rush, what do you do with the group to get that? “Well he’s really been coaching more the edge guys this year. So that’s a little bit of a difference, where I had all those guys in pass-rush last year this year is a little bit more of a concentration from his standpoint, in terms of where he’s investing his time coaching wise with the edge guys.”

“So I get them for some things. But there is a coach giving them more attention than last year maybe.”

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