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Focus on the offense for Bulldogs in spring

March 30, 2012

MSU wide receiver Robert Johnson looks to make a move in the open field last season. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The Bulldogs are moving right along with spring football camp this week and as day four wraps up, Mississippi State is beginning see things fall into place.

There’s no doubt many will focus on the MSU offense this spring.

With the departure of Chris Relf and Vick Ballard among others, there’s reason to pay attention to how State develops over the course of the three-week session. 
“There’s a lot of heads spinning right now,” said State’s offensive coordinator Les Keonning. “You know, when people’s heads spin, you don’t really see what they are doing. So, we are going to go watch this film and go over it, speed it up a little bit and see what happens. Obviously we need to make some improvement, there’s no doubt, but I think the maturity of our receivers and quarterbacks are pretty good. That’s the things that show up.”

Big targets outside

So much has been made of the bigger, more physical receivers and tight ends the Bulldogs will have this season.

Joe Morrow, Robert and Malcolm Johnson all give MSU quarterbacks a large target to hit in the passing game.
“They are just big, strong kids now,” said Keonning. “(They are) big strong kids that really don’t know where to go yet. They just need to keep getting better. Physically, they’ve got the body, mentally we need to get them caught up.”


The Johnsons are entering their sophomore season while Morrow will be a redshirt freshman this season. Malcolm Johnson had 11 catches for 206 yards and three scores last season while Robert had four for 42 yards.

Only as good as the OL

Mississippi State will without question spend a tremendous amount of time and energy focusing on the offensive line.

The Bulldogs look to get the new faces of Dylan Hollaway and Charles Siddoway acclimated to their new roles with the Bulldogs.

“We think Holley is deaf,” Keonning said jokingly. “He can’t remember the snap count, but he is doing pretty good other than that.


“Siddoway has been pretty good too. He is really, really athletic. We’ve developed some depth at tackle, but we need some help inside. Tobias (Smith) needs to get well. We’ve just got to keep going.”


In addition to getting the right pieces in place, Keonning just wants to see solid execution.


“Man, you just want to eliminate MAs (missed assignments),” he said. “Just eliminate MAs. If you can eliminate MAs, the rest of it will fall into place. You’ve just got to eliminate those mental mistakes.”


The one bright spot for State fans in the offensive line would have to be the move from guard to tackle appears to do the trick for one Damien Robinson.


“Boy, he’s a lot better football player outside, lot better football player,” Keonning said. “You don’t notice him and that’s a good thing for an offensive lineman.”

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