STARKVILLE | Coming into last Saturday’s game Geoff Collins was concerned about Oklahoma State’s up-tempo offense and its potent passing attack.
Although the defense played well in Collins’ debut as Mississippi State’s full-time defensive coordinator, the Bulldogs did struggle against the read option attack.
“We did some good things and played hard,” Collins said. “We just took a while to get a lot of the triple option stuff fixed and adjusted. But they flew around and had good energy. We just have to learn how to finish.”
Collins was also encouraged by the performance of true freshman defensive lineman Chris Jones, who played both inside and out making a pair of tackles including a half tackle for loss in his debut.
“On a couple of plays Chris Jones was just a terror in the backfield which is what we’d hoped he’d be,” Collins said. “We’ve just got to work on some technical things and consistently playing hard. He’s going to be a force in the future.”
Losing safety Jay Hughes for the season with a ruptured Achilles’ is a blow for Collins’ defense but he was impressed with how some of his younger players in the secondary stepped up in Hughes’ absence. Dee Arrington and Kendrick Market each had career games with Arrington recording seven tackles and Market six while both notched a tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
Collins also commended the play of redshirt freshmen linebackers Beniquez Brown and Richie Brown, who combined to make three tackles. He also felt that sophomore linebacker Zach Jackson had “arguably the play of the game on that slip screen”.
After giving up 432 yards and 21 points in the season opener against Oklahoma State, Collins stated that his squad is practicing with a chip on their shoulder and are ready to take the field at home for the first time against Alcorn State this weekend.
“The guys have a bad taste in their mouth that they want to get out,” Collins said.