Mississippi State linebacker Clarence McDougal, who has recorded 22 tackles, second on the team, the first three games of the season, talked about the defense giving up so many yards and points early, putting pressure on yourself during to make plays and improvements that he has seen in the defense."> Mississippi State linebacker Clarence McDougal, who has recorded 22 tackles, second on the team, the first three games of the season, talked about the defense giving up so many yards and points early, putting pressure on yourself during to make plays and improvements that he has seen in the defense.">

MSU Linebacker Clarence McDougal

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01players/football/2003/mcdougal(blackjersey).jpg" align="left" width="120" height="161"> Mississippi State linebacker Clarence McDougal, who has recorded 22 tackles, second on the team, the first three games of the season, talked about the defense giving up so many yards and points early, putting pressure on yourself during to make plays and improvements that he has seen in the defense.

Clarence McDougal interview.

On defense, giving up 500 yards per game is not what you expected. Do you have any ideal why the defense is giving up so many yards and points when there is so much talent on the team?
"(The coaches) put us in a good position to make plays, we just aren't making plays. They are coaching us right and we are doing the right things, but in the game we aren't making plays that we are supposed to make. Then, we get down and our heads get down, but we fight back and get back but have given up too many points early (in the game). When you give up too many points early, it is hard to come back late."

You mentioned getting emotionally down during the game. How long does the team stay down after the game is over and when do you start getting out of that mood?
"You realize you get another chance every week to redeem yourself. It is time to redeem ourselves and get back on the right track. Everybody knows we are 0-0 in the SEC, so we haven't really lost any games. We just have to come out and take care of business against LSU and focus. If we focus, we will be in every game. We just have to execute and make plays. It is time for us to make plays on the defensive side of the ball."

Has it gotten to the point where the defensive players are putting too much pressure on themselves to make plays?
"That's not it. You just have to make the plays. The ball has bounced the other way for us. I don't know, maybe we have a curse on us but the ball bounces the other way. If I had made that play (an interception) against Tulane, we would have probably won the game. We don't make the one or two plays in the game that would put us over the top. It is hard, man, losing like this."

Even though the defense has given up a lot of yards, have you seen improvement on the defensive side of the ball?
"When we give up those points early, it's one or two plays that usually hurt us. We settle down and then get back into the game."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher and owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial site for Mississippi State sports since October, 1996. He can be reached by email at swindoll@genespage.com


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