Defensive Coordinator Ellis Johnson

Mississippi State defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson saw some good and bad from Saturday's scrimmage, a scrimmage that was dominated, for the most part, by the defense.

What are your thoughts about today's scrimmage?
"It was good to finally get out here and have a full-scale scrimmage. It is probably the only time you can find out if you have a football player or not. Overall, I was, for the most part, very pleased with what we did assignment-wise, technique, getting in the right places, giving effort. I think that was all pretty good. I saw some good, aggressive play. I thought that we controlled the line of scrimmage, made some good plays. Offensively, we are struggling with the new offense because it is a very complicated system. I think a lot of times it was more them not making a play than us making plays. We also put a lot on our players. I was very pleased that we didn't have any more mistakes than we did. I think, physically, we have a chance to be competitive in this conference. I don't think we are in great condition to play football. But that is typical of everybody at this time of year because you are coming out of your off-season program. You are probably too big, too strong, too stiff."

Did you see any players on defense that stood out?
"(Tackle) Ronald Fields has been good from day one. Physically, we all knew he could play. He is talented. He can play with anybody in this league. The biggest thing he has changed is his attitude. And he (now) has a little focus and enthusiasm about himself. (Defensive end) Deljuan Robinson has been very good up front at the 5-technique. I think that (linebackers) Chris Swain and Clarence McDougal have had very good springs and had a good day today from what I could tell. (Defensive backs) (Slovakia) Griffith, (Darren) Williams, and (Quinton) Culberson made some outstanding plays on some big hits, shaking the ball loose."

What were some things you learn today that you will be able to wok on?
"Hopefully, we will learn from today, but next week we have to work on short yardage, goal line and red zone situations. We have not worked on any of that, yet. But, taking from today, I thought the offense lined up near the end of the scrimmage and ran with power. They really found a little bit of themselves and knocked us around a little bit. So, one thing we have to do is get a little more physical up on the front seven. We are also having a little trouble in man coverage with what we call cluster routes, routes where we rub off each other."


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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