Bulldog defense not concerned about “similar” South Alabama offense

Last week against Troy, Mississippi State’s defense gave up 572 yards of offense.

The good news? State won and the game is behind them.

The bad news? South Alabama comes to town Saturday with the same style offense MSU which gashed MSU so successfully.

Said senior defensive tackle Josh Boyd, “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.”

Certainly, Bulldog fans hope their defense is ready for the attack.

There is, however, more good news.

Talking to defensive players this week, they don’t feel that it was necessarily Troy’s style of play or the tempo of their offense that was so troublesome.

Senior linebacker Cam Lawrence certainly isn’t worried about the similarities. He’s more concerned with his own team.

“Nah, that’s not gonna be a problem at all,” Lawrence said in reference to Troy and South Alabama’s similarities. “Our offense all last year tried to go up-tempo against us and we were ready for it. I really don’t think it was the tempo that got us. We just weren’t locked in and focused all throughout the week in practice.”

MSU, it would seem, is a bit more “locked in,” as well as focused, this time around.

The message goes back to what Dan Mullen preached after the win over Auburn. His team has to deal with the “adversity of success.”

Senior cornerback Darius Slay said having a scare against Troy may have done more to get the message across than any amount of yelling or teaching by coaches.

In a weird way, Slay thought the close win can be a good thing.

Mullen even said himself he thinks it’s good to be able to teach from a win.

“This week,” Slay said, “we came in, got better, made our corrections and we’re ready to play South Alabama.”

While the focus on the preparation is different – and hopefully better – defensive coordinator Chris Wilson conceded the Xs and Os are not so dissimilar to last week.

He sees the Troy and South Alabama offenses have much in common.

“Same as, same as,” Wilson said. “[South Alabama’s] got some things they do a little more that are really complementary to their skills. They’ve got two really good tight ends. I really like their running back, a really good running back. 17 and 10 are two of the better tight ends that we’ll see throughout the season.”

So, while the tempo and style may be similar, USA ought to bring unique looks on offense, something MSU must be prepared for.

“I know they’re gonna be a young, eager team ready to play us,” Lawrence said.

As long as his players are mentally prepared, Wilson said he’s ready for what South Alabama brings to the field on Saturday.

“They’ll show a lot of different looks,” Wilson said. “We’ll have a good plan for them.”

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