4. College Football News Preview 2020: Mississippi State Bulldogs Defense 3 Things To Know
– It’s not like defense was optional at Washington State under Mike Leach, but it just wasn’t consistent. On the flip side, he has never been the head coach of a team with the type of defensive talent he’s inheriting in Starkville.
It was a rebuilding season for MSU after an epic 2018 run, but there’s still more work to do after losing five of the top seven tacklers. On the plus side, the line has the upside to be a killer as long as the young talent can rise up and produce right away.
Ends Marquiss Spencer, Kobe Jones, and JUCO transfer Jordan Davis are good ones to start with, and there’s a whole lot of talent waiting in the wings. The tackles could be even nastier despite losing Lee Autry. Fabien Lockett and Nathan Pickering are likely going to be the main men early on, but this is a deep group – again, Leach has never had talent like this to work with.
– The Bulldogs caught a massive break when leading tackler and heart-and-soul leader type Erroll Thompson decided to come back for another year. He’s a 250-pound thumper in the middle of the linebacking corps, but losing Willie Gay – even though he missed half of last season – to the Kansas City Chiefs hurts. Depending on the alignment, this is where JUCO transfer Jordan Davis could fit in – he can play end or outside linebacker.
– The secondary gave up way too many big plays and allowed 247 yards per game, but at least there’s experience. Top tacklers Jaquarius Landrews and Brian Coles are done, but the young corners who took their lumps are back with a year of experience.
CJ Morgan is a good-tackling safety, and junior Marcus Murphy is a big performer when he’s healthy – he was in-and-out for most of last year.