[Premium Article] Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill talked to the media Monday morning."> [Premium Article] Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill talked to the media Monday morning.">

Jackie Sherrill Monday Morning Press Conference

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/coaches/football/sherrill.jpg" align="left" width="121" height="160"> [Premium Article] Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill talked to the media Monday morning.

Players that played well during the Kentucky game:
"(Guard) Brad Weathers and (center) Blake Jones played well. I thought the two tackles (David Stewart and Carl Hutchins) played well early in the game. Then, at the end of the game, we gave up a couple of sacks that we shouldn't have. (Tight end) Donald Lee played well. Donald Lee dominates most of the people that he goes against and he gets called for some holds (when) he is actually dominating people and puts them to the ground. Defensively, we played hard and fast for the entire game. Up front I thought that (Willie) Evans played well and (Tommy) Kelly played probably his most consistent game. I thought that (Terrell) Grindle, other than one drop, played well. The other (wide receiver) that played well was Ray Ray (Bivines). It could have been due to him coming off his knee injury, but Justin (Jenkins) didn't play well. Kevin (Fant) threw the ball well at times but at other times we didn't catch it."

About Alabama:
"Everything is going well for them. Their goal is to be the best team in the SEC West. And right now it looks they are the best team. Alabama is a seasoned football team. There is certainly no pressure (on them) at all because there is no concern about winning or losing. They have no pressure. Their players are playing very relaxed and very well. You go back to Auburn when they were in the same situation. They went 11-0. They are very productive. They don't have the number one rusher in the league but they are number one in the league offensively. They are very balanced and productive offensively. Defensively, their four guys up front kind of mesmerize you when you watch them. Secondary-wise, they probably play more coverages than anybody. I told our coaches this morning what really stands out is they will change their coverages every week to take away what that team does best. They did some things against Tennessee and against Mississippi that were different. They wanted to take away certain routes of Mississippi's and they did a good job. They don't bring pressure much, but they don't really have to. They will bring five at times and I have seen them bring six one time."

The Alabama defensive front four:
"The front four guys can put a tremendous amount of pressure on you. I don't know if there is a better defensive front in college football right now. They have been very, very productive. They also have some backups that are pretty good. Because of the tremendous amount of pressure from their front four guys, (their secondary) plays a lot of different coverages. That is one thing that they have done very well, taking away all the things that are probably your best plays, especially the pass routes."

Alabama injuries:
"I think the only (position) that they have lost a player to injuries was to their great running back (Antonio Beard). I haven't seen any other (positions) where they have lost a player to."

The burden on the MSU defense:
"Looking at our offense the production was there but we didn't score. We had some plays that took us out of being able to move (the ball) and score. But when you win games, you can win offensively and defensively. There were three times, if we had held onto the ball, we could have scored defensively. The game is field position and field position is created by the kicking game. There was only one time that (Kentucky) had to start deep in their territory."

Punting game for Alabama:
"(We) are going to work very heavily and hard (on the punting game). (Punters) sometime get in a rhythm and sometimes they don't and you have to go back to square one and the basics with them. There are some things that I will change with them this week to get them back in the rhythm. We will have to change personnel on our punt team. There could be up to four or five (new guys). We will probably have new gunners, one anyway."

Tailbacks for this week's game:
"Cokie (Justin Griffith) will probably not play this week. The formations will determine who we will use at tailback."

"Cokie has an ankle (injury) and is very doubtful (for the game). We can't predict how long it will take for him to come back. Darnell (Jones) will not be at practice (Monday), but as soon as he feels better (from the back spasms) he will play. Brad Weathers is going to be operated on (Monday). He has a broken (right) thumb. I don't know if he will play in the Alabama game. It depends on how much pain he can endure. There are offensive linemen who play with fully bandaged hands. It is a little easier to play (with an injury) in the offensive line than anywhere else. Jerious has a shoulder (injury) but that shouldn't keep him from playing. It didn't even bother him during the game."

Weathers' replacement:
"We will start (redshirt freshman Johnny) Wadley."

How much does the offensive line injuries affect the chemistry of the line?
"It hurts an awful lot. (Having) Chris (McNeil) inside gave us the luxury of being very, very good. Now, we don't have that. Then, Richard (Burch) was coming along and was giving us some depth and ability at tackle. Then we lost that (when he was injured). We lost the two aces that we had that gave us the flexibility and depth that we needed in the offensive line."

Did Fant's injury have anything to do with his play?
"Kevin is such a competitive kid. (But) in retrospect, we should have started Kyle (York), then brought Kevin in. The same thing at receiver. We should have started Ray Ray (Bivines) and brought Justin (Jenkins) in."

What percent healthy was Kevin Fant for the game?
"In throwing the football, he was 100%. But for him to run, he was about 80 to 85%."

You mentioned that you probably shouldn't have started Fant and Jenkins this past weekend due to their injuries. Are you considering not starting Kevin and Justin this weekend?
"I think that Kevin will be closer to 100%. On the other one (Jenkins), we will see what happens during practice."

Who actually called the play that caused Kevin's ankle injury?
"Well, I had to take responsibility for that. That is just like taking responsibility for anything that is called."

How much did Kevin getting hurt affect the season?
"It is not any more (important) than other facets. Losing Chris McNeil and Richard Burch hurt us tremendously."

Flag on the artificial noise:
"I can't comment about the officiating at all. The only person you need to call is (SEC head of officials) Bobby Gaston or (SEC) Commissioner Mike Slive."

Jerious Norwood's play:
"Jerious played well. He made some runs where he made people miss him. In some of the other things that backs have to do, such as pass protection, you have to understand that he is a freshman and may not pick up everything because he hasn't seen everything before. If you can get guys in the secondary, that is when the backs show up. If you can't get them to the secondary what one running back does over another running back is kind of skewed."

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 swindoll@genespage.com.

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