Progress Seen, But More Needed

Mississippi State defensive lineman coach Brick Haley liked what he saw after watching the film of Saturday's scrimmage, but he believes there is much left to do before the Bulldogs face Murray State, September 3rd.

"I thought they (defensive tackles and defensive ends) played hard upfront and gave us good effort," said Haley. "I thought they played with pretty good technique. I think they did a good job of pass-rushing. We are still a long way away, but their aggressiveness and running to the football was a plus."

He explained what he meant by a long way away.

"They still need to improve their technique, things like getting their hands inside, improving our pad level and footwork," he said. "Those are the things we tried to work on (Monday) morning. If we don't improve those things, then some of the teams in the SEC could hurt us."

His two veteran defensive tackles, juniors Deljuan Robinson and Andrew Powell, did well, but he also noted that there are a few minor things they need to work on, especially Deljuan.

"I thought that Deljuan and Andrew both had good scrimmages," said Haley. "Both are coming along, although Andrew is probably a little bit ahead of Deljuan. He is doing things the right way and working his butt off. Deljuan just needs to get his pad level down and move his feet a little better. But I think that is because Andrew is in a little better shape than Deljuan right now."

Another player that performed very, very well was Michael Heard.

"I think Michael Heard had the best scrimmage and practice that he's had since he's been here," said Haley of his junior defensive end. "I think he is growing up. That will be a plus for us."

He was also impressed with the effort of his two true freshmen, defensive ends Quinton Wesley and Charles Burns.

"I was really impressed with how those guys pushed themselves throughout (the scrimmage)," said Haley. "They got a little tired, but they kept their focus and busted their butts. I was pleased with that. A lot of guys don't understand the tempo of college (football), but they came out and did a good job for us."

While they did a good job, he's not quite to the point where he will declare them ready for the SEC.

"I saw some flashes of some good things, but I'm not ready to say they are ready to play in the SEC," said Haley. "But I think they are going to be two guys that can help us. And we are going to do the best job that we can to make sure they get on the field if they are good enough. We have to build some depth and they can (help us) do that."

All in all, he's impressed enough with what he's seen to feel somewhat comfortable with his two-deep depth chart.

"I think we have an opportunity to have two deep," said Haley. "I think it's pretty good, although we aren't where we need to be. If the young freshmen come along, then we have a chance to (rest) those guys a little bit."

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

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