"I am disappointed in how we played, but I'm going to give credit to Mississippi State. They played about three possessions of zone in their exhibition games. And we were prepared for backdoors, their pressure man-to-man D. They are not a 2-3 zone team and they came out and played us in a 2-3 zone. We've prepared a little bit against zone, but most of the time this happens to us in the Dr. Pepper Classic, not in the first game of the season. I told one of the officials to tell Coach Stansbury he's in the SEC. They are supposed to play us man, not zone. They are going to be a good zone team (because) they are long and athletic and can gobble up ground. We are strictly a man-to-man team. (Their) zone is going to look a lot different than any zone that people play in our league."
Talk about the play of your freshmen.
"They were scared to death. Nicchaeus Dokes was scared to death. Khalil (Hartwell) was scared to death."
What did you have to do to compete with Mississippi State?
"For us to compete with Mississippi State, we had to play every possession like it was the biggest possession of the game. And that was what we were pretty good at last year. That's why we were able to beat Tennessee and why we were up 3 on Wake Forest at halftime."
You kept coaching hard until the end of the game.
"This is a marathon. It's not a sprint. This is a long season. We have young kids. Every experience has to be a learning experience. I'm not ready to throw in the towel. We are going to watch tape and we are going to get better. And we are not going to face too many athletes like we faced tonight. That was high level athletes out there."
Talk a little more about their zone defense.
"At no time did I think we would go to Mississippi State where they are superior to us athletically and they would play 2-3 zone the entire night. So, I am going to give them a lot of credit. We were prepared for a 1-3-1, a pressure D. We even put in three or four backdoor series for them. And Coach Stansbury throws out a 2-3 zone. He better use it against a lot of people due to the athletes he has because they can cover so much ground. East Tennessee State played a zone last year and we carved it up for 100 points. But they don't have a Jamont Gordon, (Jerrell) Houston, (Charles) Rhodes, and (Wesley) Morgan. They can't be big if they aren't big."
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 emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.