Post-Practice Interviews

Coach Croom talked about Monday's practice, while defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson talked about his defense.

Coach Sylvester Croom

What did you think about today's practice?
"I thought we worked pretty well today. The rest did them well. We moved around and had more juice in us, more pep. Now we have to get ready for Tulane. We worked on some of our overtime situations and some special plays that we have in. Really we tried to give them another day of rest by doing more mental work than anything else. Tomorrow and Wednesday we'll go in full pads, get a little hitting in. Hopefully, we can get what we need to do and not get anybody injured."

Talk about Will Rogers returning to the practice field.
"He moved around pretty well today. In fact, he beat them off the ball the first time in the sleds. I think the rest of the them were sort of loafing. Will won the first one but that was the last one he won, so I guess he wasn't quite as quick as I first thought."

Are you excited it's game week?
"Of course, of course. Mississippi State is not on our schedule. We finally can look forward to hitting somebody else. We've hit each other pretty well, so I hope we won't have any kind of aversion to hitting people in a different uniform."

Are you sleeping well?
"I'm going to sleep good if I can ever get home."

Coach Ellis Johnson

Do you think your defense is about where you want it to be now that game week is here?
"One thing that we have been fortunate with is injuries. That's something that you can't always control. So, from that standpoint, I think we are ready to go. From a scheme standpoint, we've got about as much in as we can. I guess we are ready to at least put that together for the Tulane gameplan. Whether we are a good football team or not, I don't know. I don't think we are going to know a lot about ourselves until we face another team."

Do you feel you have your first and second units set?
"Yeah, but that may change on occasion. But I think we know the guys who have proven themselves to be dependable through spring ball and three weeks of camp. There is still some good competition in a couple of places where the starter is up for grabs. I feel like I have four guys at my safety positions who, on any given day, will come out and have a good day. Quinton (Culberson) is still learning and is not totally comfortable. I moved him from strong to free today just to look at him there. There are places like that where we have good depth."

Has junior college cornerback transfer Brian Staley gotten into game shape?
"I think he is in shape now, but we are still very concerned that he hasn't been very consistent in his play. He has not given us the consistency that he has to to play very many snaps for us. I think the conditioning element is what hampered him early. Now, it is a matter of him picking things up and getting it done."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by email at

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