On the Links: Red Zone Issues, Notebook, LSU Updates

This week’s game: No. 22 MSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) at No. 9 LSU (7-2, 3-2), Saturday, 6 p.m. (Brad NesslerTodd Blackledge and Holly Rowe)

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Welcome to Tuesday, y’all, a very important day for all of you. Because I have stories y’all need to read. Oh, yeah, and there’s that whole voting thing. Go do that, but don’t think you have to feel good about who you vote for. I won’t.

So, in today’s Journal are a couple of stories I wrote off yesterday’s Dan Mullen press conference. My lead story deals with MSU’s issues in the red zone, which have been especially troublesome the last two games, both losses. We asked offensive coordinator Les Koenning what he thought the trouble was, and he said it was a lack of execution.

I asked him to be more specific, and he said, “Well, I think No. 1, that’s what it comes down to in big games. When you come down to big games and playing in big games, you have to execute. Those things are very, very small. The small things become big things, so you can’t just be a hair off or you can’t be just a hair off with your route or your throwing the football or your read. You’ve got to be right spot on it, and those are the things we’re experiencing right now.”

OK, but that didn’t really answer the question of why MSU isn’t able to execute in the red zone. I asked Koenning if he’d seen signs of this issue in practices.

“No, in the game. Obviously we don’t go into the game thinking we’re not going to do it. We go into the game thinking we’re going to do it. You see it when it happens on the film, and you wonder why, and you watch it in the (coaches) box. And those are things that we learn from.”

Another reporter then asked if it was a matter of the opposing defense dictating what MSU’s offense was doing.

“No, that’s not what I’m saying. No, that’s not what I’m saying,” Koenning said. “What I’m saying is, when you go out to play – you know what I’m saying – and you’re just a hair off on a throw, it has nothing to do with the defense. It has to do with you, executing the play, not the defense doing that. And execution gets magnified in those situations, you know what I’m saying.”

Anyway, I also have a notebook that covers quarterback pressure and receiver Arceto Clark.

• Let’s check in on LSU: The Tigers are looking at new goals. … They’re also looking to “make a statement.” … QB Zach Mettenberger took a big step forward in the loss to Alabama. … Here’s the full transcript of coach Les Miles‘ Monday press conference. Lot of gems in there. My fave: “The recognition of playing for victory is the only piece.”

I am the online content coordinator for DJournal.com. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04). I'm working on a recipe for bacon-flavored coffee, which would solve all the world's problems.

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