Bulldogs resume practice; tour Jacksonville's Naval Station Mayport

Mississippi State faces Louisville on Dec. 30.

Posted: Dec 27, 2017 9:50 PM
Updated: Dec 27, 2017 11:06 PM

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Mostly sunny skies greeted Mississippi State football Wednesday as the Bulldogs returned to the practice field in preparation for a Dec. 30 matchup against Louisville in the 2017 TaxSlayer Bowl.

MSU worked out for less than two hours on the campus of the University of North Florida, the squad’s second practice since arriving in Jacksonville on Christmas night.

The Bulldogs then made the short trek to the Naval Station Mayport, taking in Jacksonville’s rich military history.

Upon arrival at the base, the team was welcomed with a barbecue lunch before splitting into two groups to tour the USS Farragut DDG 99 destroyer and an amphibious carrier ship. Tours were led by active-duty military that shared their deployment experiences and their individual duties aboard the ship. The Bulldogs also learned about the artillery and specialized equipment housed on board.

MSU will hold their final bowl practice on Thursday morning and spend the afternoon at Topgolf Jacksonville. The Bulldogs battle Louisville at 11 a.m. CT/12 p.m. ET Saturday in the TaxSlayer Bowl from EverBanks Field. The contest will be televised live on ESPN.

Below are quotes from interim defensive coordinator Ron English and defensive end Jeffery Simmons’ media session following Wednesday’s practice.

Interim Defensive Coordinator Ron English

On facing Lamar Jackson…

“I told the guys that I’ve coached against a lot guys out west in the Pac 12, the Big 10 and all over. This guy is more elusive than Reggie Bush in college. Nobody can tackle the guy. He can kind of do what he wants. I don’t think anybody compares to him. I really don’t.”

On his first message to the team after taking over as interim defensive coordinator…

“That we had done well. We had really changed the mentality a little bit. I thought that coach [Todd] Grantham did a great job, and really the whole staff, in just instilling the confidence in these players. When you go from being that bad on defense to turning it around, it’s not only what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it. I thought our guys did a nice job of that. My message was ‘you finished 25th in run defense. I think you finished 13th in passing yards allowed and 10th in total yards allowed, but nobody is going to remember that if you don’t play well in this last game.’ That was the message.”

On other offensive weapons on Louisville team…

“First of all, they are offensive coaches. I’ve coached at Louisville. I’ve known coach [Bobby] Petrino for a while, not personally but as a person in the profession that you follow. He’s one of the top play callers in the country. I think he’ll know what you’re doing defensively and will have answers for it. That means they are going to be able to coach them up and execute. That’s always an issue when you play a Petrino coached team. He’s going to expose your weaknesses. If you’re disciplined or undisciplined, he will attack that, and he’ll attack people. Louisville is scoring a lot of points. I think they are averaging 39 points a game. There’s a whole bunch of guys that you’ve got to try and slow down a bit. That’s what we’ll try to do.”

DE Jeffery Simmons

On the team’s focus…

“We’ve had two great practices. Everybody is locked in, especially with all the changes around here. I think Coach [Greg] Knox is doing a great job keeping everybody focused. I feel that everybody is on the right track, and we’re down here to win this game. I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

On slowing down Lamar Jackson…

“Everybody knows that is the focus. You have a Heisman Trophy candidate for two years in a row. He won it last year. We know right now that he’s the head of the snake. That’s the head of their team. Our job is not to take anybody out. Our job is to contain this guy. We know he is a dangerous player. Especially the defensive line, we just have to get after him.”

On earning All-SEC honors alongside Montez Sweat…

“It means a lot. The coaches said this is the first time its happen for two defensive linemen [at Mississippi State}. Sweat and I give our honor to our teammates, especially the defensive line. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be capable of pushing ourselves all season. It’s just a team thing.”

On his relationship with Montez Sweat…

“It’s close, especially on the field. Right before a play, we look at each other. We have that connection of ‘let’s go get this sack.’ Either he’s going to get pressure, or I’m going to get pressure. When I’m getting double teamed, he’s going to go. When the guard slides out to help us out, I’m going to try to get pressure. It’s just a thing we have together right now. We’re just trying to keep building. We can just look at each other, we don’t even have to say anything. We just hit each other’s hands and be like ‘let’s go.’

On the defensive improvement starting up front…

“Everyone knows that the game, especially in the SEC, is going to be won in the trenches. You’ve got top talent on the offensive line. You’ve got top talent on the defensive line. Whoever plays the best, the hardest and the longest is going to win.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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