DL Coach Brick Haley Discusses His Players

Mississippi State defensive line coach Brick Haley has some talent to work with this year. Included in that talent are a junior college transfer, Antonio Johnson, and two freshmen, Charles Burns and Quinton Wesley. Coach Haley discussed those three players as well as how his veterans are doing.

Antonio Johnson (6-3, 300), who played at Mississippi Delta Community College last season, has impressed Haley.

"Antonio (Johnson) is doing a good job for us," said Haley. "I think he is going to be a guy who can give us some help inside. He is a big body that can run and he plays the game physical. But a major thing with Antonio is it's important to him. The game means something to him."

As for his two freshmen, Quinton Wesley (6-5, 262) and Charles Burns (6-2, 263), he likes what he sees so far, although he feels it's too early to predict how much they will contribute this season.

"The two young kids that we have are doing a good job," he said. "For them, it's all about catching up and learning the system. Once we get that taken care of, they'll be fine. I don't know where they will be at this point and time, but they are making progress everyday."

What specifically do they need to work on if they want to play this season?

"I think the biggest things with them right now is strength and (learning) the system," said the second-year defensive line coach. "They will continue to lift (weights) through camp. As for the system, sometimes it takes a little bit longer for a new guy to adjust, but if you are going to play early, defensive linemen and defensive backs are guys that usually can pick it up and play a little bit sooner."

He also likes what he sees from veterans like Titus Brown (6-3, 244), Willie Evans (6-2, 270), Michael Heard (6-2, 262), Deljuan Robinson (6-4, 289), Andrew Powell (6-0, 298), Corey Clark (6-1, 306) and all the others.

"I'm pleased with the way they are working," said Haley. "I think they are all working hard and doing what they can. I don't want to say one's outplaying the other right now. What we are trying to do is build a unit. To do that, I want to make sure everybody receives their share of the glory, and does their share of the work."

Does he feel he now has enough overall talent to put quality first and second teams on the field, especially in the SEC?

"We have a good first team and will work on creating some depth," said Haley. "We aren't three-deep, but I think we can get to two-deep and be respectable."

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

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