Q&A: Josh Boyd on MSU’s defensive letdown and plans for recovery

On Tuesday evening, we got to catch up with the man who is literally at the center of Mississippi State’s defense, senior defensive tackle Josh Boyd.

Naturally, MSU’s less-than-stellar defensive performance against Troy Saturday was a topic of conversation with the big man, as his unit’s plan to move on and improve from it.

Rather than insert bad jokes in between his comments and try to fancy up, I figured this was a good time for a nice Q&A, letting us all hear Boyd’s words uncut.

With that said, enjoy.

You guys gave up a lot of yards Saturday. Was it missed assignments? Tempo?

I think it was sometimes we were trying to make plays instead of being on our keys and we started playing down to the other guys’ level. We gotta pick it up.

We were just doing careless mistakes. We kind of pulled ourself to their level. It’s a disappointment, but something we gotta correct.

How do you judge yourselves as a line through three games?

I think we started out kinda, a little bit not too strong, but then we picked it up a little bit against Auburn. Then this game was kind of a letdown. We’ve still got a lot of improving to do before Saturday.

Do you think people will look at that Troy game and say, ‘This is how we beat Mississippi State?’

I’m pretty sure they will, but I really hope they do. It’s something we’re gonna stop the next time we see it.

Is South Alabama similar?

I think they’ve got pretty much the same, similar offense. They’ll try to do some of the same things those guys did, but we’ll be prepared for it this time.

Is the rotation at defensive line working out?

The rotations are good. A lot of guys are rolling in and out and it’s helping me a lot, not being so winded on the field.

Do you think the second unit is as good as the first?

Yeah, I really do. They step in and do a pretty good job.

Is it good to have Johnthan Banks coming on the blitz off the edge some? Darius Slay got two interceptions off of it.

I know Slay likes it. It helps us out, too. Sometimes he drives the guy right to us.

Is it surprising to see at all what Slay is doing this year?

No, it’s not surprising. I always knew he was a great player. Now, he got his opportunity and he’s stepped up and made plays.

How do you think junior defensive end Denico Autry is doing his first three games?

He’s still progressing. He’s coming along more and more each game. He’s still got a lot of things he’s gotta improve, but I feel like he’s getting better and better each game. I hope the next game you’ll see an even better performance out of him.

What’s it like in the film room and practice this week after Troy?

Basically, we’re going back to learning our fundamentals, getting into our fits better, playing the run better. It’s been a regular practice, but we kind of emphasize stopping the run and things like that.

Coach Mullen said it’s great to teach off a win.

He told us, ‘Look, at the end, we still got the win.’ It’s a big teaching moment, but it’s kind of like our moment to step up. We know we messed up and we’ve got room to improve, so we know it’s something we probably needed.

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