April 26, 2007

Bulldogs more athletic defensively

Mississippi State will enter '07 with some question marks defensively just like any other football team. After losing veterans along the defensive line, in the linebacking corps, and in the secondary, they signed some juco players to fill those needs. Dominic Douglas worked his way into the two deep rotation at linebacker and Jesse Bowman ended the spring as a starter along the defensive line. Even besides that some questions still need to be answer defensively about the Bulldogs of '07.

Bulldog defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson had his work cut out for him this spring. He had to find a replacement for the versatile Quinton Culberson and he had to create some depth at a position where he did not have many SEC caliber players.

"We feel fairly optimistic that for the first time we have some depth there. We got to a decent start in spring practice, and about the second or third practice we lost Littlejohn and Chaney. Chaney had a hamstring and missed four or five practices, and Littlejohn missed the rest of spring because of an ankle problem, but I don't worry about that because he is a veteran, but he did miss some good work because we moved him to the Will linebacker," Johnson said. "Overall I was really pleased, this is an area that could have been a big question mark losing a player like Culberson who had played so much ball and been so productive for us."

Being the linebackers coach also, Johnson is probably sleeping a lot easier now after 15 spring practices. Even though questions still surround the linebackers, at least he knows where to start.

"Coming out of spring I feel like we made a lot of progress. I think we know what we have, we have a couple of question marks to where we are going to move some guys, and we are expecting a couple of new guys to merge and give us some depth."

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