Good Offense Can Make A Defense Better

Mississippi State linebacker Bo Walters, a sophomore who played his high school ball at Briarwood Christian in Birmingham, Alabama, believes the spread offense is helping the MSU defense become a much better defense.

"The offense is a lot different," said Bo, who is backing up MSU's middle linebacker, Jamar Chaney. "Going against the offense we ran last year, everything was downhill run with the offense. We would have our basic cover-four pattern reads and drops. This year, everything is spread out. So, we have linebackers lining up against 4.3, 4.4 receivers."

Bo has personally experienced being in one of those mis-matches.

"Two Saturdays ago in a scrimmage I had to line up against (freshman wide receiver) Brandon Heavens," said Bo. "That's why this offense is so successful, due to creating mis-matches like that, a speedy guy against a slower guy or mis-matching a slot receiver on a linebacker."

As for the result of the Walters-Heavens mis-match, suffice it to say it didn't end the way Bo wanted.

"He scored," said Bo. "We were in goal-line coverage and he scored. He put a little inside move on me and he was just too fast for me, I couldn't catch up with him on the outside."

While no defensive player ever wants to get beat, Heavens scoring was somewhat bitter-sweet in Bo's mind because he can remember an MSU offense that was last in the conference in scoring last season, scoring 15.2 points per game.

"I was happy that the offense can do that but I was disappointed that I can't cover Brandon Heavens," said Bo.

Considering it's very unlikely that Bo will ever be able to cover a wide receiver with the speed of a Brandon Heavens one-on-one, there are ways to help offset that speed mis-match.

"There are ways to adjust to that," said Bo. "We are doing some things defensively that allows us to ask for either inside and outside help."

Adjusting is a way of life for a defense when it faces an offense that is as diverse as the spread. And Bo sees that as a good thing for the Bulldog defense.

"(Mississippi State defensive coordinator) Coach (Carl) Torbush tells us all the time that we aren't going to see anything that our offense doesn't do with the exception of Georgia Tech," said Bo. "Our offense pulls guards, they run the option, and they are, basically, the spread. So, you have everything that you are going to see this year in one offense. That will prepare our defense a whole lot better because we have seen everything in preseason camp."

And Bo and the rest of his teammates will see how well the MSU defense is prepared when their 2:30 Saturday afternoon game with Jackson State roles around.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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