What You Need To Know About The Mississippi State Defense
– Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop gets a heater of a defense to work with. Eight starters are back on a D that finished tenth in the nation in yards allowed and gave up just 21 points per game. It was this simple – when the defense allowed more than 27 points, Mississippi State lost, going 0-4. When it allowed fewer, it won, going 9-0.
– It all starts with a killer of a D line. It’s going to be an all-timer of a 2019 NFL Draft for defensive tackles, but Jeffery Simmons will be right there in the mix. He’s not a true anchor, but he has a terrific blend of athleticism and toughness to be the main on the nose, or as a perfect 3-4 end.
Montez Sweat is one of the SEC’s best pass rushers as a hybrid end/outside linebacker, and the rest of the front three of four – depending on the alignment returns intact.
The line will do its part against the run, and the linebacking corps will clean up everything else. Leo Lewis needs to get back to his 2016 form, but he’s a good veteran, Gerri Green will be another hybrid who can fit in a variety of rolls, and there’s a whole lot of young depth looking to get a shot.
– Helped by the great pass rush, the secondary was terrific, finishing 12th in the nation pass D. The team’s top two tacklers – Mark McLaurin and Johnathan Abram – are back at safety, with McLaurin also leading the way with six interceptions, and former Michigan safety and JUCO transfer Brian Cole will find a role somewhere.
The corner situation is the interesting part of the puzzle, needing to come up with two new options who can rise up and be consistent.
Biggest Key To The Mississippi State Defense
The run defense has to be great each and every time. Yes, there were more than a few issues involved for any of the teams that had to play Alabama, Georgia, and Auburn last season, but for Mississippi State, the losses to those three were partially due to a run defense that couldn’t hold up.
Throw the loss to Ole Miss out of this mix – that was a strange game starting with the Nick Fitzgerald injury – but the other three losses last season all came when the Bulldogs gave up 200 yards or more on the ground. Also, they’re 1-7 over the last two seasons when giving up two bills or more.
Those three games were also the most yards per carry the Bulldogs allowed against any three teams, too.