MSU defeats Jacksonville State 51-13

[Premium Article] Mississippi State head football coach Jackie Sherrill talks about the MSU vs. Jacksonville State game.

Jackie Sherrill comments:

"We played a lot of people. We found out on Thursday that Brad (Weathers) would probably not play. It really made us shift some people around. We took Chris McNeil and put him at right guard and played (Donald) Tucker at left guard and then we played (Richard) Burch at left tackle. We also played Chris (McNeil) at center. He played a lot."

"We played a lot of people. We are trying to play the younger people. We weren't very consistent in a lot of things in the first half."

"Defensively, we didn't do a very good job with the backside down linemen and backside linebackers stopping some plays. I thought some people did play well. I'll have to go back and look at the film, but I thought that (tight end) Donald Lee played very well, block well. Cokie (Justin Griffith) blocked well and played well. I thought that Kevin (Fant) threw the deep ball very, very well. We were inconsistent a couple of times early where he overthrew it, but we came back. I was glad to see the receivers make some big, big catches. Probably the toughest catch the entire night was when Justin Jenkins went up and made his."

"I thought the on-side kick went 10 yards. I'm not sure. I'll have to look at it (on film). Brent Smith has the ability to do a lot of things on kickoffs. We'll be able to use that."

"We had some penalties that we shouldn't have had, especially in the kicking game. We had holding and we also had a penalty where the second guy always gets caught. We should have walked away."

"I think that our offense is getting to the point where we can do a lot of things. You are going to have to spend a lot of time in practice preparing (for our offense)."

"Their second quarterback (Anthony Mayo) is a pretty impressive kid. They will win games with that kid."

Questions and answers with Coach Sherrill:

Talk about the defensive adjustments that you made at the halftime.
"We really didn't make any adjustments. We just played better. They ran the mid-line option and we weren't getting any help from the backside. During the second half, we did, especially when (Jason) Clark made a big play by squeezing down the line of scrimmage and stopping them on the short yardage play.

"I thought probably the player in the secondary who played the best was Richard Ball. He played very, very well."

How about talking about why you didn't play Tommy Kelly in the first half.
"It was due to discipline. Again, I don't go into it any deeper than that."

Do you feel good going into the Auburn game?
"We have a short week. We have one player, Brett Morgan, who we put in the hospital for one night. He has a concussion. Right now, I don't know if we will get him back. We have two (offensive) linemen (Brad Weathers and, I believe, Donald Tucker) who are going to be questionable. Hopefully, we can get them back. I think everybody else should be healthy and ready to go."

Do you think you played good enough tonight as you look to that game?
"I don't think that we played very well up front, defensively. I don't think that we were consistent enough. I also know that the two touchdown passes that they threw should have been interceptions. We are going to have to play a lot better there and we are going to have to play a lot better up front, defensively."

Richard Ball and Ray Ray Bivines both got penalties for celebrating. What are your thoughts on that?
"I am not very happy about that. And they know that is not acceptable. There is no excuse for that. What I told them is next week, if they do that, that may be the play that costs you the game."

Talk about Kevin Fant's play.
"He threw the ball well. He didn't throw the ball well early. After that, he played very well."

What about his protection?
"Early, we didn't have good protection, but there was a period in time where we had very good protection."

Did Ray Ray Bivines get hurt when he jumped into the endzone?
"I don't know if he got hurt. He may have pulled him hamstring. But there wasn't any reason for him to do that."

Talk about punter Jared Cook.
"I was pleased with Jared. He is certainly getting better and better. I think that (Kicker) Brent Smith will certainly help us, especially on the kickoffs."

Has Brent taken over the kicking duties full time?
"We still have both of them. I'll have to look at the film, but when you miss an extra point, you can't have that."

What part of your game are you the most impressed with since the Oregon game?
"I think we have moved closer to identifying the players who can make plays. We played a lot of players. At one time, we played a freshman left guard and a freshman left tackle."

Did your receivers respond well today?
"I think they played very well. They caught the ball and ran their routes well. I think our receiving corps is one (position) that is a plus. We should be able to use them well."

Do you feel your run defense played well?
"Part of the time they did. They didn't play well early."

Is there anything special you are going to work on prior to the Auburn game?
"There are a lot of things that we are going to have to (work on). I wasn't very pleased with our kickoff coverage or our punt coverage in the first half. But during the second half, we did well there. I think our returners are good enough to make things happen on both kickoffs and punts. We just have to make sure we get the right people up front."

Did Rico Bennett get hurt during the game?
"Rico Bennett had a toe (injury). We won't know until (Sunday). He said he couldn't push off."

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 You can contact him by emailing

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