Bulldog Players Talk About LSU Game

Mississippi State football players Michael Henig, Titus Brown, Anthony Dixon and Royce Blackledge talk about the upcoming game with LSU.

Quarterback Michael Henig

What are some challenges the LSU defense will present?
"They are a fast defense. And they have a lot of name recognition on the defense which is something we like because it gives us a chance to knock some people off that are up there. Their team is No. 2 in the country right now. We've always been an underdog here and I don't think that will change until we change it ourselves."

Do you like starting off with the No. 2 team in the country on national television?
"I think it's great for the university and great for our football program. ESPN comes in tomorrow and I don't think there's anything better than being on ESPN at night."

Are you 100% healthy from your collarbone break?
"It is 100%."

Have you thought about ways to help prevent injuries this season?
"Oh yeah, this year is the year I play for the next game. Don't play for that play, play for the next game. But I'm still going to play football the way I like to play it. If it's third-and-one, third-and-two, fourth-and-one, fourth-and-two, I'm going to go get it. And if I get hurt, I get hurt, but that's just the way I play football. Last year, I think I was a little timid at times and I think that was when I got hurt."

Have you discussed the upcoming game with your backup, freshman Wesley Carroll, to help him prepare for it?
"He's going to be nervous as all get out just standing on the sidelines. I know that feeling. I'll talk to him to help him calm down. It's tough, but he'll work through it because he's a tough kid."

Defensive End Titus Brown

What will the challenges be with the LSU offense?
"The challenges will be staying in your gap, win your gap and beat the man in front of you. LSU has a very big and aggressive offensive line so we'll have to simply try to outmuscle them and outplay them."

Have you had a chance to watch the guy you are playing opposite of?
"Not really. I really haven't gotten any film on him because he came from the defensive side of the ball to the offensive side of the ball. But I expect him to be pretty good."

How do you prepare for a guy like that? Do you figure out weaknesses or tendencies after playing against him in the the first series?
"Yeah, it's kind of like a game experience. You go through and see what you can do and can't do. And try to figure out what the weakness of your opponent is and attack that weakness."

Coach Turner, your position coach, told me earlier in preseason practice that there were some things you needed to improve on in the run game. Do you feel you've accomplished that?
"Yeah, it was mostly dealing with consistency. Some days you will be good in the run game and some days you would be decent. The thing I was trying to work on was to be a little more consistent in the run game."

Tailback Anthony Dixon

What have you seen on film that you like about the LSU defense?
"The blitzing they do. It seems like they bring somebody on every down. Last year, they did the same thing. We just have to pick up the blitz."

Which positions will have to pick up the blitzes, the offensive line or the running backs?
"The offensive line and the running backs. We all have certain jobs to do on certain blitzes, certain defensive fronts they are going to be in. If the line make a switch, it's our job to hear it."

With a healthy Michael Henig as the starting quarterback, how much will that help the MSU offense?
"He's going to be a big factor. We will be able to run every play we want to run. We have a lot of confidence in Mike because we know he can run the offense to the complete capability that Coach wants to run it. With him being back there, the confidence in the huddle is sky high."

What is the attitude of the team going into this game?
"We are ready. We really haven't been pumped like this for a game since I've been here. We feel like we have the talent. That's what is making us so happy and pumped up. We feel like we have a real chance of beating these guys. There's not too many people who are giving us a chance, but we are just going to go out there and show that we really do have the talent."

How have you improved since you first played against LSU?
"Knowing the speed of the game. To me, LSU was a little faster than the rest of the teams we faced last year. I was prepared for all the other teams all the way up to the LSU game, but they kind of took it up another notch because they were that good. I believe they were the best team we faced last year."

Center Royce Blackledge

Why do you think this offensive line is better compared to year's past?
"I feel we have improved because we have more experience. I don't think there is a substitute for experience. And this offensive line has built up confidence."

You've gotten to play against the LSU defensive line a couple of times. What makes them so good?
"Last year, they were probably the best defense that we went against. They are quick, fast, big and they use their hands well. They've got it. But we feel like we match up well with them this year. We look forward to it."

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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