"It helps clear the mind a little bit. (The mind) can be very sensitive and can be very tender. Frustrations build up in it. A win and playing well on defense will help us tremendously. I think it helps the entire atmosphere. Sure there were some miscues offensively, a fumble here or there, but the bottom line is we won and we won together."
Thoughts about playing Darren Williams at free safety.
"We decided to play Darren where he was eventually going to be. We said that Josh (Morgan) can play any of them. Michael (Gholar) made a lot of plays when he was a free safety, but when we blitzed last week we brought him off of our right side. We decided to go ahead and put him at the right DOG (safety position) because he had already had some success blitzing. Josh goes to left (DOG) and Darren goes to free (safety). From the time he has been here, Darren knew he was eventually going to be our free safety. Josh did a great job of helping both of them. There are a lot of adjustments back there. There are triples, doubles...it could be empty. We are playing five-free, man-free or are we playing pure man or cover-three."
Covers MSU played against Troy State.
"We mixed it up. Darren's interceptions came on cover-three - two of them - and the other one might have been five-free. Toward the second part of the game - the last quarter and a half - we started mixing a lot more man in."
Thoughts about the play of true freshman cornerback Kevin Dockery's play in his first start.
"I thought he tackled well. I thought he was into the ballgame the entire time. I thought his run support was good and overall his coverage. They didn't really try him that much on the stop and go route. They had already thrown it and he had made a good play on it. I had just told him to be ready for the stop and go. He jumped it, but he flipped and closed back on it. I ask him if the ball had hit him before he touched. He said he thought it did. It hit him in the back and it wasn't pass interference the way I saw it."
The reason why Dockery started against Troy State.
"He has been doing the same thing that he has been doing since he got here. He is a good practice player, he has ability and has character. He is a very, very smart football player. He is a mature young man. He has some football savvy to him. I played him a little bit last week (against South Carolina) and he did well. We probably should have been playing more all along."
What kind of player Dockery could ultimately wind up being?
"He is going to be a complete football player. I really believe that. To say he is going to be an outstanding player, I don't know. Time will take care of that. But he is going to be a good football player. And he is close to being that right now because he went out there (Saturday) in a pressure situation. Go out there when you are 5-0 and start as a freshman as opposed to going out when you are 1-4 and a freshman. There is more pressure in that situation."
Thoughts about having such a unique secondary (two true freshmen, two seniors and one senior who is playing football for the first time in college)
"We basically started three rookies (Saturday). Michael (Gholar) is a mature young man. You would like to be starting 4 or 5 seniors and 2 or 3 young freshmen that you put in there and play a lot, but I don't."
Thoughts about the two starting seniors, Morgan and Banks.
"I am very pleased with Korey (Banks). He practices well and he is playing well. He is locked into the ballgame. I don't see a lot of wasted energy or distractions that he may have had in the past. I think they are both doing a good job. I really think leaders are what you do...it is not about what you say. Josh is not a big talker. Josh will help them get lined up sometimes. He is always going to be there. He never complains, never has a negative word to say. I can't say enough about the leadership of Josh Morgan. The same can be said about Korey. Korey has done a good job...I'm telling you. I am very proud of Korey Banks and the way he has been playing and keeping his poise at times when he looks like he is about to lose it."
So you wouldn't mind having five Korey Banks on the field?
"Not at all. I have told them before that I want you guys to move your feet and respond and do things like Korey. I told them all one day to look at him move his feet, look at his intensity. I like Korey."
Thoughts about the attitude of the players that aren't starting that were earlier in the season.
"I think they are handling it. Hopefully, we will get (redshirt freshman DOG safety) Rico Bennett back soon. He could have played (Saturday) but I didn't like the way he limped around in practice. I think (sophomore cornerback) Pee Wee (Slovakia Griffith) is a character guy and will help this team. We hope to get (sophomore DOG safety) Gabe (Wallace) back this week, along with (redshirt freshman cornerback) Derrick Crockett. I think they will handle it, but they don't have a choice. They will handle it because this is a football team that doesn't need any distractions. They are character guys. It would shock me if they didn't handle it. They will work hard in practice and be ready to play."
[To say I was impressed with Coach Hallman would be an understatement. The guy knows his stuff and is very impressive when talking about the game of football and the secondary.-Gene]
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.