A Q&A With Center J.C. Brignone

Starting center J.C. Brignone talks about adjusting to the center position, the offensive line and the MSU offense.

Moving to the center position in the spring, was the center-quarterback snap a huge adjustment for you?
J. C. Brignone - "That was definitely a big change for me because it's completely different. There's a whole new step besides reading the defense and blocking. (As a center) you have to read the defense, snap the ball, make sure the quarterback gets the ball, then block. And you do all of that in a split second."

Have you got it down pat now or is it still difficult for you?
"I wouldn't say difficult, but it is hard. And it's still hard because I'm still getting used to it. Coach Grimes always professes that we be perfect, always down the middle. And it's a big thing for me to get it right. That way, in a game I won't have to think about it."

During the spring, were there some fumbled snaps between the QB and you?
"At the beginning I was just getting used to under center and the shotgun, so we had a good bit of quarterback and center exchange (fumbles) on my part. But during the whole summer, me, Wes (Carroll) and Tyson (Lee) stayed after each workout and did about 100 snaps a day."

Have there been any problems with the snap during the preseason camp?
"We've had a few, which were my fault. But we are trying to get as good as we can."

What is your impression of the offense after going through two scrimmages and a few weeks of practice?
"Our offense is really coming together. Our quarterbacks are really starting to make good choices. And our offensive line is starting to become really down pat. The whole offensive line knows what is going on. It's still my call to decide where we are going, but it's a lot easier when your guards also know. Sometimes you have a mental lapse and your guards can help you in a case like that."

I can see how having guys like Anthony Strauder, Michael Gates and Craig Jenkins can help you since they have been around a while and really know the system.
"Those three guys have been a big help. After Royce (Blackledge) and the rest of the guys left, it was them who stepped up and helped me understand what is going on. And they are always right there to pick me up when I do something wrong."

What exactly do they do to help you?
"If I make a wrong call or I make a call I think is right and it's not, they'll tell me to check and look at that. Then, I'll see it. Sometimes I don't see it. That comes from them having so much more experience in games than I have."

You've got veterans on both sides at the guard spots, but the tackles are both sophomores. Who helps them?
"Just like with me, the two guards also help the two tackles. So, when I make the calls, they pass it down to the tackles and help them."

Let's get a little more specific about the different groups of the offense. What is your impression of the quarterbacks?
"Wes and Tyson have taken it to a new level. They are adding more new things that they see and that they can do. And that makes our offense ten times better."

Running backs?
"We have big, powerhouses like Anthony Dixon and Christian Ducre. I have no problem with them behind me, running downhill. I know that they will fall forward. Then you have scatbacks like Deuce - Robert Elliott - and Wade Bonner."

Is it different blocking for Anthony and Christian compared to Robert and Wade?
"When you have a big back and you are running a downhill play you know you have to get your tail in there because you have them right behind you. When you have a scatback running behind you and you get your hat and position right everything has to be perfect because he is reading off of that to make his cut."

What about the wide receivers?
"The wide receivers have made it so much easier for the offensive line because of the way they are playing."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the 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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