Back at Defensive End

Junior Charles Burns, at the request of the MSU coaches, played defensive tackle during most of the spring. But they moved him back to defensive end late in the spring, a position he's more comfortable playing.

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But despite that comfort level, Charles was ready to do whatever he could to help the team, even if it meant playing defensive tackle.

"When they moved me to defensive tackle I went with the flow," said Charles. "I was doing whatever I needed to to help the team."

But the coaches decided late in the spring to move him back to his more natural position, defensive end.

"At the end of the spring they moved me back to defensive end," said the 6-3, 265-pounder. "Coach told me that they were going to move me back because he said they could use me better there. I was pretty happy about that."

And his mental attitude and physical skills fit what you are looking for in a defensive end.

"I'm pretty quick and I always play hard and play with energy, almost to the point of being wild," noted Charles, who backs up Titus Brown. "My thing is I always run to the football."

Charles is one of the most experienced members of a very inexperienced defensive front. But he thinks that inexperience will be offset by the talent level of the group.

"A lot of people are saying that we are inexperienced and that we may be a weak spot, but I think we can be one of the strongest spots on the team," said Charles. "We are young but the guys have more talent and are quicker and faster. (MSU strength) Coach (Ben) Pollard has done a tremendous job with us."

Not just with the defensive line, but the offensive line as well. In fact, Charles has very, very high expectations for MSU's OL.

"I think the offensive line will be dominant this year, especially Mike Brown," said Charles, who has gone against Mike in practice on numerous occasions. "Mike has sweet feet. What I mean by that is he has feet like a receiver. If you can get by him, you can get by anybody in this league."

Charles explained why he feels this team will be much better.

"I think we will be better this year because we are more of a team this year," he said. "And it starts with Coach Ben Pollard. He has brought us together as a team. We run together, we finish together and we get tired together.

"There no longer are individuals. We are thinking more like a team."

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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